Reading Branch meeting 30th January 2020
Speaker: Simon Burbidge
Simon spoke of his research into his ancestors who had been divorced by the time of the 1901 census. Prior to 1858 Divorce was subject to Ecclesiastical Law with basically consummated or unconsummated marriage. It required an Act of Parliament and grounds were usually separation, civil suit or adultery.
Only 2 divorces a year were recorded in 1670, 322 between 1670 and 1838 and in 1900 there were 560 with only three women suing for divorce.
Notable cases from past were 1804 De Manville which involved custody of a child, it was ruled that a child belonged to father unless in danger of being harmed. Other cases included Lord Melbourne the Prime Minister and Caroline granddaughter of Richard Sheridan. Palmerstone re launched a Bill in 1855 which became Law in 1858. In 1920 Legal aid became available for Divorce. Details are available online in Ancestry TNA index J77 / 78.
This was a very interesting talk which covered the development of equal rights of women from very little in the 1600’s to equality today.