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History of Gretna Green Weddings

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History of Gretna Green Weddings

For a full and detailed account of Gretna Green's history, a booklet can be bought from Gretna Hall Blacksmith's.

The Beginning

Geography, in the course of history, has a lot to answer for. A battle here, a skirmish there meant the boundaries and ownership of land was ever changing.
The story of Gretna Green could never have been told if the geographical disposition of Britain had not left the ancient village of Gretna Green just one mile inside the Scottish border. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Solway sands surrounding this area was part of the Debateable Land. A mixture of rough fell, wooded valley, arable land and salt marshes, it covered an area of approximately 30,000 acres.

There were continual raids and battles between the Border Reivers, most notably the Armstongs, Maxwells and Grahams, resulting in the ownership of this land being "debateable". It wasn't until 1552 that a settlement was made dividing the border between England and Scotland. The river Sark, 1 mile from Gretna Green, was used as the divider; the Southern part belonging to England and the Northern part to Scotland.
This meant that Gretna Green was the first village in Scotland and therefore Scottish law applied and that fact is the beginning of our story.