Celebrating the Release of “Courting Lord Whitmire” with an Excerpt + a Giveaway of the Regency Summer Escape Anthology

Regency Summer Escape is currently on preorder for $0.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited on Amazon; it will release on July 23. This wonderful anthology contains stories from my friends Victoria Hinshaw and Arietta Richmond, as well as my “Courting Lord Whitmire.” I have been teasing you with the cover and snippets for awhile now, and, finally, I can provide you more details for my particular story. 

Three wonderful Regency Summer stories! Will the Lord win his Lady by summer’s end?
***** FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED *****

This anthology contains:

Her Summer Duke by Arietta Richmond

Courting Lord Whitmire by Regina Jeffers 

Sarah’s Summer Surprise by Victoria Hinshaw

If you love great stories, and the Regency era, you’ll love these!

Presenting “Courting Lord Whitmire”… 

At the bend of a path, an unexpected meeting.

She is all May. He is December. 

But loves knows not time. 

Colonel Lord Andrew Whitmire has returned home to England after spending fifteen years in service to his country. In truth, he would prefer to be anywhere but England. His late wife cuckold him, before he departed England. His daughter, who was reared by his father, enjoys calling him “Father” in the most annoying ways. However, his future is the viscountcy, and Andrew knows his duty to both title and child. He imagines himself the last of his line until he encounters Miss Verity Coopersmith, the cousin of his dearest friend, Robert Coopersmith. Miss Coopersmith turns Whitmire’s world on its axis. She is more than twenty years his junior, but all he can think is she is absolute perfection. 

As you may guess from the book blurb, Andrew Whitmire denies his attraction for Miss Verity Coopersmith, but it vibrates just under the surface whenever they are together. He attempts to be strong; however, Miss Coopersmith has other ideas. Despite his objections, she is determined to win Lord Whitmire’s heart. She accepts the challenge and “courts” Lord Whitmire.

 

Enjoy this excerpt from Andrew and Verity’s first meeting in Chapter One. 

She wished she had taken her aunt’s warning to heart, but Verity had been determined to mail her letter to her brother at the posting inn, assuring him, once again, she was satisfied with her life and that their aunt and uncle had promised they would bring her out into Society with the Short Season in the autumn. Robinson was concerned she would not be permitted a Season until he took the reins as the new baron. Repeatedly, she had told herself, it was not that either her Uncle Spenser or Aunt Margaret were neglectful of either her or Robinson: It was simply they always had another new discovery or another relic that took precedence over days spent in doing nothing more than attending balls, soirees, afternoon teas, and the like. She hoped she was correct in that assumption, but, of late, a niggling doubt had crept in and would not be displaced. Unfortunately, she had nothing upon which to hang her concerns, and so she had assumed it was simply her loneliness and her desire to see Robinson once again that kept her in a state of melancholy.

Although Robinson was three years her junior, since their parents’ untimely deaths, eight years prior, her brother had considered himself her protector, whereas, their father’s will specifically stated that when she was one and twenty or when she married, Verity was to be Robinson’s guardian, until he reached his majority. Naturally, her parents had thought she would have had a husband and perhaps a child by now, not still be living with her relations. They had expected her to be in a position to aid Robinson; regrettably, no one had considered the possibility of their early demise and the unthinkable outcome.

The fact Uncle Spenser and Aunt Margaret had interrupted their lives and his career to take in a twelve-year-old niece and a nine-year-old nephew when no one else stepped forward proved their worth in Verity’s opinion. The fact she had not been given a Season was of little consequence in the realm of what all had occurred. Moreover, she had been given much more: experiences no fresh maid out of the schoolroom would ever be able to claim. And if not a “parent’s love,” her aunt and uncle had provided her their support and their encouragement. She and Robinson had been fortunate in many ways. Yet, of late, she wondered how benevolent her relations actually were. Certainly, they had placed their lives on hold for some six months, but, after those few months of grieving the family they all had lost, her aunt and uncle had packed up her and Robinson and taken them on an “adventure,” meaning Uncle Spenser had resumed his life as an archaeologist and historian. Until recently, she and Robinson had trailed their family across exotic lands.

“Just a bit eccentric.” She grinned as she pulled her cloak tighter around her. “Eccentric and kind and well-meaning, but more somewhat forgetful,” Verity declared aloud to convince herself of the truth of the words and then looked around, making certain no one had heard her talking to herself. “Everyone will soon think I am quite as odd as is my uncle if they hear me having a conversation with myself.”

It was then a large drop of rain landed upon the top of her hand, where she held her bonnet upon her head. “Wonderful,” she grumbled, picking up her pace. She would likely be soaked to the bone before she reached Cooper Hall.

With every step Verity took, the rain increased in intensity to the point she could barely see a foot or two in front of her. It slanted down in torrents. How she wished she had taken the time to learn some of the alternate paths that led across the stiles and farmlands and woods, instead of taking the traditional road into the village every time she ventured that way. She had been at Cooper Hall for a mere eight months, and she knew little of the surrounding area, for she spent most of her days serving as both housekeeper and companion to her Aunt Margaret, rather than the other way around.

Pausing to claim her bearings, Verity turned in a circle. In the rain and beneath the dark clouds that had stolen away much of the daylight, everything appeared different. Had she reached the fork in the road that led to her family’s residence? “Surely not,” she murmured in indecision. Swallowing her confusion, she plowed ahead, certain she would soon stumble across the entrance road to Cooper Hall.

Shoving back the drooping bonnet for the fifth time, in a fit of anger at herself for being caught out in this onslaught, Verity ripped the dratted thing from her head, which allowed her hair to fall around her shoulders in a matted mess. Water ran into her eyes, but she stumbled forward again. She hoped she would come across Vicar Simonsen’s cottage soon. The vicar would offer her shelter until the storm ended.

Spotting what she thought must be the steeple of the village church, she paused to use her handkerchief to clean away the steady flow of rain from her hair sliding over her forehead and into her eyes. “Must be the church,” she said aloud, as she turned to the left to follow a path she thought she remembered being wider and smoother.

Decision made, Verity again stepped smartly along the road, attempting to sidestep the quickly-forming puddles full of muddy water. Her half-boots were soggy, water seeping in every time her stride was too short to miss the accumulating water overflowing the ditches, leaving her gown some six inches deep in brown smudges.

The farther she walked the less familiar her surroundings became. She debated on turning back, but she was not certain she could find the main road again, for she had made several turns along the way. Her relations were not sociable people, not the type to make calls and have people over for company, and they rarely went into the village. They all resided in Uncle Spenser’s childhood home, and Aunt Margaret’s people had been from an estate some five miles on the other side of the village. They knew the roads when they moved into Cooper Hall, and they had never thought to teach either Verity or Robinson their way around the neighborhood, and, moreover, Verity had never thought to ask them because she knew their doing so would take them away from Uncle Spenser’s work. Renowned as an archaeologist and a military history expert, his work was very important to the history of England and the world.

Feeling her gown and cloak weighing her down, Verity shortened her stride. It was rare for her to know fear, but she wished the rain would stop, so she could claim something familiar. Thunder rumbled through her as easily as it did the sky. And each bolt of lightning made her literally jump in alarm. Not knowing for certain where she was had caused a knot of urgency to settle in her chest—making it harder to breathe. Her steps clicked and stomped along the road, echoing back to her. For a moment, she wondered if a wild animal might have caught her scent and was, at that very minute, stalking her. She looked repeatedly over her shoulder to note its approach. Were there wild animals in Worcestershire? Highwaymen? Smugglers?

As the fear began to fill her chest, she turned to study the path behind her. Was the movement marking the bend in the trail the wind stirring up the trees or had someone stepped back from view? Staring intently at the spot, she prayed she had not stumbled upon the land of some irate farmer or into a den of poachers. Without realizing what she did, Verity slowly backed away from the spot, where, again, she noted movement.

Unfortunately, in her retreat, she had not taken into account how soggy the ground had become until she took a giant step backward, only to feel her right leg sink into a watery bog. “Demme!” she growled. “Now what?” Mud and slime settled around her leg, which held her upright, but she teetered, nearly falling face-first into the muck. Quickly releasing her cloak, she wadded it into a ball, attempting to toss it toward what she hoped was solid ground; however, the movement set her wobbling again, balancing in an awkward stance where her right leg was stuck in the bog, while her left one was raised in the air, placing her in what would have been a high kick if she were standing upon a stage in some Parisian burlesque, her toes resting upon the soggy ground surrounding the pit in which she was trapped.

The trees overhead provided some protection from the rain, but the new leaves hid whatever light remained of the day. “I still have one leg on solid ground,” she reasoned. “Or as close to solid ground as this rain provides. But I possess no means to pull myself out. Not a fingerhold anywhere.” A sigh of frustration escaped as she examined her position. “Claws,” she said with a second sigh, this one in disbelief. She was afraid to move too quickly, fearing, if she slipped, her other leg might slide into the waiting bog. It was reposed slightly above the muck at the moment, but she did not expect to be able to hold it in place for long. If her left leg also slid below the surface, she could be pulled under completely.  Already, that leg cramped from being held in such an awkward position.

“What do we have here?”

A very masculine voice came from behind her, but Verity made no attempt to turn. She feared the slightest movement would spell her doom.

“How does it appear to you, sir?”

“It appears you thought the bog was a warm mineral spring.” The man’s voice held levity, but Verity found nothing amusing about the situation in which she found herself. She heard the man dismount and begin to walk slowly in her direction. “It is not often people dare to trespass upon my land, and, especially, not any as comely as you.” Although he attempted to sound intimidating, Verity suspected he simply thought her situation a diverting tale to share with his chums over ale at the inn. There was no hardness in his tone.

He continued to stroll casually around the outside rim of the bog. At length, he stopped before her. “Perhaps you are one of those fairies who creates the steps which are impossible to climb—so impossible you took a fall and were caught in your own trap.”

Verity scowled. “I would appreciate it, sir, if you would cease with your attempts to make light of my situation and, instead, provide me a hand out of this muck.”

He grinned again, and Verity realized how breathtakingly handsome he was. Certainly, he was not a young man, likely old enough to be her father; yet, there was nothing lacking in his appearance. His eyebrows were everything masculine. He possessed a nose that was a bit crooked—as if he had known more than one round of fisticuffs—but, nevertheless, it was very aristocratic. And his mouth sat in a straight line, but remained unable to disguise his humor. She wished she could view the color of his eyes and the exact shade of his hair. She thought he would make an excellent study for her paints. Would she be capable of capturing the life and depth she viewed in his countenance?

He studied her for a moment, without comment. Finally, he asked, “How did you come to be caught in the bog?”

“It was a mistake,” she began.

“You do not appear to be a half-wit,” he declared, “so I assumed your situation was not purposeful.”

She glanced off to the path. “I permitted my imagination free rein. For a few minutes, I thought someone followed me.” She made her gaze meet his. “In fact, how do I know it was not you who trailed me?” she accused.

“I assure you, a man of my age has better things to do than to frighten young ladies in the midst of a rain storm.” As if on cue, a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning accented his words. He tossed his hat behind him, and, without notice, he stepped into the bog and edged forward. “At least my batman will kill me but once for the abuse my clothes and boots have known today.” Although he did not ask her permission first, he placed his hand around her waist. “It would be of use if you would wrap your arms around my neck,” he instructed. “I plan to lift you into my arms.”

“But, sir—” she began to protest.

“Dear lady,” he corrected, “there is no tree or rock close enough to the edge for you to use as leverage to release yourself. If I am to remove you from this scum, you must assist me. I intend to lift you and to cradle you in my arms, and we will walk out together.”

After an elongated second, she presented him a nod of acceptance. Carefully, he bent his knees and slid an arm underneath and around her legs and lifted her to him. With a grunt, he pivoted to return to solid ground. It was then that her right leg finally pulled free with a popping sound, and she released a gasp of pain before she could swallow it. Her rescuer did not stop his progress until they stood along the tree line, with her still cradled in his arms. “What occurred?” he asked, as he set her on a downed tree.

Verity was still shaky, but she managed a response. “My boot stayed in the bog. My ankle—” She gestured toward the foot that throbbed as thoroughly as if it were a rotten tooth.

“May I?” He indicated her ankle. All the teasing was gone from his tone.

Tears crept into her eyes, but, again, she nodded her agreement. The gentleman knelt before her and discreetly lifted her skirt before bracing her right heel in the palm of his hand. With the fingers of his other hand, he rotated her foot and studied the movement before poking the soft tissue with his finger. “The ankle is not broken, but I fear it will turn black and blue before it knows no pain.” Standing again, he said, “Permit me to see you home. I will put you up before me on Tyr.”

Just as she thought to remark on the horse’s name being the same as that of the son of the Norse god, Odin, and a god of war, the man bent to lift her to him again. He was certainly a man accustomed to having his way—a man, a gentleman, no doubt, who gave orders and expected them to be obeyed. He strode toward the waiting horse and lifted her, with ease, to the saddle. Verity was, most assuredly, on the lean side, but she was tall and “solid,” as her father had often called her. Even so, her rescuer lifted her as if she weighed no more than a sack of meal. “Be careful, my dear,” he cautioned. “The saddle is wet and, therefore, slippery.” Then he retrieved her discarded cloak and hat and handed the items to her. With that, he stepped into the stirrup and swung himself onto the saddle behind her.

Before he took up the reins, he lifted her onto his lap. “Slide your left hand around my waist and catch hold. If you like, you may rest your head against my shoulder.” He had unbuttoned his coat and wrapped it around her. “Such will provide you more balance, and ladies unaccustomed to riding often require assistance with balance.”

Despite the man’s kind deed, Verity’s temper arrived. She was unaccustomed to men making condescending remarks about her, specifically, or about the female populace, as a whole. Neither her father nor her uncle spoke as such, but she had heard many men do so in the various countries she had visited with her relations. Just because she had heard the tone before did not mean she would tolerate anyone using it in her presence. “I assure you, sir, I am no weeping violet. You will notice I did not cry when I found myself in the bog nor when your rough handling caused me injury, as well as the loss of my boot.”

He leaned back as if to have a closer look at her—to study her as if she were a rare specimen. Verity could feel her cheeks redden under his prolonged gaze; yet, she willed herself not to look away. In spite of her previous ire, she found herself suddenly quite lightheaded. Those eyes she had wished to view when she first encountered him were now only a few inches removed and focused purely on her. Silver. Molten. And darkening in what appeared to be concern.

“Perhaps your previous fear of an attacker has finally known fruition,” he declared in self-assurance. “You are trembling.”

Although she knew the gentleman she faced had more to do with her sudden loss of control than she would care to admit, she declared, “I am soaked to the bone! My ankle is injured! And one of my boots—a favorite pair, I might add—is lost to the muck of a bog located upon your land!”

“So your woes all arrived at my hand?” he asked incredulously.

“All except for the rain,” she retorted.

He leaned closer. They were at eye level, and Verity found the experience quite disconcerting. “At least you did not place that fault also at my feet,” he said boldly. “Mayhap you would prefer I replace you where I found you. I would be less than a gentleman if I ignored the wishes of a lady. That is what you are, is it not? A lady?” He paused as if he knew how he inflamed her pride. His words had been purposeful, but Verity had no means to control her growing temper nor the feeling the man had just undressed her with his eyes. She blushed thoroughly.

“You rogue!” she accused. “I am most certainly a lady. My brother is a baron or will be a baron when he reaches his majority!”

A look of puzzlement crossed his countenance. “The only baron in this area was Theodore Coopersmith of Cooper Hall.”

“Exactly,” she confirmed in triumph.

His features hardened. “Both Theodore and his son Robert are dead. The latter died at Waterloo. I understand Theodore suffered a bout with his heart and passed nearly two years removed.”

The rain had lessened to a steady drizzle, but Verity barely noticed the difference. “Although you obviously consider yourself the chronicler of the aristocracy in this little section of Worcestershire, you forget Theodore was not an only child. My uncle had two brothers: Murdoch and Spenser. My brother and I are products of the marriage of Mr. Murdoch Coopersmith and Miss Clare Hadley.”

“But Murdoch passed some ten years before Theodore,” he argued in tones that spoke of disbelief and of an emotion she could not identify.

“Very true, sir,” she said through trembling lips that betrayed her state of mind. Speaking of her parents’ deaths always had that effect on her. They were sorely missed. “But it was eight years, not ten, and such is why I am blessed that Uncle Spenser and Aunt Margaret showed compassion and accepted the responsibilities for my brother Robinson and me. We returned to Cooper Hall when Uncle Spenser determined that before Robinson could claim his title, my brother would require an English education.”

“Then you are Miss Coopersmith?” he asked in bewilderment.

“Did I not just say so, sir?” She raised her chin on a dare. “And you are?”

He pulled himself up straight in the saddle. “I fear I am your neighbor.”

“Colonel Lord Whitmire?” she said with a small gasp. “But I thought you were still in Canada.” She knew much of the exploits of Lord Whitmire. He was a decorated hero on two Continents. She wished to melt away—to disappear with a snap of her fingers for appearing before a man she had admired from afar for many years.

“Hardly. If Spenser Coopersmith is anything like the man I recall from my youth, it is no wonder you are behind in the latest gossip of the neighborhood. I returned to Whit Manor a fortnight ago.”

GIVEAWAY!!! I have 3 eBooks copies of a Regency Summer Escape to share with those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Monday, July 22. 

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18 July 1817: The Death of Jane Austen, a Guest Post by Kyra Kramer

This is a repeat of a post from 2017 from Kyra Kramer. It speaks so poignantly of the loss of Jane Austen that I thought it appropriate to share here with you on the 202nd Anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing. 

The Death of a Great Author, and Greater Woman

Jane Austen passed away on 18 July 1817, at the age of only 41. She didn’t just deprive the future of English literature by her death; she left behind a devastated and grieving family. Her mother, and her seven beloved siblings, all survived her. Moreover, her nieces and nephews were bereft at losing the aunt who had so entertained, encouraged, and embraced them.

Before her death, Jane had been ailing for some time. There is intense speculation regarding what diseased ended her life, with the three main contenders being Addison’s disease of the adrenal glands, a type of cancer termed Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or a commonplace illness of the time period, disseminated bovine tuberculosis, contracted from contaminated milk. Because of the continued mental perspicacity marking Jane’s last days, the hypothesis of disseminated bovine tuberculosis appears more likely than either Addison’s disease or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but without disinterring her and testing her remains, we can never know for certain what killed her. We can only know that it was physically distressing, chronic, and lingering. In March of 1816 she wrote to her niece, Fanny Austen-Knight, about her reoccurring illness:

“I am got tolerably well again, quite equal to walking about and enjoying the air, and by sitting down and resting a good while between my walks, I get exercise enough … Many thanks for your kind care for my health; I certainly have not been well for many weeks, and about a week ago I was very poorly. I have had a good deal of fever at times, and indifferent nights; but I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough — black and white, and every wrong colour. I must not depend upon being ever very blooming again. Sickness is a dangerous indulgence at my time of life … I was languid and dull and very bad company … I do not venture to church … I took my first ride yesterday, and liked it very much. I went up Mounter’s Lane and round by where the new cottages are to be, and found the exercise and everything very pleasant; and I had the advantage of agreeable companions, as [Aunt] Cass. and Edward walked by my side. [Aunt] Cass. is such an excellent nurse, so assiduous and unwearied!” 

Although Jane made light of her sickness in her cheerful letters, stressing her sporadic episodes of good health, by the next spring she was rapidly losing strength and mobility. One of life’s self-proclaimed “desperate walkers”, Jane could no longer enjoy long rambles around the Hampshire countryside by 1817, and was forced to remain bedridden or housebound with increasing frequency and duration. On 18 March her deteriorating health even made the master of “two-inches of ivory” put down her pen and give up work on her last, lamentably uncompleted novel, The Brothers (eventually retitled Sanditon). Jane wrote to her closest non-familial friend, governess and aspiring playwright Anne Sharp, on 22 May to explain that:

“In spite of my hopes & promises when I wrote to you I have since been very ill indeed. An attack of my sad complaint seized me within a few days afterwards – the most severe I ever had – & coming upon me after weeks of indisposition, it reduced me very low. I have kept my bed since 13. of April, with only removals to a Sopha. Now, I am getting well again, & indeed have been gradually tho’ slowly recovering my strength for the last three weeks. I can sit up in my bed & employ myself, as I am proving to you at this present moment, & really am equal to being out of bed, but that the posture is thought good for me.  … My head was always clear, & I had scarcely any pain; my cheif sufferings were from feverish nights, weakness and Languor”  [Further Reading: Jane Austen’s Dearest Friendship with Miss Sharp Still Resonates Today]

Although she made the best of things in her letters to friends and family, Jane was aware her illness was dire. She had written a will on 27 April, leaving the bulk of her worldly goods to her sister Cassandra, and had given her sister private information on whom she wished to leave very personal mementoes, such as a bodkin or some of Jane’s hair with which to make jewelry, as a mark of her affection. Her siblings and mother, however, stubbornly held out hope of Jane’s recovery, writing to one another with the good news whenever she felt the tiniest bit better, displaying a perfectly natural form of denial regarding their impending loss.

Throughout her decline, Jane was attended by the local apothecary, Mr William Curtis, who had cared for her with every consideration. Nonetheless, he was aware her amendment was beyond his skills, so Mr Curtis advised Jane’s family sometime in mid-May to take her to Winchester to see a physician attached to the Hampshire County Hospital, Dr Giles King Lyford. It was hoped that the esteemed Dr Lyford could restore Jane’s health with what would have been cutting-edge medical technology at the time. The Austens, of course, were willing to leave no stone unturned in the search for a cure, and immediately made plans to move Jane to Winchester. To this end they turned to close friends who were living there, Mrs Heathcote and Miss Bigg, (they were the older sisters of Jane’s fiancé of less than a day, Harris Bigg-Wither; they clearly held no grudge against her deciding against the union) to help them find lodgings for Jane and Cassandra. Mrs Heathcote and Miss Bigg were equal to their task, and they quickly secured a house at 8 College Street, near to their own home, for the Austens’ use. 

Public Domain ~ via Wikipedia ~ Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester. Rear view of the original Victorian pile on Romsey Road, with modern buildings clothing the hill to the south. A telephoto view from Whiteshute Ridge

Jane left Chawton Cottage for Winchester on 24 May under the care of her siblings, Cassandra and Henry Austen, and a nephew, William Austen-Knight. She wrote to her eldest brother’s son, James Edward Austen (known as Edward to the family, and the nephew would eventually adopt the surname Austen-Leigh and write the first biography of Jane’s life), to assure him her removal to Winchester went as smoothly as possible:

“Thanks to the kindness of your father and mother [Rev James Austen and Mary Lloyd Austen] in sending me their carriage, my journey hither on Saturday was performed with very little fatigue, and had it been a fine day, I think I should have felt none; but it distressed me to see uncle Henry and Wm. Knight [the fourth son of Jane’s brother, Edward Austen-Knight], who kindly attended us on horseback, riding in the rain almost all the way.”

Initially, the move to Winchester seemed to bring Jane a marked return to health. She promised her nephew Edward that, “neither that nor my face have yet recovered their proper beauty, but in other respects I am gaining strength very fast. I am now out of bed from 9 in the morning to 10 at night: upon the sopha, ’tis true, but I eat my meals with aunt Cass in a rational way, and can employ myself, and walk from one room to another.” She also joked with him that, “Mr. Lyford says he will cure me, and if he fails, I shall draw up a memorial and lay it before the Dean and Chapter, and have no doubt of redress from that pious, learned, and disinterested body.”

Jane likewise wrote to Mrs Frances Tilson (the wife of Henry Austen’s London banking partner) on 29 May that Dr Lyford was “encouraging, and talks of making me quite well. I live chiefly on the sopha, but am allowed to walk from one room to the other. I have been out once in a Sedan-chair, and am to repeat it, and be promoted to a wheel-chair as the weather serves. On this subject I will only say further that my dearest sister, my tender, watchful, indefatigable nurse, has not been made ill by her exertions.”

These cheerful letters may have brought those who cared about her some comfort, but it was sadly a false comfort. In private, Dr Lyford had warned family members that even though Jane was feeling a little better, “he must still consider her in a precarious state”. When James Austen went to Winchester to see Jane for himself in early June, he could not echo Jane’s determinedly upbeat reports. Instead, James was forced to tell his teenage son:

“I grieve to write what you will grieve to read; but I must tell you that we can no longer flatter ourselves with the least hope of having your dear valuable Aunt Jane restored to us. The symptoms which returned after the first four or five days at Winchester, have never subsided, and Mr. Lyford has candidly told us that her case is desperate. I need not say what a melancholy gloom this has cast over us all. Your Grandmamma has suffered much, but her affliction can be nothing to Cassandra’s. She will indeed be to be pitied. It is some consolation to know that our poor invalid has hitherto felt no very severe pain–which is rather an extraordinary circumstance in her complaint. I saw her on Tuesday and found her much altered, but composed and cheerful. She is well aware of her situation. Your Mother has been there ever since Friday and returns not till all is over–how soon that may be we cannot say–Lyford said he saw no signs of immediate dissolution, but added that with such a pulse it was impossible for any person to last long, and indeed no one can wish it–an easy departure from this to a better world is all that we can pray for. I am going to Winchester again to-morrow; you may depend upon early information, when any change takes place, and should then prepare yourself for what the next letter may announce.”

Jane was resigned to her death, but she did her utmost to relieve the emotional burdens of those who loved her. She even continued to jest playfully with her caregivers when she could, and made a point of thanking them all repeatedly. She was particularly careful to thank Mary Austen, the sister-in-law who came to stay with the Austen sisters for the final month of Jane’s life in order to share some of the burden of round-the-clock nursing with Cassandra. Jane had never been overly fond of Mary, who was snobbish and whom Jane felt had not made her dearest brother James very happy in marriage, and Jane was eager to make unspoken peace with Mary near the end, as is encouraged by the Anglican religion. 

There is also every indication that she was well enough to still enjoy being with friends and family. Not only did her sister Cassandra remain by Jane’s side almost without cessation, 8 College Street boasted numerous visitors to comfort and distract the patient. Mrs Heathcote and Miss Bigg were there nearly every day, and Mrs Heathcote in particular “was the greatest possible comfort to them all”. Regrettably, two of Jane’s best friends, Anne Sharp and Martha Lloyd, had neither the funds nor the ability to visit Winchester, but were faithful correspondents. Jane’s brother Henry made a frequent appearance in the neat little drawing room with its bow-window overlooking the headmaster of Winchester College’s garden, as did her nephew Charles Austen, who was attending the college at the time. Her brother’s James, Frank, and Charles were all able to come to her as well. However, no one seems to have thought that her brother George, whom may have had mental disabilities, would like to say farewell.

Jane’s mother missed the opportunity to see Jane in the final weeks of her existence, due to a combination of semi-hypochondrial bad heath and bone-deep denial that her youngest daughter was truly dying. When Jane passed way, her mother, in spite of having every forewarning that Jane’s death was imminent, was shocked by her youngest daughter’s death. She wrote to her granddaughter, Anne Austen Lefroy, “I am certainly in a good deal of affliction … I was not prepared for the Blow, for though it in a manner hung over us I had reason to think it at a distance, & was not quite without the hope that she might in part recover”.

Nor were there arrangements made for two of Jane’s most attached nieces, Fanny Austen-Knight and Anna Austen Lefroy, to come to Winchester. Neveretheless, they frequently wrote to their aunts, giving Jane a great deal of pleasure. Cassandra assured Fanny Austen-Knight that Jane “did love you most sincerely, and never shall I forget the proofs of love you gave her during her illness in writing those kind, amusing letters at a time when I know your feelings would have dictated so different a style. Take the only reward I can give you in the assurance that your benevolent purpose was answered; you did contribute to her enjoyment. Even your last letter afforded pleasure. I merely cut the seal and gave it to her; she opened it and read it herself, afterwards she gave it to me to read, and then talked to me a little and not uncheerfully of its contents, but there was then a languor about her which prevented her taking the same interest in anything she had been used to do.”

As further evidence that Jane remained (at least outwardly, for her loved ones) brave and merry in the face of death, her brother Henry would later write that his sister, “retained her faculties, her memory, her fancy, her temper, her affections, warm, clear and unimpaired, to the last. Neither her love of God, nor of her fellow creatures flagged for a moment. She made a point of receiving the sacrament before excessive bodily weakness might have rendered her perception unequal to her wished. She wrote whilst she could hold a pen, and with a pencil when a pen became too laborious. The day before her death she composed some stanzas replete with fancy and vigour.”

This poem, entitled Venta, was a humorous verse about the rainy weather that occurred on St Swithun’s Day, July 15. Venta Belgarumhad been the Roman name for the city [the Latinized form of the Brittonic words meaning City of the Belgae] and erudite scholars of the local college loved to show off their knowledge by calling Winchester by its old appellation. Jane, with her usual wit and acerbic skewing of sociocultural absurdity, mocked everything about the pretentious nomenclature and the races that were held to celebrate St Swithun. 

Venta

When Winchester races first took their beginning
It is said the good people forgot their old Saint
Not applying at all for the leave of St. Swithin
And that William of Wykham’s approval was faint.

The races however were fix’d and determined
The company met & the weather was charming
The Lords & the Ladies were sattin’d & ermin’d
And nobody saw any future alarming.

But when the old Saint was inform’d of these doings
He made but one spring from his shrine to the roof
Of the Palace which now lies so sadly in ruins
And thus he address’d them all standing aloof.

Oh subject rebellious, Oh Venta depraved!
When once we are buried you think we are dead
But behold me Immortal. — By vice you’re enslaved
You have sinn’d and must suffer. — Then further he said

These races & revels & dissolute measures
With which you’re debasing a neighbourly Plain
Let them stand — you shall meet with a curse in your pleasures
Set off for your course, I’ll pursue with my rain.

Ye cannot but know my command in July.
Henceforward I’ll triumph in shewing my powers,
Shift your race as you will it shall never be dry
The curse upon Venta is July in showers.

Having made this last sally into the written word, Jane Austen slipped off her mortal shell a little more than 48 hours later, dying in the wee hours of Friday, 18 July, with her head pillowed on her sister Cassandra’s lap. Cassandra sent a letter to Fanny Austen-Knight recounting Jane’s final moments:

“She felt herself to be dying about half an hour before she became tranquil and apparently unconscious. During that half-hour was her struggle, poor soul! She said she could not tell us what she suffered, though she complained of little fixed pain. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted, her answer was she wanted nothing but death, and some of her words were: ‘God grant me patience, pray for me, oh, pray for me!’ Her voice was affected, but as long as she spoke she was intelligible … he was seized again with the same faintness, which was followed by the sufferings she could not describe; but Mr. Lyford had been sent for, had applied something to give her ease, and she was in a state of quiet insensibility by seven o’clock at the latest. [According to Henry Austen, Jane’s “last voluntary speech conveyed thanks to her medical attendant”.] From that time till half-past four, when she ceased to breathe, she scarcely moved a limb, so that we have every reason to think, with gratitude to the Almighty, that her sufferings were over. A slight motion of the head with every breath remained till almost the last. I sat close to her with a pillow in my lap to assist in supporting her head, which was almost off the bed, for six hours; fatigue made me then resign my place to Mrs. J. A. for two hours and a half, when I took it again, and in about an hour more she breathed her last. I was able to close her eyes myself, and it was a great gratification to me to render her those last services. There was nothing convulsed which gave the idea of pain in her look; on the contrary, but for the continual motion of the head, she gave one the idea of a beautiful statue, and even now, in her coffin, there is such a sweet, serene air over her countenance as is quite pleasant to contemplate.”

Austen’s family and friends were profoundly grieved. Cassandra wrote, “I have lost a treasure, such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow; I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part of myself. I loved her only too well … I do think of her in every variety of circumstance. In our happy hours of confidential intercourse, in the cheerful family party which she so ornamented, in her sick room, on her death-bed, and as (I hope) an inhabitant of heaven. Oh, if I may one day be re-united to her there!” Fanny Austen-Knight also suffered “severely”, recording in her diary that she “had the misery of losing my dear Aunt Jane after a lingering illness”, and wrote several times to her Aunt Cassandra and her grandmother regarding the extent of their loss. Anne Austen Lefroy also felt the loss of Aunt Jane keenly, constantly eager to tell Jane some news or though, only to recall that she was no longer alive to receive the information. Anna’s young half-sister, 12 year old Caroline Austen, lamented that her sorrow made her feel as though she “had never loved and valued” her Aunt Jane as much as she should. Her brother James was so moved he composed a poem as an elegy for his sister, praising her multitudinous virtues. These effusions of sorrow are all proofs of a family in deepest mourning.   

Jane Austen was laid to rest in Winchester Cathedral on 24 July. As was customary, it was a small family affair, attended by her kinsmen because a funeral was considered too much for the deceased female relatives to bear. Jane’s brothers Frank and Henry were there, but Edward Austen came as his father’s surrogate (James’s was in ill health and they feared the grief might harm him constitutionally) and Charles Austen was unable to come away from his naval post in time. Cassandra wrote of the funeral, “Never was human being more sincerely mourned … than was this dear creature. May the sorrow with which she is parted with on earth be a prognostic of the joy with which she is hailed in heaven!”

A simple memorial stone covered Jane’s grave, saying:

In Memory of JANE AUSTEN youngest daughter of the late Rev GEORGE AUSTEN formerly Rector of Steventon in this County she departed this Life on the 18th July, 1817 aged 41, after a long illness supported with the patience and the hopes of a Christian. The benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temperament the extraordinary endowments of her mind obtained the regard of all who knew her and the warmest love of her intimate connections. Their grief is in proportion to their affection they know their loss to be irreparable but in their deepest affliction they are consoled by a firm though humble hope that her charity, devotion, faith and purity have rendered her soul acceptable in the sight of her REDEEMER

There was no mention of her novels, or her success as a writer. For the Austen family, even her overwhelming abilities with the pen were overshadowed by the intense personal nature of her loss. Their dismay was for the absence of a sister and friend, not for the fact her career as an author was so sadly cut short. Not even works of Jane Austen’s magnitude could surpass her worth as a sibling and companion in their eyes.

This is not to say that they were unaware of her extraordinary literary gifts. Her grave may have borne no reference to her writing, but her brother Henry was lavish in his praise of her the obituary he submitted to the newspapers, listing all of her novels with great pride. He furthermore declared that “the whole catalogue of the mighty dead” buried at Winchester Cathedral did “not contain the ashes of a brighter genius”.

Although we probably can all agree with Henry’s assessment of his sister’s talents, we can none of us understand the depths of the Austen family’s pain at losing one of their own. As Austen herself wrote in Mansfield Park, the sibling bond is “a strengthener of love, in which even the conjugal tie is beneath the fraternal. Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connexions can supply”. In a way it is a blessing that Jane was the first to go; she alone was spared the anguish of losing a brother or sister. English literature has suffered for her early demise, but Jane herself did not.

In our regrets for the loss of such a magnificent author, we sometimes neglect the fact she was a wonderful person, as well.

Meet Kyra Kramer: Kyra Cornelius Kramer is a freelance academic with BS degrees in both biology and anthropology from the University of Kentucky, as well as a MA in medical anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She has written essays on the agency of the Female Gothic heroine and women’s bodies as feminist texts in the works of Jennifer Crusie. She has also co-authored two works; one with Dr. Laura Vivanco on the way in which the bodies of romance heroes and heroines act as the sites of reinforcement of, and resistance to, enculturated sexualities and gender ideologies, and another with Dr. Catrina Banks Whitley on Henry VIII.

Ms. Kramer lives in Bloomington, IN with her husband, three young daughters, assorted pets, and occasionally her mother, who journeys northward from Kentucky in order to care for her grandchildren while her daughter feverishly types away on the computer. [Amazon Author Page]


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When her widowed uncle made her home untenable, Mary made the best of things by going to live with her elder sister, Mrs Grant, in a parson’s house the country. Mansfield Parsonage was more than Mary had expected and better than she could have hoped. Gregarious and personable, Mary also embraced the inhabitants of the nearby Mansfield Park, watching the ladies set their caps for her dashing brother, Henry Crawford, and developing an attachment to Edmund Bertram and a profound affection for his cousin, Fanny Price.

Mansfield Parsonage retells the story of Mansfield Park from the perspective of Mary Crawford’s hopes and aspirations and shows how Fanny Price’s happily-ever-after came at Mary’s expense.

Posted in book release, British history, buildings and structures, Georgian England, Guest Post, Jane Austen, literature, Living in the Regency, Regency era, Regency personalities, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What Exactly Did It Mean for A Clergyman to Have a “Living” Bestowed Upon Him During the Regency Period?

Henry Singleton: “The Curate of the Parish Returned From Duty.” London, circa 1800. Engraved by T. Burke.

We often read in a Regency era book something to the effect of the master of the estate bestowing a “living” upon a clergyman. Exactly, what did that entail? Once the living was bestowed, could the owner of the estate take it away if he thought someone else would serve him better? Was the living considered a for-life appointment? 

First, let’s have a look at the differences between those stations available for a living. 

The way someone quite some time ago explained it to me, a rector did not necessarily have to be ordained. He did receive the greater tithes, meaning 10% of the cereal crops grown in the parish in compensation for the freehold land set aside for church use. He served not only the church but also some administrative duties for the parish: registration of births, marriages, deaths and serving on the magistrate bench.

Vicar is the title given to certain parish priests in the Church of England. It has played a significant role in Anglican Church organisation in ways that are different from other Christian denominations. The title is very old and arises from the medieval situation where priests were appointed either by a secular lord, by a bishop or by a religious foundation. Wherever there is a vicar he shares the benefice with a rector (usually non-resident) to whom the great tithes were paid. Vicar derives from the Latin “vicarius” meaning a substitute. Historically, Anglican parish priests were divided into rectors, vicars and (rarely) perpetual curates. These were distinguished according to the way in which they were appointed and remunerated. The church was supported by tithes: taxes (traditionally of ten percent) levied on the personal and agricultural output of the parish.

A vicar was the most common title used for those overseeing a parish. Unfortunately, not all vicars were men of faith. We customarily think of the third son of an aristocratic family joining the clergy. All it took to be ordained was the right connections and enough money.

During the Regency, a living was established for the leader of the parish church. This was customarily a rector or vicar. Once installed into a living, those chosen were there for life. Only a bishop could remove the fellow and the cause had to be of public notice. If a holder of a living thought himself too old or too feeble to continue, he could hire a curate to take over his parish duties, that is, assuming he could afford to do so. In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Charles Hayter serves as a curate. 

“And, pray, who is Charles Hayter? Nothing but a country curate. A most improper match for Miss Musgrove of Uppercross.”—Mary Musgrove, Persuasion

Random Bits of Fascination tells us: “Whether or not a vicar had the resources for hiring a curate depended on the parish itself. His portion would be the lesser tithes, 10% of the parish’s produce and livestock. In some vicarages this might be as little as £50 a year. (For reference, this is roughly the equivalent of a minimum wage job.) In other parishes, the lesser tithes could amount to a considerable sum. Some hints in Pride and Prejudice suggest the Kympton living might have amounted to £500 -£600 a year. A vicar could resign his duties to a curate once he obtained the permission of his bishop. Many hired a curate, who would be paid out of the vicar’s own pocket, from the beginning of their incumbency. Others only did so when they had to retire. A vicar did not have to give up the parsonage house to the curate. He might continue to live in it himself and leave the curate to find his own living quarters somewhere within an easy distance of the church.”  

Meanwhile, author Brenda S. Cox reveals: “A rector, like Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, received all the tithes. This included the ‘great tithes,’ about three-fourths of the total: usually the tithes of grain, hay, etc. The rector also got the ‘small tithes’: tithes of animals, eggs, poultry, etc. Austen’s rector characters received between 200 and 1000 pounds from their parishes (200 for Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility, close to 1000 for the Grants in Mansfield Park).

“A vicar only got the ‘small tithes.’ In a parish with a vicar rather than a rector, the local squire or someone else got the great tithes. Mr. Elton of Emma was a vicar, so he needed a wealthy wife. We know his living was not a large one, since Mrs. Bates, the widow of the former vicar, lived in poverty. (Emma, of course, was clueless about Mr. Elton’s financial needs.) Mr. Elton’s income was probably about a quarter of what a rector’s income would have been for the parish.”

A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish.  In this sense, “curate” correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy. Again, from Random Bits of Fascination, we learn, “A curate was usually a young man just recently ordained, who assisted or sometimes performed the duties of a clergyman. Though they might do all the work of the parish, their salaries were often meager, perhaps as little as £50 per year, not enough to afford a maid. Even at trifling wages, a curacy was not easy to obtain. In the early 1800’s curates made up close to half of the clergymen. Even with a position, their future was not secure. The death of the incumbent did not imply the curate would ascend to the living. Moreover, there was no guarantee that the successor would even continue to employ the curate.  A curate did not retire unless he had private means of support because the church offered no pensions. As members of the clergy, curates were regarded as gentlemen. Despite their official standing, the subservient nature of their position and their paltry incomes caused some of the gentry and peers to hold them in disregard.”

“The curate was far down the financial and social scale from both the rector and the vicar.  He got a salary, which was generally half (or less) of what a vicar might receive. In 1813, the median income of a curate was only £55 per year. Some received as little as £4 a year!  A few received over £200, though.  £55 was Henry Austen’s income (Jane Austen’s brother) when he took his first curacy, at Chawton, in 1816.” (Brenda S. Cox)

“Most parishes in England and Wales retain the historical title for their parish priest—rector or vicar—with vicar being more common in the urban areas, because of an expansion of new Parishes being created in the Victorian years, and the incumbents being styled ‘vicar’ after 1868. The distinction between the titles is now only historical. In the late 20th century, a shortage of clergy and the disparity of workload between parish clergy led to the development of a number of new forms of parish ministry. In Wales prior to Disestablishment most parishes in the southern dioceses (St. Davids and Llandaff) were vicarages subject to lay patronage, whereas in the north rectors predominated largely nominated by the bishops of Bangor and St. Asaph.” (Vicar)

Okay, back to my original question. 

If the man was read in as a vicar or rector, as mentioned above, he could only be removed by death or by the bishop for crimes or when he was translated to another position. However, if the man who had the advowson wanted it for his son or nephew or cousin or anyone else, he could hire a man as a curate to hold the position for how many years it was until his relation could assume the position.

However, a curate who was given a living to hold it until a man’s relation turns 24 and was  ordained could be dismissed. Also, if a rector had several churches and so appointed one to be curate at  of them, he could be dismissed by the one who appointed him.

So the one who hired a curate to cover a second or third parish  or one hired to hold the position until a child was old enough to take the living could be dismissed by the man who gave him the job. Otherwise, the man was in there for life. 

Now, taking all that is listed above, please note that when I first learned about the difference between rectors and vicars, I accepted the definition as rectors received the great tithes, vicars received the small tithes and curates received wages.
However, I recently read an essay in Persuasion 16 of Jane Austen Society of North America that says often the documents setting up each living set out who received what.

“The tenth part of all profits or fruits, both praedial, personal, and mixed, allotted to the clergy for their maintenance. Of tithes there are three kinds, viz., personal, predial, and mixed. Personal tithes are those duo or accruing from the profits of labour, art, trade, navigation, and industry of man. Pradial tithes, those which arise either from the fruits of the ground, as corn, hay, underwood, flax, hemp, &c.; or from the fruits of trees, as apples, pears, plums, cherries ; or from the produce of the garden. Mixed tithes arc such as arise from beasts, and other animals fed with the fruits of the earth, as cheese, milk, wool, lambs, calves, fowls, &c . Preadial tithes, again, are either great or small. Great tithes are those of corn, hay, and wood. Small tithes are those of flax, &c., which are prsedial; and those of wool, milk, cheese, lambs, ferrets, &c., which are mixed . The tithes of grounds newly broken up and cultivated are called decimce novates, and always belong to the vicar, as well as the small tithes. ”  Dictionary of the English Church Ancient and Modern.

“A Companion to the English Parish Church says of tithes: There are three types of tithes : praedial tithes (calculated on income produce), mixed tithes (calculated on income from stock and labour), and personal tithes (based on income derived entirely from labour).
Where a rector wasn’t the incumbent, the tithes were divided between the rector and the vicar. They were the Great or Rectorial and small or Vicarial tithes. Vicarial tithes were generally those raised from labour and minor produce and as such were most difficult to raise.”

“Nothing about the tithe system, however, was simple. There were many exemptions, and customary usage could change the interpretation of the laws. Generally, products which were part of the ground itself were exempt from tithe: coal, minerals, limestone, etc. But in some areas it was customary to pay tithes on these materials, tin in Devon and Cornwall, for instance, and lead in Derbyshire. In the early years of the Industrial Revolution, new agricultural and industrial products changed the picture. Tithe owners stood to gain large amounts when new methods of husbandry resulted in improved yields or new crops if they could collect ten per cent of the produce. Vegetable gardens had been usually exempt from tithe, but with the tremendous growth of cities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, large market gardens were developed on their outskirts, and the parish clergy naturally wanted to collect tithes on them. Some crops considered particularly important to the trade and industry of the country were given special consideration: the cloth industry employed thousands of people-hemp and flax were accordingly tithed at a maximum of five shillings an acre in perpetuity; madder, an essential ingredient in dyeing and calico printing, was given similar protection (Thirske 403). Wild animals – feroe naturae – were traditionally exempt from tithes. The courts helped the rich by deciding that deer, even if kept in parks, were wild animals. Crown forests and waste lands were traditionally exempt. Jane Austen would have become acutely aware of the problems which could be caused by the Enclosure Acts, when the Austen ladies visited her cousin, Edward Cooper, at his rectory at Hamstall Ridware in Staffordshire in 1806. Edward was in the process of petitioning the Exchequer Court against the enclosure of Needwood Forest. The proposal was that the forest lands be enclosed and divided among the three adjacent parishes, Hamstall Ridware, Rolleston and Scropton. According to law, these new lands would be exempt from tithe for the first seven years of cultivation (to help defray the capital costs involved), and Edward Cooper and the other tithe owners were concerned that the farmers would sow them with wheat or cereal crops (usually subject to a high rate of tithe) and leave their original lands to grass (paying little or no tithe) (Salt Library).” (Sutherland)

Other sources: 

Collins, Irene. (1998)  Jane Austen, The Parson’s DaughterHambledon Press.

Collins,Irene. (2002)  Jane Austen & the Clergy.  Hambledon Press.

Cox, Brenda S. “Nothing But a Country Curate.” 

Day, Malcom. (2006) Voices from the World of Jane. Austen David & Charles.

Knight, Jude. “Serving God, the Parish, or possible Mammon in late Georgian England.”

Savage, William. “The Georgian Clergy.”

Sullivan, Margaret C. (2007) The Jane Austen Handbook. Quirk Books.

Sutherland, Eileen.“Tithes and the Rural Clergyman in Jane Austen’s England.” Persuasion 16, 1994. 

“Vicar vs Curate? What’s the Difference?” 

Posted in British history, Church of England, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era, religion, research | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When the Sun Never Set on the British Empire, a Guest Post from Elaine Owen

This post originally appeared on the Austen Authors’ blog on 24 May 2019. Enjoy! 

Today I’d like to share the first of two entries regarding a business entity that played a significant role in Jane Austen’s life. This public company held sway over large parts of the British Empire. It held a charter from the crown, acted as an agent of the British government, and even had its own army and navy. It may even have helped finance the publication of some of Jane’s novels. Yet it is never mentioned in any of her published stories. Can you imagine what it was?

The East India Company (or EIC) was the creation of Queen Elizabeth I of England, who gave it a royal charter in the year 1600 for exclusive trade in the east. The company organizers were eager to explore lands on the other side of the world and to open routes for trading spices and tea. They promptly recruited stockholders, pooled funds, bought ships, and began sending ships to India. By the mid seventeenth century the company had established trading outposts and gained a sizable presence on the Indian sub-continent.

At the time, this region of the world was controlled by the Mughul dynasty, which ruled over a number of provinces from India all the way to modern day Afghanistan. But in the mid eighteenth century the Mughuls were facing outbreaks of rebellion against their rule.  One by one the provinces began to resist their overlords. This left a wide open door for the British, who were quick to offer military and political support to the rebels in order to strengthen their own position. To protect their interests the EIC hired more and more “security officers,” both Indian and British citizens, who gradually became a military force in their own right. Before too long the EIC had effectively taken over control of large parts of India.

In 1765 the EIC deposed the Mughul dynasty itself and took complete control of the entire former empire. From that point on it behaved more like a nation-state than a trading company. England gave the company the right to collect taxes in the areas it controlled, and it negotiated with foreign governments and signed treaties. Nominally, it was still a stockholder corporation operating under a charter, but in practice it ruled India and other territories on behalf of the British government. In fact, by 1805 its “security force” had grown to include 260,000 men, twice the size of the entire British army! It was truly a force to be reckoned with.

Sadly, there was little accountability to go along with all that power. The company imposed crippling land taxes as well as trade tariffs in the areas it controlled, and almost all of the money collected went straight to England. Little of it was used for the benefit of the native people. Trade agreements were always designed for the benefit of the British at the expense of the native population, and England forced India to import only from England. When Indians objected, torture and other atrocities became common. Mismanagement of the land along with natural disasters eventually caused one of the worst famines in modern times.

To be sure, the East India Company did do some good things in the areas it controlled. New methods of transportation and communication were introduced, and legal and administrative systems came into being. The levels of sanitation and medical care went up in some areas, and for awhile the population grew at a healthy rate. Taken as a whole, however, most historians agree that the East India Company did more harm than good.

One of many revolts against British rule in India

How did all of this affect Jane Austen and her writing? What did she think of the practices of the EIC? And how did the EIC’s reign finally come to an end?  I’ll talk about that in next month’s post, but for now I thought you might be interested in the following facts about the EIC:

  • The EIC leadership was incredibly compact and efficient. The entire operation was managed from a relatively small office in London that never had more than 300 permanent employees.
  • Remember the Boston Tea Party, one of the events that set off the American Revolution? The tea thrown overboard into the Boston Harbor came from the EIC.
  • Slavery was a thing. The EIC imported slaves from Africa to work in India, a practice that continued until 1847.
  • The EIC illegally smuggled opium out of India and sold it in China, which eventually caused war between the British and the Chinese. The outcome of these wars led to the founding of Hong Kong as a British territory.
  • General Charles Cornwallis, the British general who surrendered to George Washington, was appointed Governor General of India in 1786. He used his position to make significant reforms to the East India Company. He died in India in 1805.
Posted in Austen Authors, British history, British Navy, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Guest Post, history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, military, real life tales, Regency era, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

His Majesty “Farmer George”

If one were to search history books, he would learn that King George III was King of England during the American Revolutionary War. He might also discover that the same King George “went mad” in his later years. Hopefully, the person would also learn the following, which is provided (in more detail than I have included below) by Royal.uk: 

**”George III became heir to the throne on the death of his father in 1751, succeeding his grandfather, George II, in 1760. He was the third Hanoverian monarch and the first one to be born in England and to use English as his first language.

**George III was devoted to his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. They had 15 children, 13 of whom reached adulthood.

**”George III was the first king to study science as part of his education (he had his own astronomical observatory), and examples of his collection of scientific instruments can now be seen in the Science Museum.

**”The American War of Independence ran from 1775 to 1783 and resulted in Britain’s loss of many its colonies in North America. France was eager to retaliate against Great Britain following their defeat during the Seven Years’ War. Various conflicts against Napoleonic France started in 1793 and led to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

**”George III bought Buckingham House (now known as Buckingham Palace) in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte to use as a comfortable family home close to St James’s Palace, where many court functions were held. Buckingham House became known as the Queen’s House.

**”One of the most cultured of monarchs, George III started a new royal collection of books (65,000 of his books were later given to the British Museum, as the nucleus of a national library) and opened his library to scholars.

**”After serious bouts of illness in 1788-89 and again in 1801, George became permanently deranged in 1810. He was mentally unfit to rule in the last decade of his reign; his eldest son – the later George IV – acted as Prince Regent from 1811. Some medical historians have said that George III’s mental instability was caused by a hereditary physical disorder called porphyria.

**”During his reign, George III acquired the nickname ‘Farmer George’, in part due to his agricultural interests and in part as a playful pun. The survival of private papers offers one of the best opportunities to assess the true character and extent of George III’s agricultural interests including many notes made by him on agricultural books.”

It is said by many that George was a child who did not progress as fast mentally, as did others his age. He was a passionate young man, which made him difficult to teach or to command. Supposedly, he could not read properly until he was 11 years of age. When his father died, George, age 12 at the time, became the heir to the throne of England. Because he was aware of his “deficiencies,” George never thought himself worthy of the throne. Even so, he appeared determined to be successful, hiding his self doubt behind a facade of confidence. His method of screwing up his courage was to set himself an ideal of conduct. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute became this ideal for George III. Bute became George’s inspiration, his teacher, and later his chief minister.

“Succeeding to his father’s earldom in 1723, Bute was known to remained aloof from politics until he met (1747) and won the favour of Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, son of King George II. Upon Frederick’s death in 1751, Bute became the constant companion and confidant of the prince’s son George, heir to the throne, whose tutor he had been. After his accession George III made the earl secretary of state (March 1761). The king appointed Bute in order to break the power of the dominant Whig leaders and to achieve a peace with France. From the first, Bute, as a Scotsman, was widely disliked in England. He aroused further hostility by ousting from his administration William Pitt (later 1st Earl of Chatham), creator of England’s successful strategy in the Seven Years’ War. Bute replaced Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, as first lord of the Treasury (in effect, prime minister) in May 1762, and in February 1763 he signed the Treaty of Paris, which made peace with France but was extremely unpopular in England. After imposing a hated cider tax and becoming involved in the controversial elevation of Henry Fox to the peerage, Bute resigned (April 1763). Nevertheless, he maintained his influence with George III until the new prime minister, George Grenville, made the king promise (May 1765) that he would neither employ Bute in office nor seek his counsel.” 

One must not think of the nickname of “Farmer George” to be a disparaging one, for during George III’s long reign, England was very much an agricultural country, so referring to the King as “Farmer George” was a tribute of sorts. The Royal Collection Trust tells us: “During his reign, George III acquired the nickname ‘Farmer George’, in part due to his agricultural interests and in part as a playful pun – a nod toward nominative determinism given that his name, George, derived from the Greek geōrgos (γεωργός), meaning ‘farmer’ or ‘earth worker’. However, the extent to which this popular name arose from his reputation as an agriculturalist has been debated. The anecdotes and caricatures from the 1780s and 1790s tended to depict a friendly, homespun country gentleman, rather than a progressive, experimenting improver. The ‘farmer’ characterisation captured both his reportedly simple domestic life and his traditional paternalistic role as the nation’s father, as much as his zeal for the theory and practice of agriculture. Furthermore, it is difficult to reconstruct an accurate portrait of his engagements with farming from the accounts of contemporaries, whose compliments and stories are partly attributable to the honour owed to a patron and a king.”

In 1780, George III began to develop the parklands around Windsor Castle. The history of Windsor Castle on the internet tells us: “George I took little interest in Windsor Castle, preferring his other palaces at St James’s, Hampton Court, and Kensington. George II rarely used Windsor either, preferring Hampton Court. Many of the apartments in the Upper Ward were given out as “grace and favour” privileges for the use of prominent widows or other friends of the Crown. The Duke of Cumberland made the most use of the property in his role as the Ranger of Windsor Great Park. By the 1740s, Windsor Castle had become an early tourist attraction; wealthier visitors who could afford to pay the castle keeper could enter, see curiosities such as the castle’s narwhal horn, and by the 1750s buy the first guidebooks to Windsor, produced by George Bickham in 1753 and Joseph Pote in 1755. As the condition of the State Apartments continued to deteriorate, even the general public were able to regularly visit the property.

“George III reversed this trend when he came to the throne in 1760. George disliked Hampton Court and was attracted by the park at Windsor Castle. George wanted to move into the Ranger’s House by the castle, but his brother, Henry, was already living in it and refused to move out. Instead, George had to move into the Upper Lodge, later called the Queen’s Lodge, and started the long process of renovating the castle and the surrounding parks. Initially the atmosphere at the castle remained very informal, with local children playing games inside the Upper and Lower Wards, and the royal family frequently seen as they walked around the grounds. As time went by, however, access for visitors became more limited.”

Under George III’s orders, the parklands surrounding Windsor Castle were transformed from grounds for hunting to pristine parks and gardens. One major change was the conversion of the areas known as the Lower Park and the Upper Park into agricultural lands to be used by Frogmore farm. George III was known to have enjoyed overseeing the husbandry efforts at the farm. It is said, King George insisted that newer farming methods be practiced at Frogmore. A four-crop rotation was incorporated so as not to overuse the land.

Charles Townsend, 2nd Viscount Townsend, who served as Secretary of State under George I, used the four crop method on his estate in Norfolk. Townsend had learned of the method from farmers in Holland. It was also used in America and to a lesser extent in Scotland. Crops were rotated on a four-year basis. Townsend considered clover and turnips as two of the crops. The Open Door Website explains the The Four Field System, thusly: “Viscount Townshend successfully introduced a new method of crop rotation on his farms. He divided his fields up into four different types of produce with wheat in the first field, clover (or ryegrass) in the second, oats or barley in the third and, in the fourth, turnips or swedes. The turnips were used as fodder to feed livestock in winter. Clover and ryegrass were grazed by livestock. Using this system, he found that he could grow more crops and get a better yield from the land.

“If a crop was not rotated, then the nutrient level in the field would go down with time. The yield of the crop from the field decreased. Using the four field system, the land could not only be “rested”, but also could be improved by growing other crops. Clover and turnips grown in a field after wheat, barley or oats, naturally replaced nutrients into the soil. None of the fields had to be taken out of use whilst they recovered. Also, where animals grazed on the clover and turnip fields, eating the crop, their droppings helped to manure the soil. The four field system was successful because it improved the amount of food produced.”

Back at Frogmore, George III also set up a dairy. All together, more than 1,000 acres were used for farm purposes at Windsor. George may have been “slow” at reading when he was young, but he held a great deal of knowledge in the areas of animal husbandry and botany and agriculture. He imported sheep from Spain, a suggestion from Sir Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal Society. Those sheep became the ancestors of the Merino sheep found in New Zealand and Australia. 

George III wrote letters for the Annals of Agriculture under the pen name of ‘Ralph Robinson,’ the name of one of the shepherds he employed on the farm. He kept meticulous notes on the latest improvements in farming practices and animal husbandry. 

The Royal Collection Trust tells us: “The start of George III’s reign coincided with a new surge in agricultural publishing, such that by 1776 Lord Kames was moved to open his own treatise with a joke about the flood of texts: ‘Behold another volume on husbandry!’ It is, therefore, not entirely surprising that in the 1760s and 1770s a monarch concerned with the wealth of his kingdom and curious about the arts and sciences would collect and read books on agriculture. Indeed, George’s intellectual interest can be considered typical of many British gentlemen landowners at the time. Moreover, the surviving papers on agriculture form only a small proportion of the total number in the collection of George’s essays (around one to two per cent). We should therefore resist the temptation offered by his nickname to over-interpret the significance of such notes.

“The first point to make about George’s notes is that they are mostly taken from books published over a relatively short period, 1762–71. This may only be an effect of what survives, but it suggests that George was concerned with the latest ideas and debates, and it is not unreasonable to assume that his notes were made within a relatively short number of years following the publication of a new book or treatise. The exceptions are a short note on a book of 1775 and notes from volumes the periodicals Annals of Agriculture and Transactions of the Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce from the 1780s. We can roughly divide the surviving notes made by George into three general themes: the political economy of agriculture, the merits of old versus new husbandry methods and the cultivation of specific crops.”

ERP_15a_BOOK_19 083

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how one views history, George III’s keen interest in agriculture made him a “subject” of several cartoonists of the day. He was lampooned by the famous James Gillray on more than one occasion. John Wolcott satirized the King, just as he did members of the Royal Society. In Wolcott’s piece, King George explains how to make an apple dumpling to a farmer’s wife. 

In tempting row the naked dumplings lay, 

When lo! the monarch is on his usual way, 

Like lightening spoke “What’s this? what’s this? what? what?” 

“No!” cried the staring monarch with a grin, 

“How? how? the devil got the apple in?”

Posted in British history, buildings and structures, family, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Great Britain, kings and queens, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era, royalty, science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Militia Officers During the Regency

What were the differences between the various units of militia officers during the Regency? For example, how could George Wickham in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice serve in Hertfordshire when his home shire was Derbyshire? And how was Colonel Fitzwilliam’s service in the Regulars, from the same book, yet be another facet of the military in the Regency?

At the time of the war with Napoleon, Great Britain did not employ a standing militia. They were only recruited when the Regulars were required to engage the enemy. The militia assumed the “policing” of the country in the absence of the Regulars. They served on home land. They were dispensed to squash riots and seditious actions. They protected British soil while the Regulars engaged the enemy outside of the home land. The militia was often dispatched to shires away from their homes to avoid their sympathizing with those they were charged to dispatch. In Pride and Prejudice, the militia which Mr. Wickham joins in Hertfordshire, is supposedly peppered with Derbyshire volunteers. 

Militia officers served as long as they liked and like Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, could be from anywhere while those picked or volunteering for militia duty in the rank and file served five years, *usually* from their home county. There were substantial signing bonuses during the wars as the Militia, Regulars and Volunteers competed for the same pool of men, so anyone from outside the county would and did join the militia for the bonus and pay.

“In the novel the anonymous regiment of – shires caused a considerable stir on its arrival in the quiet country town of Meryton – and among the Bennet family of five unmarried daughters. “. . . They were well supplied both with news and happiness by the recent arrival of a militia regiment in the neighborhood; it was to remain the whole winter, and Meryton was the head quarters.” (Pride and Prejudice 28). The regiment and its officers figure prominently in the fortunes of the Bennet family for the remainder of the novel. Jane Austen’s own experience of the militia was probably not too different from that of  the Bennet sisters. From about the age of sixteen she began to attend the monthly assembly at the town of Basingstoke, about seven miles distant from her home village of Steventon. Here, during the winter of 1794-95, the assemblies would have been graced by officers of the South Devon Militia: three of their eight companies were quartered in Basingstoke. Their colonel was John Tolle, Member of Parliament for Devonshire since 1780, whose support for William Pitt, the Prime Minister, had made him the butt of the opposition Whigs in the mock-epic Rolliad. The officers of the South Devonshires would have enlivened local society just as the -shires did at Meryton. As they all came from the neighborhood of Exeter, it is likely that Jane Austen heard a great deal about that area from them, and it is probably not coincidence that when she wrote the beginnings of her first mature novel in the summer of 1795 about two girls called Elinor and Marianne, she set their new home, Barton, in South Devon “within four miles northward of Exeter” (Sense and Sensibility 25).” (Breihan and Caplan: Jane Austen and the Militia)

Few members of the militia were trained in military tactics, such as shooting, horsemanship, or use of a sword. They were required to have their own guns to be a member of the militia. Those picked or volunteering for militia duty in the rank and file served five years, while some served for seven years. Officer commissions were not available (as opposed to those in the Regulars). Those who held rank in the militia received that rank based on how much land the family held. Captain Denny in Pride and Prejudice would need either to be the heir of land worth at least £400 per year or actually own land worth at least £200 per year. Although we are given nothing of Denny’s background in Austen’s novel, we are told that George Wickham becomes a lieutenant in the Meryton militia. This is a bit confusing to many who know something of military history, for a lieutenant in the militia would be required to hold land worth £50 per year. If Wickham had nothing of his own upon which to depend, how did he receive his lieutenancy? Most experts speak of a lowering of the standards for the few who would qualify as a junior officer otherwise, meaning Wickham held a gentleman’s education, making him “qualify as a junior officer.” The wages presented to the officers was only to cover their expenses, not replace their income from their land. 

All Protestant males were required to be available for the militia. There was a quota for each area. A local nobleman (customarily referred to as the Lord Lieutenant) was charged “by the King” (or rather by the King’s spokesman) to gather a force of able-bodied men between the ages of 18 – 45 to serve as part of the country’s militia. A local landowner was appointed as the “colonel” in charge of the men of the unit. These men were “guaranteed” not to know service outside of the homeland, meaning they would not know the battlefield frequented by professional soldiers. They also experienced a steady social life provided by the local gentry. Only clergymen were exempt from this duty.

Parishes were fined if they did not raise the required numbers of militiamen, so they were happy to have anyone fill the rosters, paying a bonus that was far less than the fine. And, of course, sooner or later the parishes and regular army learned not to  pay the bonuses before the men were marched away. More than a few made a living out of getting the bonuses and then skipping out, only to ‘enlist’ again someplace else for bonuses there. A man who did not wish to serve could pay another to serve in his stead. They were offered between £25 and  £60, which was equivalent to a year’s wage for many in the Regency. 

Pride and Prejudice takes place in Regency England during the French Revolution, which began in 1789. To combat the threat of Napoleon’s conquest of Europe, militia forces were moved across the countryside to lie in wait of an attack at camps where they were involved in training sessions. Landowning aristocrats generally led the militia of their locality, although the soldiers of each regiment came from various places. Though the militia was made up of volunteers, a commission was needed to enroll. With the Militia Act of 1757, which created a more professional force with proper uniforms and better weapons, the militia became seen as a more respectable occupation, especially for younger sons who would not inherit land.” (The Militia in “Pride and Prejudice”)

In any case, When Napoleon returned, the Militia were called up and regular army volunteers were asked for from the militia, both officers and men. A number went to Belgium, but the militias were held in readiness on the coasts during and after Waterloo. After Waterloo, there was an effort to stop the surge in smugglers and ex-pats trying to escape a now monarchial France, landing along the English coasts, so it is reasonable that the Essex militia would have been in that county on duty.

Because of the militia riots of 1813, militias were more often kept in the county of origin in small groups across the countryside. Doing so also helped in watching the coasts. Most regular army units were not disbanded or reduced until the autumn of 1816, so the militia wouldn’t have been sent to their homes until about the same time depending on the mood of the county folks and the coastal activity.

Remember, when speaking of the Napoleonic Wars, one is speaking of a twenty-year period of war, 1792-1815. There were several kinds of militia during this time, besides yeomanry, fensible, and volunteer organizations. The threat of invasion and the desperate need for manpower in the regular army also affected how and where militia were used.

There were very few barracks at all at the start of the Napoleonic wars, better than 85% of the ones existing for militia and regular troops in 1815 being built during the wars. And then there are the various militia revolts which colored the way the militia was deployed in later years. 

The militia was not seen as the ‘standing army’. In fact, it was seen as a local force which negated the need for a standing army, e.g., the Regulars] …as it was argued in Parliament. It was also seen and used as a police force when more than a couple of locals were needed to enforce the law. Seeing militia ‘guarding’ important groups or individuals was not that unusual. It was only when one adds in the 1813 militia uprisings and such events as Peterloo (1819) that the militia was given a bad name. Usually, a police force made up of militia would be locals whom everyone knew.  Opinions varied, of course, but generally the militia was not viewed in the same way as a standing [regular] army, who had put Cromwell on the ’throne’ and before and during the Napoleonic wars were housed in citizens’ homes … generally strangers and a lower [armed] class than the owners of those homes.  One of the major reasons for the extensive creation of the barrack system during and after the war.

You may also find this previous piece on militia officers of use.  

 

Posted in British history, British Navy, George Wickham, Georgian England, Georgian Era, history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, military, Napoleonic Wars, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do We Know of London and the Surrounding Areas in the Regency?

On a snowy afternoon, while walking on Hampstead Heath, author C.S. Lewis was inspired with the idea for a new novel; it became The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. https://www.heathandhampstead.org.uk/heath/

Some people who read Regency-based novels do not realize London itself was not all the areas we writers mention in our novels. Many areas, such as Hampstead Heath (famous for its duels), Kew Gardens (founded in 1840 from the exotic garden at Kew Park in Middlesex), Richmond Park (where we often see our characters picnicking, located 8.2 miles west-southwest of Charing Cross), Mayfair and Hyde Park (both located in Westminster), were not part of London proper in the Regency era. In other words, the wealthy lived outside of London proper.

For example, Westminster is now a government district in Central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. However, historically the area lay within St Margaret’s parish, City & Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex. The name describes an area no more than 1 mile (1.6 km) from Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster immediately to the west of the River Thames. The settlement grew up around the palace and abbey, as a service area for them. The need for a parish church, St Margaret’s Westminster for the servants of the palace and of the abbey, who could not worship there, indicates that it had a population as large as that of a small village. It became larger and in the Georgian period became connected through urban ribbon development [Ribbon development is building houses along the routes of communications radiating from a human settlement.] with the City along the Strand. [The Early History of Westminster]

The link below from the Survey of London holds extensive information about the development of the streets and who lived there. Note the excerpt provided. 

The Bartlett School of Architecture – Survey of London – University College of London (***Be certain to screen down and open the draft chapters of volumes 51 and 52. Lots of interesting information found there. – Such as Chapter 18 discusses Upper Regent Street, saying, “North of Oxford Circus, Regent Street runs for just three full blocks. Beyond this short section, sometimes known informally as Upper Regent Street, the ‘New Street’ laid out by John Nash for the Crown from 1813 twists westward as Langham Place, connecting with the earlier Portland Place, thence to Park Crescent and Regent’s Park, where Nash’s great planning vision for London resumes at a fresh pitch of grandeur and invention. These 250 yards at the top of the street were unique only in having the rotunda and steeple of All Souls, Langham Place, as their beguiling northern focus. In their earliest years they were less commercial than the central run of Regent Street between the circuses, but that was already changing by 1840.” Is it not lovely to have such resources at our disposal? 

In 1812, the Regent’s Canal Company was formed to cut a new canal from the Grand Junction Canal’s Paddington Arm to Limehouse (from west London to the River Thames in the east), where a dock was planned at the junction with the Thames. The architect John Nash played a part in its construction, using his idea of ‘barges moving through an urban landscape’. Nash’s masterplan provided for the canal to run around the northern edge of Regent’s Park; as with other projects, he left its execution to one of his assistants, in this case James Morgan. The first phase of the Regent’s Canal was completed in 1816 and finally completed in 1820. Unfortunately,  it was built too close to the start of the railway age to be financially successful and at one stage the Regent’s Canalonly narrowly escaped being turned into a railway. But the canal went on to become a vital part in southern England’s transport system.

The aristocrats lived in the West  End: Mayfair, Westminster, etc. Most of them had moved away from the water and the stink of the Thames.

If you are exceedingly interested in this topic, you might have a look at A-Z Regency England, which has maps but a book about Mayfair  describes the  squares where the wealthy lived. “The London Topographical Society A to Z series consists of seven books, which provide fully-indexed maps of London at roughly 100 year intervals. Each reproduces a key map of the period. The indexes allow users to identify the position of streets and buildings, in some cases right down to small courts and alleys. They appeal to anyone interested in the development of London and are invaluable for those researching family history. The A to Z Regency London with introduction by Paul Laxton and index by Joseph Wisdom. Horwood’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster (3rd Edition 1813) in book form on a scale of 14 inches per mile, with key and index. Extends Hyde Park-East India Docks; Pentonville-Walworth. A3 size approximate.” 

Bankers and merchants might have live within London, but I do not think it was  a salubrious place to live by the Regency. They went to Vauxhall by boat and many lived closer to the water outside of Mayfair and London.

CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO GEORGIAN/REGENCY MAP (via Google)

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1f06GI-JEaXroXCEx3pbV1G4lgMM&ll=51.53616515415856%2C-0.09922600000004422&z=10

0r

Georgian London Street and Business Index 

or

GenMaps maps of London, Middlesex, Surrey, Essex) 

also

GenMaps’ Home page for other places in England, Wales, and Scotland 

or

Georgian London Street and Business Locations 

Below is a link to an actual 1818 map of London that is partitioned into blocks. If you click on any block, you will get a blow-up of that section. The upper left hand block has a directory of various places. [Note! The site is not as secure as I would personally prefer.]

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/1818map/1818map_linkc.htm

Below is a similar map from 1817, blocked off and blown up in the same manner. It has been marked off with color to show boundaries.

http://mapco.net/darton1817/darton.htm

For those of you who are my Austen followers, try Louise Allen’s Walking Jane Austen’s London. This book presents nine walks through both the London Jane Austen knew and the London of her novels! Follow in Jane’s footsteps to her publisher’s doorstep and the Prince Regent’s vanished palace, see where she stayed when she was correcting proofs of Sense and Sensibility and accompany her on a shopping expedition – and afterwards to the theatre. In modern London the walker can still visit the church where Lydia Bennett married Wickham, stroll with Elinor Dashwood in Kensington Palace Gardens or imagine they follow Jane’s naval officer brothers as they stride down Whitehall to the Admiralty. From well-known landmarks to hidden corners, these walks reveal a lost London that can still come alive in vivid detail for the curious visitor, who will discover eighteenth-century chop houses, elegant squares, sinister prisons, bustling city streets and exclusive gentlemen’s clubs amongst innumerable other Austenesque delights.

Posted in British history, buildings and structures, business, commerce, England, estates, Georgian England, Georgian Era, history, Living in the Regency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,