Marriage licences

Our Record Office collection of information on marriages dating back to 1650.

During the period 1650-1850 many marriages were by licence rather than by banns. The marriage licence registers amongst the Diocesan records only give the names of the bride and groom and where they were to be married.

Affidavits and bonds, both held in the Record Office, give much more information. Affidavits were a statement by the parties of their age, abode and status while bonds were made, usually by relatives, to ensure they would be married in a specific church.

Areas of jurisdiction for West Sussex

  • The archdeaconry of Chichester - Contained most parishes of the pre-1974 county of West Sussex, with the exception of the peculiar jurisdictions described below and a small group of parishes on the eastern border.
  • The Dean's Peculiar of the City of Chichester - Comprising the parishes of St Andrew, St Bartholomew, St Martin, St Olave, St Pancras, St Peter the Great, St Peter the Less, the Close, New Fishbourne and Rumboldswhyke.
  • The Archbishop's Peculiar Jurisdiction of Pagham and Tarring - Comprising the parishes of South Bersted, Chichester All Saints, Durrington, Heene, East Lavant, Pagham, Patching, Slindon, Tangmere and West Tarring, together with Plaistow chapelry in Kirdford and a small area of Horsham called the Bishopric.

What we hold

West Sussex Record Office holds original registers, bonds and affidavits for most parishes of West Sussex and some of East Sussex. However, all surviving records up to 1900 are available on microfilm. All records on microfilm have been indexed.

Records online

Many of our marriage licence records and calendars have been microfilmed. You can view low resolution, black and white images by signing up for a free account on the FamilySearch website.

To find the images search 'Sussex' on the ‘FamilySearch Catalog’ combined with a keyword search (for example, 'marriage' or ‘affidavits’), and then look at the views under 'England, Sussex - Church records'. Once you have selected a record series, select the camera icon under 'Film/Digital Notes' to view the images.

Last updated:
17 April 2018
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