Discover your ancestors who made applications for marriage licences in the diocese of York, England, between 1613 and 1839. You may be able to discover your relative’s age when they applied for their marriage licence, their parish, and their spouse’s age and parish. The records may also reveal if your ancestor was serving in the armed forces at the time of their marriage licence application. The boundaries of the Diocese of York changed over time, with most of Yorkshire covered at one point or another, so the marriage licences are a valuable resource if you're looking for your Yorkshire ancestors.
Each record comprises a transcript of the original index. The amount of information listed varies, but the records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
• First name(s)
• Last name
• Birth year
• Residence parish
• Residence county
• Licence year
• Licence date
• Intended marriage place
• Spouse’s first name(s)
• Spouse’s last name
• Spouse’s age
• Spouse’s parish
• Spouse’s county
• Record sequence number
• Page number
The record set comprises 305,032 records of British individuals, as well as individuals from Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Ceylon, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sicily, Sweden, the United States and the West Indies.
There are 687 records of individuals in the armed forces.
These records date from 1613 to 1839.
The ‘Notes’ field may reveal details of the bride or groom’s marital status, parents or baptism date.
The abbreviation "PC" for parish church often appears within the Intended marriage place.
This Index to The Dean and Chapter of York's Marriage Bonds and Allegations (applications for marriage without banns), covers more than 150,000 marriage licences.
The Archbishop of York granted marriage licences for the Diocese of York and the rest of the Northern province when more than one jurisdiction was involved.
Originally the bonds were written in Latin and English. Since 1753, when the use of English was enforced for all legal documents, a printed form was introduced for marriage allegations which shows ages, parishes and the church named for the ceremony. Bonds were not taken out from 1823 but allegations were kept.
It’s important to note that a marriage licence is not evidence of marriage and it may be necessary to check the Church or Chapel register to confirm that the marriage took place.
A bond was valid for three months from the date of issue and if the marriage didn’t take place within those three months, a new application had to be made. A bond could be issued by or on behalf of The Dean and Chapter if one of the parties had lived in the parish for 21 days before the application which explains why the records contain individuals from all parts of the British Isles, as well as overseas.
Usually grants of licences were confined to persons marrying within the Diocese and in the Archbishop's peculiar jurisdiction of Hexhamshire in Northumberland but a very few are for parishes in Durham, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
The Diocese of York included most of Yorkshire apart from the Deanery of Boroughbridge and the Archdeanery of Richmond, which became part of the new Diocese of Chester in 1541. During the period when Nottinghamshire was in the Diocese of York, a different situation arose. Marriage licences were granted from two main sources:
• The Dean & Chapter of York via his peculiar jurisdiction over certain Nottinghamshire parishes. These Bonds are held in York.
• The Archdeacon of Nottingham, who issued most of the licences in Nottinghamshire. These Bonds are held in Nottingham.
The records chiefly relate to the peculiar jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of York, along with those of his Minster dignitaries but also include many of the prebendal peculiars. (A peculiar is a parish church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese in which it is located.)
Under a system that operated until 1753, there could be a choice of two or more churches named for the ceremony and a number of these could be outside the jurisdiction of The Dean and Chapter or his Minster dignitaries. For example, a separate series of Bonds and Allegations exists for Acomb, Alne and Tollerton; Bishop Wilton, South Cave, Selby and Snaith but apart from Snaith, all of these churches were named for the ceremony at one time or another in the Dean and Chapter Marriage Bonds and Allegations.
Issuing of Licences
Usually the Archbishop of York only issued licences in the cases where a man living elsewhere in the Diocese applied to marry a woman living in Nottinghamshire in her own church. Working back on the Index from 1839, it’s clear that due to some local circumstance, there has been a period in each decade when the Archbishop has assumed responsibility for the issue of licences in Nottinghamshire.
York is a walled city in North Yorkshire, England. It’s the county town of Yorkshire. As the city grew, it became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has kept. In previous centuries, York’s major industries have been the wool trade and confectionery manufacturing, as well as being a hub of the railway network. Recently, however, the economy is more dominated by the University of York and health services as well as tourism. Since 1996, the City of York has been a unitary authority area, which contains rural areas beyond the old city boundaries.
The Diocese of York
The Diocese of York is one of the Church of England’s administrative divisions and is part of the Province of York. It comprises the city of York, the eastern part of North Yorkshire and a large part of the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Archbishop of York heads the diocese, and York minster is its cathedral.