What is an Irregular Marriage?

geraldine's picture

Our ancestors Alexander Patrick and Ann Weir had an Irregular Marriage. This is also known as Handfasting. In Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary we find; handfasting, n. 1. a betrothal [Archaic.] 2. an obsolete form of irregular or trial marriage ceremonialized by a joining of hands. [Archaic] Alexander Patrick and Ann Weir handfasted January 1816 as recorded in Barony Church Records, Glasgow, Scotland. Their Irregular Marriage, a declaration before two witnesses without clergymen, was not approved by the Kirk. It was often rebuked and fined by the church. Handfasting was legal until 1940. Their irregular marriage was recorded in church records 31 July 1816. Ann's last name is entered as Wier. According to Kirk Session Records this Irregular Marriage occurred 6 months earlier.