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Elaine recently said on the forum that “Rotherham was the place where large numbers of Sheffielder's marriages took place. Many of my Upper Hallam kin were married there. We have tried to guess many times on the FORUM why this would be.”
In 1836 there was a comment from a magistrate which could be relevant, depending how you interpret what he meant.
It's in the Sheffield Iris of Tuesday 28 June 1836 which has a description of the cases heard by the magistrates Hugh Parker and W. J. Bagshawe “Sheffield Town Hall, Tuesday”.
One of these was a complicated case about Mr Samuel Courtier and his failure to pay maintenance for his wife and four children. There was some discussion of whether that marriage had been valid or bigamous.
"Mr. Bagshawe remarked, that the marriage appeared to have taken place at Rotherham, by banns, and that strangers in that parish still found a most improper facility in getting married there. Only last Whit-Monday, two minors, out of his parish, sixteen and seventeen years of age, were married there by banns, no questions having been asked with a view to ascertain their real residence. This he considered a most improper proceeding.”
My 4x gt-grandparents were unable to marry for several years. He was a widower but she was separated from her previous husband who was still alive. In those days divorce was only for the wealthy and so they just lived together as man and wife for at least 25 years. As soon as her husband died they shot off to Rotherham and got married there. I’m not sure if they asked fewer questions in Rotherham but certainly it would have saved the couple the embarrassment of having the banns read locally. They might not have wanted neighbours etc. to know that their children were born out of wedlock. They did indeed give a Rotherham address which was most likely fictive. They had lived in Sheffield for decades, and records show them as still living in Sheffield within weeks of the marriage.
I think Heather is spot on and finding that ancestors seem to have married outside their own parishes should get the Sherlock cap twitching at least. I am not aware of special arrangements which might have been available for marriages at Rotherham, but it did happen in the other direction also.
I have a Joseph LISTER (b1830) who marries Jane JACKSON (b1820); both of whom according to available resources lived all of their lives from the time at which they would have been of a marriageable age, in the Rotherham area. However they marry at the Sheffield Parish Church on the 19 November 1853. It is recorded on the marriage record that residence at the time of marriage for both is Southal Park. Interestingly also recorded on the record is that the name of one of the witnesses is Isaac CHATTERTON who was the Sexton at the church at the time. We are very lucky in both the Sheffield and Rotherham areas, unlike a lot of other areas, that due to all the transcribing work that has been done over the years by volunteers, there is a wealth of free information available to try and solve puzzles, or as a last resort a birth, marriage or death certificate can be purchased. I discovered that the eldest child to the marriage was born just 2 months and 2 days after the marriage date, so obviously it would seem that they married outside their local area to avoid the shame. Also as the Sexton was a witness, (and possibly the second witness could also have been unknown to the couple), it would suggest that the marriage was arranged in haste.
I would suggest that if you come across a similar example as the above in your research, check to see if there might have been a child from the marriage who might have been older than the eldest known child, as if an undiscovered elder child had been born but died very young, or was still born, it might give a better understanding of why the couple married in an unexpected location.
Thanks very much for those comments and reflections!
Incidentally, in reference to the marriage of Joseph Lister and Jane Jackson - I just read that Isaac Chatterton was sexton for around 30 years, and at some point also became deputy parish clerk. Was the other witness the parish clerk, John Kirk? John Kirk and Isaac Chatterton crop up as witnesses together in the register pretty regularly. According to the Sheffield Independent (25/1/1892) John Kirk witnessed “no fewer than 58,000” weddings in his long career at the parish church.
Yes I can confirm that the other witness to the marriage of Joseph LISTER and Jane JACKSON was indeed John KIRK.
I purchased the marriage certificate back in 2006 and had difficulty deciphering the hand writing. I went with the place of residence at time of marriage as Southal Park as best guess. However since 2006 there is a very clear scan of the church register which records the place of residence as South St Park. (This info is also as transcribed on this site under parish registers - marriages). So thanks for the query regarding John KIRK otherwise I would not have re-looked again at this marriage, found new sources which were not available in 2006; and solved a query. Thanks.
James Wilkinson was Vicar of Sheffield for fifty years, until his death in 1805. He was a man of many virtues, but not much liked, as rather well explained here: https://www.ourbroomhall.org.uk/content/explore/topics/faith-and-religion/reverend-james-wilkinson
I suspect two or three generations of people who had reason not to relish being married by Sheffield's chief magistrate may have set up family traditions of -irregularly- marrying in Rotherham, though in fact most marriages were taken by overworked curates.
Thanks for posting the information on James Wilkinson.
Makes for interesting reading.
Elaine in Ottawa.
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My relative John Aspinall was transported to Australia for 7 years in 1833 but, he never returned. His crimes were very low key, theft etc.
He left his wife Sarah nee Hatfield behind in Sheffield with 2 young children.
Sarah married John Broadbent the following year in Rotherham, I can't recall whether her marriage to John Aspinall had been annulled at that time (I have the annulment paper somewhere) however, as some have said, it was obviously an easier option than Sheffield.
Sarah carried on John Aspinall's trade as "hairdresser" in Sheffield as did her second husband.