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Sark Bridge, Dumfries & Galloway Traditional Cache

Hidden : 09/12/2009
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Easy drive-by with parking at the spot. On the Scottish side (just) of the bridge over the River Sark which marks the boundary between England (Cumbria) and Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway). A small plastic box containing the usual bits and bobs.

[From Thomas Pennant: Tour of Scotland 1780] "At a little distance from the bridge, stop at the little village of Gratna [sic], the resort of all amorous couples, whose union the prudence of parents or guardians prohibits: here the young pair may be instantly united by a fisherman, a joiner, or a blacksmith, who marry from two guineas a job, to a dram of whisky: but the price is generally adjusted by the information of the postillions from Carlile, who are in pay of one or another of the above worthies; but even the drivers, in case of necessity have been known to undertake the sacerdotal office. If the pursuit of friends proves very hot; and there is not time for the ceremony, the frightened pair are advised to slip into bed; are shown to the pursuers, who imagining that they are irrevocably united, retire, and leave them to consummate their unfinished loves."
The Marriage Act 1753, put forward by Lord Hardwick, ended the instant marriages (Fleet Marriages) performed at or near the Fleet prison, London. The law did not apply in Scotland. There, a declaration before a man of standing, in front of two witnesses was still enough to be legally married.
The route from England to Scotland through Longtown and across the River Sark made the first place in the country for a quick wedding. The Old Smithy, built in 1713, became a popular place for these rites. A new turnpike route crossing the Sark by Telford Bridge, built 1817, passed a new toll house, on the Scottish side of the border, which became the new place for runaway weddings.
It all came to an end at the passing of an act put forward by Lord Brougham in 1857, which demanded 21 days residence in Scotland for a Scottish wedding.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Va fbzr fgbar naq oruvaq n fgbar – obggbz yrsg.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)