Social History 500-1500, the Middle Ages

Dec 2011
1,304
I am talking about the millions of daughters of the English peasant/industrial working class.
How would these daughters of agricultural labourers, weavers, spinners, coal miners meet the gentry? How would someone labouring in the fields or labouring as a spinner in an industrial textile mill meet a local lordling?
You should have specified this then, as a rather large time period as well as geographic space were considered in the OP.

Do you have many examples of this?
No, but this is not my point. To clarify, I do not say that such a practice was "common" in all times and places. On the contrary, as far as the general population is concerned, I don't think this had a significant effect. However, one can infer that at certain times and in certain places, such things might have happened more frequently. A study of marriage law in German towns of the 16th century has found that the institution of "secret marriage" was outlawed.

Why? Looking at the marriage registers, historians found that the children of more well-off households, both female and male, would fall in love (or otherwise bond) with maids and servants sent to work in towns. Generally, until this time, a marriage was consummated the moment one partner agreed to the proposal of the other, and long as both affirmed such a marriage in front of town officials and clerics, it was legally valid and they could not divorce. Now, there might be many forms of secret marriage, one of the more famous ones certainly that of Mary Tudor and the Duke of Suffolk, Charles Brandon.

But, apparently, in the German towns of the 16th century, outlawing that practice might have been a political measure to lower the number of unwanted and unseemly marriages that came with a social (in terms of prestige) and economic (in terms of resources diverted to "unwanted" kids) cost. Assuming this to be true, it is conceivable that for the lesser partner, such a marriage lead to upward social mobility. Had those marriages not had a social effect, i.e. had it been possible to simply get rid of the unwanted partner and possible children so as to avoid integrating them into the wealthier household, there might not have been any reason to make secret marriage illegal. Even more so, towns, in some cases, introduced a "minimum asset" criterion to be eligible for marriage in the first place.
 
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Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,692
Europe
... Assuming this to be true, it is conceivable that for the lesser partner, such a marriage lead to upward social mobility. Had those marriages not had a social effect, i.e. had it been possible to simply get rid of the unwanted partner and possible children so as to avoid integrating them into the wealthier household, there might not have been any reason to make secret marriage illegal. Even more so, towns, in some cases, introduced a "minimum asset" criterion to be eligible for marriage in the first place.

What percent of overall marriages do you think were in this category?
 

Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,692
Europe

The first line quoted in your OP is this

According to a new study of unique last names from around the world, moving in or out of the upper class doesn’t take just a few generations - it takes centuries...
Which leads to this
https://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/head-of-the-class-do-certain-surnames-indicate-nobility/
According to a new study of unique last names from around the world, moving in or out of the upper class doesn’t take just a few generations - it takes centuries....Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the London School of Economics
Then this
England's social classes slow to evolve - 10 - 2013 - News archive - News - News and media - Website archive - Home
Dr Neil Cummins, an economic historian from LSE...and Professor Gregory Clark from UC-Davis...
 
May 2016
811
Vatican occupied America
...Throughout the entire period however from a legal viewpoint, the woman lost whatever property she had to the man (only put right by the Victorians). This vertical journey socially, must exist naturally enough, but to explicitly state things one way or another, without much in the way of evidence is shoddy practice and an embarrassing moment.
This is simplistic to the point of error. Women retained control over their trousseau and usually used it to gain a small income to increase their trouseau which became her daughter's trousseau. If she was an heiress her property was under the control of her guardian until she married and the control merely passed to her husband. He did not own it, she did, or more accurately her family did. If she died it returned to her family rather than being kept by her husband, unless he had a child by her -in which chase he held it for life. If her husband died she gained 1/3 of his estate and a share of his chattels for life and his free bench was completely under her control (unless she chose to remarry). Her estate also returned to her upon her husband's death and was completely under her control.

Be an heiress, marry an even richer heir, after a little poison...cough "illness" enjoy both your estate and 1/3 of your husband's estate. Primitive Feminism in action ;)
 
Sep 2015
1,811
England
This is simplistic to the point of error. Women retained control over their trousseau and usually used it to gain a small income to increase their trouseau which became her daughter's trousseau. If she was an heiress her property was under the control of her guardian until she married and the control merely passed to her husband. He did not own it, she did, or more accurately her family did. If she died it returned to her family rather than being kept by her husband, unless he had a child by her -in which chase he held it for life. If her husband died she gained 1/3 of his estate and a share of his chattels for life and his free bench was completely under her control (unless she chose to remarry). Her estate also returned to her upon her husband's death and was completely under her control.

Be an heiress, marry an even richer heir, after a little poison...cough "illness" enjoy both your estate and 1/3 of your husband's estate. Primitive Feminism in action ;)
Thus, hardly "simplistic to the point of error".

Throughout the entire period however from a legal viewpoint, the woman lost whatever property she had to the man (only put right by the Victorians). This vertical journey socially, must exist naturally enough, but to explicitly state things one way or another, without much in the way of evidence is shoddy practice and an embarrassing moment.
As you say, if they have a child, and you might think, they usually did, he owns everything. Which the Victorians put right, shirley?

The second sentence is really taking things in a different direction so not relevant.