This Index to The Dean and Chapter of York's Marriage Bonds and Allegations (Applications for marriage without Banns), covers over 150,000 marriage licences (over 300,000 names).
The Archbishop of York granted marriage licences for the Diocese of York and the remainder of the Northern province when more than one jurisdiction was involved.
Information in the marriage bonds includes the couple's names and the date on which the bond was taken out. Originally the bonds were completed in Latin and English. After 1753, when the use of English was enforced for all legal documents, a printed form was introduced for marriage allegations which shows ages, parishes and the church named for the ceremony. Bonds were no longer taken out after 1823 but allegations were kept.
A marriage licence is not evidence of marriage and it may be necessary to check the Church or Chapel register to confirm that the marriage took place.
A Bond was valid for 3 months from the date of issue and if the marriage did not take place within that period, a fresh application had to he made. A Bond could be issued by or on behalf of The Dean and Chapter if one of the parties had resided in the parish for 21 days before the application and therefore people from all parts of the British Isles (and also overseas) are involved.
Generally grants of licences were confined to persons marrying within the Diocese and in the Archbishop's peculiar jurisdiction of Hexhamshire in Northumberland but a very few will be found for parishes in Durham, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
The Diocese of York included most of Yorkshire with the exception of the Deanery of Boroughbridge and the Archdeanery of Richmond which became part of the new Diocese of Chester in 1541. At the time when Nottinghamshire was in the Diocese of York a different situation arose. Marriage licences were granted from two main sources:
- The Dean & Chapter of York through his peculiar jurisdiction over certain Nottinghamshire parishes. Details of the parishes concerned and a full list of the licences granted are contained in the Index to the Dean & Chapter's Marriage Bonds & Allegations 1613-1839. The Bonds are held in York.
- The Archdeacon of Nottingham who issued the majority of the licences in Nottinghamshire. The Bonds are held in Nottingham.
The documents principally relate to the peculiar jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of York, together with those of his Minster dignitaries but also include many of the prebendal peculiars. (A peculiar is defined as a parish church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese in which it is located.)
Under a system which was operative until 1753, there could be a choice of two or more churches named for the ceremony and some of these could be outside the jurisdiction of The Dean and Chapter or his Minster dignitaries. As an example of this, a separate series of Bonds and Allegations exists for Acomb, Alne and Tollerton; Bishop Wilton, South Cave, Selby and Snaith but with the exception of Snaith, all of these churches were named for the ceremony at one time or another in the Dean and Chapter Marriage Bonds and Allegations.
Normally the Archbishop of York only issued licences in the cases where a man residing elsewhere in the Diocese applied to marry a woman residing in Nottinghamshire in her own church. Working back on the Index from 1839 it has become apparent that due to some local circumstance, there has been a period in each decade when the Archbishop has assumed responsibility for the issue of licences in Nottinghamshire.