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Marriageable ages Tudor England

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Misfit
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Marriageable ages Tudor England

Post by Misfit » Tue October 28th, 2008, 3:33 pm

I'm not talking about noble born heiresses, but a young woman from the "upper classes". What age would a woman be married during Henry VIII's reign? I know during the medieval periods they were married off quite young and I've got a book that has a young lady of 18 or so unmarried and not even engaged so I'm curious.

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Tue October 28th, 2008, 4:12 pm

I don't think 18 would be unusually late for a girl who wasn't an heiress. The third duke of Buckingham, Edward Stafford, arranged his sisters' first marriages in 1500 and 1505, and they were well into their late teens at the time, or even older. In the same book, Barbara Harris writes that the mean age for marrying of females in the ducal class between 1480 and 1679 was 19.5, a rise from 17.1 from 1330 to 1479. My understanding is that generally, girls married later as one went down the social scale.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue October 28th, 2008, 4:22 pm

Thank you, I knew someone would have the answer. :)

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Post by Carla » Tue October 28th, 2008, 6:44 pm

I was going to say the same as Boswellbaxter. Anne Boleyn was in her early to mid twenties and still unmarried when she met Henry. Somewhere I remember reading that average age at marriage for a 'middle class' sort of girl in the medieval period was over twenty, although I have to say I wonder what sort of statistical data that's based on! But anyway, assuming the girl in question wasn't a great heiress, being unmarried at 18 doesn't sound surprising.
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Melisende
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Post by Melisende » Sat November 1st, 2008, 2:39 am

For women of middle to lower birth - the average marriageable age was 22yo with the girl / woman giving birth to her first child by 25yo. Simply due to the fact that there was usually no "dynastic reasons" behind the impetus to marry.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat November 1st, 2008, 1:48 pm

Thanks all of you. Now if I can just bring myself to get back into the book. It's not going well....

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