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Chinese whispers and Welsh weddings

By Rebecca Probert


It has been claimed that in the late eighteenth century sixty per cent of couples in the Welsh village of Llansantffraid Glyn Ceiriog married by jumping over a broomstick, and a number of commentators have inferred that informal marriage was widespread in this period. Yet an examination of the primary and secondary sources shows that both the initial claim and subsequent speculations are based on ‘Chinese whispers’ rather than evidence. This casts a new light on the way in which people reacted to the 1753 Marriage Act, and illustrates how myths may be created through uncritical reliance on secondary sources

Topics: KD, DA
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2005
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