03/12/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

FindMyPast releases marriage licences from as early as 1115 for 15 English counties

ab5e57ec-5504-4772-ab4f-69445da357da

Marriage licences dating from the twelfth century through to 1906 for fifteen English counties have this week been released by genealogy website FindMyPast.

Marriage licenses reveal your ancestor's intended spouse, father's name, and the intended marriage place. The collection consists of a mixture of more than 536,000 handwritten and typed record books from 1115 until 1906 provided by the College of Arms, Anguline Research Archives, and Gould Genealogy.

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.

What counties are included?

Fifteen English counties are represented:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Devon
  • Gloucestershire
  • Hampshire
  • Kent
  • Lancashire
  • Lincolnshire
  • London
  • Middlesex
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Somerset
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Worcestershire
  • Yorkshire

What information do the marriage licences contain?

With each result, you will find a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the digitised volume of marriage licences. The detail in each licence varies depending on the age of the document and the individuals named in the licence. People of high social standing usually have more detail recorded in their licence such as occupations and fathers’ names. You will find a combination of the following facts in the marriage licence:

  • Name

  • Residence

  • Father’s name

  • Spouse’s name

  • Spouse’s residence

  • Spouse’s father’s name

  • Marital status

  • Marriage place

Sir John Beauchamp

One of the oldest records in the collection is from 27 January 1446 for ‘Richard son of Sir John Beauchamp [knight] and Elizabeth Stafford, da. Of sir Humphrey Stafford [knight]. Licence to Master Robert Carrewe, master of arts, and Sir John Wellys, record of Alcester. The marriage to be solemnized in the chapel or oratory within the manor of the said Sir John Beauchamp near Alcester’.

Sir Richard Beauchamp, 2nd Baron Beauchamp of Powick, participated in the War of the Roses and fought against Queen Margaret at the Battle of Tewkesbury. The marriage was not a happy one. Elizabeth committed adultery and conspired with a neighbour to kill Richard.

For a full list of volumes available, visit FindMyPast.

QUICK LINK: What information can be found on a marriage certificate?

(image copyright Wellcome Collection)

Back to "Next steps" Category

03/12/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

42.5 million new, indexed historical records from the England & Wales 1939 National Register added to FamilySearch

FamilySearch has today announced that it has added 42.5 million free to search 1939 England & Wales register ...


Five places to explore your US ancestry in the UK

Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Mayflower ship from the UK to the ‘New World’ of ...


Brand new Port Books collection at FindMyPast highlight Devon ancestors

A new collection covering over a century of ships administered in Devon ports is part of a new tranche of ...


How to use naming patterns to find your ancestors

Did you know that often the first name given to a child followed a traditional pattern? We show you how to ...


Other Articles

British home children – a different side to the story?

In this blog Christine Jackson gives a flavour of her wider interest in family history research, namely the ...


Over 2.6 million Kent records added to FindMyPast

Kent County Council and FindMyPast have announced that 2.6 million Kent records have been digitised, fully ...


How to find your Edinburgh ancestors for free

Did your ancestors live or work in Edinburgh in years gone by? There are lots of resources for tracing your ...


Stuck on your family history? Yvonne McKinney

Stuck on your family history? ...