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However, in Scotland it was possible for boys to get married at 14 years and girls at 12 years without parental consent.
Some Gretna marriages were of (sometimes abducted) heiresses; e.g., the second marriage in 1826 of Edward Gibbon Wakefield to the young heiress Ellen Turner, the Shrigley abduction.
Prior to this act, any citizen was able to witness a public promise.
The tradition of eloping English couples searching for blacksmiths resulted legally from the fact that blacksmiths were necessarily citizens and could often be recognised by strangers by their presence at their forge.
Scotland was one of the first countries to allow desertion as legal grounds for divorce and, unlike England, divorce cases were initiated relatively far down the social scale.
Separation from bed and board continued to be allowed in exceptional circumstances, usually adultery and under the reformed Kirk divorce was allowed on grounds of adultery or desertion.
The Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 is the main current legislation regulating marriage.