The Myth of Medieval Child Brides

By Nicholas Wansbutter, Esq.

Author's Note: A version of this article originally appeared in Issue #12 of "Convictions", 480 Mckenzie Street, Winnipeg, MB, R2W 5B9. Tel: 204-589-0759 Fax: 204-589-0639. Your support of this good Catholic magazine, produced by the S.S.P.X Canadian District, would be appreciated.

...In this article I will examine perhaps the second-favourite ahistorical chestnut propagated by “popular culture” (the first being that Mediaevals had bad hygiene): the myth that young girls under the age of ten were routinely forced to marry much older men. It is true that, canonically, girls were considered by Holy Mother Church eligible to marry as young as 12 years old, and boys as young and 14.[1] However, this doesn’t mean that everyone was indeed married at the minimum age. We can use common sense to discern this, since even today Church law allows for marriage at these same ages, yet few marry that young. Furthermore, we’ve already disproved part of the myth since marriage to a girl under 12 was illegal and invalid... more...

Thanks and a tip of the beret to Nicholas.

Note: My ancestor Anne Hayot a native of Quebec, was married to Étienne De Nevers Sieur de Brantigny native of Champagne on 28 October 1652. She was born on 26 July 1640, and he was born during 1627. She was 12. She had her first child at 14.

Dieu Le Roy!
de Brantigny

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