Chapter

Affinity and consanguinity

Ginger S. Frost

in Living In Sin

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077364
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077364.003.0004
Affinity and consanguinity

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This chapter addresses the affinal and consanguineous relationships and how neighbours, families and society reacted to them. Most unions within the prohibited degrees were between in-laws, though a minority of others might occur, especially uncles and nieces. The more serious consequence for working-class affinal and consanguineous families was when they needed assistance, especially with the death or desertion of the breadwinner. At that point, women and children came into contact with the poor law. Judges' and juries' leniency showed that working-class behaviour affected the state to mitigate the punishments for illegal unions. It is noted that the middle classes preferred to have a marriage ceremony, but they did not have to risk prosecution. Couples wanted to go through a ceremony; the vast majority did not dislike marriage itself. The Victorian criminal justice system faced yet another dilemma in dealing with irregular unions.

Keywords: affinity; consanguinity; neighbours; families; society; illegal unions; middle classes; marriage ceremony; Victorian criminal justice system

Chapter.  9171 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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