Marriage by banns, common license, or special license

In Jane Austen’s England, a couple who wanted to get married had several choices. They could wait about a month, while the parson announced the banns, for free. Or they could pay a bishop’s representative two or three pounds for a common license and wait a week. Or, if they had the right connections and a high place in society, they might pay five pounds and get a special license, which would enable them to marry anywhere at any time, as long as a Church of England clergyman married them. Or, if they didn’t have parental permission, they might hightail it out of England and get married across the border in Scotland, where pretty much anyone could marry them to each other.

My post today in Jane Austen’s World delves into the options for couples marrying in Jane Austen’s England. Enjoy!

For most weddings, the parish clergyman announced the banns for three Sundays prior to the wedding. If no one objected, the wedding could take place.
Dr. Syntax Preaching, from The Tour of Doctor Syntax, 1812. Image Public Domain, from the British Library via Flickr Commons and Wikimedia Commons.

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