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Dowry Fossil May 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Dowry Fossil

  A wrong time post… There are few things in history as fascinating as the archaic customs that have been handed down from generation to generation and that survive in our societies like the tail-bone’s pointy edge on our spines. A particular Beachcombian favourite is the dowry. Civilisations basically fall into three categories here: those […]

Grotesque Mesalliances April 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Grotesque Mesalliances

There is a school of thought that says arranged marriages work and, even for die-hard romantics like Beach, there are millennia of proof that they can. But there are also cases from every static, traditional society that leave you shaking at the potential horror of an institution that allows a father or brother to choose […]

Welsh Pre-Marital Sex, c. 1850 May 11, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Welsh Pre-Marital Sex, c. 1850

A German tourist in Wales in the 1850s. Our hero befriends, Sarah the girl of the house where he is staying and on whom, Beach suspects, he had something of a crush. However, Sarah, who is the only member of the house who can speak English, is walking out with Owen, the elder son of […]

Selling Wives May 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Selling Wives

One British author writes in 1910 ‘Within the last twenty years there have been at least a dozen cases reported in the press of men in a low station in life who have sold their wives, under the impression they could legally do so if all parties were willing. One husband parted with his spouse […]

How to Choose your Bride in the Late Nineteenth Century November 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
How to Choose your Bride in the Late Nineteenth Century

The only advice Beachcombing can ever remember getting from a family member about how to choose a wife was ‘have a good look at her mother: she’ll be like that in fifty years’. The best advice he ever came across in his own reading, meanwhile, was in an Iris Murdoch novel (The Severed Head?): ‘only […]