Dating rituals england
The sixteen-year-old pair Thomas Thynne of Longleat and Maria Tuchet married secretly in 1594 despite the bitter enmity between their fathers (Any similarity between their situation and that of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s play of the same decade was probably fortuitous.) The nobility and royal family started planning marriages for their heirs at an early stage.
The marriage of Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon, for example, was agreed between their parents when Arthur was aged two and Katherine three, and it took place 12 years later.
In other cases, a jilted partner might be unable to produce witnesses.
This was especially unfortunate for trusting young women who found themselves pregnant and their reputation ruined by a suitor who had changed his mind, or had simply taken advantage of them.
This was especially true at the end of the 16th century, when a growing population and a succession of meagre harvests sharply increased the numbers of poor people needing relief.
Many men and women in the middle and upper ranks of society married for the first time with the help of bequests or lifetime transfers of resources from the previous generation.
” Even the children of the wealthy did however sometimes marry against their parents’ wishes.
It was common practice for couples to declare their mutual acceptance during courtship.
This could be a dangerous moment for the inexperienced, the over-optimistic, or those carried away by their feelings.
William Hanwell had entrusted one of his witnesses with two pennies to give to Isabel.
A couple might contract marriage secretly, and regard themselves as ‘man and wife before God’, but a church wedding was needed to satisfy the expectations of family, friends and community.