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Blacksmith Priests

Blacksmith Priests

Located on the old coaching route between London and Edinburgh, Gretna Green was the first village reached once you entered Scotland. Lovers from south of the Border soon took advantage of the Scottish Law and it resulted in a thriving marriage trade being set up in Gretna Green. Marriages became a lucrative business and a variety of men set themselves up as 'priests'. One of the first was Joseph Paisley who was a fisherman and smuggler. He set up in one of the original marriage venues; the World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop. This was a working smithy and therefore a focal point of the village.

Romantically the Anvil became the enduring symbol of Gretna Green Weddings. This is because of the many 'Blacksmith Priests' of flamboyant character who conducted ceremonies within the Blacksmith's Shop. They would declare "As hammer and anvil join metal together in the heat of the fire, I hereby join this couple together in the heat of the moment".

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