Tag Archives: Justice of the Peace

Was your ancestor married by a witchfinder?

"The Puritan Wedding Interrupted" by George Henry Boughton. Yale University Art Gallery.

“The Puritan Wedding Interrupted” by George Henry Boughton. Yale University Art Gallery.

Well… sort of….

During the Commonwealth, from the time of the 1653 Marriage Act to the Restoration in 1660, marriages weren’t performed by clergy but by the local Justice of the Peace.1)See Rebecca Probert’s Marriage Law for Genealogists for more information. In the Tendring Hundred, these Justices – amongst them Harbottle Grimstone (who sounds like a Dickens character) and Sir Thomas Bowes (a relative of mine – sorry everyone) would have performed the marriages. And these were the very same men who aided Matthew Hopkins in his crusade against “witches” – they were responsible for committing the women (and sometimes men) for trial.

Continue reading

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. See Rebecca Probert’s Marriage Law for Genealogists for more information.