Discover if your ancestor was married in Berkshire, England, between 1538 and 1931. These records may reveal your relative’s age, marital status, and occupation, as well as possibly the names of witnesses to your ancestor’s marriage. Included in these records are those of John Lovelace, 3rd Baron Lovelace of Hurley, who married Martha Pye in 1662 and was involved in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. This collection is published in partnership with Berkshire Family History Society and the Family History Federation.
Each record comprises a transcript of the original marriage register. Some records will also provide an image, these records are specific to Phillimore’s Marriage Registers, an index of marriages.
The amount of information listed varies, but the records usually include a combination of the following facts about your ancestor:
How married (by banns or licence)
Later records may include additional details. These further details may include
Spouse’s marital status
Father’s name and occupation
Spouse’s father’s name and occupation
Notes (including officiating minister, consent of parents)
The record set comprises 315,528 records from more than 156 parishes in Berkshire, England. Berkshire is a county in southeast England, located to the west of London. The largest number of marriages are from Reading, the county town of Berkshire. For a full list of the parishes available, consult the Berkshire marriages parish list available in the Useful links and resources section. These records date from 1538 to 1933.
The transcripts were created by Findmypast, the Berkshire Family History Society using original marriage registers and bishop’s transcripts held by the Berkshire Archives and The National Archives. The records from The National Archives are for Windsor, St George's Chapel and Welford & Wickham parishes. The registers were created by the College of Arms, the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand. A fourth set of records originates from the Phillimore Marriage Registers. These records will provide images from the Phillimore registers.
The Phillimore Marriage Registers were created by William Phillimore Watts Stiff. William, the son of a doctor, was born in Nottingham and was educated as a lawyer. In 1897, he started his own publishing company, Phillimore & Co. Ltd, which published works related to British family history. Later in life, William transcribed and printed parish marriage registers for over a thousand parishes. He continued to work in family history until his death in 1914.
Marriage records are an essential part of researching your family history. Many records include the names of the couple’s parents. These are often the key to finding out the names of the generation before. Occasionally, ages of the couple may be listed as "full" rather than as a figure. This was a customary way of noting that they were over the required age of 21. If the bride or groom was under the age of 21, ‘with consent of parents’ is noted in the record.
A number of records contain additional notes about the marriage. These can be a source for interesting facts about the marriage. For example, on 1 March 1919, James Earl married Amy Povey in Holy Trinity Church, Grazeley, Berkshire. However, their happiness was not to last. The record’s notes state: “This was only a marriage in form. James Earl was soon afterwards found guilty of bigamy”. There are a number of records that recorded the individual’s as illegitimate when the father’s name could not be provided.
In 1661, the year before his wedding to Martha Pye, John Lovelace was elected MP for Berkshire in the Cavalier Parliament, the longest lasting Parliament. He sat until 1670, when he inherited the peerage on the death of his father. Lovelace developed a reputation as a keen Whig (a political faction in support of constitutional monarchy), and although he professed to be a Puritan, he was a heavy drinker and gambler and notoriously anti-Catholic. Lovelace created a scandal when a Catholic magistrate sent him a summons in 1688, and he wiped his bottom with it in public. He was severely reprimanded by the Privy Council and threatened with prosecution.
He was admitted into the confidence of those who planned the Glorious Revolution to replace the Catholic King James II with the Protestant William of Orange. In March 1688, Lovelace was summoned before the Privy Council, but was released on insufficient evidence. He organised secret meetings in a cellar at his Ladye Place home in Hurley, where in September 1690, he was visited by King William. Lovelace’s excessive drinking hastened his decline. He died in 1693, leaving behind his widow, Martha, and three daughters.