Jim et al,
I believe the marriage bond expired once the couple got married in church,
hence provided the couple actually got married, the licence was a shortcut
to the event, avoiding reading the Banns and enabling a quick marriage. One
can see several practical uses to this, especially if the lady was well into
pregnancy, and the couple wanted a child born in wedlock (not that there is
any indication that this was the case in this example).
The bond was subject to the desire of the bishop, hence varied from location
From: JH [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: [SOG-UK] Question re costs of a marriage licence
David Beakhust dave(a)beakhust.com wrote
30 Aug (1 day ago)
I wonder if there was a standard fee for actually drawing up these
bonds (I have never seen it referred to). I believe this was the thrust
of the original post. Although the 200 pounds is not the fee, it is not
clear what is ( if any ). Perhaps parish accounts would reveal this?
The £ 200 is a penalty payable immediately if the bond is called. Do you
remember your schooldays spent reading or acting "The Merchant of Venice"?
Act 1 Scene 3 in particular - Shylock to Antonio, the Guarantor for the
" This kindness will I show.
Go with me to a notary, seal me there
Your single bond; and, in a merry sport, If you repay me not on such a day,
In such a place, such sum or sums as are Express'd in the condition, let the
forfeit Be nominated for an equal pound Of your fair flesh, to be cut off
and taken In what part of your body pleaseth me"
Quire a penalty !.
At ;least Antonio was given an expiry date and event- the repayment in three
months time of the 3.000 Ducats or an unbearable event , Marriage licence
bonds did not always (probably seldom) contain expiry dates or events, and
not at all with such a formidable penalty ! !
I daresay the risk accepted by the guarantor(s) was lessened in many cases
by them being family or close friends who knew enough about the intended
bride and groom to feel confident that there was no
impediment to the marriage.and no risk of the bond being called. If
family or friends were not forthcoming and the couple had to go to a lawyer
or surety or as Shylock puts it, "a notary"- then they are likely to have
been charged a significant fee for his acceptance of the risk..
No wonder that Banns was the popular route to marriage. !!