Standing on ceremony: Kate MacDonald on a long-lost certificate

‘In 2010 a Museum volunteer opened the scrapbook by chance…’

‘Local Quakers were finally able to see the certificate, 324 years after it had been written.’

On 29 September 1699, two Quakers married in Bath: Thomas Rose and Mary Fry. Their marriage certificate was signed by thirty-five Friends and family who had attended the marriage, an old Quaker practice maintained to this day. Like many other historic documents ‘the certificate remain[ed] the property of the married couple and [was] handed down in families as an heirloom until finally lost, destroyed, or more happily, deposited with a historical or genealogical society’. That’s what happened with the Rose-Fry certificate. After 300 years of obscurity it was found at the back of a Victorian scrapbook of miscellaneous papers, at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

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