Ancestry.co.uk has recently added a database of London Marriage Licences issued from 1521-1869. These are from a printed book originally published in 1887, and digitised and issued on CD by Rod Neep’s Archive CD Books, which has now ceased trading.
Ancestry says that the database contains abstracts of marriage licences granted in the Dioceses of London, Westminster and Canterbury from 1521 to 1869, and points out that an abstract is not a complete transcription of the original record, but almost always contains all the essential information within it.
The records in the database are for licences granted in a particular diocese, but they include details of marriage licences granted to people all over the UK. In one instance, a couple (one from Herefordshire and the other from Gloucestershire) were issued with a licence in London to marry in a parish church in Monmouthshire.
Specifically the records come from the following offices and cover the following years:
- Bishop of London’s Office (1521-1828)
- Dean and Chapter of Westminster’s Office (1599-1699)
- Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury (1543-1869)
- Vicar General’s Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury (1660-1679)
Entries are arranged alphabetically according to the groom’s surname. The amount of information that may be listed for a couple will vary from record to record. Typically, however, the information about the bride and groom includes:
- Father’s name
- Occupation of the groom and sometimes one or both fathers
- Date (of the lcence, not necessarily the date of marriage)