Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Scottish Customs I

(available from here)

O borrowed this book from his parents last time we visited. I thought I'd share an extract with you;

Martin Martin
Western Isles, C. 1695

It was an ancient custom in the islands that a man should take a maid to his wife, and keep her the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year, and legitimated these children; but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents, and her portion also; and if there happened to be any children, they were kept by the father: but this unreasonable custom was long brought into disuse.

Well O has had me as a trial wife for 7 years now so I reckon he is happy to keep me. We were both really surprised by this concept of the trial wife given the whole "you must not live in sin" thing.


  1. Also surprised that the father kept any children, particularly as they would be no more than 3 months old. Surely that hampered his new bachelor lifestyle? (I'm not sure what bachelor activites 17th century men got up to, but I doubt they would be compatible with raising babies!)

  2. how delightful. south of the border they aren't much better!
    do you not have a book of yorkshire customs?

  3. I don't have a book on Yorkshire customs but now I want one. I bet they are wonderful

  4. Hard core custom. Imagine having to leave your children.

  5. Hahaha no hypocrisy there huh! :)

  6. Hmm, I think the modern day equivalent is whether we can put up with each other. I honestly think people are very brave to enter marriage without having lived together.


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