Bridal pregnancy in earlier rural England further examined.


Abstract This paper elaborates the argument of a previous paper (Population Studies, 20, 1966, pp. 233-43). The results of an investigation of the experience of 2,340 brides are broadly similar to those reported earlier: in particular, they confirm that bridal pregnancy was more common in the eighteenth than in the seventeenth century. Evidence is presented to suggest that the sixteenth-century experience was similar to that of the seventeenth, while the nineteenth-century experience was similar to that of the eighteenth. It is argued that bridal pregnancy was the product of a courting convention, rather than of 'betrothal-licence', and that it was not especially common among widows or teenagers. It is incidentally shown that the interval between birth and baptism was very brief in the sixteenth century, but lengthened in later centuries; and that the forbidden seasons for marriage were gradually eroded. Finally, it is suggested that the application of Church discipline in relation to bridal pregnancy could be assessed in the Church Court records.

DOI: 10.1080/00324728.1970.10406112

Cite this paper

@article{Hair1970BridalPI, title={Bridal pregnancy in earlier rural England further examined.}, author={Paul E.H. Hair}, journal={Population studies}, year={1970}, volume={24 1}, pages={59-70} }