Author Topic: South Tyneside February 2016 Meeting Report  (Read 1469 times)

Offline Annf

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South Tyneside February 2016 Meeting Report
« on: February 23, 2016, 04:21:59 PM »
The Chairman of the Branch, Gerry Langley, gave a talk at the meeting held on Wednesday 17th February on the subject of 'Irregular Border Marriages'.

The group enjoyed both the talk and ensuing discussion on how an irregular marriage constituted anything 'outside the norm', and which could take place anywhere in Britain.  One example given was the Fleet Prison in London.  The first 'Blacksmith's Marriage' was recorded in 1693, but the Marriage Act 1754 set out to control irregular marriages by increasing the age a couple could marry without consent from 16 to 21, and also stipulating the ceremony must take place in a church.  However, Scotland did not conform to this law, the result of which lead to an increase in irregular marriages, not only in the Border towns and villages but in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The toll bridges along the Scottish Border became popular marriage venues, not only because couples could marry without consent at the age of 16, but also time and money was saved as there was no necessity to have banns read or to pay for a license.  Indeed between 1844-1847, there were some 1500 marriages recorded in the Scottish Borders.  Several of these records are currently in private hands and not all have been indexed, let alone published 'on-line'!!  For instance, Springfield Gretna Green records are at Durham University Library, with extracts also to be found at Northumberland & Durham Family History Society.  An interesting and informative read on the subject is "Irregular Border Marriages" by Claverhouse, a copy of this book is held in the Library at Percy House.

The next Branch meeting will be held on Wednesday 16th March at 1.30 pm in the St Hilda's Church Visitors Centre, South Shields.  Both existing and new members are most welcome to join us.