The Economic History Review

English rural societies and geographical marital endogamy, 1700–1837

Volume 55 Issue 2
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Pages: 262-298Authors: K. D. M. Snell
Published online: June 28, 2008DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00221

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This article studies 69 rural parishes in eight English counties, examining changes in geographical marital endogamy. It discovers a consistent upward trend in the proportions of marriages that were parochially endogamous, coupled with a decline in so -called ‘foreign’ marriages following Hardwickes’s Act (1753), and a striking shift towards marriages taking place in the brides’ parishes. It explores regional variability in parochial endogamy and stresses the role of settlement sizes. The explanation for rising endogamy highlights factors such as population growth, rising poor relief expenditures, and attitudes resistant to ‘outsiders’ during a period of precarious subsistence and associated tensions.