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The Lord Hardwickes Marriage Act

Aug 17, 2007
One mile from Gretna Green the river Sark was the Southern part belonging to England and the Northern part to Scotland. This meant that Gretna Green was the first village in Scotland. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk, and has a railway station serving both Gretna and Gretna Green.

The main claim it has to fame is the Blacksmiths Shops, where many runaway marriages were performed. These began in 1753 when an Act of Parliament Lord Hardwickes Marriage Act. It remains one of the most popular wedding venues in the world, and thousands of couples still come from all over the world to be married over the anvil here.

Gretna Green has been surrounded by romantic tales since it became a destination for secret elopement in 1754. Now over 3000 couples a year wed in this Scottish border town, some of them coming from as far away as Japan.

The Old Black smiths shop, was built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmiths Shop 1710 became a popular folklore at least, the focal point for the marriage trade.

It does not have much in the way of restaurants but there are of course plenty of hotels that cater to wedding parties. The Comlongon Castle is a country house hotel set in its own grounds, with ornamental ponds, woodland and lawns. The Crossways Inn, located in between the registry office and the Old Blacksmiths Shop, also puts together a good buffet for wedding parties.

The shopping in Gretna is mainly done at the Gateway which now has over 50 stores, including Marks and Spencer, Cadbury, Mountain Warehouse, Costa Coffee. Gretna Green Group Ltd is a family business that has been at the heart of Gretna Greens popularity since 1886. It is still very much a close knit family.

Gretna became the location of Britains worst ever rail disaster on 22 May 1915, when a troop train taking troops of the Royal Scots to fight in Gallipoli ran into a stationary local train. The wreckage of the two trains was then hit by a northbound express. At least 227 people were killed and a further 246 injured in the Quintinshill disaster.

The WWI development of Gretna was to serve what was the worlds largest munitions factory would deserve a more in depth look. On the north shore of the Solway a workforce of 30,000 people produced vast quantities of cordite, or devils porridge.
About the Author
Douglas Scott writes for The Cheap Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Gretna Rental Site
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