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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2005-03-20 19:23:04
Subject: Re: Of age to marry

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Stanmapstone (8:8/2003) to All.
* Original dated: Sat Mar 19, 15:52

From: Stanmapstone{at}

From time immemorial the age for matrimonial consent was fixed at 7 years,
but puberty was accepted as the age for consummation of the marriage, which
 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Canon 100 of 1603 forbade, but did not
invalidate  marriage of persons under 21, except with parental consent. The legal age
for  marriage from 29 September 1653 was fixed at 16 for a man and 14 for a
woman. In  1660 the pre-interregnum laws were reinstated and the ages of
marriage reverted  to 14 for the groom and 12 for the bride. Lord
Hardwicke's 1753
Marriage Act,  made it illegal for those in England under the age of 21 to
get married without  the consent of their parents or guardians. The consent
requirement was repealed and replaced in July 1822, and an act in July 1823
restored the pre-1753 rule of Canon 100. In effect, therefore, from  1823
the age at which a couple could undergo a valid marriage, even without
 parental consent, reverted to 14 for boys and 12 for girls; although some
marriages of younger children still took place. The 1929 Age of Marriage
Act made all marriages void from 10 May 1929, if either partner was under
the age of 16. The legal age for marriage remained at 14 for boys and 12
for girls in the Republic of Ireland, until 1st January 1975, when it was
raised to  16.

Regards Stan Mapstone

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