Road to Divorce

England 1530-1987
Author(s): 
Stone, Lawrence
ISBN: 
0198226519
Date published: 
October 1990
Hardback
Price: 
£25.00
Pages: 
488

The first full study of a topic rich in historical interest and contemporary importance Despite the infamous divorce of Henry VIII in 1529, subsequent moral, political, and religious attitudes ensured that until 1857, England was the only Protestant country with virtually no facilities for full divorce on the grounds of adultery, desertion, or cruelty. Using a mass of transcribed legal testimonies, taken from hitherto unexplored court records, Professor Stone uncovers the means by which laity and lawyers reformed the divorce laws, and offers astonishingly frank and intimate insights into our ancestors' changing views about what makes a marriage. Using personal accoun ts in which witnesses speak freely about their moral attitudes towards love, sex, adultery, and marriage, Lawrence Stone reveals, for the first time, the full and complex story of how English men and women have contrived to use, twist, or defy the law in order to deal with marital breakdown.

Lawrence Stone, one of the leading historians of family life, makes the first study of how, from the Reformation to the present, the English have twisted or defied the law to deal with marital breakdown. He uses court testimonies to offer frank insights into changing moral attitudes to love, sex, adultery, marriage, and divorce, and mixes historical research with anecdotal stories.

Before 1857 England was the only Protestant country with virtually no facilities for full divorce on the grounds of adultery, desertion, or cruelty. This book tells, for the first time, the complex story of how, from the Reformation to the present, English men and women have contrived to use, twist or defy the l aw in order to deal with marital breakdown. Lawrence Stone, one of the leading historians of family life, has used personal testimonies from previously unexplored court records to offer astonishingly frank and intimate insights into the changing view about love, sex, adultery, marriage and marital breakdown.