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Encyclopedia > Marriage Act, 1753

For other marriage-related legislation, see Marriage Act Marriage Act may refer to a number of pieces of legislation: The Marriage Act, 1753 which abolished common-law marriage in England and Wales The Marriage Act, a penal law passed in 1697 discouraging interfaith marriages. ...

In England and Wales, the Marriage Act 1753, also called Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, required formal ceremony of marriage, therefore abolishing common-law marriage. The act required that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then consent to the marriage had to be given by the parents. Even with consent, parties were not allowed to be married unless the male was at least 14 years old and the female was at least 12. Previously, people could be married at as early as seven years of age, but until the participants reached the age of consent of 14 and 12 years, such marriages could be voided easily. The act was precipitated by a dispute about inheritance (http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/17.1/leneman.html) in a Scottish marriage. Marriage is a relationship and bond, most commonly between a man and a woman, that plays a key role in the definition of many families. ... There are two classes of interpersonal status known today as common-law (or common law) marriage. ... In criminal law, the age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be capable of legally giving informed consent to sexual acts with another person. ...

When the act was passed, it required, under pain of nullity, that banns should be published according to the rubric, or a licence obtained, and that, in either case, the marriage should be solemnized in church; and that in the case of minors, marriage by licence must be by the consent of parent or guardian. The act came into effect in 1754, and exempted Scotland and the Channel Islands. The law set forth much stricter rules regarding marriage, including that marriages must be performed in a church and must be officially recorded. Children of marriages that did not meet these requirements could not inherit property. Such children were considered 'base'. The banns of marriage or, simply the banns, (from an Old English word meaning to summon) are the public announcement from the pulpit that a marriage is going to take place in that church between two specified persons at a specified time. ... A rubric is a letter or section of text highlighted in red ink. ... A license or licence is a document or agreement giving permission to do something. ... Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is a country in northwest Europe, occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain. ... The Channel Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel. ...

This act had the effect of putting a stop to clandestine marriages, e.g. the Fleet Marriages associated with Fleet Prison. Henceforth couples had to fare to Gretna Green, in Scotland and thus outside the jurisdiction of English law. Fleet Prison was a notorious London prison. ... Gretna Green is a small town in the south of Scotland, on the border with England. ... English law, the law of England and Wales (but not Scotland and Northern Ireland), also known generally as the common law (as opposed to civil law), was exported to Commonwealth countries while the British Empire was established and maintained, and persisted after the British withdrew or were expelled, to form...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Civil Marriage (2457 words)
Marriages under the age of seven years for both were void, but between seven and the age of consent the parties could contract an imperfect marriage, which was voidable but not necessarily void.
The marriage of parties who had attained the age of consent was valid even though they lacked parental consent, until in England the marriage act of 1753 declared such marriages void.
In England under the common law, the marriage of partners after the birth of children does not legitmate them, but in most of the American states and in European continental countries it is sought to encourage marriage by providing that illegitimate children may thus be legitimated.
  More results at FactBites »



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