Traditionally, the bride married in her home parish. Therefore, many of the brides in this database lived and had their families in other parishes. The researcher should check the strays for grooms who married out of Stithians, but brought their brides home.
Society, during the early period represented in this database, was very patriarchal. In all classes, the father/husband dominated the family and was supported in this by the church. Children were not forced by law to accept the spouse their father chose for them, but aside from communal pressure he could dispose of his estate and provide doweries as he saw fit. Even for the poorest classes economic considerations outweighed love and romance.
Couples married progressively later between 1500 and 1800, primarily due to their having to accumulate the means of supporting a family. Chastity before marriage was paramount and generally respected. One theory attributes the rapid growth of the British Empire to the aggressive efforts of multitudes of sex-starved men desperately endeavouring to acquire enough money in order to return home and marry.
Unlike today, women did not more often outlive their husbands. Multiple childbirths and the low level of obstetric medecine kept their life expectancy to an average of 34 years. Adult mortality rates suggest that if Stithians follows the English average then some 25 % of the marriages in this database were second (or third) marriages for the bride or groom. Three out of four times these were remarriages for the groom.
(See Lawrence Stone - "The Family Sex and Marriage in England 1500 -1800")
Provided by Heather Pearce - Phillimore Marriages at St Gluvias
MORTIMER Ursula of Stythons m. 4 Aug. 1707
Marriages recorded during this period for Stithians reflect the boom and bust of the 18th century Cornish economy. Copper mining had become the mainstay of the Stithians economy, just as tinning had been in the centuries before. The reasons for the collapse were twofold: 1. the importation of higher grade, cheaper copper ores from Chile, South America (something my antecedants had a hand in through their firm Henry Bath and Son) ; 2. the replacement of wood by steel in the construction of ships - copper sheathing was no longer required. Copper prices collapsed and most of the Cornish mines shut down.
We can see this reflected in the occupations reported by individuals in the Stithians register. By the 1860s fewer and fewer of the grooms are miners and by the 1870s more of the brides are given occupations, primarily of domestic servants. Mining doesn't disappear as an occupation, but stone working comes to dominate. Granite quarries, farming and the opening of a black powder plant became the primary sources of employment.
For those who enjoy statistics we can see the progression :
For the decade 1840 to 1849 the population of the parish was approximately 2530 and the number of marriages was 161. 1:15.7
For the decade 1850 to 1859 the population of the parish was approximately 2385 and the number of marriages was 163. 1: 14.6
For the decade 1860 to 1869 the population of the parish was approximately 2358 and the number of marriages was 136. 1:17.3
For the decade 1870 to 1879 the population of the parish was approximately 2174 and the number of marriages was 58 ! 1: 37.5
For the decade 1880 to 1889 the population of the parish was approximately 1823 and the number of marriages was 61 ! 1 : 29.9
For the decade 1890 to 1899 the population of the parish was approximately 1768 and the number of marriages was 26 !!! 1 : 68 - In 1896 there were no marriages recorded !!
The statistics appear to indicate a significant decline in the local economy - fewer people could afford to marry and raise a family and / or the migration of younger adults out of the community. The latter is a known fact. The men of Stithians, as with the men of other Cornish parishes, took their families to the far corners of the earth - to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, South Africa, South America etc. to improve their circumstances. This is attested to by the "ClustrMap" you'll find on the index page of this site.
Notes on the transcription: Due to space considerations some information is left out of this transcript, these being; Ages-when given, marital status, mark or signature, Groom's father's occupation and witnesses. If you want a copy of the full record email me.
Stithians place name meanings by Ron Reed Stithians Parish Locations
Historic photos of some locations from Kernowman Photo Gallery
Old maps of the parish are available at Stithians Parish Map