222. Have you committed lechery ("luxuria")? These things pertain to lechery (list of 12 aspects, each with brief definition and explanation for the priest to give) ...

223. PRIEST: There remains coitus which is lechery in the strict sense of the word. Have you ever been polluted with lechery?
PENITENT: Lots of times.
PRIEST: Ever against nature?
PEN: Lots of times.
PR Ever with a man?
PEN: Lots of times.
PR: With clerics or with laymen?
PEN: With both.
PR: Married laymen or single?
PEN: Both.
PR: With how many married people?
PEN: I don't know.
PR: So you don't know how many times?
PEN: That's right.
PR: Let us find out what we can. How long were you with them?
PEN: 7 years.
PR: In what Order?
PEN: (I have been) 2 years in the priesthood, 2 in the diaconate, 2 in the sub-diaconate, a year as an acolyte. I sinned with unattached people, but I don't know the number of people or times.
PR: Did you sin with clerics?
PEN: I sinned both with seculars and with religious.
PR: Tell me how many seculars and how many religious, and what order you and they were in when you sinned together, and whether they possessed the dignity of archdeacon, dean, abbot or bishop? Did you ever introduce any innocent person to that sin? Say how many and what order you were then in?

224. Afterwards, he may be asked whether he ever sinned further against nature, if he had anybody extraordinarie? If he asks in what way extraordinarie, I shall not answer him. He shall see for himself. I never mention anything from which he could derive reason for sinning, but only generalities which everyone knows to be sins. I extract (an admission of) masturbation painfully ("dolose") from him, and similarly from a woman, but the method by which to extract this should not be written down. Just as I asked concerning a man, whether he has done anything against nature, so I ask concerning a woman, and indeed about every kind of fornication. Secondly, I ask about adultery and then about every kind of fornication; afterwards about incest in this way:

225. Did you come to your female cousin? ...

226. Did you come to a pregnant woman? I ask this, because many tiny children are in this way debilitated, crippled and oppressed. If anyone is affected by your having sex, in my opinion you should never minister in any order or receive any promotion without papal dispensation. In time of menstruation or (recent) childborth are generated many lepers, epileptics and children bearing themselves badly in other ways.

227. Have you fornicated in a holy place or on a holy day? Ask where and how often, (with a partner) in what order, with what person and in what kind of fornication? ...

228. Did you go to prostitutes? You should be afraid that she might be your kin or affine, or vowed to religion, or that some kinsman of yours had had her, or for some other (aggravating) circumstance. ...

Were you ever "infamous" for fornication? (Something has been said above about "infamy".) Did you ever approach the altar (for the eucharist) after fornication or in hatred or with the will of sinning and not confess or express contrition? Ask how often, and with what will and what kind of fornication, etc.

229. Have you looked with evil intent at many people, men and women, have you desired, solicited, .. kissed them? ..

[Robert of Flamborough, Liber Poenitentialis, ed. J.J.F. Firth (Toronto: Pontifical Inst. of Med. St., 1971), 195 sq.]


To the most reverend man of religion the lord Sacrist of (Bury) St. Edmund (Suffolk), the Archdeacon of Ely's Official: Greeting in Him who is the true salvation of all.

We notify your lordship by these presents that John of the Moat, painter, and Beatrice of Ely-At-Lanes-End, wife of Peter of Soham but adhering to the adulterous embraces of the said John, have merited the sentence of greater excommunication launched by us for their repeated contumacy and manifest offence. We have caused this sentence to be solemnly published through each of the parish churches of the city of Ely on Sundays and holy days, and have further forbidden anyone to presume to communicate in any way with them or either of them during the period of the said excommunication on pain of the same treatment. They have in no way feared to reject the Church's keys in pertinaciously persisting under this excommunication for a long time now thus tainting the Lord's flock as far as in them lies. They have, however, moved away in search of refuge to various places sometimes in southern parts, sometimes to the north. We have heard from trustworthy people that they now lurk at St. Edmunds and reside in your jurisdiction. We therefore require and request of your Discretion as strongly as we may that, as part of the mutual cooperation which Ordinaries [ecclesiastical authorities operating jurisdiction] are bound to offer each other, and since the said John and Beatrice are known to be living in your parts, you should please have them and those communicating with them publicly denounced as excommunicate and most strictly avoided by everyone, until they return, blushing with shame, to the bosom of Holy Mother Church and earn the right the benefit of absolution from us. If it pleases you to act on the aforesaid matters, we shall be bound to do for you the same or a greater service. May your reverend lordship flourish and grow strong through the daily round. Given at Cambridge the 3rd of the Ides of August A.D. 1289.

[The Letter-Book of William of Hoo, ed. A. Gransden (Suffolk recs. soc. v, 1963, no. 48; copied also as no. 79 omitting personal names etc. under the title "Letter from an Ordinary to prosecute a sentence against a fugitive".]


Greeting etc. A little pauper woman, A. de B., came to me in tears and made a complaint that C. de D. some time ago contracted marriage with her by exchange of words expressing consent de presenti; later a case was brought between them before the Commissary of E. exercising jurisdiction by authority of the Ordinary [ie church officer commissioned by the bishop to hold an ecclesiastical court on his behalf]. After discussion of the merits of the case, he adjudged the aforesaid C. de D. (Ivo) to the same woman as her husband by a definitive sentence, as we see more fully contained in the acts [documentary record] written up on this matter and sealed with the Official's seal. But the same C. transferred to the town of H. with the intention of evading the aforesaid sentence and married, as it is said, another woman to whom he holds assiduously "de facto" (since he could not do it "de iure") to the grave danger of his soul and the scandal of very many. We therefore ask you, in the interest of mutual cooperation and for the salvation of the souls imperilled thereby, to warn the aforesaid C., and induce him as effectively as you can, to give up this adulteress, if he has her, and then to receive back the said A. as his wife and treat her with marital affection; otherwise you should compel him to do this by sentencing him to suspension and excommunication from day to day as necessary. You should then signify to us how you have executed our request on God's account by your letters patent. Given etc.

[The Letter-Book of William of Hoo, ed. A. Gransden (Suffolk recs. soc. v, 1963, no. 124.]


It was convicted by the jury on which Albreda de Lymis and Goscelin, former Dean of Sparham, put themselves that, when Albreda was accused before him of having sold her daughter Alice as a concubine to John of La Wade for one acre of land, and she offered to purge herself of that accusation according to legal forms, he refused her purgation and extorted from her 5 shillings for the offence, that the same Goscelin took the 5 shillings from Albreda by her own free will because the said crime was truly alleged of her and she was not willing to purge herself of it. So HELD that Goscelin go without day and the aforesaid Albreda takes nothing by her complaint but is in mercy for a false claim. 40 pence from Albreda.

[P.R.O., JUST 1/575, m. 104d, ed. PRH, Procs. Berkeley Congress 1980, Monumenta Iuris Canonici 7 (1985), 646.]