In this article:
Evidence suggests that weddings in Ireland were most common in the winter, mostly concentrating around the period after the Twelve Days of Christmas and before Shrove Tuesday, which marked the beginning of Lent.1 The earliest evidence for this is to be found in the tenth century Cormac’s Glossary, where he glosses gam, ‘winter’ with the word ‘wedding.’ Considering the seasons, and the kinds of work or labour that dominated each, it makes sense that such important and life-changing events would have been scheduled for the winter period when there were less distractions as far as work in the fields and pastures were concerned.2 The custom of these winter weddings persisted well into the last few centuries in both Scotland and Ireland.3
Contradicting this view somewhat is the practice of ‘Teltown weddings’ (which refer specifically to the weddings that took place during the fair of Teltown), and similar practices across Ireland and Scotland.4 The harvest fairs around Lùnastal in Ireland, which saw people from a wide area gathering on hilltops or by lakes, provided the perfect opportunity for courtships to begin, since there would be plenty of people from neighbouring towns and villages to bump into and begin socialising with, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet.5 With young love blossoming and a relatively relaxed and convivial atmosphere of the fair providing a perfect backdrop for agreements to be made between families – and, not least because of the focus of the fair on legal and contractual matters anyway – it’s perhaps only natural that marriage would come up.
It was important that people should keep the peace at the óenach, and naturally negotiations of this kind could get heated, especially when it wasn’t a first wife being negotiated over. The Metrical Dindshenchas on Carmun mentions that men and women were to be kept separate:
No men go into an assembly of women, no women into an assembly of fair, pure men, as for elopement, it is not to be heard of there, neither a second husband nor a second family.6
No doubt it was as much to prevent men squabbling over women, as it was to prevent families from squabbling over bride-prices, or women from squabbling with other women who had been brought in as second wives, and the fair of Tailtiu carried similar restrictions, barring husbands or wives from seeking out new partners.7
This is where it gets confusing…
It seems that originally these marriages contracted at the harvest fairs were temporary, lasting only until the next Bealltainn, although sources sometimes contradict this and say the marriages lasted for a year and a day.8 Looking at Cormac again, we are told that there was a ‘hill of coibche‘ (the bride-price paid by the husband to the bride’s family) at the óenach of Tailtiu. Here, he glosses the word coibche with cendach, or ‘purchase’, implying that the bride-price in this respect was more akin to ‘wages’, according to Patterson.9 As MacNeill points out, however, coibche became anglicised as caif or cayf, a word which referred specifically to temporary marriage or concubinage.10 If, at the end of the agreed period, the couple wished to part ways, then no grounds for divorce needed to be given, and the wife received her coibche in full. She was then free to go on to marry whoever she liked with no slight to her honour-price.11
These Teltown marriages, as they are later known, have a long tradition, and given the evidence it seems obvious that they are comparable to the less formal marriages of acknowledgement (aititiu) in early Irish law, whereas the tradition of winter weddings were those of a more formal nature, the airnaidm unions of early Irish law. Or possibly, as we shall see in the next section, they were not marriages at all, but informal betrothals.
Later descriptions of these marriages give us some vital insights into marriage customs and rites, although whether they are indicative of pre-Christian hangovers is a trickier knot to unravel. O’ Donovan gives a detailed description of the rites that took place during the fair of Teltown (i.e. Tailtiu):
“A well springs in the centre of this hollow, a short distance (i.e. a few yards) to the south of which a wall a-b (now a ditch) was erected, and in this wall there was a gateway closed by a wooden gate in which there was a hole large enough to admit a human hand. This is the spot at which marriages were celebrated according to the odd manner following. A number of young men went into the hollow to the north side of the wall, and an equal number of marriageable young women to the south side of the wall which was so high as to prevent them from seeing the men; one of the women put her hand thro’ the hole in the gate, and a man took hold of it from the other side, being guided in his choice only by the appearance of the hand. The two who thus joined hands by blind chance were obliged to live together for a year and a day, at the expiration of which time they appeared at the Rath of Telton and if they were not satisfied with each other they obtained a deed of separation, and were entitled to go to Lagaeny again to try their good fortune for the ensuing year. This tradition has given rise to a phrase in the country ‘they got a Tailteann marriage’ by which is meant that they took each other’s word for nine months.”12
Notably, O’Donovan contradicts himself here – first stating that the unions lasted for a year and a day, but then in the final sentence giving only nine months. Wilde is more confident on the matter, and gives a little more detail (and romanticism) to the proceedings, describing the boys and “blushing girls” standing on either side of the wall and eyeing each other up before walking along the wall and down into an artificial hollow (probably a ditch of the local rath, Lug-an-Eany) where the door stood:
“…there was a door with a small hole in it, through which each young lady passed her middle finger, which the men upon the other side looked at, and if any of them admired the finger he laid hold of it, and the lass to whom it belonged forthwith became his bride…He took her for better for worse, but the key-hole or wooden ring was not as binding as the modern gold; for by the laws of Tailtean, the marriage only held good for a year and a day. If the couple disagreed during that time they returned to Tailtean, walked into the centre of Rath Dubh, stood back to back, once facing north, and the other the south, and walked out of the fort, a divorced couple, free to try their luck again at Lug-an-Eany.”13
According to O’Donovan’s outline of the area, the place known as Cnocán a Chrainn (the Hillock of the Tree) on his plan is the same place as the Tulach na Coibche (Mound/Hill of the Buying) mentioned by Cormac’s Glossary.14 This gives us a long pedigree of tradition, and so we must question what kind of evidence there is for such rites to seen as being at least partly rooted in pre-Christian practice.
Several points spring to mind first of all: for one, the length of tradition itself is telling – from at least the tenth century (going solely by written record, but we might project back a few centuries from then at least), to around the eighteenth or early nineteenth century, given that O’Donovan and Wilde are clearly relating these customs in the past tense. Wilde, in fact, mentions similar practices in Wales, Scotland, and parts of England taking place “till very lately.”15 At the very least we can assume that there is some basis in the practice in actual early Irish law – informal marriages – and The Book of Aicill, thought to have been compiled in the early 700s (but based on material from around 300C.E.) “mentions an agreement ‘to remain together from Belltaine to Belltaine’.”16
Then there is the obvious association of Lug with the marriage as described, albeit indirectly rather than overtly – taking place at the Teltown fair, held in August and intimately linked with Lug, even in Lug’s fort, Lug-an-Eany. In Tocmarc Emire (‘The Wooing of Emer’), Lug is said to have celebrated his own marriage-feast at Taillne (Tailtiu),17 and of course we have seen his interest in kingly marriages to the Flaith Erenn, the sovereignty of Ireland, in the tale Baile in Scáil, so it could be argued that the associations aren’t accidental. As the god associated with the place, holding the marriages at a time when he is said to have celebrated his own marriage, on a day that was originally celebrated in his honour, might have originally been thought of as bringing good luck and blessing on the unions. Other places associated with marriages, like at Slieve Croob in County Down,18 or at Lag an Aonaig in County Kerry,19 were generally sites that were near particular cairns (as at Slieve Croob or wells (as in County Kerry), suggest other local deities were being sought out to give blessings as well.
In the case of the Teltown marriages, the name of Cnocán a Chrainn (Hillock of the Tree) suggests the site was once home to a sacred tree (a bile).20 Again we can only speculate, but the tree, representing the well-being of the túath, could be seen as a natural choice for the blessing of a union that would hope to provide offspring that strengthened the túath. In fact, across Ireland and Scotland, we see marriages being solemnised beside a tree21 or well, or cairn, and so we might be seeing an evolution of the idea – the bile, stone, or even keyhole all representing the same sort of thing.22
As we’ve seen, unlike modern marriage there was no priest or officiant involved in these kind of marriages. They do not appear to have been formally registered, and without any mention of parents we can only assume that the loosest forms of consent were given by the family, if at all. And yet these kinds of unions were considered legal – but much against the Church’s wishes. There was little the Church could do, however, because it was the consents of the couple that made a marriage valid, not the Church ceremony, or the Church’s witnessing of it.
In general terms, the Church’s main objection to these kinds of marriages were moral. In canon law, the exchange of consents by each party (by verba de futuro) followed by consummation of the union made a marriage binding, whether a priest was involve;23 Anton, Witnesses were not legally necessary to the proceedings and so such marriages were open to abuse, with men making vows they had no intention of keeping to get into bed with an otherwise virtuous maiden and then abandoning her soon after, or women claiming that vows were made when accusations of immoral behaviour began to fly, to cover the fact that she had simply slept with a man and then got found out, damaging her reputation and her future marriage prospects. In addition, if children were involved, claims of marriage by verba de futuro might be made simply to avoid the stigma of the child being considered illegitimate.24
A public ceremony – in a church – required the reading of the banns on three consecutive Sundays before the wedding, to allow opportunity for anyone to lodge any complaints or legal impediments at the proposed marriage, and witnesses were needed for the exchange of consents. Being far more formal, and generating legally binding records, in writing, such marriages gave both parties added protection in this respect. The union was also sanctified by God, which was of course considered to be an added bonus and blessing. But this also meant that formal marriage was restricted only to couples who were eligible to marry in the eyes of the Church, and so it made sure that men and women did not simply set aside their partner and go on to marry someone else as it suited them, and so on.25
In spite of the protections that the Church could offer, informal – clandestine – marriages persisted for a variety of reasons. Financial, perhaps, and the desire by some couples to marry without having to get the consent of their families if it was known that there would be objections; the main reason, however, is that there was simply the belief that marriage was a private affair, not a public one, and certainly not one that was any business of the Church.26 In spite of the Church’s best efforts from at least the Anglo-Norman invasions, secular, private marriages persisted well into the eighteenth century in some parts of Ireland, as evidenced by the Teltown marriages.
Given the closeness of Ireland and Scotland it’s no surprise that the marital landscape was similar to that of Ireland. In both cases in the medieval period, marriage was primarily based on mutual consent, not religious ceremony, and the practice of both ‘regular’ (under the auspices of the Church) and ‘irregular’ (civil, secular, informal) marriages were both legally recognised.27
One peculiar practice in Scotland – handfasting – deserves special mention. In popular perception these days, it is commonly seen as an ancient type of ‘Celtic’ marriage – even a hangover of pre-Christian ‘Celtic’ practice. All is not as it seems, however, and we must turn inevitably to the knotty problem of looking at handfasting and what it actually was, historically.28
In Germanic practice, as Jaski points out, “…the first year of the marriage could be considered as a trial period, during which the marriage could be terminated unless a child was conceived.”29 The temporary marriages of Teltown could certainly be seen to be comparable to this Germanic practice, and we see evidence of the same in Scotland as well. Writing in the late seventeenth century, Martin tells us:
“It was an Ancient Custom in the Islands that a Man should take a Maid to his Wife, and keep her the space of a Year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the Year, and legitimated their Children; but if he did not love Her, he return’d her to her Parents, and her Portion also; and if there happened to be any Children, they were kept by the Father, but this unreasonable Custom was long ago brought into disuse.”30
Almost a hundred years later, the Rev. Donald McQueen echoes Martin almost exactly, saying that the custom was essentially an “apprenticeship for matrimony”, and emphasises that there was no loss of honour to the wife if she was set aside after the year was up, leading us to suspect Martin as his source.31 Pennant, also writing in the latter part of the eighteenth century, gives a similar description of such a custom said to have taken place at a fair in Eskdale:
“The unmarried looked out for mates, made the engagement by joining hands, or by handfasting, went off in pairs, cohabited till the next annual return of the fair, appeared there again, and then were at liberty to declare their approbation or dislike of each other. If each party continued constant, the handfisting was renewed for life: but if either party dissented, the engagement was void, and both were at full liberty to make a new choice; but with this proviso that the inconstant was to take the charge of the offspring of the year of probation.”32
In all cases, none of the authors considered the custom to have been an actual marriage. Guthrie, in the nineteenth century, echoes Pennant in describing the fair, in all probability referring to him directly since he offers no further detail on what Pennant had already written.33 And yet, sometime in between Pennant and Guthrie, a change in perception began to take root, and the link between handfasting and marriage came to be cemented in the popular imagination. Sir Walter Scott gave a very evocative description in his novel The Monastery, published in 1820:
“We Bordermen…take our wives, like our horses, upon trial. When we are handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife for a year and a day; that space gone by, each may choose another mate, or at their pleasure, may call the priest to marry them for life – and this we call handfasting.”34
And then Skene, writing in the 1830s also explicitly states a connection between handfasting and temporary marriage:
“If in that time the lady became a mother, or proved to be with child, the marriage became good in law, even although no priest had performed the marriage ceremony in due form”.35
Notably, however, in all cases, the custom is described (or portrayed) as being of the past, and without claiming to have ever witnessed such rites in their time, or referring to any first-hand sources who had.36
So what’s going on?
The word ‘handfasting’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word handfæstung, which means “a pledge by the giving of the hand.” In effect, on agreement of a contract, hands were shaken by the parties involved to seal the deal and make the contract binding. In relation to marriage, the handfæstung was performed at the betrothal, when the agreement to marry (at some point in future) was made. It was not, then, a marriage ceremony in itself, but a promise of marriage at a later date.37 The handfæstung was performed on completion of the beweddung, the Anglo-Saxon betrothal ceremony, where the husband-to-be would give his future wife’s family the weds – sureties. In this sense, then, we see a custom much like the betrothal and negotiation of the payment (at least in part) of the coibche in Ireland.38
Such a practice came into vogue in Scotland and England in the medieval period, and often the ceremonial handshaking took place at a holed stone – often called the ‘plighting-stone’, ‘swearing-stone’, ‘betrothal-stone’ or the ‘bridal-stone.’39 We are told of a case of abandonment on Orkney that details the practice of joining hands at the Stone of Odin near Stenness:
“A young man had seduced a girl under promise of marriage, and she proving with child, was deserted by him: The young man was called before the session; the elders were particularly severe. Being asked by the minister the cause of so much rigour, they answered, You do not know what a bad man this is; he has broke the promise of Odin. Being farther asked what they meant by the promise of Odin, they put him in mind of the stone at Stenhouse, with the round hole in it; and added, that it was customary, when promises were made, for the contracting parties to join hands through this hole, and the promises so made were called the promises of Odin.”40
The stone was removed in 1814, “by a sacrilegious farmer, who used its material to assist him in the erection of a cowhouse.”41 While the story as it given is somewhat suspect – no names or dates are given – it explicitly shows that the use of stones was clearly meant as a pledge of marriage, not a marriage in itself. Likewise, a stone on the Isle of Man called the Onchan Cross was formerly called the Troth Cross, and it was customary for couples to place their hands at the head of it in the belief that this would ensure a long and happy marriage together, with lots of children.42
A stone pillar with a hole in it near the church of St Couslan was used for such pledges as well, and the joining of hands through it “was held an interim tie of mutual fidelity so strong and sacred that it was firmly believed in the country that no man ever broke it who did not soon after break his neck or meet with some other fatal accident.”43 Cumming comments that such customs were particularly useful for young couples who were finding it difficult to secure the consent of their parents – in making their pledge, even without parental consent, it effectively forced their parents’ hands into agreeing to a marriage.44
There are clear parallels to be found in Ireland (which inevitably raises questions about the true purpose of the Teltown marriages, and whether we are seeing almost exactly the same thing there as in Scotland), and so we are either seeing Scandinavian practices and terminology that came to be adopted and adapted into existing native custom (favouring trees or wells), that were ultimately similar, or else a purely Scandinavian practice being adopted as a native custom.
So if this was originally a betrothal ceremony, why the confusion with actual marriage? In 1296 Pope Gregory IX explicitly stated that a betrothal, followed by consummation (but specifically for the purpose of procreation, not recreation) amounted to a legally binding marriage.45 Therefore, in the case of betrothals, if the couple consummated their relationship and began living together, they were officially married. No additional ceremony was required, but as we have seen above, the Church preferred that this should be the case for a variety of reasons – moral, primarily, in their book. However, given the obligations that betrothal brought with it, the couple were effectively married at that point in all but name, and sex was arguably a natural consequence of two people brought so closely together. A formal ceremony overseen by the Church was not necessary, then, but for many it was desirable to give added protection of any assets that were brought together by the union.
Concern over such lax attitudes grew during the Reformation, and the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen, for one, declared in 1562 that all handfasted couples should marry, implying indeed that there was a tendency to not formalise such unions in Church – or at least to do so speedily.46 A few decades earlier, an English tract echoed similar sentiments:
“Every man lykewyse must esteme the person to whom he is hand-fasted, none otherwyse than for his owne spouse, tough as yet it be not done in the Church nor in the streate – after the handfastynge and makyng of the Contract ye Churchgoyng and Weddyng should not be deffered to longe, lest the wickedde sowe his ungracious sede in the meane season…For in some places ther is such a maner, wel worthy to be rebuked, that at the handfastynge ther is made a great feaste nd superfluous bancket, and even the same night are the two handfasted personnes brought and layed together, yea certain wekes afore they go to the Church.”47
Skene, then, is not entirely incorrect in his assumption that handfasting (as in, betrothal) might in itself result in marriage, if the couple then consummated their relationship following the ceremony. Going by Martin’s description, followed by Pennant’s similar description and the use of the term ‘handfasting’, it’s understandable that Skene and others may have become confused and conflated what was once a betrothal ceremony, with the former practice of perfectly legal, and temporary, marriages, as Pennant apparently did.
The practice of temporary marriages were outlawed by the Statues of Iona in 1609, and so it’s understandable that Martin heard of them as an old and long disused custom.48 As a pious man, Martin is unlikely to have seen anything other than formal, Church-sanctioned marriage as a formal union, and certainly these temporary marriages of a bygone era were not considered to have been lawful at the time of his writing, which might further explain his insistence that these were not marriages in themselves. Pennant is arguably describing the same thing, but being at the remove of almost two hundred years between the banning of temporary marriages it’s perhaps understandable that confusion between that and the betrothal ceremony came to be confused, when handfasting itself was becoming less common.
It seems clear, then, that the idea of handfastings as temporary marriages, contracted for a year and a day, is not borne out by the historical evidence, but is a result of some confusion that came to be cemented in popular perception by the early nineteenth century. Now that we have a grasp of where handfasting sits in the grander scheme of marriage, we should now turn to marriage customs – both formal and informal – of more recent times.
For those of modest means, less formal marriages offered a convenience and simplicity that marriage through the Church didn’t. Old attitudes persisted long after the Church became a moral authority in Ireland or Scotland, and put simply, it seems that there was an attitude amongst many that marriage was none of the Church’s business.
Without involving the Church, unions were more fluid, the ties that bound them not necessarily as rigid. Without official records kept by the Church, unions were easier to break and so fruitless or otherwise unhappy marriages were more easily escaped from than under the careful eye of the local priest or the Kirk session.
The customs and traditions that went hand in hand with these more informal marriages were not exclusive to Scotland or Ireland alone, or at least had strong parallels with Scandinavian and Germanic cultures. This may have been a case of common Indo-European origins resulting in similar customs evolving, or else came from direct contact between the cultures themselves at a later date (or even dates). Whatever the case, we see strong evidence to suggest that such ceremonies – formal betrothals or informal marriages – were performed in places seen to have special, Otherworldly significance. These places – trees or stones – were often associated with mythical figures or local gods, and so we might see the ceremonies at one time having been carried out under their auspices. And again, we see a formal, symbolic exchange of consents emphasised (in the sources, at least) above verbal ones.
Later marriage customs give a similar picture; sometimes, they were performed in places of special significance, but more often than not in the home, at the local laird’s manse, or in the church. It is to these we will now turn, following on from Scottish handfastings and informal marriages, to the customs and rites associated with formal unions.
1 Patterson, Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, 1994, p128.
2 Patterson, Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, 1994, p129.
3 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p424; Danaher, In Ireland Long Ago, 1962, p158.
4 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p317.
5 Patterson, Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, 1994, p128; MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p424.
7 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p342.
8 See below, O’Donovan, quoted in MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p316.
9 Patterson, Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, 1994, p145. See also Binchy, ‘The Fair of Tailtiu and the Feast of Tara,’ p124-125.
10 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p316.
11 Patterson, Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland, 1994, p145.
12 O’Donovan, quoted in MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p316.
13 Wilde, The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater, 1849, p153.
14 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p424; Westropp, ‘The Marriages of the Gods at the Sanctuary of Tailtiu’, Folklore 31, 1920, p121.
15 Wilde, The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater, 1849, p153.
16 Westropp, ‘The Marriages of the Gods at the Sanctuary of Tailtiu’, Folklore 31, 1920, p128.
17 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p6; p424.
18 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p156.
19 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p317.
20 MacNeill, The Festival of Lughnasa, 1962, p318.
21 See part Part One for more detail. Wilde, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, 1887.
22 We might also draw comparison to kingship rituals that took place at the bile, or inaugural stone. Westropp, ‘The Marriages of the Gods at the Sanctuary of Tailtiu’, Folklore 31, 1920, p122-123.
23 Cosgrove, ‘Marriage in Medieval Ireland’, in Cosgrove, Marriage in Ireland, 1985, p39; Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p95.
24 Cosgrove, ‘Marriage in Medieval Ireland’, in Cosgrove, Marriage in Ireland, 1985, p39; Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p95.
25 Cosgrove, ‘Marriage in Medieval Ireland’, in Cosgrove, Marriage in Ireland, 1985, p26; see also Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p93-97.
26 Cosgrove, ‘Marriage in Medieval Ireland’, in Cosgrove, Marriage in Ireland, 1985, p38-40.
27 Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p93-94.
28 I’d like to make it clear that this article is in no way meant to offer any judgement or comment on modern neopagan practices.
29 Jaski, ‘Marriage Laws in Ireland and on the Continent in the Early Middle Ages,’ in Meek and Simms (Edd). ‘The Fragility of her sex?’ Medieval Irish Women in their European context, 1996, p22.
30 Robson (Ed), Curiosities of Art and Nature: The new annotated and illustrated edition of Martin Martin’s classic, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, 2003 (c1695), p101 (p114, original).
31 McQueen, Kilmuir, Skye, 1774 in Bennett, Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave, 1992, p109.
32 Pennant, A Tour in Scotland Vol I, 1772, p91-92.
33 Guthrie, Old Scottish Customs: Local and General, 1885, p46-47.
34 Quoted from Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p89.
35 Probert, Marriage Law and Practice in the long eighteenth century: a reassessment, 2009, p76-77.
36 Probert, Marriage Law and Practice in the long eighteenth century: a reassessment, 2009, p75-76.
37 Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p90-91.
38 Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p90-91.
39 Grant, Highland Folk Ways, 1961, p362; Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p90-91.
40 Black, Examples of Printed Folklore concerning the Orkney and Shetland Islands, 1903, p2.
41 Black, Examples of Printed Folklore concerning the Orkney and Shetland Islands, 1903, p2.
42 Gill, A Third Manx Scrapbook, 1963, p281.
43 Guthrie, Old Scottish Customs: Local and General, 1885, pp167-168.
44 Cumming, In the Hebrides, 1883.
45 Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p94-95.
46 Guthrie, Old Scottish Customs: Local and General, 1885, p48; Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p99.
47 Anton, ‘Handfasting in Scotland’, in Scottish Historical Review Vol XXXVII, 1958, p97.
48 Rackwitz, Travels to terra incognita: the Scottish Highlands and Hebrides in early modern travellers’ accounts c1600 to 1800, 2007, p498.