There has been a lot of talk recently about Weddings and how Weddings have always been… Well, did you know:
1076 – Weddings had to be conducted by a priest but no witnesses were required, and it could take place anywhere.
1306 – Mediterranean male bonding church ceremonies including the joining of hands at the altar, and a kiss were banned because of sex between the men.
16th Century – Council of Trent required two witnesses to be present.
1754 – The Marriage Act made the registration of marriages compulsory, and required that they take place in the Parish Church. This did not apply to Scotland where marriages could be witnessed by anyone and did not require a priest – hence the rise of Gretna Green.
1836 – Civil marriages, and those by other denominations, became legal.
1857 – Divorce allowed to common people. Previously an act of parliament was required. Clergy were required to remarry divorced people and could only refuse in cases of adultery.
1870 – A wife was allowed to keep any money she earnt or inherited. Prior to this it was legally her husbands.
1907 – Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act allowed men to marry their deceased wife’s sister (contrary to BCP table of Kindred and affinity).
1929 – Age of consent raised to 16 for both sexes, previously 14 for men and 12 for women (parental consent was required for marriages under 21, and more recently 18).
1937 – Clergy could not be compelled to preside at a marriage, or allow their church to be used for a marriage while a former spouse was alive.
1957 – Convocation of Canterbury (Church rule makers) said that Marriage Service should not be used for those with a previous spouse still living.
2002 – General Synod allows remarriage in Church.
2014 – Law allows same sex marriage in England & Wales – but does not force churches to conduct them. Church of England refuses to do so.