The exhibition at St Leonard’s Church this Friday and Saturday - to coincide with Valentine’s Day - will bring back memories to many local residents. Come and see how fashions have changed and how many people still live where they were married! Martin Harris, Chairman of Eynsham History Group, who collected and captioned the photos with help from archivist Pamela Richards, has supplied the introduction below.
Marriage details provide so much information about the past. The registers list the groom's. bride's and their father's occupation. We learn how old the newlyweds are and whether or not they live in the parish. The clothes in the photos tell us a lot about the trends and fashions of the era. There is then the service itself conducted by a priest in the presence of God. The choice of hymns may or may not vary over the years or perhaps if in December, feature Christmas carols. “The Lord's My Shepherd” remains popular.
At Eynsham, once the ceremony is over, the marriage has lasted from a few hours to 65 years. In 1807 Elizabeth Ovenall married Henry Tooley but died the night after her wedding aged 24. In May 1997 my great aunt Clara was widowed having married her husband Reg at St Leonard's in January 1932.
Our earliest wedding with a photograph is from 100 years ago on 24 November 1914 when Britain was in the midst and uncertainty of The Great War and Alice Russell married Harry Hastings. Although I believe he married abroad, Eynsham's Reginald Clarke had his banns of marriage published in February/March 1918. He married Marie Boussier of 27 Rue de Ressencei, Versaille, France.
In the archives at the Oxfordshire History Centre, there is even a marriage settlement dated 20 April 1749 about the Eynsham marriage between Richard Castell and Mary Wells detailing all the land involved in the marriage. I hope there was some love as well!
All wedding photos in this exhibition took place at Eynsham unless stated. Most are from St Leonard's but are there are quite a few that have taken place at St Peter's or Eynsham Baptist Church.