Places of Interest nearby
Location address: UK, Scotland, Gretna Green
Number of texts: 3
Gretna Green is famous for runaway weddings. It was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh. As one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, Gretna Green is hosting over 5000 weddings each year, and one of every six Scottish weddings. Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1753 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, was passed in England; it stated that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then parents had to consent to the marriage. This Act did not apply in Scotland.
The Old Blacksmith’s Shop in Gretna Green, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became, in popular folklore at least, the focal tourist points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887. The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”.