Regency Horse Terms A-G

Ballotade, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Ballotade, Courtesy of Wikipedia

AIRS or AIRS OF A HORSE were certain equestrian movements or cadence made by a horse for pleasure or for self-defense and involved the horse being off the ground.
An AMBLE was an intermediate horse gait and slower than a canter.
AMBLE FREE was a horse that ambled but without a halter.

BALLOTADE was one such air position where the horse was off the ground. In this instance, the horse’s forefeet were drawn up (as if leaping) and its back feet raised to show its shoes. See illustration to the right.
A carriage for training horses was called a BRAKE.
The BRIDLE HAND is a horseman’s left hand
A BRUSH GALLOP implied a very fast gallop but not equal to the horse’s topmost speed. Continue reading

Anecdotes on David Hume

David Hume, Courtesy of Wikipedia
David Hume, Courtesy of Wikipedia

David Hume, whose surname was original spelled Home in Scotland but pronounced Hume, was born on 26 April 1711 in Edinburgh. He was raised on a small property in Berwickshire, near the English border, and changed the spelling of his name from Home to Hume in 1734. From a young age he was interested in philosophy and went on to become one of the most important and influential figures in Western philosophy. He argued against the existence of innate ideas while concluding humans have knowledge of things they directly experience. Hume was also not a fan of organized religion. He regularly discredited the dogmas and doctrines of religion, which is one reason why his adversaries referred to him as “The Great Infidel.” Continue reading

Georgian Clothing for Sleep

Mrs. Wheatly in her Nightcap by Francis Wheatly, Public Domain
Mrs. Wheatly in her Nightcap by Francis Wheatly, Public Domain

Georgians thought about how to best achieve a good night’s rest because a lack of sleep was claimed to weaken the constitution. Part of the way a good night’s rest was achieved in Georgian times was by avoiding colds. Colds were supposedly brought on by an “imprudence in changing clothes,” and one long time observation claimed that “colds kill more than plagues.” So, to avoid colds and to sleep well, Georgians were given several suggestions about how to choose the appropriate nighttime wear to maintain their health and get a good night’s rest. Continue reading

Jane Austen’s Vocabulary From Emma

Emma, Public Domain
Emma, Public Domain

Emma was a novel that Jane Austen first published in December of 1815. Similar to Austen’s other novels, it is about a genteel woman of the Georgian-Regency Era and the follies of love. The lead character, meddlesome Emma Woodhouse, is described as “handsome, clever, and rich,” but she is also full of youthful hubris. While some critics at the time found the book lacking in story, it is packed with interesting words, and 15 of those words are define and quoted below:

Acquiesced: Accept something reluctantly but without protest.
Chapter 55: “She could not bear to see him suffering, to know him fancying himself neglected; and though her understanding almost acquiesced in the assurance of both the Mr. Knightleys, that when once the event was over, his distress would be soon over too, she hesitated — she could not proceed.” Continue reading

Hysteria in the Georgian Era

The Effects of Melodrama - by Louis-Léopold Boilly, hysteria
The Effects of Melodrama, by Louis-Léopold Boilly, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Hysteria was a catch-all term given to sufferers who were readily excited, highly nervous, or emotionally distressed. Georgian doctors claimed hysteria was brought on because of surprise created by joy, grief, fear, etc., and doctors also asserted it affected people early in life — primarily between the age of puberty and thirty-five.

Eighteenth century doctors also declared that hysteria could affect both sexes, male or females. Male hysteria, called masculina, was said to be caused by a man retaining semen and the surest cure was “excretion.” Female hysteria, called foeminina, was considered to be much more common than male hysteria. It occurred in all women but was said to occur more frequently in “women of a delicate habit.” Continue reading

Medical Blistering in the Georgian Era

Thomas Rowlandson's Death and THe Apothecary or the Quack Doctor, Medical Blistering
Thomas Rowlandson’s Death and THe Apothecary or the Quack Doctor, Courtesy of Wellcome Images

Medical blistering, also sometimes known as vesiculation, raised a blister on the skin, and was thought by Georgian doctors to be an effective tool to deal with certain medical issues. Among the issues and problems blistering was thought to correct or aid was hysteria, hypochonriasis, gout, certain types of simple inflammation, and fevers, as well as cases of insanity.

Blistering was achieved with applications of a fine powder usually composed of cantharides (a powerful-blistering substance often obtained from blister beetles, sometimes called Spanish Fly). Sometimes other stimulant ingredients, such as “pepper, mustard-seed, and verdigris,” were also added. The fine powder and stimulants were then mixed with plasters or other compositions of the same consistency and spread on the skin’s surface to produce a blister. This concoction was left on the skin from a few hours to many hours, depending on the extent of blistering required. Continue reading

Burial Fraud Involving Higgins and Devereux

Glasnevin Cemetery 19th Century Gravestones, Burial Fraud, and
Glasnevin Cemetery 19th Century Gravestones, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Burial societies existed in England in the 1800s. They operated by voluntary subscriptions and were established to pay for burial expenses or to give money to a member when the member’s husband, wife, or child died. Unfortunately, sometimes burial fraud was committed in relation to these societies, which was the case in Ireland when Charles Higgins and Henry William Devereux, a clerk to an attorney, conspired together to obtain money under false pretenses.

Higgins at one point was considered a respectable person. He had also been “in possession of considerable property, which had slipped through his hands by improvidence.” This is likely what lead him to join with Devereux to commit fraud against a burial society. Continue reading

A Wife for “Let” in Georgian England

Wife Selling,Public Domain
Wife Selling,Public Domain

In the 1700s, in certain areas of Cumberland, the custom called “letting a woman” was adopted. It was somewhat similar to wife selling, but letting a wife meant that instead of buying a wife, a man leased a wife, or in other words, took her for a trial run. Ads in newspapers announced the practice under such titles as “Wife to Let” and the terms of these agreement varied.

This custom of “letting” was described after a resident of Whitehaven called upon a Ulpha resident only to discover the man had gone to church for “a woman to let.” When the Whitehaven gentleman inquired what that expression meant, he was told: “When any single woman belonging to the parish has the misfortune to prove with child, a meeting of the parishioners is called, for the purpose of providing her maintenance in some family, at so much per week, from that time to a limited time after delivery; and this meeting—to give it the greater sanction—is uniformly held in the church; where the lowest bidder has the bargain!” Continue reading

Robert “Romeo” Coates – A Bad Regency Actor

Robert “Romeo” Coates, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Robert “Romeo” Coates, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Robert “Romeo” Coates was a dashing figure from the Regency Era. He was born in Antigua in 1772 to a wealthy West Indies sugar plantation owner. When his father died he inherited a considerable fortune, along with some very fine diamonds. With ample money, Coates eventually moved to England and settled in the fashionable watering-place of Bath. In Bath, he quickly developed a reputation for cutting a handsome figure, being a gallant lady-killer, and demonstrating gentlemanly manners (though often to the extreme).

While in Bath, Coates’s passion for the stage became known, and he was encouraged by locals to pursue acting. Because of their encouragement, he made his debut on 9 February 1810, in the Shakespearean play “Romeo” at Theatre Royal in Bath. Unfortunately, his performance was ludicrous and ridiculous. Still the first few acts went fine until some unhappy audience members started heckling him: They threw orange and apple peels onto the stage and cried “Off! Off!” Coates was unfazed and carried on. Later in the play, he carried a crowbar into Juliet’s tomb. That was too much even for the manager, and he lowered the curtain on Coates for good. Continue reading

Princess Amelia Sophia – Daughter of George II

Princess Amelia Sophia, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Amelia Sophia, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Princess Amelia Sophia Eleanor of Hanover and Great Britain was the second daughter of George II and Caroline of Ansbach. She was born in Schloss Herenhausen, Hanover, at the Herrenhausen Palace, on 10 June 1711. She acquired the nickname Emily by her family. As a child she was sickly, but her health improved with age. While still a toddler, she and her family moved to the St James’s Palace in London after Queen Anne’s death in 1714. In 1722, at the age of 11, her mother, who held progressive ideas about health, had her inoculated against smallpox, an idea that many eighteenth century people still opposed. Continue reading