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'Of Age'??

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RE: 'Of Age'??

Postby pentre » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:53 pm

Guy - I'm a bit confused by your post. In 1959 you were not allowed to marry under the age of 21 without parental consent. I know this from experience! If your parents wouldn't give their consent you had to go to court (I think you were made a ward of court, but I don't actually know anyone who did this). Many couples under the age of 21 would run away to Scotland (Gretna Green was favourite) as they didn't require parental consent.

As far as I know parental consent is still needed for 16-18 year olds in England?

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RE: 'Of Age'??

Postby ksouthall » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:06 pm

I must admit, I agree with Pentre on this. In England and Wales, if you are 16 or 17 you still cannot marry without parental consent, unless you marry in an Anglican church, in which case the congregation have the opportunity to dissent. Each parent with parental responsibility is entitled to give parental consent. In some circumstances, other people may give parental consent. In Northern Ireland a young person under 18 cannot marry without the consent of certain people. In Scotland both parties must be at least 16 years of age (parental consent is not required).

I found the following:-

Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753 stated that, in England, if either party to a marriage was under 21, then they could not marry without parental consent. This Act did not apply to Scotland, where you only needed to be 16 years old to marry, as is the case today, with or without parental consent. In Scotland, a couple had only to declare their intentions to be husband and wife in the presence of two witnesses, and their word was law.

Prior to 1929, a girl could marry at the age of 12, a boy at 14, although parental consent was required. Since 1929, the lower age limit has been set at 16 years of age.

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RE: 'Of Age'??

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:03 pm

The relevant section of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753 (26 Geo. II. c33) was repealed in 1822 by the Act 3 Geo. IV. c.75.
After that date parental consent was advisable but not required.
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RE: 'Of Age'??

Postby pentre » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:10 pm

Well, this is very confusing. Certainly the vicar in the Anglican church in Liverpool [b]insisted [/b]on signed consent before he would marry us. And many of my friends also married under 21 and had to get written consent from their parents before they could marry. As none of us knew the first thing about the law we just accepted this as fact - but to be honest it was also the fact that was published in the media of the time. I do remember one girl whose parents refused permission and she was unable to get married until she was 21, so even if the 'law' was not 'legal' it was certainly widely observed by vicars and priests.

And why on earth did so many couples run away to Gretna Green to marry in the belief that going to Scotland was the only way they could marry without parental consent under the age of 21? Magazines and papers regularly ran these stories. As far as I know no-one ever raised the point that it was also legal to marry without consent in England or Wales.

Also, I do remember the age of majority being lowered to 18 and a great fuss made in the newspapers at the time that teenagers could now marry without parental consent.

Still very puzzled . . .


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RE: 'Of Age'??

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:26 pm

For exactly the same reason as the National Archives refused to allow access to the 1911 census before they were forced to accept their legal responsibilities.
"Office policy"

Every day there are hundreds if not thousands of acts committed by authority that have no legal standing in law.
They get away with it because no one stands up to them.
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