Marriage Act (944 words)

Historical Context Essay

  • Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent at Canterbury)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Share on Facebook Tweet Report an Error


According to Lawrence Stone (in The Family, Sex and Marriage, 1500-1800), pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon society appears to have been quite casual about marriage, with polygamy and concubinage quite frequent, and where the lower orders were concerned these attitudes appear to have lasted well into the Early Modern period, formal or church marriage being largely a matter for the wealthy and a means of ensuring lines of descent for wealth. For the rest, oral spousal and divorce by consent appear to have been normal. Through the Anglo-Saxon period, and particularly after the Norman conquest, the Church struggled to establish monogamous, indissoluble marriage as the norm, with consequent prohibitions on adultery, fornication and incest. </&hellip;

We have have no profile for this entry. If you are a qualified scholar and you wish to write for The Literary Encyclopedia, please click here to contact us.

Batchelor, Jennie. "Marriage Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 April 2004
[, accessed 17 January 2018.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here.