[From Lex Scripta, 1819]

An ACT to prevent Clandestine Marriages.

At a Tynwald Court holden at Castle Rushen the twenty-seventh Day of May in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven.

An ACT, to prevent Clandestine Marriages.

WHEREAS great Mischiefs and Inconveniences have arisen from Clandestine Marriages, solemnised sometimes by the beneficed Clergy of this Isle, but more particularly by Foreigners, who have resorted hither for that Purpose in order to obviate and evade the salutary Laws of their own country against such illegal Practices, by Means whereof the People of this isle have not only suffered in themselves, but are also become obnoxious to the neighbouring Nations; for preventing whereof for the future, be it enacted by the Most Noble and Puissant Prince James Duke of Atholl, Lord of Man and the Isles, &c. the Governor, Officers, Deemsters, and Keys, at this present Court assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the Publication of this Act all Bands of Matrimony shall be published in an audible Manner in the Parish Church whereto such Persons to be married shall belong, according to the Form of Words prescribed by the Rubrick prefixt to the Office of Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer, upon three several Sundays, (in which particular the Parliament of Great Britain have, in like Manner, thought proper to alter the Rubrick) preceding the Solemnization of Marriage, during the Time of Morning Service, or of Evening Service if there be no Morning Service in such Church upon any of those Sundays, immediately after the second Lesson; and whenever it shall happen that the Persons to be married shall dwell in diverse Parishes, the Banns shall in like Manner be published in the Church belonging to such Parish wherein each of the said Persons shall dwell; find that all other Rules prescribed by the Rubrick conscerning the Publication of Bands and the solemnisation of Matrimony, and not altered as aforesaid, shall be observed; and that in all Cases where Banns shall have been published, the Marriage shall be solemnised in one of the Parish Churches where such Banns have been published, and in no other Place whatsoever: Provided always, and it is hereby enacted, That no Parson, Vicar, Minister, or Curate, shall be obliged to publish the Banns of Matrimony between any Person whatsoever, unless the Persons to be married shall, seven days at least before the Time required for the first Publication of such Banns respectively, deliver, or cause to be delivered, to such Parson, Vicar, Minister, Chaplain, or Curate, a Notice in Writing of their true Christian and Surnames, and of the House and Houses of their respective Abodes within such Parish, and of the Tinge they have dwelt, :inhabited, or lodged in such House or Houses respectively.

And be it further ordered, ordained, and enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no such Banns of Matrimony as aforesaid shall be published in any Church of this isle between any Couple, either of the Parties being Aliens or Strangers, who shall resort or come to this Isle, unless such Alien or Stranger shall have resided at least three Months, and one Month in such Parish before such Publication: Provided always, and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Parson, Viccar, Minister, or Curate, solemnizingr Marriages after Publication of this Act, between Persons both or on. of whom shall be under the Age of twenty-one Year. after Banns published, shall be punishable by ecclesiastical Censures for solemnising such Marriages without Consent of Parents or Guardians, whose Consent is required by Law, unless such Parson, Viccar, Minister, or Chaplain, or Curate, shall have Notice of the Dissent of such Parents or Guardians, and in case such Parents or Guardians, or one of them, shall openly and publickly declare, or cause to be declared, in the Church there the Banns shall be so published, and at the Time of such Publication give his, her, of their Dissent to such Marriage, such Publication of Banns shall be absolutely void

And be it hereby further enacted, That no Licence of Marriage shall, from and after the Publication of this Act, be granted by the Bishop, Vicar General, or other Person having Authority to grant such Lycences, to solemnize any Marriage in any other Church or Chapel than in the Parish Church of, within, or belong, to such Parish in which the usual Place of Abode of one of the Persons to be married shall have been within-the Space of three Months imediately before the granting of such Lycence, and in no other Place whatsoever; provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to extend to deprive the Bishop and his Successors of the Right of granting Special Licences to marry at any convenient Time or Place, so that the said Lycence be under his own proper Hand and Seal Episcopal: And it is hereby enacted That such Lycences for solemnising Marriages shall be valid, unless the same be under the Hand and Seal of the Persons authorized to grant such Lycences respectively, and that no such Lycences shall be granted to any Person whatsoever but according to the Directions of the several Ecclesiastical Cannons Of one thousand six hundred and three, relating to Marriages.

And whereas many persons do solemnize Matrimony without Publication of Banns or Lycence of Marriage first had and obtained as aforesaid; therefore For prevention thereof be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Person shall from and after the Publication of this Act solemnize Matrimony in any other Place within this Isle, or the Dominion thereof, than in a Church where Banns have -been published, unless by Special Lycence from the Bishop as aforesaid, or shall solemnise Marriage without Publication of Banns, unless Lycenee of Marriage be first had and obtained from some Person or Persons having Authority to grant the same as aforesaid, every Person knowingly and wilfully so offending, and being lawfully convicted thereof, or Persons holding Ecclesiastical Living, or exercising any Ministerial Function in the Church or Chappel of this Isle, shall be deemed and adjudged to be guilty of Felony, and shall be transported to some of His Majesty's Plantations in America for the Space of fourteen Years; and if such Person solemnising Marriage contrary to this Act be an Alien, Foreigner, or Stranger, and not of the Ministry of this Isle, and convicted, as aforesaid, such Alien shall be publickly exposed with his Ears nailed to a Pillory to be erected for that Purpose at Castletown Cross upon the next Court Day of General Goal Delivery after such Conviction at twelve o'Clock at Noon, and there to remain for the Space of one Hour, when his Ears are to be cut off and remain on the said Pillory, and the said Offender to be returned to Prison in Castle Rushen, there to remain confined till the Governor or his Deputy or Deputies for the Time being shall think proper to release him, upon paying a Fine not exceeding the Sum of fifty Pounds, and abjuring this Isle; and all Marriages solemnised from and after the Publication of this Act in any other Place 'than a Church, unless by Special Lycence as aforesaid, or that shall be solemnised without Publication of Banns or Lycence of Marriage from a Person or Persons having Authority to grant the same first had and obtained, , shall be null and void to all Intents and Purposes whatsoever; provided, that all Prosecutions for such Felony shall be commenced within the Space of three Years after the Offence committed, (the Offender residing continuing within this Isle during that Period of Time and the Jurisdiction thereof;) and further;, that it shall not be necessary in Support of Marriages solemnised respectively as aforesaid to give any Proof of the actual Dwelling of the Parties in such Parish where the Banns were published, or where the Marriage is by Lycence, it shall not be necessary to give any Proof that the usual Place of Abode of one of the Parties for the Space of three Months as aforesaid was in the Parish where Such Marriage was solemnised; nor shall any Evidence: be taken in either of the said Cases, or be received to prove the contrary in any Suit touching the Validity of such Marriage. And it is hereby further enacted, That all Marriages solemnized by Lycence after the Publication of this Act, where either of the Parties, not being a Widower or Widow, shall be under the Age of twenty-one Years, which shall be had without the Consent of the Father of such of the Parties so under Age, if then living, first had and obtained, or if dead, of the Guardian or (guardians of the Person or Party so under Age lawfully appointed, or one of them, and in case there shall be no such Guardian or Guardians, then of the Mother, (if living and unmarried,) or if there shall be no Mother living or unmarried, then of the Guardian or Guardians of the Person, shall be absolutely null and void to all Intents and Purposes whatsoever: And if the Guardian or Guardians, Mother or Mothers, of the Parties to be married, or one of them, so under Age as aforesaid, be non compos mentis, or in Parts beyond the Seas, or by unreasonable or undue Motives be induced to abuse the Trust reposed in him, her, or them, by refusing or withholding his, her, or their Consent to a proper Marriage, it shall and may be lawfull for any Person so desirous of marrying, in any of the before mentioned Cases to apply by Petition to the Governor of this Isle, or his Deputy or Deputys for the Time being, who is and are hereby impowered to proceed upon such Petition in a summary Way; and in case the Marriage proposed shall upon Examination appear to be proper, the said Governor, or his Deputy or Deputys for the Time being, shall judicially declare the same to be so by Order of Court, and such Order shall be deemed as good alla effectual as if such Guardian or Guardians, or Mother of the Person so petitioning, had consented to such Marriage.

And for preventing undue Entrys and Abuses in Registers of Marriages, be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after the Publication of this Act, and from that Time afterwards as there shall be Occasion, the Churchwardens of every Parish in this Isle shall provide proper-Books, in which all Marriages and Banns of Marriage respectively there published and solemnized shall be registered, and every Page thereof shall be marked at the top with the Figure of the' Number of every such Page, beginning at the second Leaf with the Number One, and every Leaf or Page so numbered shall be ruled with Lines at proper and equal Distance from each other; and all Banns and Marriages published or celebrated in any Parish Church within this Isle shall be respectively entered, registred, or written upon such ruled Lines, and shall be signed by the A Parson, Vicar, Minister, or Chaplain, or Curate, or some other Parson in his Presence and by his Direction, and such Entrys shall be made as aforesaid in successive Order; and all Books provided as aforesaid shall be deemed to belong to every Parish respectively, and shall be carefully kept and preserved for publick Use. And in order to preserve the Evidence of Marriages, and to make the Proof thereof more certain and easy, and for the Direction of Ministers in the Celebration of Marriages and Registring thereof, be it enacted, That from and after the Publication of this Act, all Marriages shall be solemnised in the Presence of two or more credible Witnesses, besides the Minister who . shall celebrate the same, and that immediately after the Celebration of every Marriage an Entry thereof shall be made in such Registry to be kept as aforesaid; in which Entry or Registry it shall be expressed, that the said Marriage was celebrated by Banns or Lycence, and if both or either of the Parties married by Licence be under Age, with Consent of Parents or Guardians as the Case shall be, and shall be signed by the Minister with his proper Addition, and also by the Parties married, and attested by such two Witnesses, with their proper Additions; which Entry shall be made in the Fom or to the Effect following; that is to say

A B. of






And C.D. of






Were married in this









With Consent






this Day



in the year

By me, T. T. Rector/ Vicar,/ Curate.

This Marriage was solemmsed between us. {A B C.B

In the Presence of { E.F. G H

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid

That if any Person shall from after the Publication of this Act, with an Intent to elude the Force of this Act knowingly or willfully insert, or cause to be inserted, in the Register Book of such Parish as aforesaid, any false Entry of any Matter or Thing relating to any Marriage, or falsely make, alter, forge, or counterfeit, or cause or procure to be falsely made, altered, forged, or counterfeited, any such Registry or Act, or assist therein, or utter or publish as true any such false, altered, forged, or counterfeited Registry or Lycence as aforesaid of Marriage, or any Copy thereof, knowing the same to be so; or if any Person shall from and after the Publication of this Act willfully destroy, or cause or procure to be destroyed, any Registry or Book Marriages, or any Part of such Register Book, with Intent to avoid any Marriage, or subject any Person to any of the Penaltys of this Act, every Person so offending, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be deemed and adjudged to be guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death as a Fellon.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That this Act shall be publickly read in all Parish Churches and Chappells by the Parson, Vicars Minister, Chaplain, or Curate of the several! and respective Parish Churches of this Isle, on some Sunday immediately after Morning Prayer, or immediately after livening Prayer, if there shall be no Morning Service on that Day, on the first Sunday in each of the four several Months immediately after the Publication of this Act, and once every three Months afterwards for the Term of two Years immediately following the said fourth Publication, to the End and Intent that no one may plead Ignorance of this Act, and the several Matters and Things herein contained. And be it enacted by the Authority afforesaid, That no Vicar General or Surrogate deputed by the Bishop of this Isle to grant Licences of Marriage is afforesaid, shall grant any such Licence before he bath taken an Oath before the said Bishop faithfully to execute his Office according to Law to the best of his Knowledge, and hath given Security by his Bond, in the Sum of one hundred Pounds, to the said Bishop for the due and faithful! Execution of his Office; and for such Licence, and all other the necessary Writings and Trouble required by this Act in and about the same; Due Vicar General or Surrogate apointed as aforesaid shall and may lawfully demand and receive the Fee of one British Crown for every such Licence.—(Signed)— John Taubmanj Robert Radcliffe.—Basil Cochrane, Mark Sodor and Mann, Daniel Mylrea, John Quayle; Daniel Lace.—Quayle Curphey, Will. Murray, George Moore, Philip Moore, Jo}m Frissell, Matth. Christian' Thos. Radcliffe, John Clucas, John Taubman, ThosGawne, William Cubbon, William Qualtrough, Richard Tyldesley, Thos. Fargher, David Harrison.


Atholl House, the eleventh Day June 1757.

I do allow of and confirm the before-written Act contained in this and the three preceding Sheets of Paper, to wit, An Act intituled, " An Act to prevent Clandestine Marriages," according to my Prerogative in that Behalf, and do order that the same be proclaimed on the Tynwald Hill according to the antient Form and Custom of my Isle of Mann.


At a Tynwald Court holden at St. John's Chappell the fifth Day of July Anno Domini 1757.

THE beforegoing Act contained in this and the three preceding Sheets of Paper being allowed of and confirrned by His Grace the Lord of this Isle, was this Day publickly proclaimed upon the Tynwald Hill pursuant to the above Order, and according to the antient Form and Custom of this isle; in Testimony whereof we have subscribed our Names in the said Court.—(Signed)— Ho. Radcliffe, Matth. Curphey.—John Taubman, Dan. Mylrea, Mark Sodor and Mann, John Quayle, Daniel Lace.—The Keys—Quayle Curphey, John Christian, Tho. Christian, George Moore, Philip Moore, William Murray, Tho. Radcliff, Tho. Fargher, John Clucas, John Taubman, William Stevenson, Edward Christian Dav. Harrison, Richard Tyldesley Tho. Gawne, John Frissell, Matth Christian.


Examined by JOHN QUAYLE, C. R.


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