Gretna Hall Blacksmith's courtyard dates back to 1710 and has been associated with weddings for over 200 years.
Built at the same time as Gretna Hall the courtyard contained a Blacksmith's workshop, stables, coach-house, Blacksmith's Cottage and Coachman's Cottage all that was required to ensure that the mail coaches travelling from London to Scotland were kept running.
It was in this courtyard that repairs would be made to any coaches, horses would be watered and fed and coachmen rested. Many a nobleman or aristocrat was married to the lady of his choice whilst all this was taking place.
Marriages since 1792
Marriages here date back to 1792. These were marriages by declaration. Two people provided they were over the age of 16 could, without their parents consent, become man and wife simply by making a declaration to that effect before two witnesses.
This was Scottish Law and this constituted a perfectly legal marriage. When the couples returned to their own countries the law of that country accepted this as a full legal marriage also.
The Anvil Wedding
For many years the anvil has been associated with these marriages and the association is a very simple one. Just as a Blacksmith would join two pieces of metal together so the striking of the anvil is symbolic of joining two people or two lives together.
The coach (above) belonged to the Earl of Lithgow and is approx 200 years old, this is only one of the many interesting features of this site.
Changes in the Law
Between 1825 and 1856 there was some 1134 couples married at The Gretna Hall Hotel and the certificates are still in existence today. In 1856 the law was changed in that at least one of the contracting parties had to stay 21 days residential qualification.
In 1940 all marriages by declaration became illegal but after that date it was still possible to be married in Scotland without parental consent but now it is the local registrar who must perform the ceremony.
A copy of the last marriage certificate by declaration issued in June 1940 is still on show in the Smiddy today. The last famous owner of the hotel was David Ramsay MacIntosh and between 1937 and 1940 he performed 430 marriages over the anvil.
The Present Day
Visitors to the centre are always made welcome by the knowledgeable & friendly staff, whether you are visiting us to get married or simply take in the wonderful vista of horse drawn carriages, vintage cars & champagne corks popping as brides stroll through the grounds.
The Blacksmiths shop has gifts, presents & memorobilia to suit all tastes and budgets.
Gretna Hall Blacksmiths Shop Gretna Green Dumfries & Galloway DG16 5DY