Bride Ales and Penny Weddings: Recreations, Reciprocity, and by R. A. Houston

By R. A. Houston

The various poorest areas of historical Britain had a few of its such a lot brilliant festivities. among the 16th and 19th centuries, the peoples of northern England, Lowland Scotland, and Wales used vast celebrations at occasions akin to marriage, in addition to reciprocal alternate of presents, to emote a feeling of belonging to their locality. Bride Ales and Penny Weddings seems at locally specific practices of giving and receiving marriage ceremony presents, on the way to comprehend social networks and group attitudes.

Examining a large choice of assets over 4 centuries, the amount examines contributory weddings, the place site visitors paid for his or her personal leisure and gave cash to the couple, to signify a brand new view of the societies of 'middle Britain', and re-interpret social and cultural switch throughout Britain. those areas weren't quaint, as is often assumed, yet in a different way formed, owning social priorities that set them aside either from the south of britain and from 'the Celtic fringe'. This quantity is ready casual groups of individuals whose target was once keeping and adorning social unity via sociability and reciprocity. groups trusted negotiation, compromise, and contract, to create and re-create consensus round more-or-less shared values, expressed in traditions of hospitality and generosity. Ranging throughout problems with belief and neighbourliness, sport and rest, consuming and consuming, order and authority, own lives and public attitudes, R. A. Houston explores many components of curiosity not just to social historians, but in addition literary students of the British Isles.

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Additional resources for Bride Ales and Penny Weddings: Recreations, Reciprocity, and Regions in Britain from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries

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French, The people of the parish: community life in a late medieval English diocese (Philadelphia, 2001), 113; Heal, Hospitality, 359; N. J. G. Pounds, A history of the English parish: the culture of religion from Augustine to Victoria (Cambridge, 2000), 241; D. 30 Church houses are discussed again in chapter 3. The present chapter has set out briefly the possible origins of official ales and their importance to fifteenth- and sixteenth-century southern English communities, leaving chapter 2 to explore in more depth the reasons for their decline there and the continuing vitality of similar, but by no means identical, festivities in the north and west.

55 L. Hyde, The gift: imagination and the erotic life of property (New York, 1979), 69. 56 Helmholz, Marriage litigation, 46–9; O’Hara, Courtship, 57–90; J. McNabb, ‘Fame and the making of marriage in northwest England, 1560–1640’, Quidditas 26 (2005), 8–33; L. Hutson, The invention of suspicion: law and mimesis in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama (Oxford, 2008), 181–2. 57 S. Farrimond, ‘Weddings and funerals’, in C. ), The use of symbols in worship (London, 2007), 98; Davis, The gift, 44–7. 58 Little is known of events around the formalization of marriage except that conventional celebrations entailed public rituals and festivities.

Yet not all celebrations, rituals, and festivities were the same, even when their formal attributes were superficially similar. Scholars concerned with other issues, such as marriage and community, are better advised to try to distinguish ales from other celebrations rather than conflate them. All ales were drinking sessions designed to raise money (what Manchester court leet described in the 1560s as ‘Drinking in assemble’),81 but church ales were not the same as help ales, bride ales, or bid weddings, and fairs (commercial as well as social events) were not the same as wakes.

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