Monday, May 6, 2013

The Age To Marry

I see that there are a lot of blog posts written about the age at which people marry.  A related thought that occurred to me was the age of marriage for the upper class English during the 19th century, and for some time earlier. 

If you read any of Jane Austen's novels (recommended), then you may get a glimpse of what finding a spouse was like for those upper class English.

A first born son would have been given an annual income from the rent paid to his family by the lower class tenant farmers who worked his family's land.  Second sons, and so on, would have been expected to earn a living by joining the army or learning a trade.

In either case a man would spend his twenties establishing himself, and then marrying a woman around 18-20 years old when he gets to around thirty.

A woman would be an old maid if she were unmarried at age 25.

I'm all for "traditional" marriage arrangements, but when we say "traditional" we should keep in mind that that meant something different in every society, and country, and time period, and class level.

1 comment:

  1. IIRC, in the Edwardian upper glass in Britain, a girl got at most two or three "Seasons" to land a husband. After that, she was considered "left on the shelf."