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I have been searching for a marriage for Peter Allicocke and Ann. Peter and Ann had five children: Mary (1631), Elizabeth (1634), Peter (1637), Francis (1641), and Edward (1645-1662). The four surviving children, as well as his wife Ann are noted in his will in 1670. I think I may have found a possible marriage on 9 Nov 1630 at Laxton, Nottinghamshire.

The marriage is transcribed by Phillimore (p 48) as:
"Wm. Allicocke & Ann Betney", 9 Nov 1630

The marriage is transcribed on FamilySearch (Bishop's Transcripts source) as:
Richd. Allicocke & Anne Betney, 9 Nov 1630

Clearly there is some ambiguity about the groom's name. There does not appear to be a Richard or William Allicocke having children in this area of Notts at the same time, so I suspect there is an error either in the transcripts or original, and it should be Peter.

There is also some ambiguity about the year of this marriage. On the NFHS records (which also appear on FindMyPast) the marriage date appears as 9 Nov 1629, but I think this is a mistake due to the fact there were only a handful of marriages in this church each year. The previous marriage in the register was on 30 Nov 1629, so the 9 Nov 1630 marriage appears right after it, which is where the confusion arose.

Peter had a daughter baptised on 27 Mar 1631 at Laxton - the baptism register does not name the mother but I believe the mother was Ann.

A "Peter Alicocke and Ane Betne" were presented for fornication on 26 Apr 1631 - I'm guessing due to the birth of their daughter the previous month.

It seems strange to me that Peter and Ann would be presented for fornication after they were married, even if a child was born 5 or 6 months into the marriage. In my experience it was not particularly unusual for a child to be born a little sooner after marriage than was proper, and I don't think most couples in this circumstance were usually presented in this way. This is making me doubt whether I have the correct marriage.

Therefore my question is whether it is likely a married couple would be presented for fornication under the circumstances I have described (and can you provide any documented examples)? If not, do you think that the couple married in 1630 is different from the couple presented a few months later?

  • FindMyPast has the same two records although it has the date on the one for Wm as 9 Nov 1629 (instead of 1630). It looks like the 1631 baptism is missing from there. Ancestry has the 1631 baptism plus two more with father Peter for Elizabeth (1634) and Peter (1637). It has the Richd marriage in 1630 with wife Anne Betney but not the Wm. – PolyGeo May 3 '15 at 6:49
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    diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/… (in English) focuses on adultery in the same period, but mentions illicit pregnancy as separate from bastardy. – user104 May 3 '15 at 9:09
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    Also nottingham.ac.uk/manuscriptsandspecialcollections/… might be of interest. – user104 May 3 '15 at 9:11
  • @ColeValleyGirl Thank you for those resources, I will take a look. – Harry Vervet May 3 '15 at 12:13
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I am speaking from my experience of Scottish records but I have no reason to suspect that the practice was greatly different in England. In Scotland, couples were frequently rebuked for ante-nuptial fornication when children arrived rather too soon after marriage. This would be recorded in the kirk session minutes of the parish (kirk session = minister and elders, the local court of the established Church of Scotland). Rebuke could be public or in front of the congregation and there was often a fine which was paid into the parish Poor Fund. In the parish with which I am most familiar (Walls, Orkney), this still happened up to the early 1870s. In another parish (Evie, Orkney) I've seen reference to an "ante-nuptial daughter" in 1841.

On same general theme, the Benholm, Kincardineshire, kirk session minutes, 5 March 1791, noted the decision to give up the practice of publically rebuking those guilty of fornication as the minister felt it "had a tendency to root out the remains of shame in the culprit, rather than deter others from the like fault" as well as being the cause of child murder. The practice was also said to be falling into general disuse so private rebuke before the Session plus a fine was to be the agreed approach.

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    Thank you for your answer @Janealogy. Welcome to Genealogy & Family History SE! – Harry Vervet Sep 4 '15 at 12:37
  • Likewise, Jane -- welcome to G&FH.SE! – Jan Murphy Sep 4 '15 at 16:23

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