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Import: The History of Marriage in the UK

By Creativity, Gay, JournalismNo Comments

In this article we look at the history of marriage in the UK. Our history starts at 410AD, as before this time there were no written records of the history of marriage. Before written records, history was past down orally from the older generation to the younger one, unfortunately over time this oral history has been lost.

410AD – The Anglo-Saxons and Other Tribal Groups
For many people marriage is strongly associated with religion, but this wasn’t always the case. Straight marriages at this time were about peace and prosperity rather than religion. Marriages encouraged good diplomatic relations and the development of trade between two (or more) tribal groups.

It was the fathers who decided who their daughters married and the wishes of the couple were seen as irrelevant.


(Image Credit: Andrew Brooks @ Flickr)

12th Century – Consent
In 1140 Decretum Grantiani wrote a canon textbook were he introduced the concept of verbal consent to straight marriage and the requirement for a couple to consummate their union to validate their marriage.

In the 12th century the Roman Catholic Church made verbal consent and consummation necessary for the church to view the straight marriage as legitimate. Some Roman Catholic writers at the time also describe marriage as a spiritual experience tied to God’s presence. While this is not surprising, prior to this very little mention of marriage as a spiritual experience.


(Image Credit: Stuart Wrightson @ Flickr)

1549 – The Vows
The tradition of vows came from Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. Although the book was updated later on, many of Thomas Cranmer’s words are still used in religious ceremonies today.

These vows laid the foundation for how the Roman Catholic & Protestant churches viewed straight marriage at the time as: a partnership.

Thomas Cranmer must have reflected the views of the mainstream population about marriage at the time; otherwise it would have been unlikely that the church institutions would have accepted and taken on these views.

Roman Catholic Priests at this time were still delivering marriage ceremonies (as all other religious services) in Latin.

However, the Protestant’s began delivering their services in the English language. This is significant as English was the common language and this change made marriage ceremonies (as well as all other religious services) accessible to all.

Today, Protestantism is one the most popular religions practiced in the UK. Many historians believe that changing the ceremonies to English played a huge part in making Protestantism a dominant religion.

1563 – Sacramental Marriage
The Roman Catholic Church officially declared that straight marriage was one of the seven sacraments in this year; meaning that it was something undertaken in the presence of god. The other sacraments are: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Ordination and Last Rites.

The Protestant Church didn’t see straight marriage as a sacrament at this time.

1753 – State Involvement
The Clandestine Marriage Act (1753) set out what the state expected in order for a straight marriage to be seen as legal. It required the couple to get married in a church by a minister and issue a formal marriage announcement or to obtain a marriage license.

1836 – Civil Marriages
In 1836 it became legal for straight couples to get civil marriages, which were generally held in Register Offices. This was to accommodate both the religious and nonreligious.

For the religious it meant that they could get married in a neutral place, if for some reason they couldn’t get married in their church. For the nonreligious it gave them a place void of religion. Prior to this, nonreligious straight couples had to go through a ceremony in a church and undertake practices & traditions that they didn’t believe in.

In 1837 the civil registration of straight marriages started.

1837 – It’s All About Straight Love
Between 1837-1901 it was the Victorian Era. It is said by contemporary historians that the Victorian Era is when marriage became about love, but still only the love between a man and a women. Gay people weren’t treated well in the Victorian Era in the UK, with laws against sexual acts.


(Image Credit: Nik Mortimer @ Flickr)

Oscar Wilde – widely regarded as one of the most talented writers of all time; was accused of sodomy by the father of his male lover. He lost the trial and was sent to prison. It was rumored that he could have escaped to France, but he didn’t. Once he’d served his sentence, he moved to France.

Left: Oscar Wilde’s grave in France, covered in Graffiti by gay people from across the world.


(Image Credit: melbelleinsc @ Flickr)

1858 – Divorce
Between the 17th – 19th Centuries there were 300 cases of people wanting to end their marriages. The only way to do this was for an Act of Parliament for each marriage, as there was no accommodation for divorce in marriage law. So in 1858 the government of the time finally made divorce a legal process.

The legal process that meant those who wanted or needed a divorce could have one. But it also signified a shift in the focus of marriage from being a lifetime commitment – for better or worse, to a commitment that could be changed if life’s circumstances changed.

19th Century – Birth Control
By the 19th Century, both the Roman Catholic and Protestant Church’s had promoted procreation as the main reason for straight marriage. But as more children survived childhood, families got bigger and there was a need to use some form of contraception.

In the 1930s the Protestant Church accepted contraception, viewing it as necessary and not a sin or something God would be unhappy with. But the Roman Catholic Church has remained against any form of contraception, as they continue to see the procreation of children as a fundamental aspect of straight marriage.


(Image Credit: Viviana Hurtado @ Flickr)

2005 – Civil Partnerships
In 2005 the first gay civil partnerships took place, a year after The Civil Partnership Act came into law.

It allowed gay people to have legally recognised relationships, which granted them the same rights, protections and benefits of a married straight couple. This included legal rights, such as being one another’s Next of Kin; rights related to their partner’s children and the benefits including those of taxation reductions.

In terms of the actual act, the gay couple could have a civil partnership ceremony that could consist of anything they wanted (within the law). This could be vows, the exchange of rings, their choice in music, etc.

The Civil Partnership Act included a legal process for those gay people who may want to end their civil partnership. It is called ‘dissolution’ and works on similar legal principles to divorce.

This was the first time that the state in the UK legally recognised gay relationships. In the first five there were 42,778 gay civil partnerships.

Peter Tatchell (Gay Rights Activist) as well as others criticised The Civil Partnership Act, saying that it wasn’t complete equality as it excluded straight people from being able to be civil partners.


(Image Credit: Gary Dunne @ Flickr)

2013 – Gay Marriage
This year The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act has been passed in England and Wales. The first gay marriages are expected in March 2014.

Stonewall said of The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act:

‘This is an historic moment for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, their families and their friends. This Act will mean that, for the first time, children growing up to be gay in England and Wales will have full equality in law. We can now proudly claim to be a beacon to the world for gay equality.’

In ancient history marriage had nothing to do with religion, but helped tribes to live and thrive together. Then Christian institutions (both Roman Catholic & Protestant Churches) influenced the definition and meaning of marriage. In the last century the state has got involved for marriage, allowing marriage to be more flexible and much more inclusive.

Marriage as a concept has evolved to meet the needs and desires of society. Currently there is some debate as to what role the churches and state play within marriage. It is likely that over the next century the Churches will continue to reside over the spiritual aspect of marriage, whereas the state will continue to be involved with the legal and administrative side of marriage.

Antony Simpson, Writer of this article would like to acknowledge the following sources that supported putting together this article based on fact:

BBC – Ten key moments in the history of marriage

Office for National Statistics – Civil Partnerships Five Years On…rd/…/ard-pt145-civil-partnerships.pdf‎

Office for National Statistics – Video Summary: What does the Census tell us about religion in 2011?

Peter Tatchell – A setback for equality

Stonewall – Equal Marriage to become law – Thank You!

Stonewall – Get Hitched! A Guide to Civil Partnership

Published by: The Gay UK Feb/March 2014 Magazine (priced £1.49)


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My Monthly Reiki Session: A Spirit Guide?

By Happiness & Joy, Health, PaganismNo Comments

Two or three months ago, I had loads going on and was stressed to the hilt. It was like plates spinning. I’m Reiki One Qualified (see Reiki one – Qualified) so technically I can heal myself; but I had some birthday money left over so decided to treat myself.

I booked a Reiki session at Halsa Healing. I left feeling great, completely de-stressed, relaxed, energised and so amazingly well. I decided to make it a regular monthly treat. Well…when I can afford it anyway.

So what is Reiki? Well…

(Image Credit: Isis Jade)

On my last Reiki session, I had a rather spiritual experience that I’d like to share with you.

I lay on the massage table with my eyes closed. The relaxing music soothed my ears, as I felt the Reiki flow into me from the Reiki Practitioner.

As the session continued I began to sense two streams of Reiki entering my body, one into my chest (heart chakra) and one into my feet (root chakra). I double-checked using my senses. Yes I could definitely feel two streams Reiki energy, even down to the associated physical tingling and heat.

How is this possible? I thought.

I briefly opened my eyes. Louise, the Reiki practitioner was to my side her hands over my chest. I glanced down at my feet to see a bright white humanoid figure of pure energy. His hands were cupped slightly and sending Reiki energy into the top my feet. It was kind of like the image above, only minus the wings and much whiter. It’s difficult to describe the beauty of the energy I felt from this being. I definitely got a feeling of safety, home and hugs from this being.

For a split-second I thought that it might be Alex (see Thinking of You Often…). But my intuition told me that is wasn’t. I was sure of this, as sure as I am of the fact that the sky is blue. I got a distinct feeling that this being had never been on this physical plane. Or at least not for many, many lifetimes.

After the Reiki session had come to the end, I told Louise about my experience. She said it could have been one of my spirit guides or possibly one of hers – helping her out.

I am aware of spirit guides and have done some work with them in the past. But not for years. So I read up on spirit guides. This basic but really interesting Q & A article is great for anyone new to spirit guides.

Then I found this fantastic guided meditation on YouTube to help people meet and communicate with their spirit guides:

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I completed this meditation with the hope of finding out if it was one of my guides that was healing me during the Reiki session. If it was, I wanted to meet him and get to know him better. I can’t remember all the details of the meditation now; but I can remember meeting him.

I met this broad-shouldered man, strong looking. Strong hands. Made me feel safe. With a warm Smile. He was hansom – sharp jawline, green eyes, short hair with a quiff at the front. He was wearing a green jumper and possibly jeans. I asked his name telepathically. He answered the same way, saying that his name was Matt. I asked him what was his purpose was, as part of my spirit guide team. He answered with: Protection.

He was/is there to keep me safe. I understood my feelings of safety, home and hugs that I had when I first met him in the Reiki session. I always imagined that my spirit guide for protection would be a samurai warrior, in the full gear. Well…at least that’s what I’ve always imagined standing guard outside of my cast circles.

The reiki session and the guided meditation were amazing spiritual experiences. They wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been relaxed and open to them. So the lesson here is: always try be open to new spiritual experiences.

Blog soon,


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Rivington Adventure: Lever Castle

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, History, Nature2 Comments
Rivington Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

A few weeks ago, I had a week’s annual leave from work. I choose the right week to be off – as all week we had glorious sunshine and sizzling temperatures.

Simon & I headed for an adventure in Rivington. Rivington is a massive woodland and village close to Chorley and Bolton, both of which are in Lancashire. It has a long history dating back to the Bronze Age.

Rivington has several sets of old ruins; with the buildings constructed under the instruction of the long deceased wealthy Lord Leverhulme, whom used to own the land.

Lever Castle (known to some as Rivington Castle) was built by Lord Leverhulme on a whim and closely mirrors Liverpool Castle. Here are some photos of our adventure exploring Lever Castle – as always to see the full size photo click on it:

Outside Rivington Castle - Covered In Greenery

Outside Rivington Castle – Covered In Greenery

The outside of Rivington Castle

The outside of Rivington Castle

Rivington Castle - The Entrance

Rivington Castle – The Entrance

Rivington Castle Inside - Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle Inside – Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle Inside - Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle Inside – Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle Inside - Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle Inside – Ruins in a Good State

Rivington Castle - 'Owe look a window!' Simon says.

Rivington Castle – ‘Owe look a window!’ Simon says.

Rivington Castle - 'Hello!' Simon says.

Rivington Castle – ‘Hello!’ Simon says.

Rivington Castle - The Top of One of Four Towers

Rivington Castle – The Top of One of Four Towers

Rivington Castle - A Stunning Corridor of Arching Doorways

Rivington Castle – A Stunning Corridor of Arching Doorways

Rivington Castle - The Court Yard, with Winter Hill & a Watchtower in the Background.

Rivington Castle – The Court Yard, with Winter Hill & a Watchtower in the Background.

Rivington - A Place of Bewitching Beauty

Rivington – A Place of Bewitching Beauty

After exploring the castle and stopping to enjoy the serene view of the reservoir below; we decided to go for a walk to appreciate nature. To me just taking the time out of busy life to truly appreciate nature – is a spiritual experience in it’s self.

Although the photos don’t do this wonderful place justice, Left and Below are some photos of Rivington’s natural world.

Rivington is right on my door step, yet I forget it’s there. I should visit more often.

Rivington - A Place of Natural Delightful Beauty

Rivington – A Place of Natural Delightful Beauty

Rivington - There's Something Magical About Being this Close to Nature.

Rivington – There’s Something Magical About Being this Close to Nature.

Take care,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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