Each record is a transcript.
You can order copies of the original documents from the Society of Genealogists for £15 including postage. Upon receipt of your payment, the Society of Genealogists will locate, copy and send you a copy of the record you are interested in within 14 days. See Useful Links & Resources.
The amount of information listed varies, but the Faculty Office Marriage Licences records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
Year of birth
There are 321,000 entries on the Faculty Office Marriage Licences register. These are couples, particularly Londoners, who intended to get married. Not all actually wed.
The Faculty Office was established after the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533, which transferred to the Archbishop of Canterbury the power to grant licences that had previously been dispensed by the Catholic Church.
The indexes have been compiled by volunteers for The Society of Genealogists and the original records are stored in Lambeth Palace.
A marriage licence allegation was a document sworn by one of the prospective parties, usually the groom, to the effect that there was no impediment to the marriage and where the marriage could take place.
Many ecclesiastical bodies had the right to issue marriage licences, many at archdeaconry and diocesan level. In theory a licence should be issued by the office, which had jurisdiction over both parties. If a couple lived in different dioceses in the Province of Canterbury then the licence should have been issued by the Vicar-General. If they lived in different Provinces (e.g., Canterbury and York) or overseas, then the licence should be issued by the Faculty Office. In practice, people often went to a higher office.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, through his Vicar-General, issued common licences for couples to marry in any parish church or chapelry in the province of Canterbury, which dispensed with the calling of banns on three successive Sundays. Until 1753, the Vicar-General's Office also granted relatively few special licences which allowed parties 'to marry at any meet and convenient place', generally a college chapel or nobleman's private chapel not normally licensed for marriages. From 1753 special licences could only be obtained through the Faculty Office.