Relative visits church where great-grandparents were married in mass wedding

Essex County Standard: Garrison Commander Col Mike Newman and Padre David Kingston with George Manley and his granddaughter Jane Weller. Garrison Commander Col Mike Newman and Padre David Kingston with George Manley and his granddaughter Jane Weller.

RELATIVES of a couple married in a mass ceremony in Colchester more than 150 years ago have visited the church where it was held.

George Manley, aged 106, went to the St John’s Church in Military Road accompanied by current garrison staff.

Mr Manley toured the former garrison church, now a Russian orthodox centre, where his great grandfather Johann Uhrmacher married Jemima Wass.

Johann and Jemima were one of 64 couples married on October 20 1856 in the wake of the Crimea War, just one of many mass ceremonies which included a total of 150 brides from Colchester alone.

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10:54am Wed 19 Jun 13

SilverW53 says...

Interesting, but what was the reason for the bulk wedding ceremonies?
Interesting, but what was the reason for the bulk wedding ceremonies? SilverW53

11:53am Wed 19 Jun 13

rhetoric says...

British German Legion soldiers could opt for settlement as military settlers with a land grant and a retainer in Eastern Cape but preference was to be given to those who were seen to be family men, and as many of the soldiers did not have wives, there was quite a flurry to get one!
.
In the last few days before embarkation it is believed that local girls went up to the Garrison Church and proposed marriage to the soldiers. Please note that Colchester was, like many other agricultural areas, in the doldrums at that time. Add to this, the silk factory was paying dire wages, there was a shortage of marriageable young men as opposed to girls, and the African settlement idea would have seemed the best bet.
.
Contrary to what some writers have claimed, it was not the desperate and poor solely who flocked to find a husband, but girls such as the three daughters of a local renowned smallholder/nurserym
an whose son became a lawyer. A road in Colchester is named for this family.
.
The settlement was a big disappointment and very misrepresented.
.
The marriages that took place in the Garrison Church were later found to be invalid because it was new and, at that time, not licensed for marriages. There do not seem to have been any marriage certificates or entries. The pastor was a Lutheran and attached to the Legion.
.
Many other "normal" marriages took place during the summer, mainly at St Botolphs, but some at the Catholic establishments and at St Mary Magdalene. The German soldiers were quite popular with many of the townsfolk especially with the young women, they provided concerts on Sundays, and sang or played music as they marched around the town. They had the advantage of being "foreign and exotic" and also hardworking, neat and tidy.

There were also marriages at the embarkation points just before the ships sailed.
.
In 1858 after some rumours and would-be scandals the Cape Government proclaimed all these marriages legal.
.
Why were the Legionnaires in Colchester? They had been recruited from Germany against the laws of Germany and Prussia, being fit and of military age, for the Crimean War. Post-War they could not pack up and return immediately to their homes for fear of imprisonment. They were assembled mainly at Colchester, there were attempts to send them to the West Indies and other places which failed, and then when a need was perceived for a military presence in the Eastern Cape, the military settler solution
seemed ideal.
British German Legion soldiers could opt for settlement as military settlers with a land grant and a retainer in Eastern Cape but preference was to be given to those who were seen to be family men, and as many of the soldiers did not have wives, there was quite a flurry to get one! . In the last few days before embarkation it is believed that local girls went up to the Garrison Church and proposed marriage to the soldiers. Please note that Colchester was, like many other agricultural areas, in the doldrums at that time. Add to this, the silk factory was paying dire wages, there was a shortage of marriageable young men as opposed to girls, and the African settlement idea would have seemed the best bet. . Contrary to what some writers have claimed, it was not the desperate and poor solely who flocked to find a husband, but girls such as the three daughters of a local renowned smallholder/nurserym an whose son became a lawyer. A road in Colchester is named for this family. . The settlement was a big disappointment and very misrepresented. . The marriages that took place in the Garrison Church were later found to be invalid because it was new and, at that time, not licensed for marriages. There do not seem to have been any marriage certificates or entries. The pastor was a Lutheran and attached to the Legion. . Many other "normal" marriages took place during the summer, mainly at St Botolphs, but some at the Catholic establishments and at St Mary Magdalene. The German soldiers were quite popular with many of the townsfolk especially with the young women, they provided concerts on Sundays, and sang or played music as they marched around the town. They had the advantage of being "foreign and exotic" and also hardworking, neat and tidy. There were also marriages at the embarkation points just before the ships sailed. . In 1858 after some rumours and would-be scandals the Cape Government proclaimed all these marriages legal. . Why were the Legionnaires in Colchester? They had been recruited from Germany against the laws of Germany and Prussia, being fit and of military age, for the Crimean War. Post-War they could not pack up and return immediately to their homes for fear of imprisonment. They were assembled mainly at Colchester, there were attempts to send them to the West Indies and other places which failed, and then when a need was perceived for a military presence in the Eastern Cape, the military settler solution seemed ideal. rhetoric

2:56pm Wed 19 Jun 13

Jess Jephcott says...

The funny thing was that, on the ship during the journey, some swapping around of partners was done to get better matches.
The funny thing was that, on the ship during the journey, some swapping around of partners was done to get better matches. Jess Jephcott

4:01pm Wed 19 Jun 13

rhetoric says...

You were there?
.
A lot of mud was slung, mostly by rather jealous German fiancees/wives (yes, there were quite a few).
.
For the marriages recorded one way and another in Colchester, whether it was in the Garrison Church and therefore not strictly to the letter of secular law, or in the Town churches and therefore legal and binding, I have yet to see any "swapping".
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You may refer to the dockside marriages, and for those it is difficult to be certain of names and ties.
.
I refer you to the excellent account of the voyage on one of the ships and the arrival in the Cape, written as a daily journal by a German sergeant. Since you appear to speak with such authority on all things Colcestrian, you will most certainly have read this work.
You were there? . A lot of mud was slung, mostly by rather jealous German fiancees/wives (yes, there were quite a few). . For the marriages recorded one way and another in Colchester, whether it was in the Garrison Church and therefore not strictly to the letter of secular law, or in the Town churches and therefore legal and binding, I have yet to see any "swapping". . You may refer to the dockside marriages, and for those it is difficult to be certain of names and ties. . I refer you to the excellent account of the voyage on one of the ships and the arrival in the Cape, written as a daily journal by a German sergeant. Since you appear to speak with such authority on all things Colcestrian, you will most certainly have read this work. rhetoric

1:10pm Thu 20 Jun 13

SilverW53 says...

Thank you Rhetoric for a helpful and informative reply.
Missed opportunity for the Gazette to make an interesting story from this, maybe the Standard's Andrew Phillips will have an article sometime.
Thank you Rhetoric for a helpful and informative reply. Missed opportunity for the Gazette to make an interesting story from this, maybe the Standard's Andrew Phillips will have an article sometime. SilverW53

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