Saturday Snapshots

Coldstream Old Marriage House

This is the 18th century Old Marriage House in Coldstream. It was also the Toll House for the bridge, which crosses the River Tweed from Coldstream in Scotland to Cornhill-on-Tweed in England. The Old Marriage House is at the Scottish end of the bridge and is now a private home. But from 1754 until 1856 it was popular (like the Smithy at Gretna Green) for runaway marriages, because during that period under Scottish law couples could get married without parental consent and without giving prior public notice.

In the 19th century 1,446 ‘irregular’ marriages, valid in Scots law were conducted by ‘priests’, whose numbers included local men such as shoemakers and molecatchers. During that period five earls and at least two, maybe three, Lord Chancellors of England were married there.

Coldstream Bridge P1060422This is the Coldstream Bridge, built between 1763-6, designed by John Smeaton. It replaced the old ford across the river.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

11 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshots

  1. Hi Margaret,

    What a beautiful place and a lovely picture.

    We still have a working toll bridge near to us in Bathampton, Bath. Both house and bridge are listed buildings, with the house still functioning as accommodation for the toll collector.

    Thanks for the interesting detail in your story, I love these snippets of information,

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Yvonne


  2. Margaret – Such a beautiful place! I have a terrific mental picture too of couples heading for Coldstream.. Or maybe I’m just a romantic… 😉


  3. I had no idea that couples ran away to other places in Scotland – for some reason I just assumed it was only Gretna, because that’s the only place we ever hear about. Would Smeaton be the same man who designed Smeaton’s Tower, the lighthouse which now stands up n Plymouth Hoe?


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