Ten (fascinating) facts about Gretna Green!

Wedding bellsNicola here, talking today about elopement, Gretna Green and the difference between English and Scottish marriage laws in the Georgian and Regency period.

The Gretna Green marriage is something of a theme in historical romances. A couple from England, desperate to marry, perhaps under 21 years old and opposed by parents or guardians, make a dash for the border. The reason they needed to do this? Under the Marriage Act of 1753 (also known as Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act), clandestine or common-law marriages in England were made illegal. All marriages were required to have an official ceremony performed by a Church of England priest, unless the couple was Jewish or Quaker. The Act also required parental consent for parties under 21 years old and enforced the publication of Banns. This Act also applied in Wales and Ireland. However, it did not apply to Scotland as Scotland was under its own legal system.


The main reasons for Gretna marriages were that one or both of the participants were underage and did Gretna Green marriage

not have parental consent to marry. In Scotland, in contrast, the age of consent was 12 for girls and 14 for boys. There were also couples who wished to get married in a hurry and those who wished to do so in secret. Some of the brides were abducted heiresses, as in the infamous Shrigley Abduction case of 1826 when Edward Gibbon Wakefield abducted 15-year-old Ellen Turner and forced her into marriage.

Not all the marriages in Gretna Green were of English couples. Naturally a number of local couples got married there as well. Also there were quite a few “cross-border” marriages between people in the northern counties of England and the southern counties of Scotland.

Most interesting, perhaps, were the “reverse elopements,” those couples from elsewhere in Scotland who made runaway matches at Gretna perhaps on their way south to England. Since they could easily have married anywhere in Scotland it's fascinating to see that they chose Gretna Green. The marriage records show several of these matches including Henry Byres and Sarah McDonald, from Aberdeen and Perth respectively and a number of couples from Edinburgh and Glasgow, including David Blyth and Ellen Todd, and Catherine Bowie and George Galloway.

The marriage records also show a considerable number of Irish couples marrying in Scotland in order to thwart the Irish marriage laws. However Gretna Green was not the most popular venue for this; instead they headed for Portpatrick in Wigtownshire on the far west coast because that was where there was a daily packet boat service from Ireland.

Lamberton TollGretna Green was not the only Scottish Border village where such marriages took place. Gretna was the first village over the border on the main west coast route from England but it was not the closest place if you were heading north from London. In stories, runaway couples so often head off up the Great North Road to Scotland. This would take you to Coldstream Bridge or Mordington or Lamberton Toll (pictured above), which are all on the eastern side of the country. In order to get to Gretna from London and the east you would need to take a left turn at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire onto a road that crossed the country from east to west. This route would take you to Penrith and from there to Carlisle and through Gretna Green to Glasgow, just as the road still does today! This is quite a hike for anyone. A couple would have to be determined to go to Gretna as opposed to any of the other border villages.

It was important for a couple to make sure that they really were on Scottish territory when the marriage took place. The Berwick toll keeper who usually did the weddings once a couple crossed out of Berwick’s boundaries into Scotland actually got sent to prison for performing the ceremony in Berwick town itself – which was in England.

The blacksmith was not the only person who could marry a couple. Under Scotland’s “irregular marriage” Blacksmiths shop traditions anybody could carry out marriages whether they were the farmer, the blacksmith, the toll masters, or the landlord of the local tavern, a passing highwayman or the local smugglers.

The eloping couple didn't necessarily need to go to Scotland – the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man allowed for clandestine marriages before their laws were changed.

It was not until the Lord Brougham Act of 1856 that the Scottish marriage laws were tightened. After that the couples were required to be resident in the parish for 21 days before the ceremony although that requirement no longer applies today. 

Wedding horseshoeToday Gretna Green remains one of the favourite places to tie the knot because of its romantic associations. It is estimated that one in six Scottish marriages takes place there with couples visiting from around the world. But if you plan a Gretna Green marriage, make sure to specify the Gretna Green bit rather than asking to wed in Gretna – they are two different places! Gretna was a planned town, built in the early 20th century. Not as romantic as Gretna Green!

Do you enjoy elopement stories? Do you have a favourite story featuring a runaway marriage, perhaps involving Gretna Green or another location? 

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185 thoughts on “Ten (fascinating) facts about Gretna Green!”

  1. I am not a home with my books (away for family emergency) but my favorite is a girl whose dying father owns a gambling club and her uncle wants her marriage to her slug of a cousin. She escapes, fleeing to the home of a lord who she knows is impoverished despite expectations. He had tried to abduct her friend, an heiress, for her money weeks before. He weighs the situation–money vs. an attractive wife–and goes with money. The road to Gretna is grueling. But our hero takes care of the heroine every step of the way. He resents buying a golden ring that symbolizes love because this isn’t a love match and he is short of coin. Her father dies, he takes over the club, and her natural brother tires to kill her in his pox madness. His epiphany is that love has grown to love her over time. HEA. BTW, he is quite high ranking but the epilogue never shows him inheriting. If any one recalls the title and the author please share.

    Reply
  2. I am not a home with my books (away for family emergency) but my favorite is a girl whose dying father owns a gambling club and her uncle wants her marriage to her slug of a cousin. She escapes, fleeing to the home of a lord who she knows is impoverished despite expectations. He had tried to abduct her friend, an heiress, for her money weeks before. He weighs the situation–money vs. an attractive wife–and goes with money. The road to Gretna is grueling. But our hero takes care of the heroine every step of the way. He resents buying a golden ring that symbolizes love because this isn’t a love match and he is short of coin. Her father dies, he takes over the club, and her natural brother tires to kill her in his pox madness. His epiphany is that love has grown to love her over time. HEA. BTW, he is quite high ranking but the epilogue never shows him inheriting. If any one recalls the title and the author please share.

    Reply
  3. I am not a home with my books (away for family emergency) but my favorite is a girl whose dying father owns a gambling club and her uncle wants her marriage to her slug of a cousin. She escapes, fleeing to the home of a lord who she knows is impoverished despite expectations. He had tried to abduct her friend, an heiress, for her money weeks before. He weighs the situation–money vs. an attractive wife–and goes with money. The road to Gretna is grueling. But our hero takes care of the heroine every step of the way. He resents buying a golden ring that symbolizes love because this isn’t a love match and he is short of coin. Her father dies, he takes over the club, and her natural brother tires to kill her in his pox madness. His epiphany is that love has grown to love her over time. HEA. BTW, he is quite high ranking but the epilogue never shows him inheriting. If any one recalls the title and the author please share.

    Reply
  4. I am not a home with my books (away for family emergency) but my favorite is a girl whose dying father owns a gambling club and her uncle wants her marriage to her slug of a cousin. She escapes, fleeing to the home of a lord who she knows is impoverished despite expectations. He had tried to abduct her friend, an heiress, for her money weeks before. He weighs the situation–money vs. an attractive wife–and goes with money. The road to Gretna is grueling. But our hero takes care of the heroine every step of the way. He resents buying a golden ring that symbolizes love because this isn’t a love match and he is short of coin. Her father dies, he takes over the club, and her natural brother tires to kill her in his pox madness. His epiphany is that love has grown to love her over time. HEA. BTW, he is quite high ranking but the epilogue never shows him inheriting. If any one recalls the title and the author please share.

    Reply
  5. I am not a home with my books (away for family emergency) but my favorite is a girl whose dying father owns a gambling club and her uncle wants her marriage to her slug of a cousin. She escapes, fleeing to the home of a lord who she knows is impoverished despite expectations. He had tried to abduct her friend, an heiress, for her money weeks before. He weighs the situation–money vs. an attractive wife–and goes with money. The road to Gretna is grueling. But our hero takes care of the heroine every step of the way. He resents buying a golden ring that symbolizes love because this isn’t a love match and he is short of coin. Her father dies, he takes over the club, and her natural brother tires to kill her in his pox madness. His epiphany is that love has grown to love her over time. HEA. BTW, he is quite high ranking but the epilogue never shows him inheriting. If any one recalls the title and the author please share.

    Reply
  6. Great post, Nicola! I’m checking to see if the settings changes are working, but apparently I’ve permanently broken the reply chain. And Typepad just chewed up and spit out my last reply. So if you see two, that’s why.

    Reply
  7. Great post, Nicola! I’m checking to see if the settings changes are working, but apparently I’ve permanently broken the reply chain. And Typepad just chewed up and spit out my last reply. So if you see two, that’s why.

    Reply
  8. Great post, Nicola! I’m checking to see if the settings changes are working, but apparently I’ve permanently broken the reply chain. And Typepad just chewed up and spit out my last reply. So if you see two, that’s why.

    Reply
  9. Great post, Nicola! I’m checking to see if the settings changes are working, but apparently I’ve permanently broken the reply chain. And Typepad just chewed up and spit out my last reply. So if you see two, that’s why.

    Reply
  10. Great post, Nicola! I’m checking to see if the settings changes are working, but apparently I’ve permanently broken the reply chain. And Typepad just chewed up and spit out my last reply. So if you see two, that’s why.

    Reply
  11. Great post, Nicola. Gretna Green marriages are a staple of romances with the benefit of being based on reality.
    I do think that Gretna was the closest place, however, and still is because the border dips so much to the west. I reckon it’s about 50 miles closer, which could, of course, be a day’s travel back then.
    The main road up to Berwick might have been faster, of course, especially in the 19th century, with road improvement and tolls, but the left turn at the aptly named Scotch Corner would have been reasonable in some circumstances.
    An interesting debate for our couple to have on the long journey!
    Jo

    Reply
  12. Great post, Nicola. Gretna Green marriages are a staple of romances with the benefit of being based on reality.
    I do think that Gretna was the closest place, however, and still is because the border dips so much to the west. I reckon it’s about 50 miles closer, which could, of course, be a day’s travel back then.
    The main road up to Berwick might have been faster, of course, especially in the 19th century, with road improvement and tolls, but the left turn at the aptly named Scotch Corner would have been reasonable in some circumstances.
    An interesting debate for our couple to have on the long journey!
    Jo

    Reply
  13. Great post, Nicola. Gretna Green marriages are a staple of romances with the benefit of being based on reality.
    I do think that Gretna was the closest place, however, and still is because the border dips so much to the west. I reckon it’s about 50 miles closer, which could, of course, be a day’s travel back then.
    The main road up to Berwick might have been faster, of course, especially in the 19th century, with road improvement and tolls, but the left turn at the aptly named Scotch Corner would have been reasonable in some circumstances.
    An interesting debate for our couple to have on the long journey!
    Jo

    Reply
  14. Great post, Nicola. Gretna Green marriages are a staple of romances with the benefit of being based on reality.
    I do think that Gretna was the closest place, however, and still is because the border dips so much to the west. I reckon it’s about 50 miles closer, which could, of course, be a day’s travel back then.
    The main road up to Berwick might have been faster, of course, especially in the 19th century, with road improvement and tolls, but the left turn at the aptly named Scotch Corner would have been reasonable in some circumstances.
    An interesting debate for our couple to have on the long journey!
    Jo

    Reply
  15. Great post, Nicola. Gretna Green marriages are a staple of romances with the benefit of being based on reality.
    I do think that Gretna was the closest place, however, and still is because the border dips so much to the west. I reckon it’s about 50 miles closer, which could, of course, be a day’s travel back then.
    The main road up to Berwick might have been faster, of course, especially in the 19th century, with road improvement and tolls, but the left turn at the aptly named Scotch Corner would have been reasonable in some circumstances.
    An interesting debate for our couple to have on the long journey!
    Jo

    Reply
  16. I love the idea of runaway marriages (used it one of my books) and I’m even more fascinated by the divorce laws in Scotland. I was thrilled when I found Alienated Affections. So many potential plots!

    Reply
  17. I love the idea of runaway marriages (used it one of my books) and I’m even more fascinated by the divorce laws in Scotland. I was thrilled when I found Alienated Affections. So many potential plots!

    Reply
  18. I love the idea of runaway marriages (used it one of my books) and I’m even more fascinated by the divorce laws in Scotland. I was thrilled when I found Alienated Affections. So many potential plots!

    Reply
  19. I love the idea of runaway marriages (used it one of my books) and I’m even more fascinated by the divorce laws in Scotland. I was thrilled when I found Alienated Affections. So many potential plots!

    Reply
  20. I love the idea of runaway marriages (used it one of my books) and I’m even more fascinated by the divorce laws in Scotland. I was thrilled when I found Alienated Affections. So many potential plots!

    Reply
  21. That’s very interesting about distances, Jo. I must admit that I have never measured it. I thought that if you went up the great North Road from London you would get to Berwick before you got to Gretna because it was more direct. However it does very much depend on that dip in the border!
    I have loved the romance of “Scotch Corner” since I was a child and lived just down the road from there!

    Reply
  22. That’s very interesting about distances, Jo. I must admit that I have never measured it. I thought that if you went up the great North Road from London you would get to Berwick before you got to Gretna because it was more direct. However it does very much depend on that dip in the border!
    I have loved the romance of “Scotch Corner” since I was a child and lived just down the road from there!

    Reply
  23. That’s very interesting about distances, Jo. I must admit that I have never measured it. I thought that if you went up the great North Road from London you would get to Berwick before you got to Gretna because it was more direct. However it does very much depend on that dip in the border!
    I have loved the romance of “Scotch Corner” since I was a child and lived just down the road from there!

    Reply
  24. That’s very interesting about distances, Jo. I must admit that I have never measured it. I thought that if you went up the great North Road from London you would get to Berwick before you got to Gretna because it was more direct. However it does very much depend on that dip in the border!
    I have loved the romance of “Scotch Corner” since I was a child and lived just down the road from there!

    Reply
  25. That’s very interesting about distances, Jo. I must admit that I have never measured it. I thought that if you went up the great North Road from London you would get to Berwick before you got to Gretna because it was more direct. However it does very much depend on that dip in the border!
    I have loved the romance of “Scotch Corner” since I was a child and lived just down the road from there!

    Reply
  26. Hi Isobel! Yes, the Scottish marriage laws are a rich source of inspiration all ways round, aren’t they. I’ve used their annulment laws twice in stories – again they were different from English laws. A whole separate blog piece!

    Reply
  27. Hi Isobel! Yes, the Scottish marriage laws are a rich source of inspiration all ways round, aren’t they. I’ve used their annulment laws twice in stories – again they were different from English laws. A whole separate blog piece!

    Reply
  28. Hi Isobel! Yes, the Scottish marriage laws are a rich source of inspiration all ways round, aren’t they. I’ve used their annulment laws twice in stories – again they were different from English laws. A whole separate blog piece!

    Reply
  29. Hi Isobel! Yes, the Scottish marriage laws are a rich source of inspiration all ways round, aren’t they. I’ve used their annulment laws twice in stories – again they were different from English laws. A whole separate blog piece!

    Reply
  30. Hi Isobel! Yes, the Scottish marriage laws are a rich source of inspiration all ways round, aren’t they. I’ve used their annulment laws twice in stories – again they were different from English laws. A whole separate blog piece!

    Reply
  31. Several years ago I was the branch manager of one of the large tax preparation chains. Stick with me, this relates to Gretna Green. A couple, who cohabited, each with children decided they wanted to file a joint tax return as regular married people do. Ok. We checked with an attorney. At the time in my state, one is considered common-law married if the couple just declares that they’re married. Yep. They told me they were married, so by law they were. On the flip side, they were just married by their tax preparer for a bigger refund. I like a good Gretna Green story because on that day, I felt a lot like the blacksmith that married people.

    Reply
  32. Several years ago I was the branch manager of one of the large tax preparation chains. Stick with me, this relates to Gretna Green. A couple, who cohabited, each with children decided they wanted to file a joint tax return as regular married people do. Ok. We checked with an attorney. At the time in my state, one is considered common-law married if the couple just declares that they’re married. Yep. They told me they were married, so by law they were. On the flip side, they were just married by their tax preparer for a bigger refund. I like a good Gretna Green story because on that day, I felt a lot like the blacksmith that married people.

    Reply
  33. Several years ago I was the branch manager of one of the large tax preparation chains. Stick with me, this relates to Gretna Green. A couple, who cohabited, each with children decided they wanted to file a joint tax return as regular married people do. Ok. We checked with an attorney. At the time in my state, one is considered common-law married if the couple just declares that they’re married. Yep. They told me they were married, so by law they were. On the flip side, they were just married by their tax preparer for a bigger refund. I like a good Gretna Green story because on that day, I felt a lot like the blacksmith that married people.

    Reply
  34. Several years ago I was the branch manager of one of the large tax preparation chains. Stick with me, this relates to Gretna Green. A couple, who cohabited, each with children decided they wanted to file a joint tax return as regular married people do. Ok. We checked with an attorney. At the time in my state, one is considered common-law married if the couple just declares that they’re married. Yep. They told me they were married, so by law they were. On the flip side, they were just married by their tax preparer for a bigger refund. I like a good Gretna Green story because on that day, I felt a lot like the blacksmith that married people.

    Reply
  35. Several years ago I was the branch manager of one of the large tax preparation chains. Stick with me, this relates to Gretna Green. A couple, who cohabited, each with children decided they wanted to file a joint tax return as regular married people do. Ok. We checked with an attorney. At the time in my state, one is considered common-law married if the couple just declares that they’re married. Yep. They told me they were married, so by law they were. On the flip side, they were just married by their tax preparer for a bigger refund. I like a good Gretna Green story because on that day, I felt a lot like the blacksmith that married people.

    Reply
  36. Oh God, yeah, I love elopement stories! from Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand to Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also, The Abduction of Julia is a very amusing story involving an elopement gone wrong.

    Reply
  37. Oh God, yeah, I love elopement stories! from Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand to Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also, The Abduction of Julia is a very amusing story involving an elopement gone wrong.

    Reply
  38. Oh God, yeah, I love elopement stories! from Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand to Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also, The Abduction of Julia is a very amusing story involving an elopement gone wrong.

    Reply
  39. Oh God, yeah, I love elopement stories! from Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand to Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also, The Abduction of Julia is a very amusing story involving an elopement gone wrong.

    Reply
  40. Oh God, yeah, I love elopement stories! from Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand to Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also, The Abduction of Julia is a very amusing story involving an elopement gone wrong.

    Reply
  41. I don’t think elopements were limited to Gretna Green. I have been looking at my own family here in Australia, and it seems the easiest way out of a problem was not to have parents in the first place! My Gt Uncle is such a one. Father arrived in the colony of Victoria in 1855, and mother in August 1857. they married in April 1858. Their eldest son married in January 1878. With the best mathematical will in the world he was not 21 years old when he married. I have got a copy of his marriage certificate and neither parent is named, nor is his age, nor place of birth. Even here is Australia, parental consent was required. I also know his mother was living only some 40 miles away in the next town (father was dead). Also the first child was born in the same town as the mother was living. Probably one of those 7 month full term babies! Fascinating what young people got up to wherever and whenever they lived.

    Reply
  42. I don’t think elopements were limited to Gretna Green. I have been looking at my own family here in Australia, and it seems the easiest way out of a problem was not to have parents in the first place! My Gt Uncle is such a one. Father arrived in the colony of Victoria in 1855, and mother in August 1857. they married in April 1858. Their eldest son married in January 1878. With the best mathematical will in the world he was not 21 years old when he married. I have got a copy of his marriage certificate and neither parent is named, nor is his age, nor place of birth. Even here is Australia, parental consent was required. I also know his mother was living only some 40 miles away in the next town (father was dead). Also the first child was born in the same town as the mother was living. Probably one of those 7 month full term babies! Fascinating what young people got up to wherever and whenever they lived.

    Reply
  43. I don’t think elopements were limited to Gretna Green. I have been looking at my own family here in Australia, and it seems the easiest way out of a problem was not to have parents in the first place! My Gt Uncle is such a one. Father arrived in the colony of Victoria in 1855, and mother in August 1857. they married in April 1858. Their eldest son married in January 1878. With the best mathematical will in the world he was not 21 years old when he married. I have got a copy of his marriage certificate and neither parent is named, nor is his age, nor place of birth. Even here is Australia, parental consent was required. I also know his mother was living only some 40 miles away in the next town (father was dead). Also the first child was born in the same town as the mother was living. Probably one of those 7 month full term babies! Fascinating what young people got up to wherever and whenever they lived.

    Reply
  44. I don’t think elopements were limited to Gretna Green. I have been looking at my own family here in Australia, and it seems the easiest way out of a problem was not to have parents in the first place! My Gt Uncle is such a one. Father arrived in the colony of Victoria in 1855, and mother in August 1857. they married in April 1858. Their eldest son married in January 1878. With the best mathematical will in the world he was not 21 years old when he married. I have got a copy of his marriage certificate and neither parent is named, nor is his age, nor place of birth. Even here is Australia, parental consent was required. I also know his mother was living only some 40 miles away in the next town (father was dead). Also the first child was born in the same town as the mother was living. Probably one of those 7 month full term babies! Fascinating what young people got up to wherever and whenever they lived.

    Reply
  45. I don’t think elopements were limited to Gretna Green. I have been looking at my own family here in Australia, and it seems the easiest way out of a problem was not to have parents in the first place! My Gt Uncle is such a one. Father arrived in the colony of Victoria in 1855, and mother in August 1857. they married in April 1858. Their eldest son married in January 1878. With the best mathematical will in the world he was not 21 years old when he married. I have got a copy of his marriage certificate and neither parent is named, nor is his age, nor place of birth. Even here is Australia, parental consent was required. I also know his mother was living only some 40 miles away in the next town (father was dead). Also the first child was born in the same town as the mother was living. Probably one of those 7 month full term babies! Fascinating what young people got up to wherever and whenever they lived.

    Reply
  46. Here’s Jo, testing to see if the comments work. They seem to have disappeared! (As you’ll have realized we’re trying new settings to make comment flow easier.

    Reply
  47. Here’s Jo, testing to see if the comments work. They seem to have disappeared! (As you’ll have realized we’re trying new settings to make comment flow easier.

    Reply
  48. Here’s Jo, testing to see if the comments work. They seem to have disappeared! (As you’ll have realized we’re trying new settings to make comment flow easier.

    Reply
  49. Here’s Jo, testing to see if the comments work. They seem to have disappeared! (As you’ll have realized we’re trying new settings to make comment flow easier.

    Reply
  50. Here’s Jo, testing to see if the comments work. They seem to have disappeared! (As you’ll have realized we’re trying new settings to make comment flow easier.

    Reply
  51. Thanks for the interesting facts about Gretna Green and the other “marrying” villages.
    What did the Quakers and the Jews do to get married? Dee

    Reply
  52. Thanks for the interesting facts about Gretna Green and the other “marrying” villages.
    What did the Quakers and the Jews do to get married? Dee

    Reply
  53. Thanks for the interesting facts about Gretna Green and the other “marrying” villages.
    What did the Quakers and the Jews do to get married? Dee

    Reply
  54. Thanks for the interesting facts about Gretna Green and the other “marrying” villages.
    What did the Quakers and the Jews do to get married? Dee

    Reply
  55. Thanks for the interesting facts about Gretna Green and the other “marrying” villages.
    What did the Quakers and the Jews do to get married? Dee

    Reply
  56. What a fun post, Nicola! I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a village in the east that became as famous as Gretna Green for over the anvil marriages. I’ve used the trope of a Scottish marriage in two recent books—one the classic abduction plot and one a HEA for a couple who had as youths once contemplated a runaway marriage. It’s a fun element to play with in Regency-set historicals, and it’s lovely to learn more about its actual history.

    Reply
  57. What a fun post, Nicola! I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a village in the east that became as famous as Gretna Green for over the anvil marriages. I’ve used the trope of a Scottish marriage in two recent books—one the classic abduction plot and one a HEA for a couple who had as youths once contemplated a runaway marriage. It’s a fun element to play with in Regency-set historicals, and it’s lovely to learn more about its actual history.

    Reply
  58. What a fun post, Nicola! I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a village in the east that became as famous as Gretna Green for over the anvil marriages. I’ve used the trope of a Scottish marriage in two recent books—one the classic abduction plot and one a HEA for a couple who had as youths once contemplated a runaway marriage. It’s a fun element to play with in Regency-set historicals, and it’s lovely to learn more about its actual history.

    Reply
  59. What a fun post, Nicola! I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a village in the east that became as famous as Gretna Green for over the anvil marriages. I’ve used the trope of a Scottish marriage in two recent books—one the classic abduction plot and one a HEA for a couple who had as youths once contemplated a runaway marriage. It’s a fun element to play with in Regency-set historicals, and it’s lovely to learn more about its actual history.

    Reply
  60. What a fun post, Nicola! I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a village in the east that became as famous as Gretna Green for over the anvil marriages. I’ve used the trope of a Scottish marriage in two recent books—one the classic abduction plot and one a HEA for a couple who had as youths once contemplated a runaway marriage. It’s a fun element to play with in Regency-set historicals, and it’s lovely to learn more about its actual history.

    Reply
  61. My Browser tried to keep me from accessing this page saying that it looked suspicious.
    Jews and Quakers were allowed to use their own wedding rituals.
    I like Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand , don’t think I have ever read Kleypas
    Fortunately, the heroines of romances usually marry honorable guys who who won’t take advantage of the fact that they married without a settlement

    Reply
  62. My Browser tried to keep me from accessing this page saying that it looked suspicious.
    Jews and Quakers were allowed to use their own wedding rituals.
    I like Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand , don’t think I have ever read Kleypas
    Fortunately, the heroines of romances usually marry honorable guys who who won’t take advantage of the fact that they married without a settlement

    Reply
  63. My Browser tried to keep me from accessing this page saying that it looked suspicious.
    Jews and Quakers were allowed to use their own wedding rituals.
    I like Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand , don’t think I have ever read Kleypas
    Fortunately, the heroines of romances usually marry honorable guys who who won’t take advantage of the fact that they married without a settlement

    Reply
  64. My Browser tried to keep me from accessing this page saying that it looked suspicious.
    Jews and Quakers were allowed to use their own wedding rituals.
    I like Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand , don’t think I have ever read Kleypas
    Fortunately, the heroines of romances usually marry honorable guys who who won’t take advantage of the fact that they married without a settlement

    Reply
  65. My Browser tried to keep me from accessing this page saying that it looked suspicious.
    Jews and Quakers were allowed to use their own wedding rituals.
    I like Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand , don’t think I have ever read Kleypas
    Fortunately, the heroines of romances usually marry honorable guys who who won’t take advantage of the fact that they married without a settlement

    Reply
  66. LOL! Congratulations, Amanda–there can’t be many tax preparers who also marry people on the side. But I’d say a larger tax refund is a decent reason for having it done on the spot if they feel committed and married already.
    That might work well in a contemporary romance…

    Reply
  67. LOL! Congratulations, Amanda–there can’t be many tax preparers who also marry people on the side. But I’d say a larger tax refund is a decent reason for having it done on the spot if they feel committed and married already.
    That might work well in a contemporary romance…

    Reply
  68. LOL! Congratulations, Amanda–there can’t be many tax preparers who also marry people on the side. But I’d say a larger tax refund is a decent reason for having it done on the spot if they feel committed and married already.
    That might work well in a contemporary romance…

    Reply
  69. LOL! Congratulations, Amanda–there can’t be many tax preparers who also marry people on the side. But I’d say a larger tax refund is a decent reason for having it done on the spot if they feel committed and married already.
    That might work well in a contemporary romance…

    Reply
  70. LOL! Congratulations, Amanda–there can’t be many tax preparers who also marry people on the side. But I’d say a larger tax refund is a decent reason for having it done on the spot if they feel committed and married already.
    That might work well in a contemporary romance…

    Reply
  71. Scottish marriage and divorce law is VERY useful to authors! In NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, the hero marries the very wary heroine to protect her, and she demands a letter in advance with him granting her divorce rights if she wants to leave later. They actually drive through Gretna Green, but go on up to Edinburgh to marry at a friend’s house so it will look less hole-in-corner.
    I love the name and -idea- of Scotch Corner!

    Reply
  72. Scottish marriage and divorce law is VERY useful to authors! In NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, the hero marries the very wary heroine to protect her, and she demands a letter in advance with him granting her divorce rights if she wants to leave later. They actually drive through Gretna Green, but go on up to Edinburgh to marry at a friend’s house so it will look less hole-in-corner.
    I love the name and -idea- of Scotch Corner!

    Reply
  73. Scottish marriage and divorce law is VERY useful to authors! In NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, the hero marries the very wary heroine to protect her, and she demands a letter in advance with him granting her divorce rights if she wants to leave later. They actually drive through Gretna Green, but go on up to Edinburgh to marry at a friend’s house so it will look less hole-in-corner.
    I love the name and -idea- of Scotch Corner!

    Reply
  74. Scottish marriage and divorce law is VERY useful to authors! In NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, the hero marries the very wary heroine to protect her, and she demands a letter in advance with him granting her divorce rights if she wants to leave later. They actually drive through Gretna Green, but go on up to Edinburgh to marry at a friend’s house so it will look less hole-in-corner.
    I love the name and -idea- of Scotch Corner!

    Reply
  75. Scottish marriage and divorce law is VERY useful to authors! In NEVER LESS THAN A LADY, the hero marries the very wary heroine to protect her, and she demands a letter in advance with him granting her divorce rights if she wants to leave later. They actually drive through Gretna Green, but go on up to Edinburgh to marry at a friend’s house so it will look less hole-in-corner.
    I love the name and -idea- of Scotch Corner!

    Reply
  76. I love a good elopement story! I also love a good foiled elopement story! It would be fun to read one where the characters head somewhere other than Gretna Green. 🙂

    Reply
  77. I love a good elopement story! I also love a good foiled elopement story! It would be fun to read one where the characters head somewhere other than Gretna Green. 🙂

    Reply
  78. I love a good elopement story! I also love a good foiled elopement story! It would be fun to read one where the characters head somewhere other than Gretna Green. 🙂

    Reply
  79. I love a good elopement story! I also love a good foiled elopement story! It would be fun to read one where the characters head somewhere other than Gretna Green. 🙂

    Reply
  80. I love a good elopement story! I also love a good foiled elopement story! It would be fun to read one where the characters head somewhere other than Gretna Green. 🙂

    Reply
  81. What an interesting debate! I was so curious about this that I went and tried to work it out. I reckon it was about 30 miles closer to Gretna than Berwick although I’m not sure that the road was as good. It’s a bad road in winter, even now!
    One thing that does surprise me is that I understand that the village of Springfield was actually closest to the border. Couples could marry at the King’s Head Inn. I wonder if Gretna was just better at publicity!

    Reply
  82. What an interesting debate! I was so curious about this that I went and tried to work it out. I reckon it was about 30 miles closer to Gretna than Berwick although I’m not sure that the road was as good. It’s a bad road in winter, even now!
    One thing that does surprise me is that I understand that the village of Springfield was actually closest to the border. Couples could marry at the King’s Head Inn. I wonder if Gretna was just better at publicity!

    Reply
  83. What an interesting debate! I was so curious about this that I went and tried to work it out. I reckon it was about 30 miles closer to Gretna than Berwick although I’m not sure that the road was as good. It’s a bad road in winter, even now!
    One thing that does surprise me is that I understand that the village of Springfield was actually closest to the border. Couples could marry at the King’s Head Inn. I wonder if Gretna was just better at publicity!

    Reply
  84. What an interesting debate! I was so curious about this that I went and tried to work it out. I reckon it was about 30 miles closer to Gretna than Berwick although I’m not sure that the road was as good. It’s a bad road in winter, even now!
    One thing that does surprise me is that I understand that the village of Springfield was actually closest to the border. Couples could marry at the King’s Head Inn. I wonder if Gretna was just better at publicity!

    Reply
  85. What an interesting debate! I was so curious about this that I went and tried to work it out. I reckon it was about 30 miles closer to Gretna than Berwick although I’m not sure that the road was as good. It’s a bad road in winter, even now!
    One thing that does surprise me is that I understand that the village of Springfield was actually closest to the border. Couples could marry at the King’s Head Inn. I wonder if Gretna was just better at publicity!

    Reply
  86. I love the idea of a runaway marriage for an older couple, Cara. Elopement is certainly a trope with a lot of fun elements to play with! My research suggests that there were lots of border villages where people could and did marry and it’s intersting that Gretna has become synonymous with anvil weddings and the rest are unknown.

    Reply
  87. I love the idea of a runaway marriage for an older couple, Cara. Elopement is certainly a trope with a lot of fun elements to play with! My research suggests that there were lots of border villages where people could and did marry and it’s intersting that Gretna has become synonymous with anvil weddings and the rest are unknown.

    Reply
  88. I love the idea of a runaway marriage for an older couple, Cara. Elopement is certainly a trope with a lot of fun elements to play with! My research suggests that there were lots of border villages where people could and did marry and it’s intersting that Gretna has become synonymous with anvil weddings and the rest are unknown.

    Reply
  89. I love the idea of a runaway marriage for an older couple, Cara. Elopement is certainly a trope with a lot of fun elements to play with! My research suggests that there were lots of border villages where people could and did marry and it’s intersting that Gretna has become synonymous with anvil weddings and the rest are unknown.

    Reply
  90. I love the idea of a runaway marriage for an older couple, Cara. Elopement is certainly a trope with a lot of fun elements to play with! My research suggests that there were lots of border villages where people could and did marry and it’s intersting that Gretna has become synonymous with anvil weddings and the rest are unknown.

    Reply
  91. I agree, Glenda. I like something a bit different! In Bride of the Solway by Joanna Maitland the couple marry in Springfield rather than Gretna. That is a reverse elopement story with them marrying on their way out of Scotland rather than in.

    Reply
  92. I agree, Glenda. I like something a bit different! In Bride of the Solway by Joanna Maitland the couple marry in Springfield rather than Gretna. That is a reverse elopement story with them marrying on their way out of Scotland rather than in.

    Reply
  93. I agree, Glenda. I like something a bit different! In Bride of the Solway by Joanna Maitland the couple marry in Springfield rather than Gretna. That is a reverse elopement story with them marrying on their way out of Scotland rather than in.

    Reply
  94. I agree, Glenda. I like something a bit different! In Bride of the Solway by Joanna Maitland the couple marry in Springfield rather than Gretna. That is a reverse elopement story with them marrying on their way out of Scotland rather than in.

    Reply
  95. I agree, Glenda. I like something a bit different! In Bride of the Solway by Joanna Maitland the couple marry in Springfield rather than Gretna. That is a reverse elopement story with them marrying on their way out of Scotland rather than in.

    Reply
  96. I think its fame is in the name rther than position.You have to admit somewhere called Gretna Green has much more romantic pull than Springfield that could be anywhere !!Gretna just rolls off the tongue tho having actually stopped there this year on our way home from Scotland it isn’t that inspiring a place,these days anyway.
    My mother was always convinced that her grandparents had run away to Gretna mainly because although they both came from Hampshire my grandfather the eldest son was born in Cumberland in 1874.When my mother started tracing the ancestors back in the sixties (way prior to it all being on line)she could not get them married no matter where she looked !So she decided that her prim and proper grandmother must have got spliced over the anvil ! However when I took up family hunting I eventually got them married in a registry office in Croydon (outer London) in 1890 !!I hadn’t realised there were such things as civil marriages before the twentieth century in England but obviously living in sin was alive and well in darkest Victorian Hampshire !!My mum would have hooted !

    Reply
  97. I think its fame is in the name rther than position.You have to admit somewhere called Gretna Green has much more romantic pull than Springfield that could be anywhere !!Gretna just rolls off the tongue tho having actually stopped there this year on our way home from Scotland it isn’t that inspiring a place,these days anyway.
    My mother was always convinced that her grandparents had run away to Gretna mainly because although they both came from Hampshire my grandfather the eldest son was born in Cumberland in 1874.When my mother started tracing the ancestors back in the sixties (way prior to it all being on line)she could not get them married no matter where she looked !So she decided that her prim and proper grandmother must have got spliced over the anvil ! However when I took up family hunting I eventually got them married in a registry office in Croydon (outer London) in 1890 !!I hadn’t realised there were such things as civil marriages before the twentieth century in England but obviously living in sin was alive and well in darkest Victorian Hampshire !!My mum would have hooted !

    Reply
  98. I think its fame is in the name rther than position.You have to admit somewhere called Gretna Green has much more romantic pull than Springfield that could be anywhere !!Gretna just rolls off the tongue tho having actually stopped there this year on our way home from Scotland it isn’t that inspiring a place,these days anyway.
    My mother was always convinced that her grandparents had run away to Gretna mainly because although they both came from Hampshire my grandfather the eldest son was born in Cumberland in 1874.When my mother started tracing the ancestors back in the sixties (way prior to it all being on line)she could not get them married no matter where she looked !So she decided that her prim and proper grandmother must have got spliced over the anvil ! However when I took up family hunting I eventually got them married in a registry office in Croydon (outer London) in 1890 !!I hadn’t realised there were such things as civil marriages before the twentieth century in England but obviously living in sin was alive and well in darkest Victorian Hampshire !!My mum would have hooted !

    Reply
  99. I think its fame is in the name rther than position.You have to admit somewhere called Gretna Green has much more romantic pull than Springfield that could be anywhere !!Gretna just rolls off the tongue tho having actually stopped there this year on our way home from Scotland it isn’t that inspiring a place,these days anyway.
    My mother was always convinced that her grandparents had run away to Gretna mainly because although they both came from Hampshire my grandfather the eldest son was born in Cumberland in 1874.When my mother started tracing the ancestors back in the sixties (way prior to it all being on line)she could not get them married no matter where she looked !So she decided that her prim and proper grandmother must have got spliced over the anvil ! However when I took up family hunting I eventually got them married in a registry office in Croydon (outer London) in 1890 !!I hadn’t realised there were such things as civil marriages before the twentieth century in England but obviously living in sin was alive and well in darkest Victorian Hampshire !!My mum would have hooted !

    Reply
  100. I think its fame is in the name rther than position.You have to admit somewhere called Gretna Green has much more romantic pull than Springfield that could be anywhere !!Gretna just rolls off the tongue tho having actually stopped there this year on our way home from Scotland it isn’t that inspiring a place,these days anyway.
    My mother was always convinced that her grandparents had run away to Gretna mainly because although they both came from Hampshire my grandfather the eldest son was born in Cumberland in 1874.When my mother started tracing the ancestors back in the sixties (way prior to it all being on line)she could not get them married no matter where she looked !So she decided that her prim and proper grandmother must have got spliced over the anvil ! However when I took up family hunting I eventually got them married in a registry office in Croydon (outer London) in 1890 !!I hadn’t realised there were such things as civil marriages before the twentieth century in England but obviously living in sin was alive and well in darkest Victorian Hampshire !!My mum would have hooted !

    Reply
  101. Yes, I have to agree, Jo, that Gretna is underwhelming these days!
    That is very interesting about your grandparents and their civil marriage in the 19th century. I need to do some research on early civil marriages. Fascinating!

    Reply
  102. Yes, I have to agree, Jo, that Gretna is underwhelming these days!
    That is very interesting about your grandparents and their civil marriage in the 19th century. I need to do some research on early civil marriages. Fascinating!

    Reply
  103. Yes, I have to agree, Jo, that Gretna is underwhelming these days!
    That is very interesting about your grandparents and their civil marriage in the 19th century. I need to do some research on early civil marriages. Fascinating!

    Reply
  104. Yes, I have to agree, Jo, that Gretna is underwhelming these days!
    That is very interesting about your grandparents and their civil marriage in the 19th century. I need to do some research on early civil marriages. Fascinating!

    Reply
  105. Yes, I have to agree, Jo, that Gretna is underwhelming these days!
    That is very interesting about your grandparents and their civil marriage in the 19th century. I need to do some research on early civil marriages. Fascinating!

    Reply

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