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Some Customs We Can Dispense With

Bailey’s sez:

FREE-Bench, is that estate in copy-hold lands, which the wife hath after the death of her husband, for her dower, according to the custom of the manor: different manors have different customs, as in the manors of East and West Embourn, in the county of Berks, if a customary tenant die, his wife shall have for her free bench all his copy-hold lands, dum sola & casta fuerit [while she be single & chaste -d.]; but if she commit incontinency, she forfeits her estate: but if she will come into court riding backwards on a black ram, with his tail in her hand, and say the following words, the steward is bound by the custom to restore her to her free-bench.
  Here I am,
  Riding upon a black ram,
  Like a whore as I am;
  And for my crincum crancum,
  Have lost my bincum bancum,
  And for my tail’s game,
  Have done this wordly shame;
  Therefore I pray you Mr. Steward,
  Let me have my land again.

3 Responses to “Some Customs We Can Dispense With”

  1. jared Says:

    damn, guess that was before the days of wanting your wife to be happy. can’t help wondering whether anyone ever tried the bull thing.

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