What Constitutes a Regency Betrothal

Regency Bethrothal: "Off for the Honeymoon" by Frederick Morgan
“Off for the Honeymoon” by Frederick Morgan, Courtesy of Wikipedia

During Regency times, people generally married for love. Arranged marriages usually did not occur unless you were royalty. Apparently, however, sometimes Regency people found to their surprise they were engaged. This happened because of mistakes or misunderstanding, but such mistakes or misunderstandings could be devastating or even ruinous to an innocent party. One nineteenth-century monthly periodical devoted to literature, art, and religion decided to write about betrothals. They presented the article in their 15 November 1836 issue. The article expressed five points that the writer claimed showed what constituted and what did not constitute a Regency betrothal.

Here are the five points provided almost verbatim: Continue reading

Elizabeth Armistead: Courtesan to Charles James Fox

Elizabeth Armistead. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Elizabeth Armistead was born Elizabeth Bridget Cane on 11 July 1750. Little is known about her early years and what is known is debated. Some people say that Elizabeth was born in a cellar, her father was a cheese-and-bacon vendor, and her mother “addicted herself to the culling and vending of simples.” Elizabeth supposedly first began working in London as a model for a hairdresser and then later became a dresser to the English actress Mary Robinson, who was known as “the English Sappho” and who earned the nickname “Perdita” for her role as Perdita.

By the time Elizabeth was twenty-one, she was known as Elizabeth Armistead (or Armstead) and was working at a bawdy house. It was during this time that she met the famous British Whig statesman, Charles James Fox. The meeting occurred when Fox and some friends escorted a visiting Frenchman to a bawdy house. Upon learning that another male friend, Frederick St. John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke was being entertained by a woman in a room, Fox and his friends kicked the door open. The woman entertaining Bolingbroke was Elizabeth. Continue reading

Fishermen Superstitions

Fishermen superstitions
The Fisherman, by Charles Napier Hemy, 1888, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Similar to other people, fishermen had superstitious beliefs and believed certain things caused good or back luck. For instance, fishermen superstitions resulted in seafarers’s claiming a newborn’s caul would secure its wearer from drowning. There was also a belief that breaking up an old boat would bring bad luck and that those engaged in such a task were “sure to come to grief in some way or other.” Northern fisherman claimed it was positively “dangerous” to mention the word “horse” when at sea because bad luck would follow.

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London Beer Flood of the 19th Century

London Beer Flood

The word “flood” comes from the Old English word “flod.” Hundreds of myths exist about floods with claims that either a deity or deities would destroy civilization with a flood. Yet, one of the most interesting floods proved not to be a myth and did not happen with water. Rather the flood consisted of beer and became known as the London Beer Flood.

The London Beer Flood occurred in the parish of St. Giles, London, England, at the Meux and Company Brewery. The brewery was located in central London on Tottenham Court Road. It sat in the middle of a squalid and tightly packed area of poor houses and tenements, known as the rookery. Established in the mid 1760s under the name of Horseshoe Brewery, the brewery passed through several owners. Eventually, however, in 1809, Henry Meux and his partners acquired it under the name of Henry Meux and Company. Continue reading

“The Monsters” or the “Vere Street Gang” Homosexuals

Vere Street Sign in Westminster, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Vere Street Sign in Westminster, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Police received a tip about the “rendezvous of a society of miscreants of a detestable description.” These rendezvous involved homosexuals and had been occurring for six months at the White Swan. Based on tips, police raided a public house on Sunday, 8 July 1810. It was located on Vere-street and when officers proceeded to search it, police netted 26 people, “the whole of whom, together with the landlord of the house, they apprehended, and lodged for the night in the watch-house of St. Clement’s parish.” Continue reading

13 Tips for Regency Travelers in Paris

Regency travelers
Military Review in 1810, in front of Palais des Tuileries, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Paris, called by some people the sphere of the world, was a popular tourist destination in the Regency Era. Part of the reason for its popularity had to do with the wide range of sights and activities available there. Regency travelers could visit the Louvre, drink coffee at one of the many cafes in the Palais-Royal, or stroll through the Tuileries Gardens. They could also attend a horse race, listen to an opera, enjoy a carnival, attend the theatre, or spend time shopping. Because Regency travelers were so prevalent, one nineteenth century writer published thirteen tips to help the continental travelers avoid problems and enjoy their time in Paris. Here they are (almost) verbatim: Continue reading

Work Horses in the Regency Era

Shire Horse, Work Horses, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Shire Horse, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Horses were an important part of earning a living during the Regency Era. One way horses helped out was hauling loads in and around cities, and they were also a vital necessity on farms because agriculture was still one of the main ways Regency people earned livings. Moreover, Regency people used different horses depending on the type of job they needed to accomplish: Some horses thrived in cold climates, others were better at hauling, and still others were better at plowing in hilly locations. Among some of the more common work horses used in the Regency Era were the Shire horse, the Suffolk Punch, Cleveland Bays, Clydesdales, and Garrons. Continue reading

Regency Female Prisoners at Newgate

Reading to Regency Female Prisoners at Newgate, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reading to Inmates at Newgate, Courtesy of Wikipedia

The living standards for rural women in England and Wales appears to have become worse as the Industrial Revolution progressed. Moreover, it affected younger and younger rural women. This may have been one reason why one 1960s study shows that in 1795, the average age of a woman incarcerated was 36.94. By 1809, the average age was 25.59 and, rural women incarcerated were younger still because by 1814, their average age was 22.22. Continue reading

Regency Traveling Tips

Regency traveling tips
Mail Coach Leaving Piccadilly With Travelers by George Scarf, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Traveling in the British Isles or on the European Continent was something done regularly by Regency people. To make traveling as comfortable as possible, one Regency writer gathered a variety of tips, and, here they are in their entirety:

Tips for Traveling in the British Isles 

  • Where persons travel for pleasure, or when they are not compelled by business to travel fast, sixty miles in winter, and seventy in summer, is distance enough to go. Continue reading

How Regency People Passed Their Time

Regency Gamblers, Regency people
Regency Gamblers, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Regency people filled their free time with a variety of public and private amusements. Such amusements offered Regency people a mild form of exercise or allowed them to restore themselves after mental or physical exhaustion, as well as diffuse and share knowledge. In addition, in some instances, these activities provided jobs to individuals who might otherwise not be able to earn a living.

Among the public activities Regency people regularly enjoyed were games and tournaments, games of chance, lectures, rural festivals, and theatrical representations. Continue reading