Clues to non­con­for­mity

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

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.find­my­­drecords/york­shire-arch­bishop- of-york­mar­riage-li­cences-in­dex-1613-1839), with doc­u­ment copies priced £7.50 each avail­able via the Borth­wick In­sti­tute for Ar­chives ( 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 dis­cov­­tion­alarchives.­tails/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

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