Clandestine and Irregular Marriages
This chapter examines irregular and clandestine marriages in Elizabethan and early Stuart England. The period between 1560 and 1640 stands out as a period of exceptional cultural discipline when it comes to marriage. Moral, social, legal, and religious pressures brought all but the most marginal or the most reckless into line and into church. The Elizabethan and early Stuart regimes were highly successful in enforcing their opposition against concubinage and unlawful cohabitation. The most extreme sectarians who preferred civil over ecclesiastical marriage had their way only briefly in the 1650s.
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