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Changing technologies, changing understandings: ascertaining how people married in eighteenth-century England

This Window on Research Session will allow you to find out more about the laws, myths and misunderstandings of marriage.

Who is it for?

All researchers and PhD students, specifically historians, lawyers, demographers, plus anybody who is tracing their family tree or who simply enjoys the unravelling of historical myths and misunderstandings.


The surge of interest in genealogy has led to many resources becoming electronically available, and has enabled studies to be carried out to refute the widespread assumption that many eighteenth century couples married informally, both before and after the Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753 placed the legal requirements on a statutory footing.

This session will uncover what the law required for a valid marriage in eighteenth-century England and Wales, the resources available for ascertaining how people married and the challenges and limitations of the sources.

What will I get out of this?

By the end of the session you will:

  • Be able to set the law of marriage in its social context.
  • Be very wary of relying on secondary sources!
Led by Rebecca Probert, Director of Research and Associate Professor, School of Law.

Contact Donna Carroll or ext. 23251, Warwick Library.

Where & when? 

Note change of date

Monday 1st of March,
12.00 to 1.00pm,
The Wolfson Research Exchange, Main Library

Book a place

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Research Exchange