View Full Version : Underage marriage in 1802 - and who is that William Morgan, witness?

01-04-16, 03:08
Can anyone tell me about age requirements for marriage in 1802? William Mitchell married Martha Chant in St Mary Islington. Martha was born 4 June 1785, so she was about 17 at the time of the marriage. There's no note indicating parental consent - would it have been required? What about licence (they married by banns)?

Also, if anyone could find out more about the first witness, William Morgan, that might be so helpful! Sister Sarah is the second witness.


Anne in Carlisle
01-04-16, 08:39
There should have been some consent, not necessarily parents, I have seen 'friends' too. However at 17 it may have been possible to claim to be 21? The actual age at which people could marry was much lower than 17 in those days ( don't have the figures to hand at the mo)

Olde Crone Holden
01-04-16, 08:52
Legally she could have married at 12, with consent. Just because consent is not recorded doesn't mean it wasn't obtained. Otherwise she may indeed have said she was of age. I also know of at least one case where parental permission was not obtained but the Vicar (Bishop?) gave his consent to the marriage as the bride was pregnant. (Better to marry than to burn!)


01-04-16, 16:21
Their first child was born about 13 months later, so don't think it was a shot gun marriage.

She was born a Quaker, but I think her family life had fallen apart by the time she married. It may be that the Vicar didn't know her very well, and accepted her stated age, altho with her sister as witness, I suspect she did have parental consent.

Thank you for the information