Marriage by licence was quicker. The following is extracted from
The "usual" process of marriage involved the calling of "Banns" at
the parish churches of bride & groom on three Sundays preceding the marriage. In the
event of there being no objection, the marriage could then go ahead. An alternative was
to obtain a licence, usually from the local bishop, which permitted the couple to marry
more-or-less immediately. Since there was obvious potential for abuse, the bishop
required the couple to sign an "Allegation" which confirmed that there was no
known impediment to the marriage and also, for a "Bond" to be entered into
whereby if the allegation proved false, the bondsmen (who might include the groom) would
pay a substantial financial penalty. A "Licence" would then be issued which the
couple would take to the minister and which gave him authority to marry the couple. The
place of marriage will frequently be specified but this is not always the case,
particularly with earlier licences. The licence was
usually retained by the minister and seldom survives. The Bond & Allegation are
usually to be found in the Diocesan Record Office. Those for many counties have been
indexed and indexes published.
Information about the licence and Bonds and Allegation records available for Devon is
Devon Record Office also holds the Parish Records for Brixham. You could also obtain the
marriage certificate for a marriage after Sept 1837. The FreeBMD index has Mar 1839
Totnes 9 523 as the reference for the George Lewis/Mary Cox marriage.
From: Laura Hickman <laura(a)bhcsemail.co.uk>
Sent: Monday, 16 September 2013, 23:38
Subject: Re: [DEV] Query
I have found a couple of marriages for two ancestors which is a bit puzzling and wonder if
anyone can offer an explanation.
One of my Grand Aunts, Elizabeth Bruford Cox was married in church in the 'normal'
way, but her sister was married by licence. The sister, Susan Hart Cox married Richard
Spargue by licence on 23rd October, 1833 in Brixham, Devon. Why would a woman marry by
licence? She was twenty years of age so was legally able to marry and the witnesses were
Betsy Sprague, William Cox (her father) and Richard Sprague. This information was very
kindly sent to me by another distant relative. I was also like to obtain a copy of the
marriage record - can anyone point me in the right direction please?
The other sister, Mary Ann Cox married George Lewis in 1839 in Brixham, Devon but I cannot
find an actual record of this marriage - again, can anyone help with obtaining a copy
DFHS No. 20185
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