Gretna means "(place at the) gravelly hill", from Old English greot "grit" (in the dative form greoten (which is where the -n comes from) and hoh "hill-spur".
This Act did not apply in Scotland, which allowed boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12, with or without parental consent.
In addition, the Act required procedures that gave notice of an impending marriage to the community.
As a result, many elopers fled England, and the first Scottish village they reached was often Gretna.
With the construction of a new highway, Gretna Green became easier to reach, and Gretna's appeal as an elopement destination waned.
Prior to the Acts of Union 1707 of the Parliaments of England and Scotland, Gretna was a customs post for collecting taxes on cattle crossing the border between the two kingdoms.
Gretna's principal claim to fame arose in 1753 when an Act of Parliament, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, was passed in England, which provided, among other things, that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, consent to the marriage had to be given by the parents.