CHESHIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > CHESHIRE > 2003-01 > 1042494127
From: "Mike Morris" <>
Subject: Re: [CHS] Age of consent pre 1753
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 16:42:07 -0500
Leg of mutton hmmm! cheap at half the price....................
Now who was complaining about playing football in the streets?
----- Original Message -----
From: "lavendersblue" <>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 4:14 PM
Subject: [CHS] Age of consent pre 1753
'Eighteenth Century Women: An Anothology' by Bridget Hill. George Allen &
Unwin (Publishers) Ltd 1987
...Until Hardwicke's Act, in 1753, the age of consent was fixed at 7 - but
until the age of puberty either party could avoid the marriage. Puberty was
fixed in a somewhat arbitrary manner at 12 for girls and 14 for boys.
It makes me shudder! From the same book, this is a plea for dissolution in
1 G.D. without the Knowledge and Consent of his Father(then alive, but
accounted not of sound judgement) was at the Age of Fifteen, by the
Procurement and Persuasion of those in whose Keeping he was, Marry'd,
according to the Church form, to M.F. of Thirteen.
2 This young Couple was put to Bed, in the Day time, according to Custom,
and continu'd there a little while, but in the Presence of the Company, who
all testify they touched not one the other; and after that, they came
together no more;- the young Gentlman going immediately Abroad, the young
Woman continuing with her Parents.
3 G.D. after Three or Four Years Travel, return'd home to England, and being
solicited to live with his lawful Wife, refus'd it, and frequently and
publickly declar'd he never would compleat the Marriage.
4 Fourteen Years have pass'd since this Marriage Ceremony was perform'd,
each Party having (as is natural to think) contracted an incurable Aversion
to each the other, is very desirous to be set at liberty; and accordingly
Application is made to the Legislative power to dissolve this Marriage, and
to give each Party leave, if they think fit, to Marry elsewhere.
Dispite their unhappiness married to each other, this marriage was not
dissolved, or 'indissoluble'. The reasons that were given was because they
were both of the age of consent, no adultry had been committed, and the
husband had not been cruel to his wife. Because a divorce was not so easy to
obtain, wives were taken to market wearing a halter around her neck, and
sold. The purchaser was often a lover, and price fixed beforehand. For the
sale of a wife to be legal, it had to be done in public, which is why market
was the usual place. It was not always money that was exchanged. Infact, it
would appear that more usually it was anything from a leg of mutton, to a
Hope you found that interesting!
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