An Interesting Request

Hello All,
Here is a letter from a young lady who is planning to be wed in December. She and her husband to be want an anvil wedding. They are looking for a blacksmith
who is willing to become ordained and can perform weddings. I'll let her letter tell the story. I have withheld her full name and all contact information to protect them from possible scammers. If you can help or know someone who can
Fred Holder, Blacksmith's Gazette <http://www.fholder.com
Here is her letter:
Dear Blacksmith's Gazette,
My fiance and I will be getting married in Williamsburg, Virginia on Friday, December 17th of this year. While he is Canadian, and I am a Virginia girl born and raised, we share a strong Scottish and Irish background. Interestingly, both of our families have branches in Syracuse, New York, where Edward's father's mother's uncle, Michael Tighe, ran a blacksmith shop in downtown Syracuse. We actually have one of the postcards advertising his horse shoeing business. We visited downtown Syracuse this spring to find the site. The building is no longer there, but we found the lot.
We both have an interest in metal work. One of my favorite books since I was in junior high is called Trinity, by Leon Uris, and the protagonist in it is an Irishman who crafts gorgeous wrought iron pieces. Edward and I are both fascinated with forges, me from a creative perspective and Edward from a more practical perspective, since he grew up on a farm in Ontario and his father was a professional welder earlier in life. Recently we visited the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia, where we were very excited to have a conversation with a blacksmith and watch him work in an old-style Irish smithy. We also own a variety of hand-made metal pieces, from beds to candelabra.
Because of our interest in both our heritage and in blacksmiths, we have decided to have an authentic Scottish anvil wedding ceremony! As you probably know, blacksmiths traditionally were very important and respected people in their communities. As a result, in Scotland they were able to perform legally recognized wedding ceremonies, the most famous of which occured in Gretna Green, just over the border from England. Edward has brought down the anvil from his family farm as well as a very old balpeen hammer his dad and grandfather both used around the farm. He has painted them both in the traditional way for use in our wedding. We are hoping that you can help us find a blacksmith in the area willing to get certified on line to perform legal wedding ceremonies. This may seem like a strange request, but there is a strong historical precedent for it, and it would have huge sentimental value to us and to Edward's family. Our ceremony may also make an interesting little article for your readers.
Please let us know if you can do anything to help us locate a willing blacksmith, preferably one of Celtic descent. Thank you so much for any help you can give us.
Yours truly,
Miss Lynnette
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this sort of caught my notice, because you see, my hobby is blacksmithing, (I have my own anvil, two post drills, two forge pots, belt drive blower, two leg vices, a stake anvil, and a 4' two piece mandrel, plus assorted hammers, hot sets, etc.) but my profession is as Pastor of a church. German in heritage and Lutheran Missouri Synod in church affiliation. Not sure I am interested in running down to Williamsburg from NJ, but wondered (from a professional point of view) exactly what is the nature or form of a "blacksmith wedding"? Does he forge the rings? ;-) or maybe he makes the knife for cutting the wedding cake? But enough of jesting, What exactly happens at a Blacksmith presided over wedding?
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John213a wrote:

Strikes a good note ? Rings in a good union ?
Makes ankle bracelets with chain between ? (until they care or learn how to remove it :-) )
Interesting - never heard of it before might be very old concept.
Martin
--
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
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I collect gold charms for my daughter. Naturally, I search ebay for "anvil" because she and I sometimes forge together. I have several times seen a "wedding anvil" which I have never understood. - GWE
Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

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On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 01:18:11 GMT, "Martin H. Eastburn"
hmmmm, This makes me wonder,, I heard somewhere down the road that the spanish word for "wife" and the word for "manacles" are one and the same, it's also the root of the english word "spouce"
Bear
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On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 01:18:11 GMT, "Martin H. Eastburn"
There is also a traditional "Blacksmith Wedding" where a talisman requiring a forge weld is made (Saint/Goddess Bridgit's Cross usually). When the couple is married, the smith, bride, and groom finish the item by forge welding the pieces together.
My wife and I (we're both blacksmiths) were considering this type of wedding, but we couldn't fit our guests into the smithy.
Gobae - The Smith WebForge - Blacksmiths' Forum http://www.oakandacorn.com/cdbaforum
. Not sure I am interested in

Gobae - The Smith http://www.oakandacorn.com/cdbaforum
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John213a wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_Green
So actually it's not a Scottish thing, it'd be more appropriate if you or your intended were underage and English...
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Hello All, Seeing your post and mentioning Gretna Green brought back many memories from 53 years ago. When I was 16 I ran away from home to marry my childhood sweetheart two years my senior, we were married over the anvil at Gretna, sadly the marriage only lasted 18 months. We moved to Blackpool where I managed to get a job as blacksmiths assistant on 3.00 a week, the wife had a job at Stanley Park working in the cafe earning 2.00 a week. After a year she decided to leave as she wanted more material things than our combined wage would allow. Unbeknown to me when she left me she was pregnant, three years ago I received a letter from a person who had be trying for years to find his father, low and behold I have a son I didn't know I had. Today I am still forging, welding and fabricating when the arthritis will allow. Good luck to you on your forthcoming marriage. Best regards Rotty UK
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Fred Holder wrote:

The Anvil Fire site has this story (http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/stories /) on the history of the practice, but doesn't mention anything about what to forge or anything.
rvb
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Lynette has advised me that they have found a blacksmith who is ordained and will be willing to perform their wedding ceremony over the anvil. Some interesting comments have come from this posting.
Here is the story of Gretna Green as I published it is Blacksmith's Gazette: "Adair Houston, who died on May 10 aged 76, was instrumental in turning Gretna Green into one of Scotlands most popular tourist attractions. Gretna Green became notorious after 1753 when English law made it illegal for couples under the age of 21 to marry without their parents consent. In Scotland, no banns had to be published, and couples were free to marry from the age of only 16 in the presence of just two witnesses.
Situated just over the border on the main road from London, Gretna Green became the most convenient place for young lovers to marry in haste. Before long thousands of couples were tying the knot over the anvil at the blacksmiths forge which stood at the junction of five roads in the village.
In 1954 Houston married Moira Mackie, of Floshend Farm, Gretna Green, whose father owned the land on which the old blacksmiths shop stands. Although the Houstons were married in the church at Gretna anvil marriages had been made illegal in 1940 - they held a ceremony over the anvil in the forge after the service, as would their daughters when they were married.
In 1962 the Houstons moved permanently to Gretna Green from their farm near Lockerbie to take over Gretna House Estate from Moiras father. The Mackie family had owned the estate since 1880, and operated a turnpike system for visitors to the forge. Houston, with great entrepreneurial flair, now made the most of Gretnas potential. He courted the growing coach tour trade by introducing mock weddings at the old blacksmiths forge. He, or the blacksmith, would pick an unsuspecting man and woman from a group of tourists and marry them over the anvil, to much merriment.
When anvil marriages were again made legal in 1979, the Old Blacksmiths Shop became popular both for weddings and tourists. Under Houstons directorship, The World Famous Old Blacksmiths Shop Centre, which eventually included a restaurant and visitors centre, became the leading privately owned tourist attraction in Scotland, drawing some 750,000 visitors every year.
A natural showman and entrepreneur, Houston also staged mock weddings in London, Rome and Germany as publicity for Gretna Green. He once performed the marriage ceremony in the town square at Dortmund, and enjoyed telling friends that he had appeared (in full traditional dress) in an article for the German edition of Playboy magazine."
My wife and I just returned from a trip to the area and were pleased to spend the night in Gretna Green and visit the old blacksmith shop talked about in this story.
Fred Holder <http://www.fholder.com

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