In among the usual dismal round of war, diplomacy, and murder, the Ipswich Journal of August 28, 1736 reported an unusual marriage:
Last Week a very extraordinary Wedding was celebrated at Maelsfield in Sussex, where the Ages of the Bride, Bridegroom, and the Horse they rode upon to be married, amounted to 214 Years; the Man was 96, the Woman 94, and the Horse 24. As they did not care to be married where they were known, they set out secretly for a Church at some Distance from their Habitation, and in their Way thither, the Bridegroom fell off his Horse, but by the help of a friendly Gate, made shift to mount again: As they were coming back, the Bride had the Misfortune to slip off the Pillion behind, and the Bridegroom’s Senses not being very perfect, he never miss’d her till he had jogg’d on some Miles, and was at last forced to return, with some Assistance, to bring her home.
So much for marrying in secret! Let us hope that the rest of their married life went more smoothly.
‘Maelsfield’ was presumably Maresfield. The parish registers of Maresfield are held at the East Sussex Record Office. If anyone has a chance to visit, it might be interesting to look them up. If you do, please let me know.