Courtship Tokens

Catherine Meyrick

Gift giving has always been an element of courtship, in the Tudor period as much as at any other time, with gifts often marking the progress of a relationship from early courtship, through pre-betrothal to the formal rituals of betrothal and on to marriage. These gifts were given as tokens of ‘love and goodwill’ to tempt the other party to agree to marriage, as a sign of affection, or to seal promises made. Gifts exchanged in public provided a strong statement of the nature and progress of a couple’s relationship. Men, most often, gave these gifts although widows were more likely than other women to be gift givers.

The range of gifts given was wide – from the simple nosegay wound about with a slip of poetry to jewellery and substantial amounts…

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