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Certainly there can hardly be any other reason for the dispensation sought in 1448 by Aedh 6 Conchobair, described as a nobleman of the diocese of Kildare.
The impact of the church regulations on affinity and consanguinity was naturally much greater in smallscale societies like those in Gaelic Ireland, and the frequency with which dispensations were sought is an indication of their effect.Church law on marriage was defined and clarified during thetwelfth and early thirteenth centuries.Basic Christian teaching was straightforward – what God has united, man must not divide (Mark ).One of the consistent aims of the church was to have marriages publicly celebrated. A public ceremony was not required to make a marriage valid and indissoluble.Because the consent of the couple rather than the church ceremony was the essential element, the church recognised unions which took place without its knowledge or blessing.
But traditional marriage behaviour seems to have survived the coming of the Anglo-Normans, at least among . Many men and women among the aristocracy continued to have a succession of spouses and this was a key factor In the proliferation of some of the major families. This marriage pattern may have been confined to the upper reaches of Gaelic Irish society; lack of evidence prevents any estimate of marital behaviour lower down the social scale.