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Ante-Nuptial Fornication

Love, Life and Motherhood in 19th Century North Cumberland

Ian Hall


1799: in a little chapel near the English/Scots border a sharp-nosed preacher rails against the immorality of the times rebuking a couple for ‘ante-nuptial fornication’ – sex before marriage.

The first memory of my great-great-great-grandmother, this sets the scene for her life and that of the next three generations. Come with me as we explore the lives and loves of these four ordinary North Cumberland women in the changing times of the 19th century, as the railways, the factories and war evolve around them. Only one ever strayed beyond twenty miles of Carlisle, and then only once to have her illegitimate daughter – my grandmother.

Please note – this book was originally published with the title ‘Ante-Nuptial Fornication’.


Orchard House Books



Publication Date:

2020 November


Paperback; 152 x 117mm




Black and white photographs throughout