Bundling: Colonial Courtship

     Bundling, or tarrying, was a courtship practice of colonial America.  The courtship began after the young man approached a young lady’s father and asked permission to court his daughter with the intention of marriage.  Once her father agreed to the request, the couple was viewed by the community as betrothed—they were expected to marry. 


       The strict rules for behavior in colonial America allowed little opportunity for young couples to court.  Often, a young man might have a considerable distance to travel and might stay more than one day.  Since many homes had limited accommodations, the courting couple would be allowed in bed together, but with their clothes on.  A board was placed in the middle of the bed to keep them separate, or the young lady could be put in a bundling bag or duffel-like chastity bag. Since the whole family might sleep in the same room, bundling was not an invitation for inappropriate behavior.  The custom fell out of favor in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Tomorrow:  The Story of the Three Sisters    Rita Bay

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