In 1753, the English government passed an act requiring under-21s to get parental permission to marry. No such law existed in Scotland, sending those who wished to elope north of the border. Gretna Green is the first Scottish village travellers encountered on the historic London to Edinburgh coach route. In addition, "irregular marriages” were permitted – so anyone could carry out the wedding ceremony provided two witnesses were present. As the village forge was the first building elopers came to, and the weddings were carried out by blacksmiths (for a fee), these ceremonies came to be known as “anvil weddings”.
This charming archive includes a postcard signed by Richard Rennison, one of the most prolific of the so-called “anvil priests”.
Rennison has signed “Married 2362 couples, R. Rennison”.
That puts the date for this signature around the early 1930s. By the end of his career, in 1940, Rennison had married 5,147 couples.
Also featured is a blank marriage certificate signed by fellow “priest” Peter Dickson. A fascinating and romantic piece of British history.
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