Bannett, Eve Tavor.  "The Marriage Act of 1753: 'A most cruel law for the Fair Sex." Eighteenth Century    Studies 30 (1997): 233-250.  Tavor-Bannett explores the negative effects of the Act on women of all classes, and examines how  female writers of the second half of the century revealed these consequences in their fiction- writing. Tavor-Bannett also explains how capitalism played a role in the creation of the Act.

Booth, George, Earl of Warrington. Considerations Upon the Institution of Marriage. New York: Garland Pub., 1985. This book is very useful in that it discusses how marriage was viewed in the eighteenth century according to the Church of England. Being that it was originally published in the 1700's, it is a bit difficult to understand sometimes. However, reading it, one gets the feel for how marriages were really looked upon in eighteenth-century England.

Botsford, Jay. English Society in the 18th Century. New York: the Macmillan Company, 1924. Botsford's work covers a wide range of topics dealing with eighteenth-century England. One has to dig a bit to find the information concerning marriage, but this source does a great job of discussing social issues and society in eighteenth-century England.

Gallery of English Costume. Weddings: wedding costume, 1735-1970. Manchester: The Gallery for the City of Manchester Cultural Committee, 1977. In this book, which contains many photographs pertaining to English (historical) weddings, there is not much text to read, but the information provided really makes it clear how brides and grooms were dressed for their weddings, and why. Additionally, readers may find it interesting to actually see how the style and manners of dress changed throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in England.

Gally, Henry. "Some Considerations on Marriage." London, 1750.  In this primary source, Mr. Gally outlines reasons to create a law preventing clandestine marriage, existing civil laws on the subject, and what other countries have done to try to prevent clandestine marriage.  He concludes by confronting the opposition; answering any objections his readers may have about his views.

Gregory, John.  "A Father's Legacy to His Daughters." London, 1774.  A conduct book in which Gregory instructs his daughters on proper feminine behavior, with an especially revealing section on love and marriage. In this section, Gally emphasizes that most upper class women are not lucky enough to marry for love, and that they should try to favorably adapt their feelings to those of interested gentlemen.

Lemmings, David. "Marriage and the Law in the Eighteenth Century: Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753." The Historical Journal 39 (1996): 339-359.  Lemmings argues that the Marriage Act represents the dominance of patriarchy in eighteenth century- England, and that it in fact encouraged people to marry for political and economic advantage. He also argues that the Act stunts the growth of "affective individualism" as an important value in English society.

Macfarlane, Alan. Marriage and Love in England: Modes of Reproduction 1300-1840.  New York: Basil Blackwel, Inc., 1986. This book provides a great amount of detailed information regarding courtship customs in England, focusing on topics such as the value of children, romantic love, and the purposes of marriage.

Olson, Kirsten. Daily Life in Eighteenth Century England. Westport, CT: The Greenwood Press, 1999.  A general overview of English life in all social classes, with some useful information on marriage, courtship, and family customs. This book is a great resource for gathering pictures pertaining to eighteenth-century life. 

Rizzo, Betty. Companions Without Vows: Relationships Among Eighteenth Century British Women. Athens, GA: The Univ. of Georgia Press, 1994. Rizzo compares the relationship of an upper class woman and her "humble companion" to that of an upper class husband and his wife.  Rizzo shows how the gender roles of marriage and male dominance can be understood by examining the similar power structure between gentlewomen and their companions.

Sharpe, J.A. Early Modern England. London: Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., 1987.  Provides an analysis of the reasons why people of all classes married in eighteenth-century England.

Stebbing, Henry. "An Inquiry into the Force and Operation of the annulling Clauses of a late Act for the better preventing of Clandestine Marriages." London, 1754. Stebbing shows himself to be an advocate for individuals' rights, and argues that the Marriage Act makes marriage less spiritual, by requiring that more than "faith between man and woman" is legally necessary to be married.

Stone, Lawrence. Uncertain Unions. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992. Stone gives a brief description of the laws, societal values, and problems surrounding marriage before the creation of the Marriage Act. He then illustrates these topics with case studies of lawfully questionable marriages in the first half of the eighteenth century.

Turberville, A.S. English Men and Manners in the Eighteenth Century. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1926. This book provides many useful illustrations pertaining to eighteenth-century life, and also contains some facts about marriage and the law in eighteenth-century England.


This site was completed December 08, 2000, at the University of Michigan.

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