Gretna Green, Scotland
The border village of Gretna Green was at one time the world's most famous refuge for young lovers. Nowhere else was it so simple to receive a priest's blessing for marriage without parental permission as in this village just off the A1 a few miles north of the English town of Carlisle.After union with England in 1707, Scotland retained a legal system which had evolved in its own way over the centuries. Under Scottish law only two witnesses to the wedding ceremony were required. These "mock marriages" acquired notoriety throughout the world, especially as the village blacksmith's shop was usually the place where the knot was tied. In Scotland, once a youngster reached the age of sixteen, parents were not able to stand in their way if they wished to marry, whereas in England parental consent was needed for minors, i.e. those under the age of 21. In 1846 the law was amended and it became necessary for one of the partners to the marriage to reside in Scotland for at least 21 days before the ceremony, a change which helped to boost the hotel trade in the vicinity if nothing else. The practice continued with tales of parents chasing children across the border - and happy and tragic endings. The so-called "Anvil Marriages" were finally declared illegal in 1940.The legends surrounding Gretna have had an enduring effect on young couples - every year throughout the last decade over 1,000 marriages have taken place here. For many young lovers Gretna is still a romantic setting for a wedding. In the meantime, outlets for tartan and tweed have sprung up alongside handicraft centers and a coach museum.
Gretna - Alice's Wonderland (closed)
More than 1,000 dolls, a large number of dolls' houses and other toys dating from 1830 can be seen in Alice's Wonderland Museum in Gretna just north of the border with England.ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.
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