Fleet Marriages

Clandestine marriages, at one time performed without banns or licence by needy chaplains, in Fleet Prison, London. As many as thirty marriages a day were sometimes celebrated in this disgraceful manner; and Malcolm tells us that 2,954 were registered in the four months ending with February 12th, 1705. Suppressed by the Marriage Act in 1754. (See Chaplain of the Fleet, by Besant and Rice.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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