Author Topic: Wartime marriages - different religions...  (Read 371 times)

Offline blinkinblimey

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Wartime marriages - different religions...
« on: Friday 12 November 21 20:52 GMT (UK) »
So my GGPs married with a special licence in Jan 1918. GGF was a soldier, and their address was a local one to the church. Nothing unusual about that except that they were married on a Tuesday in a Catholic church, but both bride and groom had been baptised in CofE churches...

Her family in attendance, his family were far away... there was no imminent baby, their future children weren't baptised at all as far as I can see, but perhaps I've just not found them yet?? I can't see why they would change religions.

Would it be likely that they would just be married at the nearest church they could, regardless of the denomination, presumably so he could go back to the war...?

Offline jim1

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 13 November 21 15:27 GMT (UK) »
They could just as easily have married in an Anglican church so
no need to go the the RC Church unless one or both had converted to Catholicism.
Highly unlikely an RC Priest would marry a couple who hadn't.
Marrying by licence would be perfectly normal as a serving soldier wouldn't be
available for the reading of the Banns.
Typical home leave for Other Ranks was 2 weeks.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
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Offline arthurk

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 13 November 21 16:56 GMT (UK) »
It might well have been a timing issue. Getting married in the Church of England required either Banns (read on three Sundays) or a licence, which often involved going to see someone besides the local vicar or rector.

A superintendent registrar's certificate could be obtained within 24 hours, which would make it a particularly appealing method for soldiers on leave - see https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Marriage_by_Registrar%27s_Certificate_or_Licence_in_England_and_Wales

The drawback was that these licences weren't valid for marriage in the Church of England, only at register offices or certain nonconformist places of worship (including RC), so having obtained a licence but wanting a church ceremony, this was presumably their best option. Whether or how the RC priest ensured they were entering into a Catholic marriage in the full sense of that term may never be known.
Researching among others:
Bartle, Bilton, Bingley, Campbell, Craven, Emmott, Harcourt, Hirst, Kellet(t), Kennedy,
Meaburn, Mennile/Meynell, Metcalf(e), Palliser, Robinson, Rutter, Shipley, Stow, Wilkinson

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 13 November 21 20:05 GMT (UK) »
Nothing unusual about that except that they were married in a Catholic church, but both bride and groom had been baptised in CofE churches...

 their future children weren't baptised at all as far as I can see, but perhaps I've just not found them yet?? I can't see why they would change religions.


Just because they were baptised in Anglican churches (presumably as infants?), doesn't mean they had to remain Anglican for the rest of their lives. One, or both of them could have become Catholic at any time between babyhood and marriage.
There are many reasons why people change their religious belief or practice or church membership. A man who married a relative of my great-grandma became a Catholic when he was 78. His wife and all their children were R.C.
At the other end of the age-scale, my 3 eldest great-aunts, from another branch of my family, were baptised in C. of E. parish church as babies. Their mother had been baptised C. of E., their father was from a family which had C. of E. and R.C. members. GGF decided he was going to bring his children up as Catholics and his 3 daughters were received into the Catholic church together when the eldest was 5. 
 
Were the children born in England? Catholic baptism registers aren't released for 100 years.
 
They could just as easily have married in an Anglican church so
no need to go the the RC Church unless one or both had converted to Catholicism.
Highly unlikely an RC Priest would marry a couple who hadn't.


I agree that it's very unlikely.
It may have been wartime but even so, I doubt if a priest would agree to marry a couple who were unknown to him, neither of whom were Catholic.
 Marriages in Catholic churches had been conducted for the previous 10 years according to the "Ne Temere" papal decree. The words "ne temere" translate as "lest rashly".     
Cowban

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 14 November 21 00:55 GMT (UK) »
So my GGPs married with a special licence in Jan 1918. GGF was a soldier

 I can't see why they would change religions.

Would it be likely that they would just be married at the nearest church they could, regardless of the denomination, presumably so he could go back to the war...?

Had your great-grandfather served overseas before his marriage? A possible scenario is that he became Catholic while in the army.
Membership of the Catholic Church in Britain increased markedly during and after WW1.
Converts included thousands of soldiers. Reasons cited for this include favourable impressions of R.C. army chaplains, who were highly visible and had a reputation for bravery, and the fact that the majority of inhabitants of countries on the Western Front were Catholic.
Quotations from 2 letters by Rev. Doyle, R.C. chaplain.
"... the number of converts, both officers and men coming into the Church. Many have never been in contact with Catholics before and above all have been immensely impressed." (1916)
"I see in the paper that 13,000 soldiers and officers have become converts since the war began but I should say this number is below the mark." (1917)
( "The Padre of Trench Street" by A. O'Rahilly 1920)
An article in Catholic newspaper "The Tablet" estimated the number of converts on the Western Front at 40,000.
R.C. chaplains were constantly "popping up everywhere in active search of their flock".

"The Catholic Chaplaincy of Ireland in the First World War" by J. Leonard 1986.
"British Catholicism and the British Army in the First World War" by M. Snape in "Recusant History" October 2002.
"Roman Catholic Army Chaplains During the First World War" by M. Purdy (Thesis, University of Lancaster 2012)

Cowban

Offline Ruskie

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 14 November 21 03:11 GMT (UK) »
We’re any of the parents or grandparents Catholic?

Offline arthurk

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 14 November 21 11:18 GMT (UK) »
Had your great-grandfather served overseas before his marriage? A possible scenario is that he became Catholic while in the army.
Membership of the Catholic Church in Britain increased markedly during and after WW1.
Converts included thousands of soldiers.....

Thanks for that - certainly something to consider. I wonder if there's anything in his service records? Enlistment documents show a recruit's religion/denomination at that point, but would a conversion be recorded anywhere?
Researching among others:
Bartle, Bilton, Bingley, Campbell, Craven, Emmott, Harcourt, Hirst, Kellet(t), Kennedy,
Meaburn, Mennile/Meynell, Metcalf(e), Palliser, Robinson, Rutter, Shipley, Stow, Wilkinson

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Wartime marriages - different religions...
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 14 November 21 21:05 GMT (UK) »
Had your great-grandfather served overseas before his marriage? A possible scenario is that he became Catholic while in the army.
Membership of the Catholic Church in Britain increased markedly during and after WW1.
Converts included thousands of soldiers.....

Thanks for that - certainly something to consider. I wonder if there's anything in his service records? Enlistment documents show a recruit's religion/denomination at that point, but would a conversion be recorded anywhere?

I wasn't aware of the increase in R.C. membership before either. I know that wars may increase religious observance in some but cause other people to question religious belief. What British troops on the Western Front saw was a normalisation of Catholicism instead of it being "other" as it had been in many parts of Britain for centuries.
The parish priest at my family's church when my dad was a young man had been a military chaplain in WW1. He was loved and admired in the parish for his selfless dedication; I can well imagine him making an impression on soldiers in wartime. 2 sources at my family church are in the bibliography of a work I cited in my previous reply. My aunt's 2 brothers, both killed, are in one of them.

I was wondering the same thing about recording a change of religion on a service record.     
Cowban