Dating marriage elizabethan england
Children of noble birth ran a great risk if they tried to marry without the approval of their parents, since they would be left without resources.
It is a period famed for the high-profile marriages of Henry VIII and his six wives, but what of nuptials lower down the social pecking order?
Contemporary opinion was against the marriage of people who had not yet built up the means to maintain a family, or had little prospect of doing so.
This was especially true at the end of the 16th century, when a growing population and a succession of meagre harvests sharply increased the numbers of poor people needing relief.
This was especially unfortunate for trusting young women who found themselves pregnant and their reputation ruined by a suitor who had changed his mind, or had simply taken advantage of them.
To be on the safe side, it was essential to have your contract properly witnessed, or, if you had any doubts about it, to make a promise depend on a condition such as the goodwill of parents or friends.
Marriage statistics indicate that the mean marriage age for the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras was higher than many people realize.
However, this ceremony only completed the process of making a marriage.The range of prohibited degrees was greatly reduced during the Reformation.) The most important element of the marriage service was a full form of trothplight, in which both partners promised to love and cherish each other until death in both sickness and health. The man then gave the woman the wedding ring, putting it on the fourth finger of her left hand.He declared that he endowed her with all his worldly goods.Courtship was usually accompanied by the man’s gift of tokens of marriage: especially a ring, coins, trinkets, or items of clothing such as gloves.William Hanwell had entrusted one of his witnesses with two pennies to give to Isabel.