Find your ancestors in Montgomeryshire marriages and banns

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Montgomeryshire is one of 13 historic Welsh counties and a former administrative county. It borders Denbighshire, Shropshire, Radnorshire, Cardiganshire, and Merionethshire. Montgomery is its county town, which is named after one of William the Conqueror’s principal counsellors, Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. Montgomeryshire today comprises the northern part of the principal area of Powys. Between 1889 and 1974, Montgomeryshire was an administrative county with a county council, and then the newly formed administrative county of Powys combined Breconshire and Radnorshire with Montgomeryshire. When Powys became a unitary authority in 1996, Montgomeryshire was one of three areas established under a decentralisation scheme. A shire committee made up of councillors elected for electoral divisions within the former district of Montgomeryshire carries out functions delegated by Powys County Council.


Banns of marriage, more commonly known simply as the banns or bans (from a Middle English word meaning proclamation, rooted in the Old French) are the public announcements in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage. Their purpose is to prevent invalid marriages by allowing anyone to raise any canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage. These impediments might include a pre-existing marriage that has neither been dissolved nor annulled, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship.

Banns were announced in the home parishes of the parties involved for three Sundays in a row. Marriage licences were introduced in the 14th century to allow the usual banns to be waived on payment of a fee accompanied by a sworn declaration that there was no canonical impediment to the marriage.


In the transcripts, the age field at times will list the bride and groom’s age as *full* instead of giving an exact age; this meant that the individual was of legal age (21 years old or older). Many of the marriage record images show whether the couple was married by banns of by licence. Marriage licences were created in the 14th century. Couples could obtain a marriage licence for a fee if they wished to waive the banns period. Along with a marriage licence fee, a couple was obligated to sign a declaration stating that there were no lawful impediments to their marriage. There are different reasons why couples married by licence instead of by banns: they may have wanted to get married quickly, or show that they could pay for a licence, or they were getting married away from home.

Patronymic Naming System

The Montgomeryshire Marriages includes records that use the patronymic naming system. This system started in Wales in the 15th century through to the mid-18th century. It is the practice of using the father’s first name as the child’s surname. Usually, ‘ab’ or ‘ap’ is added between the child’s first name and the father’s first name. For example, William Ap David is William son of David. The patronymic naming system can affect your genealogical research. We would recommend searching by your relative’s first name and birth year without the family’s surname. Then narrow your search from those results.