Author Topic: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret  (Read 360 times)

Offline GeoffTurner

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Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« on: Thursday 02 December 21 06:07 GMT (UK) »
Hi all,
I wondered if anyone could help me with this document (middle of 3 parts). I think it is between my 5 x great grandfather Samuel Dunrich and my 4 x great grandfather Richard Stacey, and refers to Richard's marriage to the widow Agnes McEwen on 10 Aug 1769 in her parish of Plymouth Charles. I'm not familiar with documents such as the first one. Is it an agreement to pay 200 pounds for the wedding? Or an agreement to forfeit 200 pounds if the marriage does not go ahead (shotgun wedding)? It would also be useful to know if Samuel Dunrich is Agnes's father, which I suspect, as that would give us Agnes's maiden name.
After the marriage in Plymouth, the couple settled in Aveton Gifford (near Richard's home at Bigbury) where the clerk has used John and Agnes Cysta instead of Richard and Agnes Stacey as their names. We have copies of the bishop's transcripts for the baptism registrations for two of their children and the burial of another (in the period 1772-1780). Agnes died in 1781.
We are also relying on the fine work of Chris Burgoyne on the Aveton Gifford parish records. One of the daughters of John and Agnes, my 3 x great grandmother Martha (baptised as Cysta at Aveton Gifford) married as Stacey/Stacy at Tavistock in 1797, with John Stacey -- presumably her brother -- as a witness. We are still trying to reconcile the Cysta/Stacey inconsistency and the Richard/John  inconsistency, but Chris Burgoyne feels the "Cysta" is simply an error as it is not a name he has seen elsewhere in Devon.
But I thought I would ask my fellow Rootschatters if they could see anything in this "pre-nuptial" contract that indicated Samuel Dunrich is the widow Agnes McEwen's father. I haven't found a marriage between Agnes Dunrich and a man named McEwen or anything convenient like that.     
Any suggestions gratefully received.
Geoff Turner
Brisbane, Australia

Offline GeoffTurner

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 02 December 21 06:08 GMT (UK) »
This is the marriage.

Offline DOB7

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 02 December 21 09:24 GMT (UK) »
This explanation may help: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Marriage_Allegations,_Bonds_and_Licences_in_England_and_Wales
FindMyPast has a more brief explanation: A marriage licence was obtained from the Church of England for a fee and with a sworn declaration that there were no legal impediments to the marriage. The licence waived the banns period necessary for a marriage to take place. Marriage licences were first introduced in the 14th century.
Squance, Lillicrap, Dankester, Surtees, Yates

Offline goldie61

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 02 December 21 09:25 GMT (UK) »
The first image you have posted is a very common document filled out when the groom went to get a licence to marry. This meant the couple could get married virtually immediately, instead of waiting for 3 weeks as the Banns were read out in church each week. There was also a certain amount of 'cachet' to getting married by licence. Sometimes a licence was applied for because the bride was already pregnant, but often it was because one of the parties had been previously married.
Quite often this document comes with other documents that may give more information such as ages or occupations. Were there any more pages with this application? I can't find Devon licences on findmypast or Ancestry. (It seems to me there is a bit missing off the top of this image - is there something written above this?)
They did not have to pay the 200 pounds. Only if for some reason the marriage did not go ahead.

There is nothing here to say that Samuel Dunrich is the father of Agnes.
I have seen licence applications where the bondsman for the groom was their brother, or cousin, or simply a friend.

Added: Devon marriage licences are on familysearch - film viewable at home.
No other pages with this one.
The top portion gives Richard as being of Bigbury, a husbandman, and Samuel Dunrich is a cordwainer. No ages or relationship given.
Lane, Burgess: Cheshire. Finney, Rogers, Gilman:Derbys
Cochran, Nicol, Paton, Bruce:Scotland. Bertolle:London
Bainbridge, Christman, Jeffs: Staffs


Offline GeoffTurner

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 02 December 21 09:37 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for all that. Samuel Dunrich was a witness at the marriage, so perhaps a friend rather than the brideís father.
Geoff

Offline Bookbox

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 02 December 21 11:41 GMT (UK) »
They did not have to pay the 200 pounds. Only if for some reason the marriage did not go ahead.

Minor point, but this part of goldie61's otherwise excellent explanation is not quite correct.

The penalty was payable only if it was later found that there was a 'lawful impediment' to the marriage (if, for example, one of the spouses was not free to marry). Whether or not the marriage actually took place was not a matter of ecclesiastical law but was entirely at the discretion of the couple and/or their families. If it was called off for any reason, no penalty would be payable to the church.

Offline GeoffTurner

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Re: Marriage contract 1769 - help to interpret
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 02 December 21 23:17 GMT (UK) »
Thanks again. We eventually found Agnesís first marriage, to Thomas McCuin (McEwen) in 1761, so we now know her maiden name was Agnes Hill. Geoff