Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guest blog - Olga Sinclair

Today, we have the first in a series of guest blogs. Watch out for more guest blogs on the 15th of every month.

Our guest blogger for December is Olga Sinclair, whose book Gretna Green, Scotland's Gift for Lovers, makes fascinating reading.

Elopements often feature in Regency romances, but Olga's book tells us about the realities of marrying at Gretna Green.

'As every writer of romance knows, lots of couples rushed up to Gretna to marry, especially in Regency and Georgian times, after Lord Hardwick introduced his marriage act in 1754,' says Olga.

'This said no persons under the age of 21 could marry without parental consent in England, whereas, in Scotland, over the age of 16, a lover and his lass could marry if they wished. It was done simply by a declaration between the couple, in the presence of a witness. That was what sent couples rushing up north to marry, and the shortest distance from London to Scotland was up the Great North Road to Gretna Green.'

Olga decided to write the book when she discovered an interest in Gretna Green, but realized there was no book that told her what she wanted to know.

'It took two or three years to gather the information,' she says. 'There were changes in marriage law. There were also hundreds of couples who were refused permission to marry - some of the most interesting ones come from the aristocracy. '

Gretna Green includes the stories of Sarah Anne Child & the Earl of Westmorland (1782) and Kitty Barnes & Thomas, Lord Cochrane (1812)

For more details, visit Olga Sinclair's website

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