Thursday, 5 April 2012


Regina Jeffers is with us, here at My Jane Austen Book Club,  on her blog tour to launch her new brilliant novel dedicated to Georgiana Darcy: "The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy" . Read her interesting, thoroughful piece about elopments in the 18th century and try to win a copy of her brand new novel. Good luck!  (See the giveaway details at the end of this post)

“An Act for Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage,” popularly known as Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (1753), was the first statutory legislation in England and Wales to require a formal ceremony of marriage. Precipitated by a dispute about the validity of a Scottish marriage, the legislation took effect on 25 March 1754.

Before the Act, canon law of the Church of England governed the legal requirements for a valid marriage in England and Wales. These requirements involved the calling of the banns and a marriage license. The stipulation also required that the marriage should take place in the resident parish of one of the participants. However, these stipulations were not mandatory and did not render a marriage void for not following the directory requirements. An Anglican clergyman pronouncing the vows was the only indispensable requirement.

The Act tightened the existing ecclesiastical rules regarding marriage, except for Jews, Quakers, and, ironically, members of the British Royal Family. The exemption for the Royal Family was the basis of objection for Prince Charles’s 2005 civil ceremony with Camilla Parker-Bowles, civil marriage being the creation of statue law. It was also provided that the 1753 Act had no application to marriages celebrated overseas or in Scotland.

On the most southerly point of the English border on Scotland’s west side was the village of Gretna Green. It was on the main road from Carlisle to Glasgow. The road crossed the Sark River, which marked the border itself, a half mile from Gretna Green. On the English side of the border was the village of Longtown.

Near the Solway Firth, the Regency era’s Greta Green is described in Gretna Green Memoirs as, “…[a] small village with a few clay houses, the parish kirk, the minister’s house, and a large inn. From it you have a fine view of the Solway, port Carlisle and the Cumberland hills, among which is the lofty Skiddaw; you also see Bowness, the place where the famous Roman wall ends.” Within Gretna, at the Headlesscross, is the junction of five coaching roads, and here lay the Blacksmith’s Shop.
 The common phrase of the time was to be married “over the anvil,” meaning that the eloping couple took their vows at the first convenient stop, a blacksmith’s shop. “Blacksmith priests” conducted the ceremony, which was nothing more than a public acknowledgment of a couple’s desire to pledge themselves to one another.

In truth, many couples wed at the inn, or at other Scottish villages, and any man could set himself up as an ‘anvil priest.’ It was a lucrative trade. Anvil priests would receive the necessary fee, as well as an appropriate tip, which could be upwards of fifty guineas. According to Romances of Gretna Green, “…[t]he man who took up the trade of ‘priest’ had to reckon on the disapprobation of the local Church authorities.”

The Act effectively put a stop to clandestine marriages (valid marriages performed by an Anglican clergyman but not in accordance with the canons). It brought about the end of the notorious Fleet Marriages associated with London’s Fleet Prison. However, it increased the traffic along the North Road to Scottish “Border Villages” (Coldstream Bridge, Lamberton, Mordington, and Paxton Toll). In the 1770s a toll road passing through the hitherto obscure village of Graitney led to Gretna Green becoming synonymous with romantic elopements.

Despite many assertions to the contrary, the Act did not render invalid any marriage involving minors (those under 21) who married without parental consent. Since the Act specifically prohibited the courts from inquiring into the couple’s place of residence until after the marriage had been celebrated, many chose having the banns called in a different parish without their parents’ permission. The Act also did not do away with common-law marriages, or informal folk practices such as handfasting or broomstick marriages.

One of my favorite Regency authors, Louis Allen, has a fabulous post on Community ( on “The Romance of Elopement,” in which she speaks of the expensive race to the Scottish border. She explains, “
London to Gretna, via Manchester, is 320 miles. That is £20 for the chaise and horses alone at a time when a housemaid would be glad to earn £16 a year, all found.”

Rules of Marriages:

  1. Reading of the Banns occurred on 3 consecutive Sundays or Holy Days during Divine Service, immediately before the Offertory. At least one of the marrying couple had to be a resident in the parish, in which they wished to be married; the banns of the other party were read in his/her parish of residence, and a certificate provided from the clergyman stating it was properly done. Banns were good for three months. The wedding ceremony was scheduled at the church between 8 A.M. and noon.
  2. Wording:
 "I publish the Banns of marriage between Groom's Name of--his local parish--and Bride's Name of--her local parish. If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in Holy matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first [second, third] time of asking."
  3.  Common/Ordinary Licence - This could be obtained from any bishop or archbishop; a common/ordinary license meant the Banns need not be read - and so there was not the delay of two weeks. A sworn statement was given that there was no impediment [parties were not related to one another in the prohibited degrees, proof of deceased spouse given, etc.]. The marriage was required to take place in church or chapel where one party has already lived for 4 weeks. It was also good for 3 months from date of issue. Cost of the license: 10 shillings.
  4. Special License - Obtained from Doctors Commons in London, from the Archbishop of Canterbury or his representative. The difference between this and the Ordinary license was that it granted the right of the couple to marry at any convenient time or place. All other requirements were the same. Names of both parties were given at the time of the application. Cost: In 1808 a Stamp Duty was imposed on the actual paper, vellum or parchment the license was printed upon, of £4. In 1815, the duty increased to £5.

So how does the details of a Scottish marriage fit into my latest novel, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy? An ill-fated race to the Scottish border plays a major role in the mystery surrounding Georgiana Darcy’s vanishing from the Fitzwilliam property and in Darcy’s subsequent search for his sister.

Book Blurb:

Shackled in the dungeon of a macabre castle with no recollection of her past, a young woman finds herself falling in love with her captor – the estate’s master. Yet, placing her trust in him before she regains her memory and unravels the castle’s wicked truths would be a catastrophe.

Far away at Pemberley, the Darcys happily gather to celebrate the marriage of Kitty Bennet. But a dark cloud sweeps through the festivities: Georgiana Darcy has disappeared without a trace. Upon receiving word of his sister’s likely demise, Darcy and wife, Elizabeth, set off across the English countryside, seeking answers in the unfamiliar and menacing Scottish moors.
How can Darcy keep his sister safe from the most sinister threat she has ever faced when he doesn’t even know if she’s alive? True to Austen’s style and rife with malicious villains, dramatic revelations and heroic gestures, this suspense-packed mystery places Darcy and Elizabeth in the most harrowing situation they have ever faced – finding Georgiana before it is too late.

The Author

Regina Jeffers, an English teacher for thirty-nine years, considers herself a Jane Austen enthusiast. She is the author of 13 novels, including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation, The Phantom of Pemberley, Christmas at Pemberley, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, A Touch of Velvet, and A Touch of Cashémere. A Time Warner Star Teacher and Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, as well as a Smithsonian presenter, Jeffers often serves as a media literacy consultant. She resides outside of Charlotte, NC, where she spends time teaching her new grandson the joys of being a child.

Leave your comment  + e-mail address to enter the giveaway of a paperback copy of "The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy". Open internationally,  this giveaway ends on April 12th.

Website –
Twitter - @reginajeffers
Publisher – Ulysses Press


araminta18 said...

Wow, thanks for that explanation--something about this always seems to figure in JA fanfic, and its good to finally understand a bit better.

araminta18 at gmail dot com

cyn209 said...

sounds like another bestseller, Regina!!! i can't wait to read The Disappearnace of Georgiana Darcy!!

congrats & good luck!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Lúthien84 said...

Congrats, Regina for your latest release. I hope it will be a good sell. Btw, I enjoyed reading your very interesting post on the marriage act in Regency times.


Krista said...

Book sounds interesting falling in love with her captor. Hard to imagine very interesting story plot. I must read! Love the rules on Marriage!
Krista U.S.

Phoebe's Sisters said...

Thank you for the information and the giveaway! Your book sounds very interesting. I always had a soft spot for Georgiana.

Regina Jeffers said...

Good morning from North Carolina. Thank you, Maria, for the opportunity to join your followers today.
"The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy" is a cozy mystery. It has multiple twists and turns. I hope readers love it as much as I.

Regina Jeffers said...

It is great to have some of my friends from Austen Authors stop by. Good morning, Sylvia, Cynthia, and araminta. Farida and I are cohorts at EHFA. It was a nice surprise to find all of you here.
Krista, I am pleased to have your acquaintance.

Kelli H. said...

Great post! I am so excited to read this book! It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the giveaway!=)

Gayle Mills said...

I love Regency mysteries. Can't wait to read this one.

scmema at yahoo dot com

Regina Jeffers said...

Good morning Kelli in Ohio and Gayle in SC. I am pleased both of you joined me here today.

GranJan said...

I really really enjoyed your first (?) mystery Phantom Of Pemberley so I am looking forward to reading this one too.
And, of course, I would love to win it and get another book off of my too long 'to buy' wish list!

cpnclprashe at yahoo dot com

very interesting article, also the one at harlequin

Linda said...

Wow, one of the most interesting posts I've read in a long time. Thanks for all the information, and thanks for the giveaway.

Niko Staten said...

sounds great!

A Scattering said...

The Disappearance of Miss Georgiana Darcy sounds like a very exciting read!


Regina Jeffers said...

Jan, I think you would enjoy "Disappearance" if you liked "Phantom." They are very much in the same vein.

Regina Jeffers said...

Linda, I'm pleased you enjoyed the post.

Regina Jeffers said...

Andrea and A Scattering, having your acquaintance is honest pleasure.

Helen said...

What a fascinating article and thank you SO much for always making it "international"!

helen at hancock dot id dot au

Kim said...

You have to love a law the excludes the actual people in charge. I'm sure our own government would love to get away with that one. I can't wait for this book it sounds great.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

goodness, Regina, this sounds good! i'm anticipating some pleasurable hours spent involved with your creation... ;))

Suzi Love said...

Thanks so much for another of your wonderful Regency articles. Your research is amazing.
And I am so looking forward to reading your new book,
Suzi Love

Sophia Rose said...

I was chuckling as I read about the Gretna Green marriages because when I was a kid growing up in Northern California we always heard 'they went to Reno' and it was kind of the same idea.

The history and laws of marriage in the Georgian- Regency period is fascinating.

Look forward to reading your book and thanks for the opportunity to win it.

Janet T said...

I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this book! I know it will be good. I like your books, Regina, and have read several! I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Regina Jeffers said...

I see no reason to limit my audience by only mailing locally.

Regina Jeffers said...

Hello, Kim. I have missed you. I'm signing books at our local B&N next weekend. Hopefully, you are in town. Happy Easter, my friend.

Regina Jeffers said...

Faith and Suzi,
Thank you for your kind words of support. I do so love a Regency love affair.

Regina Jeffers said...

The "Gretna Green" effect is one of the reasons it is so hard to transfer P&P to a modern audience. Contemporary audiences keep thinking "Why not fly off to Vegas."

Regina Jeffers said...

Ms. Taylor,
I am pleased that you have enjoyed some of my previous efforts. "Disappearance" takes a few unexpected twists and turns.

Stephanie L said...

Love the info...this is some of the stuff I've wondered about as I'm reading along. Thanks for the giveaway! Looking forward to reading this one!
Stephanie L

Regina Jeffers said...

Hey, Stephanie, I appreciate your reading the article and stopping long enough to enter the giveaway.

Literary Chanteuse said...

As I have always had an interest in Georgiana's side of the story I'm excited about this book!


Regina Jeffers said...

I am certain you'll love this one. If you love Georgiana, you might also take a look at my "Christmas at Pemberley." Miss Darcy takes her happiness in her own hands in that one.

rainakochan said...

I just re-read "pride and prejudice" and thye talked baout gretna green when lydia and wichkam eloped, and I also rae another novel in with a girl a rake in order get away form a family which was really violent with her "the devil in winter" and teh couple was traveling to gretna green and married in a blacksmith's place XD
Thank you for expalantion about the marriage act !!
I'd like to enter the giveaway

BrendaNZ said...

I'm always intrigued by Georgiana's story. Having Darcy as an older brother would make it very difficult to find a man who would live up to that!! Whatever hero she does end up with will have to be amazing! This book sounds great as does Christmas at Pemberley (mentioned above. I'd love to enter the giveaway.

Regina Jeffers said...

The use of "Gretna Green" in Regency Romances is a commonplace story line. The first time I came across it years ago, I was confused. Of course, the internet was not so developed as it is now.
Did you know there are Gretna Green tours that one can make?

Regina Jeffers said...

I can imagine that having Darcy in one's family was a daunting experience without having him as a brother. Poor Georgiana!! He's brother, father, counselor, disciplinarian, and confessor all rolled into one.

Unknown said...

that was very interesting and the new book looks good thanks for the giveaway

Regina Jeffers said...

I appreciate your dropping by.

aurora said...

I enjoyed reading this excellent article. Regina,. you are awesome.

Regina Jeffers said...

I am pleased that you found the article interesting. Thank you for stopping by.

maria said...

Dear Regina,
I think it would be awesome to read your new book for many reasons but especially for two of them: first I love Jane Austen and all her characters; second because it's great to combine her world with mystery

Regina Jeffers said...

If you want a taste of the story line, read some of the excerpts on my launch post on Austen Authors. If you would like to read my first review of the book, check out Diary of an Eccentric at

oloore said...

Thank you for such interesting post about English rules of marriages in XVIII-XIX centuries! and thank you for the giveaway!:) The plot sound very intriguing with Georgiana's loss of memory and falling in love with a captor.
oloore at gmail dot com

Regina Jeffers said...

It is nice to meet you. I've missed you on Austen Authors. I hope you enjoy "The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy."

Jennifer W said...

I love your books and can't wait to read this one! Please enter me in the giveaway.

rainakochan said...

dear Regina, sorry for reply late.
in fact , I din't know that there is such atour !! it must eb quite excited and intesretsing to make this visit. seeing and hearing the coupel who use to come here from people live around is great :))
have you mad ethis tour?

Expressjodi said...

Great expectations

Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly - wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.


With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. "From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner's as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn't mean that you're tied to a ball and chain. "It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner's caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.


Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

In - laws or outlaws?

if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in - laws into the equation. When you're used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in - laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in - laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

Sharing space

Marriage involves sharing everything - whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. " Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
Differnces of opinion

Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. "Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,"

Planning for the future

As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. "Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long - term goal are concerned," "Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,"

Expressjodi said...

Brahmin Shaadi
Historically, the Brahmins in india were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.

The Sagaai or the engagement ceremony symbolises commitment However, the South Indian Brahmin do not lay stress on the presence of bride and the groom in their Sagaai, rather it focuses on commitment between the parents of the groom and the bride. 'Latto' i.e., 'engagement plate' Which consist of coconut, flowers, turmeric, betel leaves and betel nuts hold more importance, in their engagement ceremony. The Maithil Brahmin bride of bihar makes her wedding affair stand apart by receiving the blessing from the Dhobi's (washerman's) wife - a compulsory tradition in the Bihari Brahmin wedding.

In Haldi ceremony turmeric powder is mixed with milk, almond oil and sandalwood and applied to the bride and the groom. In Kashmiri Pandit this ceremony has a twist becuase cold, white yoghurt is poured on the bride as an alternative to haldi. ritual is followed by a special custom called Shankha (shell) Paula (coral) in bengali Brahmins, where seven married women embellish the bride's hand with red and white bangles, the shell is supposed to calm the bride and the coral is believed to
be beneficial for health. Mehndi is also applied on every bride's hands during the Mehndi ceremony. However, a Bengali Brahmin bride applies alta (red dye).

After the ceremonious arrival of the groom, the garlands are exchanged between the groom and the bride, while the priests chant mantras. Jaimala is the symbol of unifying two souls into one. But in tamil nadu, "Oonjal", a unique jaimala ceremony is performed and could be best decribed as a tug of war. In this ceremony, the women sing songs to encourage the bride and groom to exchange the garlands while the uncles persuade the soon to be couple not to Exchange the garlands.Before the ceremony of jaimala, the bride makes a majestic entry in Bengali weddings.

Mangal Phere
Fire is considered the most pious element in the Brahmin weddings and seven circles around that fire holds the seven promises that the nuptial couple make to each other amidst the Vedic mantras. The Brahmin wedding is deemed incomplete without the seven rounds around the sacred fire. Unlike other Brahmin weddings, in Gujarati weddings only four pheras are taken which are called the mangalpheras where the pheras represent four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Miksha (religious, moral, prosperity and salvation). Likewise in Malayalee Brahmin weddings, pheras are taken only thrice.

Post wedding ceremony vidaai
After pheras, the bride's family and friend bid her teary vidaai (farewell). The Kashmiri pundits make their vidaai even more special. their charming ritual, "roth khabar" is performed on a saturday or tuesday after the wedding. In Roth
khabar, the bride's parents send a roth (bread decorated with nuts) to their son - in - law's family. But the bride accompanies She stay with her parents and returns only when someone from in laws comes to fetch her back.

Griha pravesh
The new bride is greeted by her mother - in - law with Arti and tilak. The bride, who is regarded as the Goddess laxmi, enters the groom's house after the groom's house after kicking rice - filled pot. In Kannada Brahmin marriages, the groom changes the name of his wife in the name change ceremony where he decides a name for his wife and inscribes it on a plate containing rice with a ring. In Bihar, a very strange ritual is performs at the groom's place.