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F is for Field

It’s always lovely to find interesting entries when preparing and adding information to our online catalogues and here are two 18th century marriage licences that made us smile: one appropriately named Edward Field, a farmer of the parish of Woodbridge (FAA23/34/224) and Robert Clod, farmer of Barham (FAA23/9/108) are wonderful reminders of the history of our surnames.

Marriage licences were sometimes issued instead of reading banns and record an intent to marry rather than the actual marriage, it wasn’t the usual practice and the reasons for issuing a licence were:

  • the parties lived in different church jurisdictions, or were not marrying in their normal place of residence
  • if one of the parties was a minor (under 21 years old), or a widow
  • the parties wanted to marry promptly (some licences were issued as late as the day of the marriage), or
  • if the parties wanted to avoid the publicity of having banns read in church.

Marriage licences are a good source for family historians as they usually recorded the occupation of the groom.  The catalogue for marriage licences for the Archdeaconry of Suffolk (1663-1859) can be searched through using the reference FAA/23*.  The collection record includes lots more information about marriage licences.  FAA/23 also includes licences for people living in the northeast Waveney area.

We are working on listing the licences for the Archdeaconry of Sudbury so please contact the Bury branch if you have queries about entries for the West of the county.

Also shown here is a map of Barham including fields (HA93/12/78). The map shows field names, boundaries and individual trees on the boundary; it is dated a little later than Robert Clod’s intended marriage, but maybe he worked these same fields years before?

Extract from "A map of an estate in Hemingstone and Barham belonging to Mr. Edward Leedes", by J. Pennington, 1774 (HA93/12/78)

Extract from “A map of an estate in Hemingstone and Barham belonging to Mr. Edward Leedes”, by J. Pennington, 1774 (HA93/12/78)

This map is from the de Saumarez Family collection (HA93) which includes the family and estate papers from significant land holdings through Suffolk and beyond, including Shrubland Hall and Broke Hall. Within the collection are many maps and plans of local estates.