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parrot_knight [userpic]

Marriage, eighteenth-century style

June 28th, 2007 (06:37 pm)
current location: Upper Reading Room, Bodleian Library, Oxford
current music: something choral in the Divinity School


On Sunday last as a couple were marrying in the parish church of St Dunstan in the West, the bridegroom, a journeyman carpenter, after repeating the words, With this ring I thee wed, shook his fist at the bride, and added, And with this I'll beat thy head. The clergyman upon this stopt, and reproved him severely for his irreverent behaviour; but the man making a submission, and declaring he meant no harm, and spoke it only for the sake of the rhyme, the minister went on with the ceremony.

Comments

Posted by: buckbeakbabie (buckbeakbabie)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
david lmao

ROTFLMAO. Fantastic.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
JamieZoe

Glad you liked it! These attitudes seem to have straddled social barriers. There was an eighteenth century judge in Ireland, Marmaduke Coghill (born in Yorkshire) who once ruled that it was all right for a man to beat his wife with a small stick, but not a big one. His fiancee is said then to have broken off their engagement.

Posted by: dr_biscuit (brightlywoven)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 08:02 am (UTC)

Is this (even apocryphally) where the phrase 'rule of thumb' comes from? Something about the judge decreeing that the man could beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)

I didn't know that, or any, explanation for the phrase. Interesting...

Posted by: hack (overconvergent)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 10:08 am (UTC)

A little google-fu says that the wife-beating story is completely apocryphal (but much more exciting than whatever the truth is).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
Fredcello

It sounds as if it might be something to do with cloth measuring, but that might just be my imagination.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
parrot

KT provides the following link:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-rul1.htm

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
Outsider

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable suggests the term alludes "to the use of the thumb for rough measurements." Admittedly, I have found mistakes in Brewer's concerning topics I do know a bit about, which makes me less inclined to trust it than I used to be.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Arthurian Logo

KT adds (she can't post from where she is, but can e-mail):

"Michael Quinion who runs the page has also written a number of books (well, at least two) about language myths, well researched and very useful."

Posted by: helflaed (helflaed)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)

Dear me- couples making up their own vows...

Oh well- nothing new there I suppose!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)

Did you devise your own?

Posted by: helflaed (helflaed)
Posted at: June 29th, 2007 08:15 am (UTC)

No! But we were the first couple at that church to use the new service book introduced in 2001 so the clergyman was a bit nervous. Not only that, he'd known me since I was tiny so he was even more keen to get it right.

When he asked me if I wanted to promise to obey, I said I wasn't making promises I couldn't keep...