Archive collections : Marriage licences

Record title
Marriage licences

A marriage licence was issued so that a marriage could take place without banns being read. Before the Diocese could issue a licence the parties had to sign an allegation, affirming their intention to marry. This allegation would also be accompanied by a bond, an assurance signed by friends or relatives that the couple would be married in a specific church.


The licences for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon do not survive, but an extensive collection of allegations and bonds (1662-1883) have been deposited at Huntingdonshire Archives (reference no. AH29). An index of these has been produced, listing the papers alphabetically by the groom's surname, and PDF versions of the index are available below:

We are grateful to Huntingdonshire Archives volunteers John Archer (for typing up this index) and Marion Green (for checking the index against the original documents).


A number of marriage licences survive among the parish records deposited at Cambridgeshire Archives. These have been transcribed and indexed by R. and B.E. Snudden (Cambridgeshire Marriage Licences at Cambridgeshire Archives (pdf)).

The main series of records for the Diocese of Ely, however,  is held with the Ely Diocesan Archives at Cambridge University Library. This includes:

  • registers of marriage licences 1562-1600, 1604-21, 1659 onwards. (1562-82 published in Ely Episcopal Records A. Gibbons, 1891 available in our searchroom.)
  • registers of Archdeacon's licences from 1727, bonds, 1703-45, 1745-1875, 1934-53.
  • Archdeaconry of Sudbury records (parishes of Ashley-cum-Silverley, Burwell, Cheveley, Chippenham, Wood Ditton, Fordham, Kennett, Kirtling, Landwade, Newmarket All Saints, Snailwell, Soham and Wicken) are held at the Suffolk Record Office and include licences 1577-93, 1606-11, 1660-66 recorded in act books; 1683-1839 published in Harleian Society volumes 69-72.

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