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Road to DivorceEngland 1530-1987$
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Lawrence Stone

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198226512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198226512.001.0001

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Contract Marriage

Contract Marriage

(p.67) III Contract Marriage
Road to Divorce

Lawrence Stone

Oxford University Press

The courts survived the Reformation intact, and made regular use of archdeacon's visitations to oblige village churchwardens to report any cases of unmarried cohabitation, bastardy, adultery, or contract and clandestine marriages. The problem that faced the ecclesiastical courts after 1600 was how to deal with the massive revival during the late 1640s and 1650s of the practice of secret contracts, which had almost disappeared from court litigation before the war, and how to drive most of the population back into regular public weddings in the church. This chapter also examines the legal imperialism by the common law judges, suits for seduction of a daughter, and suits for breach of promise.

Keywords:   first suppression, second suppression, legal imperialism, seduction, breach of promise, contract marriage

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