Marriage Act

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Sometimes known as Lord Hardwicke's Act (26 Geo. II c. 33), this was a fundamental reform of English marriage law. Before 1753 a free exchange of vows between a couple could create a perfectly valid marriage. The Act stated that only weddings conducted in church, according to the rubric of the English Book of Common Prayer, and with banns called, were valid. Not until the Dissenters' Marriage Act of 1836 were nonconformists permitted to marry in their own chapels or by a civil contract.

Subjects: British History.

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