Author Topic: Living in sin  (Read 1469 times)

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #9 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 11:50 BST (UK) »
Well it is strange then that the term “ living over the brush “ is still used hereabouts to denote a couple living together without actually having a church or registry office wedding.
“ Livvin over t’ brush”.

The expression "living over the brush “ is derived from the idea that it was possible to marry by jumping over a broomstick, and is usually found in the North of England.

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #10 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 12:07 BST (UK) »
There is this report in the The Times Friday,  Aug. 13, 1824
Police.
"She then showed the ring, which she called upon him to say whether he had not put upon her finger, pronouncing those words which constituted them man and wife.
The beadle said, that sort of marriage amounted to nothing more than a broomstick marriage, which the parties had it in their power to dissolve at will." 
   

This shows that 'broomstick' was being used as an adjective to describe something that was a sham.

Stan     
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #11 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 12:14 BST (UK) »
Thanks again Stan. It's always interesting to see how myths develop, particularly linguistic ones.
Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid


Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #12 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 13:52 BST (UK) »
In "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable" it says;
To Jump the Besom. To omit the marriage service after publication of the Banns of Marriage, but to live together as man and wife. In Lowlands Scots 'besom' is a derogatory word for a woman.

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Viktoria

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #13 on: Tuesday 28 July 20 18:06 BST (UK) »
I think Stan  that  can be read two ways ,it could just as well be the custom
of the jumping over a broomstick as meaning a sham wedding as that the wedding was a sham because “broomstick “ means sham   ,so what is the origin of that use of broomstick!
I feel I have been corrected by having my own words quoted !
Viktoria. >:(

Offline Sloe Gin

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #14 on: Wednesday 29 July 20 14:03 BST (UK) »
In "Marriage Law for Genealogists" Rebecca Probert explains that so called "Broomstick Marriages" are a myth, as are "hand fasting rituals". She says;
In brief the idea that it was possible to marry by jumping over a broomstick came about during the nineteenth century because the earlier meaning of the word "broomstick" had fallen out of circulation. In the 1700s and early 1800s, 'broomstick' was used as an adjective to describe something that was a sham or was in some way a poor substitute.

In what way is it a "myth"? Do you mean that such marriages are not legally recognised?
UK census content is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk  Transcriptions are my own.

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #15 on: Wednesday 29 July 20 14:15 BST (UK) »
It is a myth because there were no such "marriages". Broomstick was an adjective meaning a sham.
In The Times  Mar. 6, 1839 the Bishop of London called the 1836 Marriage Act, the Broomstick Marriage Act, because it allowed civil marriages, which he considered a sham.
As I posted for a more detailed explanation see pages 84+ in "Marriage Law and Practice in the Long Eighteenth Century: A Reassessment" By Rebecca Probert http://www.rootschat.com/links/01prk/

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #16 on: Wednesday 29 July 20 14:18 BST (UK) »
In "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable" it says;
To Jump the Besom. To omit the marriage service after publication of the Banns of Marriage, but to live together as man and wife.

Stan

I don't think this is correct as far as the Banns are concerned, it seems highly unlikely.

Stan
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: Living in sin
« Reply #17 on: Wednesday 29 July 20 14:37 BST (UK) »
It makes much more sense as a myth than an actual practice.
If two people were going to live together without being married, they would just do it, rather than take part in a nonsense ritual of leaping over a brush. Equally, hanging a brush over the door to denote a non-official marriage wouldn't make sense. What would be the point?

Stan's links and quotes clearly show how the myth came about, and why it persists today.
Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid