Just to expand a bit further on the above concept.
These happened all over the borders of England and Scotland from 1754 (ish -
Hardwicke Marriage Act) to 1855 when Civil Registration first came to
Scotland. The heaviest numbers happened between 1837 and 1855 - which is the
period when English Civil Registration started. Mostly people went across
the border because the cost of a marriage in those circumstances was minimal
and they normally had some connection with the area.
The most famous place was Gretna Green but for those living in the west of
Northumberland, most went to Coldstream, where you can still see the
marriage house just over the bridge from Cornhill on Tweed, and which is the
border between England and Scotland. There were other places but I cant
bring them to my mind just now.
Some famous people went across the border to Gretna, the one most celebrated
in this area was Bessie Surtees who climbed out of the window and rode off
into the night. She lived on the Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne and the house
where she lived is preserved and is open to the public during the day as a
museum. I haven't looked but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a website
somewhere which will tell you all more.
Irregular marriages came to an abrupt halt in 1855/56 when the law in
Scotland was changed. Try looking at the GENUKI website for more details of
borders marriages, I am sure that Brian Pears will have put something on
there on the Northumberland pages.
Most records for these marriages have been lost. I only found mine as it was
announced in the contemporary Berwick Advertiser. I had been searching for
their marriage for about 15 years and was looking for something else when I
Most couples did not elope across the border as is the romantic notion. In
my family it seems to have been a rebellion against the church in Lesbury
refusing permission for the church in Alnmouth to carry out marriages.
Hope this helps a bit
Cheers Mandy Buchanan