HC Deb 13 August 1901 vol 99 cc725-6

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]


said this was a Bill to legalise marriages which had taken place in places of worship which had not been consecrated. It was no use for the Government to go on with Bills of this kind. It would be seen from the schedule that marriages had been celebrated in some places which were not consecrated over seventy years ago, and according to this Bill all those marriages would be invalidated. What was the position of those parties? Many of those people were dead, and therefore they could not legalise their marriages at all. It was a common thing to go back thirty years, and even the Home Secretary himself had discovered two cases of this kind since the Bill was brought into the House. That was not a fair way to deal with the statutes of marriages; therefore he should oppose this Bill, because it did not meet the difficulty at all. He hoped they would have some promise from the Government that this matter would be dealt with on proper lines, for there might be hundreds of people whose marriages were illegal by the law of England, and some steps ought to be taken to deal effectively with this question.


assured the hon. Member that there was no foundation for the objections he had raised, and he hoped they would allow the Bill to pass.

Clauses 5 agreed to.



said that no one could tell when the date of the consecration was, and there was nothing in the Bill to determine what the period should be. He would move to leave out of line 35 the words "between the date of consecration of the Church and the passing of this Act."


I presume that the date of the consecration is not known in this case.


said he was surprised that they were asked to pass an Act to legalise a certain thing done between certain dates and yet the Attorney General could not tell them the date, and they had no knowledge of it whatever. They had the dates in all the other cases except this particular one, and he moved that progress be reported until the Attorney General had got the information required in regard to this date.

Committee report progress; to sit again to-morrow.