Gretna Green: The bit of Scotland where English people go to get married
By Esther WebberBBC News
Gretna Green has been a hotspot for tying the knot since the 18th Century. But why do people still choose to walk down its many aisles?
The Scottish village of Gretna Green - population 2,700 - hosts almost two weddings per person per year.
The estimated 5,000 marriages that take place every year seem extraordinary if you consider that a mere 3,000 weddings took place across the entire county of neighbouring Cumbria - population 500,000 - in 2011.
Gretna’s status as the ultimate wedding destination comes from its position just north of the Scottish border.
In 1754, an English law stopped couples under 21 marrying without their parents’ permission. But in Scotland it was permitted for girls from the age of 12, and for boys aged 14 or older. Moreover, anyone in Scotland could marry a couple by “declaration”.
Young star-crossed lovers in England would elope and Gretna was the first town they would come to, two miles over the border. Enterprising blacksmiths set themselves up as “anvil priests”, carrying out the ceremony in return for a drink or a few guineas. One blacksmith wrote to the Times in 1843, specifying that he alone had performed around 3,500 marriages in the town over 25 years.
Several attempts were made to curb the phenomenon - which one MP for Newcastle described in 1855 as “lowering the habits, injuring the character, and destroying the morality of the people of the northern counties of England”. A year later an act was introduced to require a “cooling-off period” of 21 days’ residency in the parish in which a couple wished to marry.
In 1940 the institution of “marriage by declaration” was outlawed in Scotland and in 1977 English couples could finally get married without parental consent at 18.

Read more.

Gretna Green: The bit of Scotland where English people go to get married

Gretna Green has been a hotspot for tying the knot since the 18th Century. But why do people still choose to walk down its many aisles?

The Scottish village of Gretna Green - population 2,700 - hosts almost two weddings per person per year.

The estimated 5,000 marriages that take place every year seem extraordinary if you consider that a mere 3,000 weddings took place across the entire county of neighbouring Cumbria - population 500,000 - in 2011.

Gretna’s status as the ultimate wedding destination comes from its position just north of the Scottish border.

In 1754, an English law stopped couples under 21 marrying without their parents’ permission. But in Scotland it was permitted for girls from the age of 12, and for boys aged 14 or older. Moreover, anyone in Scotland could marry a couple by “declaration”.

Young star-crossed lovers in England would elope and Gretna was the first town they would come to, two miles over the border. Enterprising blacksmiths set themselves up as “anvil priests”, carrying out the ceremony in return for a drink or a few guineas. One blacksmith wrote to the Times in 1843, specifying that he alone had performed around 3,500 marriages in the town over 25 years.

Several attempts were made to curb the phenomenon - which one MP for Newcastle described in 1855 as “lowering the habits, injuring the character, and destroying the morality of the people of the northern counties of England”. A year later an act was introduced to require a “cooling-off period” of 21 days’ residency in the parish in which a couple wished to marry.

In 1940 the institution of “marriage by declaration” was outlawed in Scotland and in 1977 English couples could finally get married without parental consent at 18.

Read more.

jimrichardsonng:

On the Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus this morning and it was absolutely calm. Sailboats and barges tied up for the night, nobody stirring much yet. Peaceful. Shot on assignment in Scotland aboard The Lord of the Glens with National Geographic Expeditions. @JimRichardsonNG @NatGeoTravel @NatGeo #scotland #iphonephoto

Oh, that’s so beautiful!

jimrichardsonng:

On the Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus this morning and it was absolutely calm. Sailboats and barges tied up for the night, nobody stirring much yet. Peaceful. Shot on assignment in Scotland aboard The Lord of the Glens with National Geographic Expeditions. @JimRichardsonNG @NatGeoTravel @NatGeo #scotland #iphonephoto

Oh, that’s so beautiful!

The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond (July 2014)

The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond (July 2014)

Old Tollbooth, Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2014)

Old Tollbooth, Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2014)

Melrose Abbey, Scotland (July 2014)

Melrose Abbey, Scotland (July 2014)

St. Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2014)

St. Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2014)

Bus Window Photos from Scotland (July 2014)

Spotted in Scotland: This is a brilliant idea. Why don’t we have media recycling bins where I live?

Spotted in Scotland: This is a brilliant idea. Why don’t we have media recycling bins where I live?

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (July 2014)

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (July 2014)

Some Serious Weapons at Kilchurn Castle

View of an old military road at Rest and Be Thankful, Scotland, July 2014

View of an old military road at Rest and Be Thankful, Scotland, July 2014

In my book, Highland Passage, Ciarán and Mac are here during the bombardment of Eilean Donan Castle.

Photos: Covenanters Prison, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, July 2014.

The Inspiration for Highland Soldiers 1: The Enemy

When I visited here on a previous trip, the following story inspired me to write Highland Soldiers: The Enemy. It appears on a plaque outside the Covenanters’ Prison in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland. Here is the text of the plaque pictured above, which appears to the left of the entrance to Covenanters’ Prison.

Behind these gates lies part of the Greyfriars Kirkyard which was used in 1679 as a prison for more than one thousand supporters of the National Covenant who have been defeated by Government forces at the Battle of Bothwell Brig on 22 June. For more than four months these men were held here without any shelter, each man being allowed 4 ounces of bread a day. Kindly citizens were sometimes able to get some more food.

Some of the prisoners died here, somewhere tried and executed for treason, some escaped and some were freed after signing a bond of loyalty to the ground. All those who were persecuted and died for their support of the National Covenant in the rains of Charles II and James VII are commemorated by the Martyrs Memorial on the north-eastern wall of the kirkyard. The Covenant, which was first signed in Grey Friars Kurt in 1638, promised to defend Presbyterianism from intervention by the crown.

In November 1679 the remaining 257 men who had been sentenced to transportation overseas, were taken to Leith and placed on board a ship bound for the American colonies; nearly all were drowned when the ship was wrecked off the Orkney Island s (where there is a monument in their memory) but 48 of the prisoners survived.

The section of the kirkyard used to imprison the Covenantors lay outside the existing south wall and included the area now covered by buildings on Forest Road. The area behind the gate was laid out for burials in 1705 and contains many fine monuments but these did not exist at the time of the prison.

The plaque has been provided by the Grefriars Kirkyard Trust with the support of the Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association.