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Archiver > LONDON > 2002-04 > 1019696207

From: "Ron Lankshear" <>
Subject: RE: [Lon] Illegitimate Births - How old was the average age of the girls/women involved
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 10:56:47 +1000
In-Reply-To: <002c01c1ebce$fb83e540$6d117ad5@oemcomputer>

I read that Illegitimate Birth increased from 8% 1800 to 15% 1850

This is a general discussion on

something about the younger the age of marriage the more likely bastards - I
suppose that means you married young when there was a need. (shotgun to the

And a link off that page says
"Roman law gave the minimum age for marriage as that of puberty which was 14
for boys and 12 for girls; these remained the legal age for marriage until
the late 19th Century in Britain though that for girls seemed to be assumed
also to be 14. However most did not marry until 18 or older "

So all in all yes it seems likely the girl could be a mother at 18 - was
that your question?

And a final word from
"atrib to Dr Johnson in Boswell's Life of Dr Johnson Tour of Islands 14 Sept
Consider of what importance to society the chastity of women is. Upon that
all the property in the world depends. we hang a thief for stealing a sheep,
but the unchastity of a women transfers sheep, and farm, and all from the
right owner. "

Ron LANKSHEAR - Sydney Australia
(from Shepherds Bush and Chiswick)

-----Original Message-----
From: Carlisle [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, 25 April 2002 6:31 AM
Subject: [Lon] Illegitimate Births - How old was the average age of the
girls/women involved

Does anybody have any ideas about the average ages at which girls were
likely to have illegitimate births in, for example, the early - mid 1800s.
My reason for asking is that I am debating with a colleague at the moment on
the likelihood of a particular person being a likely unmarried mother. At
the time of the birth of the child, if this woman were the mother, she would
be 17/18 years of age. My colleague feels that this is too young, and that
most illegitimate births took place when the women were in their 20s,
usually once they had moved away from home.

What do others think, please.

Helen, West Sussex, UK

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