The Cheshire Collection
Marriage Licence Bonds and Allegations 1663-1905
The surviving marriage licence bonds and allegations for the Archdeaconry of Chester date back to 1663 and cover an area comprising Cheshire and South Lancashire, up to the River Ribble.
Couples who chose to marry by licence, instead of by the more customary reading of banns, would swear a statement ('allegation') asserting that there was no lawful impediment to the marriage.
The allegations were supposed to supply the age (frequently 'twenty-one years and upwards'), abode, occupation and state (e.g., widower) of the applicant. Parental consent and signatures are often given for minors.
Until 1823 the parties were also subject to a surety bond, usually entered into by the groom and another person, details of which are filed with the licences.