What And Where Was The Original Gretna Green?
The 1754 English Marriage Act prevented couples under the age of 21 from marrying without their parents’ consent. In Scotland, it was still legal to marry without consent at the age of 14 for boys and 12 for girls. Scottish law also allowed for non-resident marriages and for “marriage by declaration”, which allowed almost anyone to perform the wedding ceremony as long as the declaration was made before 2 witnesses.
During the 1770s, the main coaching route from London to Edinburgh was also improved, making travel easier. Gretna Green was the first Scottish village, just across the English-Scottish border. As young couples were often pursued by their parents and were in a hurry to be wed, Gretna Green quickly became famous for its runaway marriages.