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Regency Trivia!!

Today is for questions on servants. Please ask away.


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We’re moving on to servants. In England it was also middle class employment. Servants were integral in every gentry home. If at all possible, even the poorest would hire a maid of all work. It was a sign of status. In large houses, they were a necessity. The number of servants a household required depended upon the size the house, the number of people in the family, and their budget. For example, in Georgette Heyer’s Friday’s Child, the hero and heroine have eschewed the family town house and hire a small residence. The young couple decided that the following servants were necessary to their comfort: A valet, lady’s maid, cook, butler, footman or page-boy, coachman, two grooms, two maids, and a tiger.


The way servants were treated depended on the family. In households like the Duke of Devonshire’s, maids were in danger of being seduced by him. In other households, the housekeeper kept vigilance over the maids, and if any of them turned up pregnant and not planning to marry, they were let go without a reference. Or, maybe a footman or groom was responsible, and the couple were made to wed.


In many families, generations of servants served the family. In the country, it was not unusual for servants to be related and to be related to servants in other households. After all the landowners were the largest employers in the area.


How familiar the servants would be with the master or mistress also differed widely. If a peer, as a lad, had been put on his first pony by a young groom, that groom would more than likely feel as if he could speak his mind on some subjects when they were older. Or perhaps, as children, they stole tarts from the kitchen, or muddied the floors and had been chastised by the older servant. This ease of interaction was probably more common if the gentleman inherited his title at a fairly young age. On the other hand, some families had houses with interior tunnels for the servants’ use so that they couldn’t be seen. There were also accounts of a family whose finances took a downturn and the older servants remained with the family out of loyalty. So you see the relationships were as varied and complex as the people themselves.

Still, no matter how close a mistress or master was with servants (particularly to the nurse, for example, who may have raised them) never think they were “best friends.” Being a friend requires that both individuals have an equal social status. That was never the case with servants and their mistresses or masters who had the power to let them go.

Book recommendations: Friday’s Child (setting up house) and the Grand Sophy (fun interactions with servants) by Georgette Heyer. The Temptation of Lady Serena (fun interactions with servants) and You Never Forget Your First Earl, (setting up house) by me. Only a Mistress, by Jenna Jaxon. I’ve put out feelers for other books, but haven’t received any recommendations yet. Please feel free to add your own.



#RegencyTrivia #HistorialRomance

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Today we’re going to talk about marital congress, also called amorous congress or sexual congress. In other words, what in this day and age we refer to as sex. During the Regency, sex meant gender. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll continue.

Anyone who has read a Regency knows that young ladies were protected from almost any knowledge at all about what goes on between an man and a women. Although, there is plenty of evidence that married women discussed men, and sex. Those conversations did not happen within earshot of unmarried women, thus, keeping the young lady ignorant. Now, if you’re going to have a woman who has a severe lack of knowledge, you have to protect her. The main method of protecting a young lady was through the use of chaperones. Young ladies didn’t even go to the ladies retiring room at a ball or other party by themselves.

But, during the Regency, once she was engaged, there was no further need for protection, and she could be alone with her betrothed in a house, in a closed carriage, well, you get the idea. That was because a gentleman could not end the engagement without ruining a lady’s reputation. More than half of ladies in the ton were pregnant before they married. It was so common that there was a saying, “First babies are often early, the rest are on time.”

Now we get to the point where it’s important to understand the culture of the period. Chances are, their mothers or whatever older female was in charge of them, didn’t tell them much. Although, I’ll almost guarantee you that they were not told to lay there and think of England. And there was a reason for that. During the Regency gentlemen prided themselves on bringing a woman to completion. This was especially important for their wives as men believed a woman had a greater chance of conceiving a child if they had an orgasm, and the didn’t expect the lady to go it for herself. (We can blame Freud and his penis envy theory for change in how the thinking changed later in the century.) A Regency gentleman did not want to get a reputation as a bad or selfish lover.

So, why, you might ask, did men have mistresses or otherwise fool around? The Regency made the 1960s and early 1970s look tame by comparison. There was no reason for a man to think he should remain monogamous. The idea would have shocked most of them. Certainly, no one expected it of their wives after they had provided a couple of sons. Although, women had to be more circumspect than their husbands because a lady could be divorced for infidelity whereas a gentleman could not.

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance

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I’ve begun a Regency Trivia post three times a week on my FB page, but thought why not add it to my almost defunct blog. So here we go. If you’re interested in past posts, please visit my FaceBook page http://bit.ly/2jvAZdP and search for #RegencyTrivia. Alternatively, you can join the Regency Romance Fan group on FB . Please tell me If you like these posts. If so, I’ll keep it up.

Let’s take up some miscellaneous title stuff.
Absent a female becoming a peer or some strange name change along the way such as being adopted, any man inheriting a title must have the same family name as the old peer.
The grandson of the eldest son of a marquis or duke would also have a courtesy title. The grandson of an earl would not. Why? Because the earl’s son has the courtesy title of viscount, therefore, like actual viscounts, the eldest son is a Mister.
When a peeress remarries she takes her new husband’s rank and title if he has one. (Although, there have been rare cases where the peeress held the title for so long she was still called by her previous title. This happened with a dowager duchess, mother of 13 or 14 children, when she later married her sons’ tutor and remained on the estate.)
A peer could not disinherit his heir from the title. The only thing he could do was refuse to leave him any unentailed property.
Although, a peer could not be sent to debtor’s prison, his unentailed property could be seized to pay his debts. There’s only one problem, any court action taken against a peer had to be heard in the House of Lords.
A peeress (except a peeress in her own right) lost her privilege if she married a commoner, including a gentleman with a courtesy title.
An interesting question came up recently concerning a gentleman who had a courtesy title of marquis, but was subsequently made a baron. The question was which title would he (and his wife) use. I thought he would give up the courtesy title. Silly me. This actually occurred once. The gentleman was a baron when he was in the House of Lords, but used his courtesy title socially.
Please feel free to ask questions regarding titles and the peerage. Next up is illegitimacy.
#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance

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Snow in the Regency

This is a helpful and insightful piece on snow during the Regency! I hope you like it as much as I do.

The Regency Redingote

Even though Christmas is still a month away, it is not too early to discuss snow, since here in New England we had “appreciable” snowfall across most of the area just before Halloween. (And if that is the last flake I see all season, it will be just fine with me.) However, the way this recent New England snowfall was handled is very different from how appreciable snowfalls were handled in old England during the Regency. Our Regency ancestors would be quite surprised, even shocked, by the time and effort we put into snow removal in the twenty-first century and even more so by people who venture outdoors while a snowstorm is in progress.

Attitudes and practices for living and dealing with snow in the Regency . . .

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Traveling on Silver Penny

Hop on over to the original blog post and leave a comment. I’m giving away a book!

Penned By Candlelight

By Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn 1Living on a sailboat was our retirement dream. And for the past three years my husband and I have lived on the sailing boat Silver Penny. We’ve traveled a lot. In many ways sailing today is like it was during the Regency, 200 years ago. The sailing routes we take having changed in hundreds of years.

Twice every year, we made off-shore passages either from the US, generally starting in Hampton, Virginia with the Salty Dawg Rally to the British Virgin Islands. Passages from north to south always (if one is smart) take place after November 1st until early winter. Then we made the passage back north again in April or May. Those trips usually lasted about eight days.

Ella-4-Pantry 2 March 15Last year we decided to cross the Atlantic. The preparations took several months and a lot of research. Again, we decided to go with a rally. For those…

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Another wonderful blog by Angelyn!

Angelyn's Blog

Continuing the Regency maid-servant’s “sketch of character,” we find she must suffer irritations all day, and without complaint.

In 2001’s Gosford Park, Lady Sylvia McCordle is the mistress of a great country house. The head house maid is Elsie. One evening, while entertaining a host of guests, her ladyship finds the temerity to interrupt dinnertime in the servants’ hall to inquire about a vegetarian meal for a tiresome American guest.

Cook pointedly turns her back on her. The housekeeper then assists, receiving a wealth of thanks and relief.

Elsie is an Edwardian-era maid-servant. But for purposes of illustration, she is timeless.Elsie is an Edwardian-era maid-servant. But for purposes of illustration, she is timeless.

For the maid, there is no such luxury of ignoring a request nor expecting thanks for fulfilling it. She must obey the summons, whenever they come, even to the point of interrupting her meal. How she handles these annoyances without complaint, suppressing the very human reaction of irritation…

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