The attraction of Gretna Green was the ease with which it could be reached from England, enhanced in the mid nineteenth century by the opening of a railway station. In 1857, in an effort to curb the ever increasing Scottish marriage trade, Lord Chancellor Henry Brougham introduced legislation that meant that at least one of the couple planning to wed had to live in Scotland for at least three weeks before their marriage could take place. This led to a lessening of marriages at Gretna, for a large part of the attraction had been the speed with which a couple could marry, making it a romantic destination for eloping couples. Jane Austen refers to the attraction of quick Scottish marriages in her novel Pride and Prejudice - when Lydia’s family believe she has eloped with Wickham to Gretna Green they are scandalised.
Today, should you so choose, you can still get married at Gretna Green. In modern times Scotland and England are closer than they were in terms of marriage legislation, but there are still differences – for instance there are differing rules governing divorce, thus it can be quicker to get a divorce in Scotland than in England.
If you are interested in learning more about past marriage traditions in Scotland I highly recommend Iona McGregor’s Getting Married in Scotland (Scotland's Past in Action). The book explores the historical context of marriage laws and customs developed in Scotland – I found it a fascinating read.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!
You Should Also Read:
Classic Scottish Films
Cailleach - Wise Woman
The Real Robinson Crusoe
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Content copyright © 2018 by Asha Sahni. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Asha Sahni. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.