Elizabethan dating and marriage courtship
Here, Professor Ralph Houlbrooke from the University of Reading reveals the customs surrounding love and marriage in Tudor times In Tudor England, most people who married did so only after they had the wherewithal to establish a household of their own.
This usually meant waiting at least until they were in their twenties.
Children of noble birth ran a great risk if they tried to marry without the approval of their parents, since they would be left without resources.
Young love, however romantic, had to be kept in check if the two lovers were to survive in a world where subsistence earnings would not purchase a roof over their heads and put food on the table.
They could react angrily if they were not consulted.
When in 1520 a Buckinghamshire girl, Joan Stevyns, belatedly implored her parents on her knees for their consent to her marriage decision, or at least her father’s blessing if she could not have his agreement or material help, he reportedly exploded: “Void harlot out of my sight!
” Even the children of the wealthy did however sometimes marry against their parents’ wishes.
"You know what to expect from me, as you have seen my character of a good wife.