This database contains Church of England marriage records and banns from parishes in the county of Warwickshire, England. For the most part, records included reflect Warwickshire’s historical (pre-1974 boundaries), except for Birmingham records, which are not included.
Before civil registration in England began in 1837, key events in a person’s life were typically recorded by the church rather than the state. Parish records are the best source of vital record information in England before the nineteenth century and remain an important source thereafter.
The 1753 Marriage Act required that marriages in England and Wales be performed in a church, by banns or license, and recorded in a separate register on printed forms. Thus, after the act took effect in 1754, marriage banns typically list
- marital status (bachelor, widow, spinsters, etc.)
Other banns may list only names and dates. A note about when the marriage itself was performed was sometimes added to the bottom of the record.
Early records of marriage are similar and include
- marriage date
- marital status (possibly)
In 1837, new legislation required that the following details also be recorded:
- marital status
- fathers’ names and professions
Banns and Licenses
Legally, the couple was required to be married either by banns or by license.
If married by banns, the couple was required to announce or publish their intention to marry for three consecutive Sundays. If no one objected to the intended marriage, then the couple was allowed to marry. Just because banns were published does not guarantee the marriage actually took place.
Couples usually married by license if they didn’t want to wait the required three weeks for the publication of banns, or if the bride and groom lived in different dioceses. Marriage by license was also common with the upper class.
For pre-1813 registers, please see the link provided in the Related Data Collections section.