Marriage registers 1754 to 1837
New legislation was passed in 1754 (The Hardwicke Act) that everyone had to marry in a licensed parish church in their own parish. Banns (notices of intention to marry) were read publicly on three separate Sundays, which gave the opportunity for anyone to object. This gave the opportunity for parents of minors (under the age of 21) or previous spouses to call a halt to the proposed wedding.
It was also possible for couples to marry by Licence in a different parish church to that of their residence. By this method, banns were not read, although it was still possible for someone to call an objection to the marriage at the start of the ceremony.
The marriages of Jews and Quakers were exempt from the Hardwicke Act. Other non-conformists were officially required to marry in a Church of England church between 1754 and 1837.
From 1754, a pre-printed marriage register was used, laid out with spaces for three or four marriage records per page, (although some smaller parishes continued to use blank or lined books - but with the required information).
The information required was more complete than in previous times:
The name of the groom and his parish of residence (sometimes his status
and occupation, sometimes an age)
(Note that parents names were not recorded, although they may be witnesses. It was fairly common for a brother or sister to be a witness, or friends, or the churchwardens).
Below: The marriage record of my own ggg/grandparents "Francis Neep of the Parish of Epperstone & County of Nottingham and Sarah Denman of this Parish", who were married by licence on 2nd April 1804. Complete with their original signatures, and also those of the two witnesses James Cooper and Mary Neep. (Mary, the sister of Francis, was born in 1787. It was possible for a witness to be a minor).
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