Dating and marriage customs in england
When in 1520 a Buckinghamshire girl, Joan Stevyns, belatedly implored her parents on her knees for their consent to her marriage decision, or at least her father’s blessing if she could not have his agreement or material help, he reportedly exploded: “Void harlot out of my sight!
But the need to use marriages to strengthen alliances and secure the survival of a dynasty did not apply to the great majority of the population.
The express consent of the partners was necessary to make a valid marriage.
It was common practice for couples to declare their mutual acceptance during courtship.
It is a period famed for the high-profile marriages of Henry VIII and his six wives, but what of nuptials lower down the social pecking order?
Here, Professor Ralph Houlbrooke from the University of Reading reveals the customs surrounding love and marriage in Tudor times In Tudor England, most people who married did so only after they had the wherewithal to establish a household of their own.