I have a record that is an Intent to Marriage for my very great grandparents George Dutton and Ann Davies. I'm trying to understand exactly what it means, including the handwritten portions. Specifically, I have the following questions:

  1. My transcription of the handwritten text states "George Dutton of Coddington in the bounty and Diocese of? bertha Darem?r and Robert Ruseve of ????? in the land ??????" I don't see Ann's name here at all (It is mentioned in a part I omitted below). The printed text states We, so I would think her name would be in there.
  2. of Coddington, does that imply that George was born there? Is there anything else in there to indicate where he was born?
  3. The printed portion states something about giving "the Sum of Five hundred Pounds of good and lawful Money ..." Was that the cost of marriage in that day? That seems like a very high cost, and I had never heard of a wedding costing such a high cost, I'm just wondering what the story is with that.

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  • I think "bounty" is County and "bertha" may be Chester perhaps followed by an occupation. Further down I can read "in the same County" perhaps followed by Farmer (an occupation). It looks like a very interesting document so I'll be interested to see answers.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 21, 2014 at 2:51

4 Answers 4


Marriage Bonds (as seen here) are part of the process of applying for a Marriage License. The issue for the authorities is that no banns are read publicly, hence no opportunity for anyone to say, "Hey, those two shouldn't marry." To balance this out, the Marriage License increases the impact of any "illegal" marriage effectively by imposing a massive penalty for "illegal" marriage ("illegal" meaning contrary to church law).

The phrasing on a Bond is perhaps the reverse of what one might expect - a good reason for reading it word-for-word. Rather than say, "If there's a problem, then we have to pay £500", it actually says, "We do have to pay £500, but if everything is fine, then we don't have to pay anything." These two should amount to the same thing.

Therefore £500 is not the cost of a wedding. It doesn't even have to be handed over as a surety.

"Of Coddington" - under all normal circumstances, "Of X" should be interpreted as "Currently (officially) resident in X". In other words, the importance is locating the guys in the contemporary setting.

Bondsmen - most marriage bonds in the Chester Diocese that I've seen have two bondsmen who promise to pay this money if the marriage is "illegal" and in most cases it's the groom and another man. I don't think I've ever seen a woman as a bondsman (indeed, since at this time a married woman's property belonged to her husband, then a married woman had no ability to stand as a bondsman.) I have even seen at least one case where the two bondsmen did not include the groom - leading to some interesting indexing! So the bride's name would not normally appear in this section.


"Know all men by these presents, that we George Dutton of Coddington in the County and Diocese of Chester, farmer, and Robert Ruscoe of Aldersey in the same county, farmer, are holden and firmly bound unto the Right Reverend Father in God Henry William Bishop of Chester in the sum of five hundred pounds... Sealed with our seals, and dated the thirteenth day of February in the forty second year..., and in the year of our Lord God, one thousand eight hundred and two."

  • 3
    You beat me to it by seconds :) Agree with everything. Dec 21, 2014 at 9:43
  • 2
    I grew up in Chester, and Dutton's used to be a well-known grocer, with several branches (it still survives as a restaurant and wine bar). Perhaps it's the same family.
    – Mike Scott
    Dec 21, 2014 at 19:54

I agree with @PolyGeo that it says "County and Diocese of Chester" which would suggest we are dealing Coddington, Cheshire.

I think what you are looking at here is a Marriage Bond where the money posted is a surety that would be forfeit if the marriage didn't take place or was subsequently nullified but would otherwise presumably be returned at some point.

The bondsmen are normally the groom and a male relative of the bride which is why you see two male names rather than one male and one female.

You can see more about marriages bonds in the previous question "What is this Delaware marriage document?".


I am related down from George Dutton of Coddington , Farmer.. he was mentioned as a beneficiary on last will and testament for Joseph Capper of London Kennington along with my relatives Richard and Joseph Dutton of Rosemary Lane. This George Dutton of Coddington marrying Anne Davies I believe could be his son or grandson if born 1766 , as my Richard and Joseph Dutton were both born approximately 1740's for which I have yet to find their birth records... we believe their parents might be John and Jane Dutton of Rosemary Lane , tobacconists.. and they had a good size family in 1730's/1740's but no record of Richard and Joseph in church records...we also had a Aunt Capper, Aunt Bear and Aunt Rudolph of Leyton London...around that time and so I am at a brick wall with finding Joe and Rich Dutton of Coddington, Cheshire.

  • Welcome to G&FH SE! To try and breakdown your brick wall with finding Joe and Rich Dutton of Coddington, Cheshire I strongly recommend clicking the Ask Question button to ask a new question separate from this one.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 16, 2015 at 2:34

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