"Husbands without wives, and wives without husbands": divorce and separation in Scotland, c. 1830-1890

Butler, Meagan Lee (2014) "Husbands without wives, and wives without husbands": divorce and separation in Scotland, c. 1830-1890. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3059673


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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Scottish History, Marital breakdown, Divorce, Separation, Adultery, Desertion, Marital Cruelty, Nineteenth Century, Scottish Poor Law
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Supervisor's Name: Hughes, Dr Annmarie and Gordon, Prof Eleanor
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Dr Meagan Lee Butler
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5264
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2014 12:38
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 10:34
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5264

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