CHESHIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > CHESHIRE > 2004-05 > 1084392581
From: Guy Etchells <>
Subject: Re: [CHS] 'of full age'
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 21:09:49 +0100
No, nothing to do with tact, if either of the couple was a minor then
they would be required to have the consent of their parent or guardian
By claiming to be of full age they were declaring that they did not
require permission to marry due to age.
It should be remembered that in those days people did not concern
themselves with age once they had reached 21 (or in some cases 25 years
old for inheritance). That being so many would forget exactly how old
they actually were, that may seem amazing these days with the current
obsession about age, but if you think that back then there was no
incentive to remember ones age after reaching the age of majority.
Incidentally if either of the couple had been previously married they
then did not require parental consent to marry again even if still under 21.
Jean Bruce wrote:
> Many thanks to those who helped: Phil, Bob, Bren, Sue
> and Antony. It seems it is generally agreed "of full
> age' means( on an 1839 certificate) that the couple
> are 21 years or older.
> Some thought it would usually be used when the couple
> were marrying for a second time.
> I did not mention it on my original posting, as I was
> not aware it was relevant, but on the certificate it
> said that the man was a widower, and the woman was a
> I wonder if people were shy or even embarrassed at
> marrying at a more mature age in those days, and
> perhaps saying they were 'of full age' was a tactful
> way of avoiding asking how old they were.
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