Marriage bonds and allegations are, in effect, 'application forms' for persons wishing to be married by licence. Most marriages could only take place if:
- banns were 'published' in the parish church on 3 consecutive weeks or
- a couple had a licence granted by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority
Most couples were married after the calling of banns. The Archdeaconry archive therefore does not usually include records relating to the great majority of marriages. Information about most marriages (especially those taking place after the calling of the banns) is to be found in parish marriage registers, most of which are deposited at the relevant Archive.
Sixteenth and early seventeenth century bonds and allegations are written in Latin.
Until 1752, the Julian Calendar operated in England and the year began on 25th March. In 1752 the Gregorian Calendar (used in Europe since 1582) was adopted and the year began on 1st January. The yearly bundles of marriage bonds up to 1752 therefore, begin with 25th March and end with 24th March.
Prior to 1823, the application for a licence was in two parts - the bond and the allegation. After 1823, the bond was no longer required and the application consisted only of the allegation.
Bonds and allegations give details of the names and parishes of the people wishing to get married. They often provide supplementary information to the brief entries in the parish registers; for example age, occupation, parentage of a minor (i.e. under 21).
A limited amount of data has been sourced to date and can be accessed in this summary
When records become available they will be published