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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Regency: Marriages

I was doing research on I forget what and stumbled across Regency Lore
Faulty 'Facts' in Regency Romances.
I found this quite interesting and while I've heard of Special Licences (and have even heard that most nobility only used special licenses) I've never heard of a regular license. I thought that the regular marriage license was just that...the license everyone else used.

Apparently I was mistaken!

Several misconceptions exist about the special license, in particular where to obtain it and what form it took. In the Regency the only place to obtain a Special License was from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Doctor's Common in London. Only the arch bishop had the privilege to issue such dispensations, which allowed a couple to marry at any place and any time, although still officiated over by a member of the clergy. A regular license could be obtained from any bishop and it allowed dispensation from the reading of banns, yet the marriage had to take place in the morning and at the parish church of either the bride or groom. Both types of licenses were personal and nontransferable, needing the sworn statement by the obtainer that the couple were either of age or had their legal guardians permission to wed. For most situation where Regency authors stipulate the use of a special license, a regular license would suffice.