Chapter 1 considers the practices of midwives before the implementation of ecclesiastic licensing. John Mirk’s instructions to parish priests and early attempts to ban untrained practitioners and midwives to royal and noble women are described. Likewise, early midwife baptisms and baptismal names, institutional care and the dissolution of the monasteries are highlighted. The Physicians and Surgeons Act, 1511 and Peter’s Pence Act 1533 are among key turning points in the history of early English midwives. The author describes how she reconstructed family lines from parish registers and archive material. Monstrous birth, midwives’ oaths, baptism by a midwife, base birth, bastardy hearings and the oaths of mothers of base infants are discussed. Little has been recorded of the identity, lives and work of ordinary late medieval and Tudor midwives. This chapter explores some of the documented aspects of a midwife’s role. Working with the richest women as well as the poorest, they were licensed practitioners with a central role in baptising newborns who were believed likely to die and ascertaining the name of the father in the case of base born infants.