(Law and Religion UK) Frank Cranmer–The end of banns in England?

The Revd Stephen Trott has tabled a Private Member’s Motion at General Synod, as follows:


The Revd Stephen Trott (Peterborough) to move:

“That this Synod, noting the Registration of Marriages Regulations 2015 and the growing burden and complexity of the legal requirements imposed on members of the clergy who conduct weddings in the Church of England, invite the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward draft legislation to replace ecclesiastical preliminaries to marriage by universal civil preliminaries, such as those which have been in operation in Scotland ”¦ when banns were replaced by a Marriage Schedule issued by the civil registrar.”

He has raised the issue before. I

Read it all.


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2 comments on “(Law and Religion UK) Frank Cranmer–The end of banns in England?

  1. Terry Tee says:

    I do not entirely follow the twists and turns in this entry, but would like to highlight an issue which I believe is implicit in it. As a Catholic priest in England I can legally (in civil law) marry only those couples who bring me a certificate showing that they have been to the civil registrar and given notice of intent to marry. This protects me from those who would abuse marriage in order to acquire UK citizenship. As I understand it, an Anglican vicar can sidestep this requirement – but this has led to pressure on them from mixed citizenship couples who are marrying fraudulently so that one of them can thereby become a British citizen. In such cases, money is involved; also, you do not have to be a UK citizen to make money in this respect; you can be an EU citizen, in which case your foreign ‘spouse’ then gets the right to remain legally in the UK. (There have also been a couple of cases of vicars who were jailed for exploiting this loophole for cash for themselves.) In sum, while this means that an Anglican priest may have extra powers, the privilege also brings with it the onus of discerning who is and who is not a genuine matrimonial applicant. You can imagine the dangers of, on the one hand, offending the sincere lovers, and on the other hand, risking an accusation of flouting the law. I am glad to be protected from this. If I read this correctly, this change on banns would mean that all clergy, Anglican and not, would then have to ask for the registrar’s certificate.

  2. TomRightmyer says:

    In British America marriages by banns or by license from the Governor (who was exercising the crown’s ecclesiastical prerogative) were legal. In Virginia all marriages were registered in the parish church, even those done by dissenting ministers. After the Revolution the states established registrars and collected the fees. But it is much less expensive to marry in the United States than in the Church of England. If the CofE no longer calls banns, will it then abolish the marriage fee system? The sacraments are of God and are signs of his free grace. It seems unjust to charge for them.