Clues to nonconformity
According to church records, William Kettlewell married Elizabeth Kaberry in 1796 in the Anglican Church, Pateley Bridge, West Riding of Yorkshire, by licence. Hardwicke’s 1754 Marriage Act meant nonconformists had to marry in an Anglican church. William’s occupation was given as a ‘Gentleman’ on the original document but there is no indication of the couple’s ages.
They may have married by licence for various reasons, such as the imminent arrival of a baby, departure of the groom (particularly in the case of soldiers), or a desire not to have banns read in the Church of England. Residency status is unlikely to be relevant as in this case the couple were both recorded as being ‘of this parish’.
The Archbishop of York Marriage Licences Index, 1613-1838, is searchable on Findmypast ( search.findmypast.co.uk/search-worldrecords/yorkshire-archbishop- of-yorkmarriage-licences-index-1613-1839), with document copies priced £7.50 each available via the Borthwick Institute for Archives ( york.ac.uk/ borthwick/remote-services/ copying/order-form). By using the index and obtaining the original document, we are provided with additional information: William and Elizabeth were both 21 years old and upwards, and William was working as a linen weaver.
Could nonconformity be the reason for the licence? Elizabeth’s grandfather hosted the preacher John Wesley twice in his barn, which was used as an early Methodist chapel. Their sons were trustees of Methodist churches, confirmed through newspaper reports, entries in the West Riding Registry of Deeds, chapel diaries, class lists and settlement of outstanding circuit debts.
However, perhaps the most interesting find is their son, Thomas Kettlewell’s, signature on the 1851 Religious Census, which is available to view free of charge via discovery.nationalarchives. gov.uk/details/r/C8993. This shows that he served as a trustee and steward of the Lady Lane Wesleyan Methodist Church in Leeds, built in 1840 to seat 1,700 worshippers.
William and Elizabeth’s marriage licence is in the index on Findmypast