Gretna Green


Gretna Green
a village in S Scotland, near the English border, to which many English couples formerly eloped to be married.

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      village in Dumfries and Galloway council area, historic county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. It lies just north of the River Sark, the dividing line between England and Scotland, and was long famous as the goal of eloping English couples seeking hasty marriage.

      Because of a change in English law in 1754, English couples seeking a quick marriage were obliged to cross the border into Scotland, where Scottish law required only that the couples declare before witnesses their wish to be married. At Gretna Green the ceremony was usually performed by the blacksmith, though any person might officiate, and the tollhouse, the inn, or (after 1826) Gretna Hall were the scenes of many such weddings. As many as 200 couples were married at the tollhouse in a year. In 1856 the law required one of the contracting parties to reside in Scotland for 21 days before marrying. The Marriage (Scotland) Act of 1939 declared that marriages must be conducted by a minister or registrar, beginning July 1, 1940. But young runaway couples still came because, under Scottish law, parental consent was not required from the age of 16 (it was 21 in the rest of Britain). Finally, after an act of 1969 made 18 the age of consent throughout Britain, the legal reason to marry in Gretna Green vanished. Still, many marrying couples continue to seek out Gretna Green because of its romantic associations.

      Nearby Springfield, which with Gretna Green forms Gretna, competed with Gretna Green for the marriage trade until 1830, when a new Sark Bridge diverted traffic. Both Gretna Green and Springfield are now primarily agricultural villages. Pop. (2004 est.) Gretna, 2,730.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gretna Green — Koordinaten 55° 0′ N, 3° 4′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Gretna Green — town in Scotland just across the border, proverbial from late 18c. as the customery place for English couples to run off and be married without parental consent …   Etymology dictionary

  • Gretna Green — [gret′nə] border village in Scotland, where, formerly, many eloping English couples went to be married: used figuratively of any similar village or town …   English World dictionary

  • Gretna Green — infobox UK place country = Scotland official name= Gretna Green gaelic name= scots name= latitude=55.002 longitude= 3.066 os grid reference= NY318680 population= unitary scotland= Dumfries and Galloway lieutenancy scotland= Dumfries post town=… …   Wikipedia

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  • Gretna Green — Gret|na Green a village in southern Scotland on the border with England. Until 1940, the marriage laws were less strict in Scotland than in England, and so many young English couples, whose parents did not want them to marry, ran away to get… …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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