M is for Matrimony

For a summary of the history of matrimonial law I can do no better than point to Rebecca Probert's books:

Marriage Law for Genealogists
Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved?

as excellent, readable introductions to the subject.

People in Springhill certainly married, and their settlements in anticipation of marriage describe the layout and ownership/tenancy of the land in detail with maps. They also divorced, and these proved triggers for changes in property ownership, indeed for one cottage it is possible to trace the owner's sequence of marriages through the title deeds. I'm not aware of any bigamists…yet…

Probert however does not cover the topic of same sex relationships. These were formalised in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which conveyed rights and responsibilities on a same sex couple similar to that of civil marriage. These are largely terms of property ownership, inheritance, parental responsibility, next of kin, insurance rights and the like. Same sex marriage was introduced by the Marriage (Same Sex Coples )Act 2013. Springhill certainly has same sex couples. No idea of their status - not my business.