Read e-book online Cohabitation and Non-Marital Births in England and Wales, PDF
By R. Probert
This present day, cohabiting relationships account for many births outdoors marriage. yet what used to be the location in previous centuries? Bringing jointly best historians, demographers and attorneys, this interdisciplinary assortment attracts on a variety of resources to envision the altering context of non-marital child-bearing in England and Wales for the reason that 1600.
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Additional info for Cohabitation and Non-Marital Births in England and Wales, 1600–2012
56 In another Westminster case, in 1620, the woman emphasized that before being ‘drawen into follie’ she had ‘behaved her selfe in verie civell & honest manner’, having first been apprenticed for six years and then in service with a doctor of the High Commission for a further seven. A gentleman had seduced her with ‘deepe vowes & p[ro]testac[i]ons of mariage’, but had now left her destitute ‘contrarie to all humane honestie’. As a woman in ‘distressed estate’, ‘much wronged & not able to speake in her owne behalfe, and her friend[es] not willing to bee seene therin, but herevpon all forsaking her, and shee ashamed to acquaynte others therew[i]th’, she sought the assistance of the court.
62 More basically, the concern of parishes was to ensure that their ratepayers suffered no financial loss, and by the 1610s, if not before, local officers had developed well-established routines to achieve this aim. If unmarried mothers had no obvious right of settlement, they took steps to move them on, or prevent them from entering the parish in the first place. The activities of Christopher Fawcett, noticed earlier, offer vivid examples of these practices. In other cases they took great pains to establish paternity.
In 1615 Frount Charter, who had fathered another illegitimate child the year before, was described as ‘idle’, ‘a base lewd fellow’, while the woman was said to be ‘as base as him selfe’. 69 Strikingly, London sources reveal a number of situations leading to illicit pregnancies that had no counterpart in most areas of provincial England. One was where a woman’s husband was away at sea for a lengthy period of time. The illicit births that resulted were unusual in that the woman was actually married, but the fact of the husband’s prolonged absence made clear that the child could not be his.
Cohabitation and Non-Marital Births in England and Wales, 1600–2012 by R. Probert