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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Banns, licences and Hardwicke's Marriage Act - a Regency History guide to marriage in Georgian England

St George's Hanover Square - the most  fashionable church in Regency London
St George's Hanover Square - the most
fashionable church in Regency London
The Marriage Act (1753)

Marriages in late Georgian England were governed by Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 which came into force on 25 March 1754 – an Act designed for ‘the better preventing of clandestine Marriages’.1

Although marriages usually took place in parish churches prior to this, it was possible to circumvent the system and get married in secret at places like the Fleet prison and St George’s Chapel, Mayfair.

The 1753 Act stated that all marriages in England had to take place in a parish church or chapel, either after banns or by licence, unless under special licence. The law did not apply to members of the royal family. Nor did it apply to Jews and Quakers, but no concessions were made for other non-Conformists. 

There was a rush to get married before the Act came into force and the registers of St George’s Chapel state that 1,136 marriages took place between October 1753 and March 1754 including 61 on the 24 March 1754.

Mayfair Chapel in 1761 from Mayfair and Belgravia by G Clinch (1892)
Mayfair Chapel in 1761
from Mayfair and Belgravia by G Clinch (1892)
Marriage by banns

Banns were a formal way of announcing the couple’s intention to marry. The Banns of Matrimony had to be read out, in a prescribed format, for three Sundays prior to the wedding in the parish church or chapel that the couple attended, or in both parish churches or chapels if the couple were from different parishes. The couple had to give seven days’ notice to the minister of each church before the first reading of the banns, and provide details of their names, where they lived and how long they had lived there for.

If either of the couple were under the age of 21 years and previously unmarried, then a parent or guardian of the underage party could forbid the banns. However, if they failed to object at the time the banns were read, they could not later object to the marriage.

The marriage ceremony could only take place at one of the places where the banns were read. It had to be witnessed by two people in addition to the minister taking the ceremony, and the marriage register had to be signed by the minister, the witnesses and the two parties getting married.

This was by far the most common way of getting married.
 
Entries in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square from 18-28 July 1811   illustrating the fact that most marriages were by banns.    All the entries are by banns except the one marked licence.
Entries in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square from 18-28 July 1811
 illustrating the fact that most marriages were by banns.  All the entries are by
banns except the one marked licence.2
Marriage by common licence

Sometimes it was not convenient to wait for the banns to be read, for example if the bride was pregnant, and it was possible to get married more quickly by applying for a common licence. This was available from a bishop or archbishop and their offices.

Before the licence could be issued, one of the couple or someone acting on their behalf had to submit a sworn statement or allegation that there was no impediment of kindred or alliance to the marriage, and if one or both parties were underage and previously unmarried, that they had the consent of their parent or guardian. There was also a requirement for the groom or someone acting on his behalf to enter a bond where a substantial amount of money would be forfeited if an impediment existed.

The marriage had to take place in the church or chapel of the parish where one of the couple had been residing for at least four weeks. As with banns, the wedding had to take place in front of two witnesses who signed the register along with the minster and the couple.

Entry in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square for a  marriage by licence in 1815. This example is for the marriage of a   minor and states that her father's consent had been obtained.
Entry in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square for a
marriage by licence in 1815. This example is for the marriage of a
 minor and states that her father's consent had been obtained.
Special licence

The only legal way to be married in a place other than a parish church or chapel after banns or by licence was to be married by special licence. This was a much rarer and more expensive type of licence than a common licence and could only be issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury. A special licence still required an allegation that there was no impediment of kindred or alliance to the marriage, and that the consent of a parent or guardian for underage parties had been given, but it enabled a couple to get married anytime and anywhere, such as in the private chapel of their home.

Entry in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square for a marriage by   special licence in 1811. This example states where the marriage took place   and that the underage bride's guardians had given consent.
Entry in the marriage register of St George's Hanover Square for a marriage by
special licence in 1811. This example states where the marriage took place
and that the underage bride's guardians had given consent.
1823 Marriage Act

Hardwicke’s Marriage Act was amended several times, most importantly by the Act of July 1823. The new stipulations which took effect on 1 November 1823 included:
• The marriage had to take place within three months of the banns being completed or from the date the licence was granted.
• The marriage had to take place between 8 o’clock and 12 noon, unless by special licence.
• The period of residency for the granting of a licence was reduced to 15 days.
• It was no longer necessary to enter into a separate bond when applying for a licence.

Runaway marriages

Hardwicke’s Marriage Act did not apply in Scotland where it was possible to get married immediately by making declarations in front of witnesses. Underage couples could be married without the consent of parents or guardians, and there was no need to wait for the reading of the banns. As a result, many such couples fled to the border to be married, most famously to Gretna Green.

Travelling chariot at the blacksmith's shop, Gretna Green
Travelling chariot at the blacksmith's shop, Gretna Green

Notes
1. From An Act for the better preventing of clandestine Marriages (1753)
2. All quotes from the marriage registers of St George’s Hanover Square are from the transcriptions edited by John Chapman (see full details below).

Sources used include:
An Act for amending the Laws respecting the Solemnization of Marriages in England [18th July 1823]
An Act for the better preventing of clandestine Marriages (1753)
Chapman, John H (ed) The Register book of marriages belonging to the Parish of St George, Hanover Square in the County of Middlesex Vol 3 1810-1823 (1896)
Clinch, George, Mayfair and Belgravia: being an historical account of the parish of St George, Hanover Square (1892)
Familysearch.org website
Lambeth Palace Research guide

Friday, 28 September 2018

Eleanor Coade (1733-1821) - artificial stone manufacturer extraordinaire

Close up view of the head of the Coade stone  statue of George III, Weymouth seafront © A Knowles
Close up view of the head of the Coade stone
statue of George III, Weymouth seafront © A Knowles
Profile

Eleanor Coade (3 June 1733 – 16 November 1821) was a Georgian businesswoman who successfully ran an artificial stone manufactory in London. There are many examples of Coade stone which still exist today including the King’s Statue, Weymouth. You can read more about Eleanor Coade and eleven other inspirational Georgian women in my book: What Regency Women Did For Us.

Front cover of What Regency Women Did For Us by Rachel Knowles

Available from Amazon UK here: What Regency Women Did for Us

Available from Amazon.com here: What Regency Women Did For Us 


Early life

Eleanor Coade was born on 3 June 1733 in Exeter, Devon. She was the daughter of George Coade, a wealthy, non-conformist wool merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth Enchmarch. Eleanor had a younger sister, Elizabeth. In 1759, the family fortunes changed when George was declared bankrupt and they relocated to London.

Eleanor's Coade stone

By 1766, Eleanor, still unmarried, was operating as a linen draper. Three years later, seemingly unaffected by her father’s second bankruptcy, she bought an artificial stone manufactory situated at King’s Arms Stairs, Lambeth. Eleanor’s factory could produce in artificial stone almost anything that could be made in real stone, but at a cheaper price. Her products included decorative wall panels, vases and statues. She later diversified into scagliola – fake marble.

Eleanor was able to turn around the failing factory and make it successful. What set her business apart from other artificial stone manufactories was the quality and design of her products. She refined the formula for artificial stone – what she called lithodipyra – and carefully controlled the firing process, making her stone frost-resistant. She also employed top designers, most importantly, fellow non-conformist, the sculptor John Bacon (1740-1799).

View of Coade stone statues including the   River God Thames inside the kiln   from European Magazine  and London Review Volume 11 (1787)
View of Coade stone statues including the River God Thames inside the
kiln from European Magazine and London Review Volume 11 (1787)
In the 1780s, she took her cousin John Sealy into partnership and the business became known as Coade and Sealy.

The Coade Stone Gallery

Eleanor used every opportunity to promote her business. In the late 1790s, she built a gallery at the south bank end of Westminster Bridge where the public could come and view her products. She even sold guidebooks to visitors so that they could take a self-guided tour. The gallery participated so successfully in the peace illuminations of 1801 and 1802 that it was mentioned in The Times.

Eleanor drew people into her business by advertising in the newspaper when she had spectacular commissions on display, such as the colossal statue of Lieutenant-General Lord Hill, or new pieces for sale which she hoped would generate a lot of interest, such as the Warwick Vase.

Entrance to Coade and Sealy's Gallery   of Sculpture from European Magazine  and London Review Volume 41 (1802)
Entrance to Coade and Sealy's Gallery of Sculpture
from European Magazine and London Review Volume 41 (1802)
The final years

When John Sealy died in 1813, the firm’s name reverted to Coade. Eleanor took on a distant relative, William Croggon, to manage the manufactory, but she did not make him her partner, nor did she leave him the business on her death.

Eleanor died at her home in Camberwell, Surrey, on 16 November 1821 aged 88 years. Her will included bequests to many charities and clergymen, and to numerous single women who were less fortunate than herself.

Coade stone

Coade stone has proved its durability by the number of pieces that have survived 200 years of facing the elements. Here are some that I have come across in my travels:

King’s Statue, Weymouth
A statue of George III on Weymouth seafront.

Statue of George III, Weymouth seafront
Statue of George III, Weymouth, Dorset
The River God, Ham House, Richmond

Statue of the River God, Ham House, Richmond
Statue of the River God, Ham House, Richmond
Coade stone lion in the visitor centre, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
The lion was designed by Benjamin West as a trial piece for the pediment in the King William Courtyard commemorating the achievements of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Coade stone lion,  Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Coade stone lion,Old Royal
Naval College, Greenwich, London
Belmont House, Lyme Regis
This house was given to Eleanor by her uncle Samuel Coade and is decorated with Coade stone.

Belmont House, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Belmont House, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Coade stone reliefs on Norwegian embassy, London

Coade stone relief, Norwegian embassy, London
Coade stone relief, Norwegian embassy, London
Coade stone relief, Norwegian embassy, London
Coade stone relief, Norwegian embassy, London
Coade stone torchere from Carlton House – one at Athelhampton House, Dorset

Coade stone torchere,
Athelhampton House, Dorset
Gothic conservatory, Carlton House, London,   showing the Coade stone torcheres in situ  from Ackermann's Repository (1811)
Gothic conservatory, Carlton House, London, showing the Coade stone
torcheres in situ from Ackermann's Repository (1811)
Coat of arms on the front entrance of Saltram, Plymouth, Devon

Saltram, Plymouth, Devon
Saltram, Plymouth, Devon
Twinings tea house, Strand, London

Entrance to Twinings tea house, Strand, London
Entrance to Twinings tea house, Strand, London
Borghese Vase in Temple of Flora, Stourhead

Coade stone Borghese Vase in Temple of Flora, Stourhead
Coade stone Borghese Vase in Temple of Flora, Stourhead
Sources used include:
Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics (1811)
Kelly, Alison, Mrs Coade's Stone (1990)
Roberts, Sir Howard, and Godfrey, Walter H, Survey of London Volume XXIII - South Bank & Vauxhall Part 1 (1951)
The European Magazine and London review, volume 11 (1787)
The European Magazine and London review, volume 41 (1802)
The Times online archive

Friday, 21 September 2018

A Regency History guide to titles for married daughters of dukes, marquesses and other peers

From left: Lady Anne Barnard, Lady Elizabeth Foster and Lady Caro Lamb
From left: Lady Anne Barnard, Lady Elizabeth Foster and Lady Caro Lamb
(for details of each picture, see below)
Last month I blogged about the correct way to refer to dukes and lesser peers in narrative. You can find that blog post here. This post tackles the subject of titles of married daughters of peers. 

My previous post provoked a lot of discussion. The most searching question I was asked (by my husband Andrew who is used to me muttering about titles being used wrongly) was whether titles were used correctly at the time or whether these rules were just the ‘correct’ way and abused as much as the rules of grammar are today. In response to this, I have included some examples from contemporary newspapers and magazines to illustrate whether the rules seem to have been applied or not.

I have studied the rules and drawn up some charts which show what title the married daughter of a peer takes, based on my interpretation of these rules. 

Married daughters of dukes

If the daughter of a duke marries a peer, she takes his title. If she marries the eldest son of a peer, she takes his title, but in the case of the heir of an earl or lesser peer, she may choose to keep her own title until her husband inherits. In all other cases, she keeps her own title, even if she marries the younger son of a duke, as the daughter of a peer ranks higher than a younger son of the same level of peerage.

Let us take the fictitious example of Lady Augusta Hampton, daughter of the Duke of Wessex, and her marriage to Charles North of Swanage of varying rank. 

Table showing titles for married daughters of dukes

Did they follow the rules?

There were very few dukes (only 18 English dukes at the end of the Regency period) and as most of their daughters married peers, I have struggled to find records of these rules coming into play.

The only example I have found is in a newspaper report on the presentations at the Queen’s Drawing Room in The Times on 13 April 1810 and this appears to show them being used wrongly. Among those presented to the Queen were Lord and Lady Leveson Gower.

Granville Leveson Gower was the younger son of the Marquess of Stafford. At this date, he had no peerage of his own. His wife was Harriet, the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire. According to the rules, I would have expected to see them listed as Lord Granville Leveson Gower (title from his father) and Lady Harriet Leveson Gower (title from her father), but in this report, both Christian names were omitted. It is hard to tell whether this is significant or just a space saving exercise in the newspaper!

Harriet, Countess Granville, by Thomas Barber   the elder (1809-10), at Hardwick Hall,   National Trust via Wikimedia Commons
Harriet, Countess Granville, by Thomas Barber
the elder (1809-10), at Hardwick Hall,
National Trust via Wikimedia Commons
Married daughters of marquesses

If the daughter of a marquess marries a peer, she takes his title. If she marries the eldest son of a peer, she takes his title, but in the case of the heir of an earl or lesser peer, she may choose to keep her own title until her husband inherits. If she marries the younger son of a duke, she may choose to take his title or keep her own. In all other cases, she keeps her own title.

In this example, Lady Augusta Hampton is now the daughter of the Marquess of Denmead who is marrying Charles North of Swanage of varying rank.


As with dukes, there were similarly few marquesses in the Regency and I have no records of examples to share.

Married daughters of earls

If the daughter of an earl marries a man of equal or greater rank, she takes his title. In all other cases she retains her own title.

Lady Augusta Hampton is now the daughter of the Earl of Harting who is marrying Charles North of Swanage of varying rank.

Were these titles actually used? 

Earl’s daughter marrying a commoner

There were many more earls than dukes or marquesses in the Regency and there are plenty of instances of daughters of peers marrying commoners and retaining their titles. For example, Lady Anne Lindsay, the daughter of the 5th Earl of Balcarres, married a commoner, Andrew Barnard, and became known as Lady Anne Barnard (You can read about her here.)

Lady Anne Barnard from South Africa a Century Ago (1910)
Lady Anne Barnard from South Africa a Century Ago (1910)
Lady Elizabeth Foster is another example. The untitled Elizabeth Hervey married the untitled John Foster, but when her father became 4th Earl of Bristol, she was entitled to be known as Lady Elizabeth Foster – the title by which she is best known.

Lady Elizabeth Foster, later Duchess of Devonshire, in South Sketch Gallery, Chatsworth
Lady Elizabeth Foster, later Duchess of Devonshire,
in South Sketch Gallery, Chatsworth
Earl’s daughter marrying heir of viscount

Caroline Ponsonby was the daughter of Frederick Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon. When her father became 3rd Earl of Bessborough, Caroline became known as Lady Caroline Ponsonby, and she kept this title on her marriage to William Lamb, who had no courtesy title as the eldest surviving son of Viscount Melbourne. As Caroline died before William inherited, she never shared his title.

Lady Caroline Lamb from Wives of the Prime Ministers (1844-1906)
Lady Caroline Lamb
from Wives of the Prime Ministers (1844-1906)
Earl’s daughter marrying baronet

Lady Anne Lowther, daughter of William Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale, married Sir John Beckett, Baronet. In an illustrative memoir in La Belle Assemblée in 1829, she was referred to as Lady Anne Beckett.

Married daughters of viscounts

If the daughter of a viscount marries a man of equal or higher rank, she takes his title. If she marries a man of lower rank, she retains her own title.

The Honourable Augusta Hampton is now the daughter of the Viscount Droxford who is marrying Charles North of Swanage of varying rank.


Married daughters of barons

If the daughter of a baron marries a man of equal or higher rank, she takes his title. If she marries a man of lower rank, she retains her own title.


A note about the use of “The Honourable”

The daughter of a peer ranks lower than the eldest son of the same level of peer and higher than the younger sons of the same level of peer. However, where both titles are “The Honourable” but the wife’s rank is higher (those entries marked *), I have not been able to determine whether she would use her Christian name or her husband’s or neither. It should be noted that the title “The Honourable” is never used in speech and according to Black’s, their visiting cards would simply state Mr North and Mrs North, without title or Christian names.

Sources used include:
A Member of the Aristocracy, Manners and Rules of Good Society (1888) (1916)
A Member of the Aristocracy, Manners and Tones of Good Society pre 1880
Bell, John, La Belle Assemblée (John Bell, 1806-1837, London)
Black, Adam and Charles (publishers), Titles and forms of address - a guide to their correct use (9th edition)(1955)
Debrett, John, The Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1820)
Lamb, Charles (?), A book explaining the ranks and dignities of British Society (1809)