Each record contains an image or a transcript of the original record or both. The amount of information contained can vary but you could find out the following about your ancestor:
Name of bride
Name of groom
Date of marriage
Time of marriage
Married by Banns or by Licence
Bride’s maiden name
Names of witnesses
These records cover marriages for most of the Anglican parishes in the English county of Devon and are published as a result of Findmypast’s partnership with Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, and with the South West Heritage Trust. Before 1837 there was no civil registration and from 1554 all marriages had to take place in the Church of England parish, regardless of denomination. The registers of these marriage records date back to 1538.
Parish records generally begin from 1538 after the Church of England mandated the keeping of parish registers in 1537. Baptisms, marriages and burials were all recorded in a single volume until 1774, when the law changed to require a separate marriage register and another one for Banns (or proclamations of an intent to marry). Standardised forms for these registers appeared in 1812.
Banns had been introduced in the Act for the Better Prevention of Clandestine Marriages of 1754. They were read out on three consecutive Sundays to allow anyone with a reason that the marriage should not go ahead to come forward. The alternative for the couple was to get married by Licence when, on payment of a fee, they could swear that no impediment to their marriage existed.
Other religious denominations, with the exception of Quakers and Jews, often registered these events in their local Church of England parish even after the Toleration Act of 1689 although between 1754 and 1837 it was illegal to marry anywhere other than a Church of England parish. Devon is a maritime county in the south west of England. It is bordered on the west by Cornwall, with Dorset and Somerset to the east. There is evidence that the county has been inhabited since Stone Age times.
We would also like to acknowledge the assistance of volunteers of the Devon Family History Society who have transcribed many of the original registers, housed at the record offices in Barnstaple and Exeter. Further records are available in Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.