Marriage Licenses Bonds and Allegations
In England, a marriage by license consisted of three documents. These documents were obtained from the archbishop, bishop, archdeacon or a clergyman from a peculiar. It involved making a sworn statement or allegation that complied with canon law, a set of rules in the Book of Common Prayer that the couple were fully qualified for marriage. Forbidden were those of too close consanguinity of blood. Although first cousins were accepted by the Church of England, it was condemned by Quakers and Catholics (unless a dispensation was paid for). These allegations usually include the parish of residence and the place where the marriage was performed, but may also include age, occupation and parent names.
The marriage bond was a sworn statement by the groom and a bondsman (usually a friend or relative), and a bond fee was paid to ensure compliance.
Once all the legal conditions had been met, a license was issued. The groom would then present it to the clergyman who would perform the marriage ceremony.
Marriage index books can be found for most counties. Finding the original allegations, bonds and licenses might be a little more difficult. A keyword search in the catalog could bring up some good results. A caution should be noted that not all licenses produced marriages.
Word of the Week:
Plancher = A flat board (apparently they might have had some value in the seventeenth century, as seen in some wills.)