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Title: "Husbands without wives, and wives without husbands" : divorce and separation in Scotland, c. 1830-1890
Author: Butler, Meagan Lee
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores divorce and judicial separation as it occurred in nineteenth-century Scotland, between the years 1830 and 1890, predating the phenomenon it came to be in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As Scotland’s history has frequently been incorporated within a general history of Great Britain, this thesis separates it from the widely researched accounts of marriage and marital breakdown in England to highlight the different approach to regulating marriage, divorce and separation under Scots law. Applying Scotland’s distinctive legal, demographic and economic context has provided a social and gender history of marriage breakdown unique to the country, and filled a historiographical gap for the nineteenth century. This research will be presented through separate analyses of divorce for adultery, desertion—both official and unofficial, and marital cruelty in the civil and criminal courts. To present individual experiences inside the courtroom, Court of Session divorce and separation cases are used and supplemented with newspaper accounts of Court of Session trials. To provide context to the related discourses, Parliamentary papers and newspaper articles are used. Lastly, to address the unofficial instances of marital breakdown, criminal court trials of wifebeating and poor relief applications from deserted wives are also analysed. This thesis argues that despite comparably liberal divorce and separation laws established in the sixteenth century, legal, economic, social and cultural factors and discourses imposed on the accessibility of these legal forms of marital breakdown.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D204 Modern History ; DA Great Britain ; HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; KDC Scotland