Dear Nottsgen Friends,
I posted this on Yorksgen today and thought some of you might have
come across this too.
Some subscribers wondered why their ancestors were married on
Christmas Day. In Life on the English Manor, and referring primarily to the
late 14th and early 15th centuries, H. S. Bennett notes there were about 50
holy days during the year on which a laborer for hire could expect to rest.
The peasant's case was different, because his work was in return for his
holding. Bennett's research shows that "few or no" lords adhered to church
law and peasants would be lucky to rest on 15 of the holy days. Bennett
". . . [T]he peasant got few chances of rest from his weekly
his lord's behalf. The only other relief he could expect was
during the holidays round about Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. At these
festivals a brief respite was allowed him, sometimes amounting to as much as
fifteen days at Christmas. Then the Yule celebrations, and perhaps a
special feast at the manor house, made that season a memorable one."
In my own case, marrying on New Year's Eve was intended more to
the chances that my absent-minded husband would not forget our
anniversary than to take advantage of a holiday. It has worked so far.
Wishing everyone the best of fortune and happiness in the coming year,
BREALEY, BOWLEY, BROOKES, BUCK, GOODING, OTTOWAY, WITHAM