more on anglo-saxon mating patterns

it seems like the anglo-saxons were still marrying close relatives (prolly close cousins) in the 800s, at least in some areas of england. here from jack goody [pgs. 161-62 – links added by me]:

“In England, as in Ireland, popular resistance to the marriage rules had been felt as early as Anglo-Saxon times. Lancaster comments that the frequency of defections from ecclesiastical rulings on marriage with near kin was a constant cause of complaint during this period. In 874 Pope John VIII wrote to the King of Mercia saying that fornication was rife and that men ‘presume to marry women of their own kindred’. Some sixteen years later the Archibishop of Rheims wrote to King Alfred [king of wessex] in the same vein. Sermon and legislation continued to condemn and prohibit the widespread ‘incest’ (Lancaster 1958: 240).”

perhaps this is why in the 900s-1000s there were such strict secular laws prohibiting cousin marriage in at least some of the anglo-saxon kingdoms?

previously: anglo-saxon mating patterns

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