Today's Regency topic is the Special License. It is something that seems to be mentioned quite a lot in Regency romances.
A Special License was granted to a couple desiring to be married without the wait involved in calling the banns. This license enabled a couple to get married at any time, in any place. Ordinarily, a couple would have to get married in either the parish of the bride or groom and only in the morning hours.
In the early part of the 19th century, a Special License could only be obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury in Doctors' Commons, London. Sometimes there was a wait for the license, such as in the case of Lord Byron who was made to wait seven days before his request was granted. The fee was excessive.
*The picture above is a Dorset marriage license bond issued in 1796 on behalf of the Bishop of Sarum. The picture is in the public domain. For more details and a larger picture, click the picture.
**For further reading, try What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, p 183-4.