Why did women with titles and properties in England want to get married before 19th Century?

Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
#1
Before 19th Century, married women in England had to transfer their properties and titles to their husbands and they could not regain control of such properties upon divorce. Therefore divorce usually left such women impoverished. In contrast, women who were single or widowed maintained control over their property and inheritance. So why did women with properties and titles want to get married? Wasn't it better to live a single life? They could have boyfriends and children if they wanted, but marriage seemed to be a risky choice under most circumstances.
 
Jan 2015
2,946
MD, USA
#2
They could have boyfriends and children if they wanted, but marriage seemed to be a risky choice under most circumstances.
You DO come up with the most bizarre things to say, don't you? Do you even want to listen to all of us telling you how virtually no upper-class women with property (let alone titles!) would even dream of just living a "single life" and having boyfriends and illegitimate children? It's almost like someone today deciding that instead of spending those oppressive amounts of money on groceries, they'll just collect and eat dog poop.

But you'll carry on defending your outrageous fantasy, insisting that they COULD have or SHOULD have or WOULD have, flying in the face of EVERYTHING we know about those societies...

Matthew
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#3
Before 19th Century, married women in England had to transfer their properties and titles to their husbands and they could not regain control of such properties upon divorce. Therefore divorce usually left such women impoverished. In contrast, women who were single or widowed maintained control over their property and inheritance. So why did women with properties and titles want to get married? Wasn't it better to live a single life? They could have boyfriends and children if they wanted, but marriage seemed to be a risky choice under most circumstances.
If there was any hint of sexual relations - never mind children - before marriage, they would likely be excluded from polite society; something few noble women would want. This is not just pre-19th century , but probably true until well into the 20th.

If a woman wanted a male companion, wanted children, wanted an extension of her noble bloodline, she would have to marry. No eligible male would take much interest without good prospects of marriage.

If a woman inherited, it meant there were no close male relatives to tell her what to do. At least she had a choice in whether and whom to marry. All she could do was to choose from the eligible batchelors available and hope that the man she married wouldn't gamble her wealth away or treat her meanly. If she chose poorly then there was very little she could do about it.

Not fair, not right, and if I were a wealthy titled woman then I would personally remain single - but most didn't.
 
Likes: Niobe
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
#4
You DO come up with the most bizarre things to say, don't you? Do you even want to listen to all of us telling you how virtually no upper-class women with property (let alone titles!) would even dream of just living a "single life" and having boyfriends and illegitimate children? It's almost like someone today deciding that instead of spending those oppressive amounts of money on groceries, they'll just collect and eat dog poop.

But you'll carry on defending your outrageous fantasy, insisting that they COULD have or SHOULD have or WOULD have, flying in the face of EVERYTHING we know about those societies...

Matthew
Well if you don't like the word "boyfriend" you can just ignore my last sentence. I don't know the male equivalent of the word "mistress" so I used "boyfriend". And what's wrong with children born out of the wedlock?
 
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
#8
But you'll carry on defending your outrageous fantasy, insisting that they COULD have or SHOULD have or WOULD have, flying in the face of EVERYTHING we know about those societies...
This is not fantasy. This is a decision they could make within their power. I am only talking about women with titles and properties, who didn't need any husband to provide for them.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#9
This is not fantasy. This is a decision they could make within their power. I am only talking about women with titles and properties, who didn't need any husband to provide for them.
To have children, companionship, all the reasons people get married today. Without marriage, any children they had could not inherit their titles, and they would have become social outcast if they had children without marriage. Plus they stood a chance to inherit their husband properties if he died before they did.

Married women also less restriction, did not need to have chaperones as much as a single unmarried woman I believe.
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#10
So you mean single women were discriminated against?
Single women (were
Me too. That's why I am puzzled why most didn't.

Probably for the same reasons most marry today. They thought that the man they married would look after them and love them, and that that he loved them for themselves and not their money, land or titles. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't. These days partners can get to know their 'significant other' much better before making a serious commitment. Back then they may only have danced a few times and had a few conversations. Also we can now enter marriage contracts and protect our assets, and break the marriage if things go badly. Back then such a thing was much more dificult for a man, and virtually impossible for a woman.