Wednesday 10 June 2015

BEHOLD! A peculiar marriage!!

The parish registers in our collections are amongst some of the most heavily used records here and have been made even more accessible through the introduction of the ‘Cheshire Collection’ on Find My Past . This accessibility has brought with it increased exposure to the records and the wealth of information within them. One marriage in particular sparked some interest and we could not resist looking into it further.

The marriage was stumbled across by a researcher in the marriage register for Mottram in Longdendale St Michael. It jumped out from the page thanks to its enticing title. It read ‘Behold! N:B: A peculiar Marriage!’ So what makes this marriage so peculiar? Perhaps it was because the marriage took place between a couple with a considerable age gap; one was aged 23 and the other 83! Some 60 years difference. What is all the more remarkable is that the groom, Daniel Broadbent, is the younger of the two. His spouse is named Martha Cheetham, aged 83 and they were married by licence on 9th March 1780 at the parish church in Mottram in Longdendale.

The couple had their marriage licence issued on the same day and the resulting bond survives in our collections. The fact that a licence was issued for the marriage to take place, as opposed to reading of banns in the church three Sundays before the wedding, is not unusual considering the age difference between the two. It details how a sum of £200, a staggering £15,000 in today’s money, was to be forfeit if the marriage was deemed unlawful.
The surprises carried on coming when we discovered that one half of the couple died the following year. ‘What’s so surprising?’ you might ask. Martha was 83 when she married and 83 is a grand old age, especially in 1780. But think again. It is not Martha who passes away, but Daniel! His burial is entered into the Mottram in Longdendale burial register on 30th May 1781.
We think you will agree that this is indeed an unusual marriage to have come across. The search for more continues...

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