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Clandestine or irregular births, marriages and deaths were ones that took place either away from the home parish of the spouses or at an improper time or due to there not being a place of worship in the place they lived.
"Clandestine" marriages were those that had an element of secrecy to them: perhaps they took place away from a home parish, and without either banns or marriage licence. It is often asserted, mistakenly, that under English law a marriage could be recognized as valid if each spouse had simply expressed (to each other) an unconditional consent to their marriage. These "common-law marriages" as they might be termed today were the exception. Nearly all marriages in England, including the "irregular" and "clandestine" ones, were performed by ordained clergy.
The Marriage Act of 1695 put an end to irregular marriages at parochial churches by penalizing clergymen who married couples without banns or licence. By a legal quirk however, clergymen operating in the Fleet could not effectively be proceeded against, and the clandestine marriage business there carried on. In the 1740s, over half of all London weddings were taking place in the environs of the Fleet Prison.
The following are names who have a Henham connection.
|John Dickson of Henham & Mary Rickitt of Henham married in 1724 at London. Officiating Ministers: Cuthbert, Ryder, Stacey, Mott, etc. Chapel register (1722 Jan - 1725 Dec)||Martha Grigg of Henham & George Gymnell of Moreton, Essex married in 1733 at London. Officiating Ministers: Shellburn, Wigmore, Gaynam Barrett, Ashwell, Sindrey, Floud, etc. Gibson's register (1733 Oct - 1745 Sep)|
|Richard Driver of Henham & Martha Dixon of Henham married on 22nd May 1726 at London. Officiating Ministers: Not named until 1724 then Wyatt, Wigmore, Wagstaffe, Evans, etc. (1712 Jun - 1726 Oct)||Thomas Presland of Henham, Essex & Susanna Kelsey of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire 25 Jul 1728LondonOfficiating Ministers: Gaynam, Floud, Cuthbert, Wyatt. [The Goat Register] Gaynam's Register (1725 Mar - 1731 Sep)|