Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Interrogatio 6 Concerning oaths and ordeals
(p.146) In the third chapter, we request that we be advised what to do about the above-mentioned woman, accused of casual sex and abortion, for which she has now undergone an ordeal: what do you think about this judgment? For some say that ordeals of boiling or cold water, or of red-hot iron, are of no authority or credence, but that they are inventions of human ingenuity, in which, through evildoers, very often falsehood takes the place of truth, and so they ought not to be trusted. And we ask to be informed what you thnk about the oath to clear oneself, what authority this has; and whether it might be true that, as some people say, because of the secret confession the woman made, as he [Archbishop Gunther] is a witness who heard it, her champion who went to the ordeal escaped uncooked. And they also say that the woman was thinking of someone else with the same name as her brother when she sent her champion to the ordeal, so he was not cooked in that ordeal. And also, if any cheating can be found in an ordeal or an oath after one has cleared oneself, whether that matter resolved by ordeal or oath might be brought back to legal judgment.