Discover your Welsh ancestor’s marriage, or intention to marry, in the historic county of Breconshire. The records will reveal your relative’s marital status, parish and the banns dates which will be useful in estimating your ancestor’s wedding date where a record does not survive.
Each record image of the original banns record and a transcript of the individual entry. The records refer to Spouse's however the existence of Banns does not imply that a marriage definitely took place. The amount of detail contained can vary but you could find out the following about your ancestor:
Banns date (first date of three)
Images can include additional details including:
Dates banns were read in church
Groom’s marital status
Bride’s marital status
Each of the records includes a transcript of the original marriage record. The amount of information in each record can differ, but most will include a combination of the following:
Name and birth year
Bride’s name and age
Groom’s name and age
Bride’s father’s name
Groom’s father’s name
County and Country
When available the image can give you even more valuable information about your ancestor’s wedding; such as:
Bride and groom marital status (Bachelor, Spinster or Widow)
Residence at time of marriage
Bride and groom’s profession
Bride and groom’s father’s profession
Witnesses to the wedding
Who performed the ceremony
If the couple were married by Banns or licence
Banns of marriage, more commonly known simply as the “banns” or “bans” (from a Middle English word meaning “proclamation”, rooted in the Old French) are the public announcement in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage. Their purpose is to prevent invalid marriages by allowing anyone to raise any canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage. These impediments might include a pre-existing marriage that has neither been dissolved or annulled, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent or the couple being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship.
Banns were announced in the home parishes of the parties involved for three Sundays in a row. Marriage licences were introduced in the 14th century to allow the usual banns to be waived on payment of a fee accompanied by a sworn declaration that there was no canonical impediment to the marriage.
In the transcripts the ‘Age’ field, at times, will list the Bride and Groom’s age as ‘Full’ instead of giving an exact age. ‘Full’ means that the Bride or Groom were at full marriage age of 21 years old or older.
Many of the marriage record images show whether the couple were married by Banns of by licence. Marriage licences were created in the 14th century. Couples could obtain a marriage licence for a fee if they wished to waive the Bann period. Banns were announcements made in the church on three separate Sundays during the three months leading up to the wedding day. The announcements were made to give the congregation an opportunity to voice any objection to the marriage.
Along with a marriage licence fee, the couples were obligated to sign a declaration stating that there were not lawful impediments to their marriage. There are different reasons why couples married by licence instead of by Bann; they may have wanted to get married quickly, they may have wanted to show that they could pay for a licence or the couple was getting married away from home.
Breconshire, also known as Brecknockshire, is one of 13 historic Welsh counties and a former administrative county. Breconshire borders Radnorshire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, and Cardiganshire. Following the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative county of Brecknock was abolished in 1974. Most of its area became part of the new county of Powys, where it was turned into the Borough of Brecknock. Powys also contained two other districts: Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire. In 1996, Powys was turned into a unitary authority, and a ‘Brecknockshire’ area was established under a decentralisation scheme. A shire committee made up of councillors elected for electoral divisions within the former Borough of Brecknockshire carried out functions delegated by Powys County Council.
The Breconshire Marriages and Banns includes records which use the patronymic naming system. This system started in Wales in the 15th century through to the mid-18th century. It is the practice of using the father’s first name as the child’s surname. Usually, ‘ab’ or ‘ap’ is added between the child’s first name and the father’s first name. For example, William Ap David is William son of David. The patronymic naming system can affect your genealogical research. We would recommend searching by your relative’s first name and birth year without the family’s surname. Then narrow your search from those results.