What Do We Know of “Love” in Pride and Prejudice?

Most who have read the book consider Pride and Prejudice a love story, but how often does Austen actually used the word “love” in the novel? And is there more than one kind of love expressed? Let us see…

Books, Tea & Me | Books, Tea & Me | Page 54 bookmarkreview.wordpress.com

Books, Tea & Me | Books, Tea & Me | Page 54

In Chapter 1, Mrs Bennet explains the necessity of Mr Bennet calling upon Bingley at Netherfield in hopes of fostering romantic love for one of her daughters: “Design? nonsense, how can you talk so? But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes.”

In Chapter 3, Mrs Bennet’s hopes for a match on one of her daughter’s part with Mr Bingley increases when she learns Bingley plans to attend the Meryton assembly. Romantic love is the focus once again. “Nothing could be more delightful. To be fond of dancing was a certain step toward falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr Bingley’s heart were entertained.”

charlotteIn Chapter 6, Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas discuss whether Jane’s “supposed indifference” to Mr Bingley could affect Jane’s relationship to the man. Elizabeth and Charlotte speak of romantic love. Charlotte says, “We can all begin freely – a slight preference is natural enough; but there are few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.”

In Chapter 7, Mrs Bennet uses “love” as an endearment. “Well, Jane, who is it from? What is it about? What does he say? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us – make haste, my love.”

In Chapter 9, Mrs Bennet is telling Bingley of others who found Jane attractive. Mrs Bennet speaks of affection rather than love, but we consider the romance of marriage. “When she was only fifteen there was a gentleman at my brother Gardiner’s, in Town, so much in love with her that my sister-in-law was sure he would make her an offer before we came away.”

Elizabeth attempts to make light of her mother’s attempts to bring Jane to a higher standing in Mr Bingley’s opinion.  “And so ended his affection. There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!”

Later, Darcy says, “I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love.”

To which, Elizabeth replies, “Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it is only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will stare it entirely away.”

In Chapter 11, Elizabeth speaks of “love” as a preference. “I dearly love a laugh.”

In Chapter 13, Mrs Bennet uses the word “love” as a sign of affection for her youngest daughter. “Well, I am sure, I shall be extremely glad to see Mr Bingley. But – good Lord, how unlucky! – there is not a bit of fish to be go today! Lydia, my love, ring the bell. I must speak to Hill this moment!”

In Chapter 19, even though she refuses his proposal, Mr Collins cannot fathom that Elizabeth does not hold romantic love in her heart for him. “As I must, therefore, conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females.”

In Chapter 20, Mr Collins fancies himself in love with Elizabeth even though she has refused his proposal, while Mrs Bennet’s actions are not so much concerned with romantic love, but with the possibility of Elizabeth becoming mistress of Longbourn.  “Mr Collins was not left long to the silent contemplation of his successful love; for Mrs Bennet, having dawdled about in the vestibule to watch for the end of the conference, no sooner saw Elizabeth open the door and with quick step pass her toward the staircase, than she entered the breakfast-room, and congratulated both him and herself in warm terms on the happy prospect of their nearer connection.”

In Chapter 25, Elizabeth and Mrs Gardiner discuss Jane’s doldrums with Mr Bingley’s departure. “I am sorry it went off. But these things happen so often. A young man, such as you describe Mr Bingley, so easily falls in love with a pretty girl for a few weeks, and when accident separates them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of inconsistencies are very frequent.”

To which Elizabeth responds, “An excellent consolation in its way, but it will not do for us. We do not suffer by accident. It does not often happen that the interference of friends will persuade a young man of independent fortune to think no more of a girl he was violently in love with only a few days before.”

Mrs. Gardiner counters, “But that expression of ‘violently in love‘ is so hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea. It is as often applied to feelings which arise only from a half-hour’s acquaintance, as to a real strong attachment. Pray, how violent was Mr Bingley’s love?”

Eventually, Elizabeth concedes, “Oh, test – of that kind of love which I suppose him to have felt. Poor Jane! I am very sorry for her, because, with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately.

In Chapter 26, Mrs Gardiner cautions Elizabeth about Elizabeth’s interest in Mr. Wickham. Mrs Gardiner does not want Elizabeth to confuse a flirtation with long-lasting love. “You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned against it, and therefore I am not afraid of speaking opening.”

Pride and Prejudice (2005) | Another Cinema Blog...? isthatablog.wordpress.com

Pride and Prejudice (2005) | Another Cinema Blog…?

In Chapter 31, Elizabeth observes Darcy’s interactions with Miss De Bourgh at Rosings. “Elizabeth looked at Darcy to see how cordially he assented to his cousin’s praise, but neither at that moment nor at any other could she discern any symptom of love and from the whole of his behavior to Miss De Bourgh she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, that he might have been just as likely to marry her, had she been his relation.”

Pride and Prejudice 200 Years | Jane Austen's World janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Pride and Prejudice 200 Years | Jane Austen’s World

In Chapter 32, at Hunsford Cottage, Charlotte remarks upon Mr Darcy’s interest in Elizabeth. Charlotte recognizes Darcy’s deep-seated feelings for her friend: “My dear Eliza, he must be in love with you, or he would never have called on us in this familiar way.”

In Chapter 33, Darcy asks Elizabeth about her preferences in order to determine their compatibility and to establish an awkward courting. “He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself the trouble of talking or of listening much; but it struck her, in the course of their third reencounter that he was asking some odd, unconnected questions – about her pleasure in being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr and Mrs Collins’ happiness; and that in speaking of Rosings, and her not perfectly understanding the house, he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent again she would be staying there too. His words seemed to imply it.”

In Chapter 34, we have the opening of Darcy’s disastrous proposal at Hunsford Cottage: “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

In Chapter 35, Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth describes Darcy’s observations of Bingley and Jane’s relationship. “I had not been long in Hertfordshire before I saw, in common with others, that Bingley preferred your elder sister to any other young woman in the country; but it was not till the evening of the dance at Netherfield that I had any apprehension of his feeling a serious attachment. I had often seen him in love before.”

In Chapter 36, Elizabeth reads the letter of explanation that Darcy pressed into her hand before departing Rosings Park. As realization of what all she has lost arrives, Elizabeth bemoans, “Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away where either as concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself.”

Pride And Prejudice Film Stock Photos & Pride And Prejudice Film ... www.alamy.com

Pride And Prejudice Film Stock Photos & Pride And Prejudice Film …

In Chapter 40, after her return from Kent, Elizabeth observes Jane’s continued regret at Mr Bingley’s loss. “She was now, on being settled at home, at leisure to observe the real state of her sister’s spirits. Jane was not happy. She still cherished a very tender affection for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, and, from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than first attachments often boast…”

In Chapter 41, Mr Bennet uses the word “love” as an endearment for Elizabeth. “Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever you and Jane are known, you must be respected and valued; and you will not appear to less advantage for having a couple of – or I may say three – very silly sisters.”

In Chapter 42, Mrs. Gardiner uses “love” as an endearment for Elizabeth when they speak of visiting Pemberley. “My love, should you not like to see a place of which you have heard so much?”

P&P 1995 Screencaps (Random) - Pride and Prejudice 1995 Image (6149935) - Fanpop www.fanpop.com

P&P 1995 Screencaps (Random) – Pride and Prejudice 1995 Image (6149935) – Fanpop

In Chapter 43, when Darcy finds Elizabeth at Pemberley, he joins her and the Gardiners on a walk along one of the paths. The kindness surprises Elizabeth. “Her astonishment, however, was extreme, and continually was she repeating, ‘Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me, it cannot be for my sake, that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change at this. It is impossible that he should still love me.'”

In Chapter 44, with a knowing attitude, the Gardiners observe Darcy’s interest in Elizabeth when he brings Miss Darcy to Lambton to take Elizabeth’s acquaintance. “The suspicions which had arisen of Mr Darcy and their niece directed their observation toward each with an earnest though guarded inquiry, and they soon drew from those inquiries the full conviction that one of them at least knew was what it was to love.”

Also in Chapter 44, after Darcy, Bingley, and Miss Darcy depart the inn, Elizabeth fears her aunt and uncle would question her, but they do not. “But she had no reason to fear Mr and Mrs Gardiner’s curiosity; it was not their wish to force her communication. It was evident that she was much better acquainted with Mr Darcy than they had before any idea of; it was evident that he was very much in love with her. They saw much to interest, but nothing to justify inquiry.”

In Chapter 44, Elizabeth reflects upon Mr Darcy’s bringing his sister and Bingley to the Lambton inn to renew their acquaintance. “But above all, above respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of good-will which could not be overlooked. It was gratitude – gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, but for loving her well enough to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection.”

In Chapter 46, Elizabeth grieves for the lost of Darcy’s affections even before he can depart the inn at Lambton once she tells him of Lydia’s elopement with Wickham: “It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him as now, when all love must be vain.”

In Chapter 47, the Gardiners and Elizabeth rush to Longbourn having receiving news of Lydia’s elopement. Elizabeth says of her sister’s choice, “Sine the -shire were first quartered at Meryton, nothing but love, flirtation, and officers have been in her head.”

In Chapter 50, the word “love” is used again for “preferences.” This occurs after arrangements are made for Lydia’s wedding. Mr. Bennet regrets his not providing properly for his daughters. “Mrs Bennet had no turn for economy; and her husband’s love of independence had alone prevented their exceeding their income.”

In Chapter 51, Elizabeth attributes Lydia’s fascination with the idea of marriage to describe “love.” ~ “She had scarcely needed her present observation to be satisfied, from the reason of things, that their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love rather than by his…”

In Chapter 52, in Mrs Gardiner’s response to Elizabeth’s plea for knowledge of why Mr Darcy attended Lydia’s wedding, Mrs Gardiner explains, “The motive professed was his conviction of its being owing to himself that Wickha’s worthlessness had not been so well known as to make it impossible for any young woman of character to love or confide in him.”

In Chapter 53, Mr Bennet sarcastically describes Mr Wickham: “He is as fine a fellow,” said Mr Bennet, as soon as they were out of the house, “as I ever saw. He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law.”

In Chapter 54, after Bingley returns to Netherfield, Jane says that she and Bingley can meet as “indifference acquaintances,” to which Elizabeth pooh-pooh’s the idea: “I think you are in very great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever.”

Pride and Prejudice 1995 - Jane Austen Photo (13601705) - Fanpop www.fanpop.com

Pride and Prejudice 1995 – Jane Austen Photo (13601705) – Fanpop

In Chapter 55, Mrs Bennet again uses “love” as an endearment. This time it is directed toward Kitty, when she tries to remove her fourth daughter from the room so Bingley has the opportunity to propose to Jane. “She then sat still five minutes longer; but, unable to waste such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and saying to Kitty, ‘Come here, my love, I want to speak to you.’ took her out of the room.”

In Chapter 59, Elizabeth explains to Jane how she feels about Darcy: “Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley. I am afraid you will be angry.”

A few paragraphs later in Chapter 59, Jane says of Elizabeth’s admitting her affection for Darcy, “Now I am quite happy for you will as happy as myself. I always had a value for him. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley’s friend and your husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more dear to me.” 

Even later in of Chapter 59, Elizabeth must convince her father of her affection for Mr Darcy. “I do – I do like him,” she replied, with tears in her eyes; “I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms.”

MV5BODA1NzQ4ODg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg2MjI1NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_In the book’s last chapter, Lydia writes to Elizabeth: “If you love Mr Darcy half as well so I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy.”

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

How Did Smith Brothers Cough Drops Get Its Name?

7594535_1056019660.jpgWilliam (Trade) and Andrew (Mark) were the sons of James Smith, who moved his family from St. Armand, Quebec, to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1847. A carpenter by trade, Smith meant to open a restaurant, Smith’s Dining Saloon, in his new home. He was also known for his candy making. 

Shortly after Smith’s moving to New York, a journeyman shared the formula for an effective cough candy with the elder Smith. Being an astute businessman, Smith saw an opportunity to expand his calling. He mixed up a batch of the cough drops upon his kitchen stove. He sold them from his dining saloon, and the word soon spread of the effects of the medication among those in the Poughkeepsie area. A newspaper of the time displays an advertisement for the cough drops, saying “all afflicted with hoarseness, coughs, or colds should test its virtues.” 

sb_box_2Soon William and Andrew sold the drops upon the streets of Poughkeepsie. “The Smith Brothers” were often sought out for the “cough candy.” The operation moved from the Smith’s kitchen to the restaurant and later to a loft building. When the elder Smith died in 1866, his sons carried on the business under the name Smith Brothers

When imitators started flooding the market with similar names, the Smith Brothers decided to trademark their product with their own images. The drops were originally sold from large glass bowls place on store counters. Customers put the drops in envelopes to be taken home. The word “Trade” was under William’s picture, and the word “Mark” under Andrew’s. Therefore, the two men were often referred to as “Trade” and “Mark,” rather than by their real names. 

In 1872, Smith Brothers developed one of the first factory-filled packages on the market. They trademarked images of the two men was transferred to the individual packages. Surprisingly, production increased from 5 pounds to 5 tons per day. 

Trade and Mark hold the world record for the number of times their likenesses have been reproduced. 

Posted in American History, business, medicine, science | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Annuities in the Regency as Basis for “Mr. Darcy’s Bargain”

Much of the action of my Mr. Darcy’s Bargain, is based around a scam perpetrated by Mr. Wickham upon the citizens of Meryton, as well as Mr. Darcy’s attempts to thwart him. Wickham convinces many in Hertfordshire to invest in an annuity scheme. But how exactly did annuities work during the Regency?

First, if you are like me, your eyes blur over when people in other fields start tossing around the “jargon” associated with their occupations. I do not pretend to be an expert in such matters as annuities, but I will attempt to keep my description of public funds at the time as simple as possible.

First, there were Navy five percent annuities that were produced from about fifty millions of stock, partly formed out of navy bills and converted in 1784, into a stock bearing interest at five percent, whence the name.

Four percent consolidated annuities were popular at the time. They were produced from a like stock as was the Navy five percent funds. They offered a profit of 4% as the title indicated. They originally carried a higher percentage rate.

Three percent consolidate annuities were produced by above four hundred millions of stock, in part formed by the consolidation of several stocks, bearing interest at 3%. When the word “console” is indefinitely used, it is always understood to mean these annuities. Three percent Irish annuities were produced by about two millions of stock formed by loans for use of Ireland, before the union with England.

The type of annuity Wickham presents to the Meryton citizens was one of bank stock, specifically the Bank of England. Bank stock was a capital of nearly 12 millions with which the company of the bank has accommodated the government with various loans, and with which they carry on the banking business, purchase bullion, etc. The dividends on bank stock were at one time ten percent, so that the profits of the company were near twelve hundred thousand pounds per annum. This situation was the perfect scam. Who would not like to earn 10% interest.


Book Blurb:

When Elizabeth Bennet appears on his doorstep some ten months after her refusal of his hand in marriage, Darcy uses the opportunity to “bargain” for her acceptance of a renewal of his proposal in exchange for his assistance in bringing Mr. Wickham to justice. In Darcy’s absence from Hertfordshire, Wickham has practiced a scheme to defraud the citizens of Meryton of their hard-earned funds. All have invested in a Ten Percent Annuity scheme, including Mr. Bennet, and her family and friends are in dire circumstances. Elizabeth will risk everything to bring her father to health again and to save her friends from destitution, but is she willing to risk her heart? She places her trust in Darcy’s thwarting Wickham’s manipulations, but she is not aware that Darcy wishes more than her acquiescence. He desires her love. And what will happen if Darcy does not succeed in bringing Mr. Wickham to justice? Will that end their “bargain,” or will true love prevail?

mdb-front-cover-1Purchase Links:

Amazon      Kindle     Kobo     CreateSpace

Excerpt: (Mr. Gardiner has called Wickham’s bluff and demanded a stock certificate as proof of the investment. Wickham brings one to Mr. Bennet, who is recovering from a spell with his heart.)

Already apprehensive over Mr. Bingley’s news, when Mr. Wickham again appeared upon their threshold, Elizabeth was sore to keep her composure. “If it would not upset Mr. Bennet, I would prefer to present him the certificates you requested,” the lieutenant announced after they exchanged greetings. 

It had been three days since his last visit. Elizabeth could not help but wonder if Lieutenant Wickham had actual certificates available. She shot a quick glance to her uncle. “Lizzy will call upon Mr. Bennet to see if my brother is awake. Doctor Doughty still provides my him with several powders. While Elizabeth tends her father, come join me in the small drawing room.”

Elizabeth reluctantly followed her uncle’s instructions. Tapping lightly upon Mr. Bennet’s door, she was gladden to observe his sitting before the window and reading a book. Such was one of her favorite memories of her father–always with a book in his hand. “Ah, Lizzy,” he called when she peeked in. “Come to keep your old papa company?”

“Anytime, sir,” she said with a true smile. “If I had known you were awake, I would have happily made an appearance.”

Her father’s cheeks claimed a bit of color. “Then join me. Surprisingly, I am in need of gossip from the lower levels of my house. With Mrs. Bennet still claiming the periodic role of invalid, unless, of course, she deems it her role to oversee Jane’s return to Mr. Bingley’s side, I possess no one to keep me abreast of the comings and goings under my roof. I feel somewhat bereft of the tattling, but do not speak a word of this to Mrs. Bennet, otherwise my lady will fill my remaining days with her chattering.”

“I fear I shall not deliver the latest news of Mr. Hill’s carbuncle with the same enthusiasm as does Mrs. Bennet, but I am certain I can present you with the abbreviated version,” she said with bemusement.

“Come sit with me,” her father instructed.

Elizabeth bit her bottom lips in indecision. “Actually, sir, Lieutenant Wickham has called and has asked to speak to you. When the gentleman last called upon Longbourn, uncle inquired of stock certificates. Mr. Wickham says he would prefer to present yours to you personally.”

Her father’s expression hardened in disapproval. “Gardiner has kept me informed of the latest developments. I wish you were not so deeply involved in this madness.”

“I am no longer a little girl upon your knee,” she argued.

“And more is the pity,” her father countered. “I would prefer the adoring eyes of my dearest Lizzy rather than the assessing gaze of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Are you well enough to speak to Lieutenant Wickham? If you are too tired, I will ask Uncle Gardiner to continue to act in your stead,” she asked in concern.

Her father sighed deeply. “I have avoided this chaos my foolishness has created long enough. See Mr. Wickham up.”

Elizabeth was not happy with this choice, but she nodded her acceptance. “I shall return in a few moments, sir.”

Her father reached for her hand as she turned to go. “Elizabeth, leave the door to my dressing room open so Mr. Gardiner may hear my conversation with Lieutenant Wickham. I wish I possessed Gardiner’s aplomb in business. I will require his advice after Mr. Wickham’s departure. I would also prefer that you remain in the room. Mayhap your presence will remind me of all I will lose if Gardiner and Darcy cannot catch Mr. Wickham in the act of fraud.”

“I shall tell the gentleman I mean to record some of what he says to assist your memory.”

On her way downstairs she called upon her aunt’s room to explain, “Lieutenant Wickham is below. He wishes to speak to Mr. Bennet. Father requests that Uncle Edward secret himself away in Mr. Bennet’s dressing room to listen to the conversation. Could you relay the message while I see Mr. Wickham to father’s quarters?”

Aunt Gardiner agreed to use the servants’ stairs so as not to draw Mr. Wickham’s interest. Within a few minutes, Elizabeth directed the lieutenant into the small sitting room attached to her father’s bedchamber. In her absence, Mr. Bennet had moved his chair to face the open dressing room door with an empty chair backing the door behind which Mr. Gardiner would hide. He had placed a blanket across his lap and mussed his hair. He appeared less robust than previously.

“You will forgive me, Wickham,” her father said jovially, “for not rising. I fear struggling to my feet is still quite tedious.”

“I understand, sir,” Wickham repeated in practiced respect. “I shan’t keep you long.” He glanced to Elizabeth. “I am assuming your daughter has explained the purpose of my call.”

“She did,” her father acknowledged. “I asked Elizabeth to remain. I pray you hold no objections. My grip on a pen is not what it once was. Nor is my memory as sharp.” Her father demonstrated the tremble of his hand. The realization of his infirmity shook Elizabeth to her core. Tears rushed to her eyes. Had she missed that infirmity somehow?

“No objection, sir.” Mr. Wickham’s “show” of agreement opened her eyes further to how well the man could perform to his audience. The idea that the lieutenant saw her as insignificant crossed her mind. Whereas Wickham looked upon her as a conquest, Mr. Darcy valued her intelligence. He would seek her opinions, as her father often did. The acknowledgment only proved how her earlier judgments of the man were faulty.

Once seated, Mr. Wickham reached into a leather satchel to remove a rolled document. “I have brought you the official certificate of annuities.”

“Annuities?” her father asked. “I thought we discussed investing in canals in both Surrey and Lancashire or shipping fleets to the West Indies.”

Wickham’s obsession with lint upon his uniform had returned. “We did, sir,” he confessed with an easy smile, “but after conferring with Kiernaugh, it was decided that the funds would do better in an annuity. I would have discussed the change with you, but with your illness, I did not have the heart to disturb you further. Moreover, I spoke to Sir William and several others within the neighborhood, and each assured me you would hold no objections. I pray I did not err in securing your investment, sir.”

Elizabeth studied her father’s customarily animated features. The fact she could read none of his thoughts in his expression worried her.

“I should learn more of these annuities before I comment,” Mr. Bennet said evenly. He folded his hands upon his lap, a sign that indicated his displeasure. Needless to say, Mr. Wickham did not understand her father’s unconscious gesture.

Wickham cleared his throat in importance. “I do not pretend expertise in the matter, but I have learned much of government annuities of late. Over the years under King George’s rule, for example, we have seen stocks created by loans to Germany and Ireland before the union. Some of the annuities are called consols, or consolidated, from the stock having been informed by the consolidation of several debts of government.”

Elizabeth scratched out notes of which she hoped her uncle could make sense.

Wickham continued, “Consolidated annuities are formed by the consolidation of several stocks bearing the same interest. In the past there have been three, four, and five percent stocks.”

Mr. Bennet observed, “I doubt there are many ten percent consolidated annuities.”

Lieutenant Wickham returned to the invisible lint, and Elizabeth bit her bottom lip to hide her smile. “Not as many as we would like, but there are a few.” His voice sounded stiff with what was likely false pride for he did not expect her father to question his actions. “What we have chosen as investments are a form of bank stocks with which the bank has accommodated the government with various loans and with which to conduct banking business, such as purchasing bullions. The dividends on the bank stock are now ten percent, which could easily prove twelve hundred pounds per annum for the steady investor.”

Her father asked, “And this is the Bank of England of which you speak?”

“Most assuredly,” Wickham declared. “I think I should point out that India stock, which forms the trading capital of the East India Company, produces an annual dividend of more than ten percent.”

Mr. Bennet had yet to express his favor or disapproval. “I suppose I should see this certificate.” Lieutenant Wickham passed the rolled paper to her father. “Come here, Lizzy,” he instructed. “I will require your steady hand and your clear eyes.”

Elizabeth knelt beside her father, unrolled the paper, and held it where he could study it.

“Read it for me, Lizzy,” Mr. Bennet said with what sounded of exhaustion. She shot him a look of concern, but she did as he asked.

Swallowing back her tears, she read aloud, “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Ten Per Cent Annuities. Received this 26th day of January of 1813, of Thomas Bennet the sum of one thousand pounds being the consideration for one thousand pounds. Interest or share in the capital of joint stock of the Ten Per Cent Annuities, (erected by an Act of Parliament of the 53rd year of the reign of His Majesty King George III Entitled, and all for granting annuities to satisfy certain Navy, Victualling and transportation bills, and ordnance debentures, and by other subsequent acts) transferable at the Bank of England, together with the proportional annuity attending the same, by Jasper Kiernaugh this day transferred to the said Thomas Bennet. There are also the names of the witnesses, as well as when dividends are paid, etcetera.”

Her father winked at her, and Elizabeth breathed easier. She had not known until that moment that he pretended to be an invalid. To Wickham he said, “Everything appears in order. Needless to say, I should have my solicitor look at this.”

“I assure you Mr. Philips approves of the investment,” Wickham said in confidence.

Her father motioned her to roll the certificate again and place it on the table. “I am pleased to hear that Philips has examined the document.” He coughed heavily and then rested his head against the cushion of the chair back. “If you will pardon me, Lieutenant,” he said breathlessly. “I find my energies are thin. Lizzy, ring for Mrs. Hill to show Mr. Wickham out. I will require your assistance, child.”

“Certainly, sir,” Wickham said as he rose. “If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to send word. I remain your servant, sir.”

Mr. Bennet nodded genially, but as Wickham made his way to the door, her father said nonchalantly, “I am surprised that Kiernaugh chose a loan to the English government. I thought the man an American. Are we not at war with the country?” He had not raised his head from the cushioned back.

Mr. Wickham stumbled to a halt as his expression betrayed how his mind raced to form a response. “I must have misspoke,” he said in what sounded of earnestness. “Kiernaugh has been in America for the better part of ten years, but his loyalties remain with England, as do all who serve His Majesty.”

Purchase Links: 

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/1540317218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479045960&sr=8-1&keywords=mr.+Darcy%27s+Bargain

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3VELUT/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479045960&sr=8-2&keywords=mr.+Darcy%27s+Bargain

Or Read for free on Kindle Unlimited

Posted in Act of Parliament, Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, British currency, British history, British Navy, commerce, eBooks, George Wickham, historical fiction, Living in the Regency, Living in the UK, Pride and Prejudice, publishing, Regency era, Regency romance, religion, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave: The Complicated Banbury Peerage Case

In writing historicals set in England in the early 1800s, it is necessary for me to possess more than a working knowledge of primogeniture, which is both the custom and the law of inheritance in practice at that time. In primogeniture, it is the right of the first born legitimate son to inherit the real property of his father, in preference to daughters, younger sons, elder illegitimate sons, and other relations in the male line. The son of the deceased eldest brother inherits before a living younger brother by right of substitution for the deceased heir. Estates were entailed, not upon the eldest son, but upon the eldest sons first born son. By constantly extending the entail to the grandson,they became perpetual in nature.

But what if there are no sons? Then the family tree is searched for the nearest male blood relative, all the way back to the original holder of the estate. But things become even more convoluted when the heir goes missing before he has an apparent heir. Let us say the heir goes missing at sea. Believe it or not, the House of Lords would not automatically name the next in line as the new title owner. There is always the chance that the current lord survived the catastrophe he encountered. What would happen if he returned, say in 5 or 10 years? The ruling is that the title and the real estate would revert to the original owner, but not necessarily the personal property. The ruling is that the title and the real estate would revert back to original landowner, but not necessarily the personal property. It must not be forgotten that, by English law, ordinary leaseholds, whether they consist of lands or houses, count as personalty and are distributed as such on intestacy. Money in trust for investment in land is distributed as realty under the same rule of inheritance. What a legal mess! This little twerk of the law of inheritance is enough to set brother against brother in my latest romantic suspense, Angel Comes to the Devils Keep.

But was there a precedence for this type of ruling from the House of Lords? In fact, as a fundamental law, primogeniture is a practice of the landed aristocracy, rather than the general populace. Among the upper crustof society, generally, hereditary estates are entailed and not at the free disposal of individual landowners. There are few wealthy or noble families that have not employed the practice of primogeniture somewhere in their histories.

51CKzXQ2BsL._SX382_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Occasionally, those histories become so complicated that it takes centuries for the peerage to be defined. For example, during the reign of Edward III, one of the companions of the Black Prince was Sir Robert Knollys, who earned the Blue Ribbon of the Garter for his valor. The Knollss family continued to receive the favor of successive reigns. One such person was Sir Francis Knollys, who married Catherine Gray, grand-niece of Queen Anne Boleyn. They produced two sons: Henry and William. According to Kidd and Williamson, editors of George Edward Cockaynes The Complete Baronetage, Henry did not survive his father, and so William claimed the baronetcy in 1596. In 1603, King James presented William an additional title beyond the baronetcy, making William Baron Knollys of Grays, in Oxfordshire. In 1619, King James further favored William with an another barony, by naming him Baron Wallingford; later, in 1626, King Charles presented him as the Earl of Banbury.

Williams first wife Dorothy did not provide William an heir. Upon Dorothys death, he married Lady Elizabeth Howard. William was nearing sixty years at the time of the marriage, and Lady Elizabeth was but twenty. Yet, keep in mind, William did not pass until the age of eighty-five.

After Banburys death, in April 1633, an inquisition occurred, stating that Elizabeth was Banburys wife at the time of his death and that the earl died without a male heir. However, records show that Elizabeth delivered two sons before her husbands death: Edward on 10 April 1627 (Banbury was 80 and Elizabeth 41 at the time) and Nicholas on 3 January 1631 (Banbury was 84 and Elizabeth 45). Generally speaking, common practice said if Banbury accepted the children as his and/or acknowledged them in some manner such as baptism or speaking of them as such to trustworthy witnesses, the boys would be considered his. Yet, the official investigation in 1633 skewed that ruling for it was written evidence to the contrary. Complicating the situation of whether the children were legitimate, after only five weeks of mourning Banbury, Elizabeth married Lord Vaux of Harrowden, a family friend. It was said the boys favored Vaux in countenance. Lady Elizabeth adopted Roman Catholicism, the religion of Lord Vaux. She, therefore, came under the scrutiny of the Long parliament, which was previously skeptical of her relationship with Vaux. Eventually, on 19 August 1643, the speaker issued a pass enabling her to remove to France, and on 13 June 1644 the House of Commons resolved that should she return she should be seized and kept under restraint. She died on 17 April 1658, and was buried at Dorking, Surrey, near the residence of her second husband. Vaux passed on 8 April 1661, and is said to have died without issue. (Lee, Sidney, ed. Dictionary of National Biography: Vol XXXI Kennett – Lambart: [London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1892. 287-288], accessed January 22, 2017. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Cal.+State+Papers%2C+Dom.+1654-5%2C+p.+55), page 287)

William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury

William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury via Wikipedia

 In 1640, William, Earl of Salisbury, guardian of the eldest boy Edward, filed in Chancery upon Edwards behalf for a claim to the earldom. Witnesses and evidence were presented to substantiate the filing, but on 1809 (nearly 170 years later) the House of Lords rejected the claim. How did that come about?

A hearing in 1641 dealt with the question of Edwards legitimacy; it found that Edward, Earl of Banbury, was the deceased earls son and heir because of the legal doctrine, Pater est quem nuptiæ demonstrant, which assumes in all cases of children born in wedlock that the husband is the children’s father. And although there was some debate as to whether Banbury recognized the child as his during the earls marriage to Elizabeth, a legal decision in favor of the claim to legitimacy was made. Edward, the elder of the countess’s two sons, was styled Earl of Banburyin a chancery suit to which in February 1640-1 he was party as an infant, for the purpose of establishing his right to a plot of land at Henley, styled the Bowling Place, and to other property left by his father. Under orders of the court of wards an inquiry into the late earl’s property was held at Abingdon on 1 April 1641, and the court found that ‘Edward, now Earl of Banbury, is, and at the time of the earl’s decease was, his son and next heir.’” (Lee, 287)

Unfortunately, another complication occurred after Edwards being named earl for he was killed in a quarrel upon the road to Calais in 1645. Edwards brother, Nicholas, naturally made a claim to the title, but he was a minor at the time and could not inherit. Nicholas then travelled to France with his mother in 1644, but in October 1646, he returned to England, for Lord Vaux settled all his lands at Harrowden on Lady Elizabeth, with the remainder to Knollys himself, who was styled Earl of Banbury in the deed. When Nicholas reached his majority, he moved to prove his right to the peerage and, thus, petitioned the Crown for his writ of summons to assume his seat in the House of Lords. The Committee of Privileges heard the petition, which granted the writ for Nicholas, Earl of Banbury.

Nicholas married Isabella, daughter of Mountjoy Blount, earl of Newport, and the pair soon fell into pecuniary difficulties. In February 1654, Nicholas, earl of Banbury, the Countess of Banbury, Lady Elizabeth Vaux and Lord Vaux petitioned Cromwell to remove the sequestration on Lord Vauxs estate so they might compound or sell some of the land to pay their debts of some 10,000l. The earl had been confined at the time at the Upper Bench prison because of the debt. Isabella died soon afterwards, and Nicholas married Anne, daughter of William, Lord Sherard of Leitrim. In June 1660 he attended the Convention parliament in the House of Lords, but it was not until 13 July 1660 that the first attempt was made to dispute his right to his seat there. It was then moved that there being a person that now sits in this house as a peer of the realm, viz. the Earl of Banbury, it is ordered that this business shall be heard at the bar by counselon the 23rd. Knollys attended the house daily in the week preceding that appointed for the hearing, and was present on the day itself. But no proceedings were taken, and on 24 July he was nominated, under the style of Earl of Banbury, to sit on the committee on the Excise Bill. On 21 Nov. it was ordered that the earl hath leave to be absent for some time.On 29 Dec. the Convention parliament was dissolved. No writ of summons was sent to Knollys for the new parliament, meeting 8 May 1661. He therefore petitioned the king for the issue of the writ and for all the old earl’s rights of precedency. His petition, when forwarded to the House of Lords, was referred to a committee of privileges. This committee examined the servants who were at Harrowden at the time of his birth. The attorney-general argued on behalf of the king that the old earl had died childless, but the committee reported on 1 July 1661 that Nicholas, Earl of Banbury, is a legitimate person.’” (Lee, 288)

His son Charles assumed the title upon Nicholass death. Likewise, Charles petitioned for his writ of summons, and the committee of privileges reported the history of the case, and the House of Lords agreed to hear counsel for and against the claim, but a delay occurred, one lasting some thirty years. During the delay, Charles had the misfortune of killing his brother-in-law, Captain Philip Lawson, in a duel. In November 1692, he was indicted and ultimately requested a trial by his peers before the House of Lords. This brought about another hearing upon whether Charles held a legitimate claim to the earldom. His petition to the House of Lords was dismissed with a ruling denying his right to be styled Banbury. He was removed to Newgate Prison.

According to The Banbury Peerage Caseon the Bennet Dictionary: The Bennet Dictionary: Celebrated Claimants from Perkin Warbeck to Arthur Orton [(1874). accessed December 13, 2016. http://bennetdictionary.com/banbury-peerage-case/], the trial and the various pleas took more than a year, during which Charles was presented bail to move about in society. At length, the Lords intervened, and Parliament took up his case again, but the session was discontinued indefinitely, and no decision was forthcoming. The trial also quashed the indictment against him for the duel for the prisoner was styled in the charges as Charles Knollys, esq.instead of the Earl of Banbury.

Nothing more was heard upon the legitimacy of Charless claims until four years later when in 1698, Charles Banbury again petitioned the King for the writ of summons. The House of Lords accepted the case again, but it went from continuance to continuance, passing through the end of the reign of William III and into that of Anne. There was hope for a resolution in late 1713, but the sudden death of Queen Anne in August 1714 once more delayed the proceedings.

Charles next petitioned George I, but no definite decision was given. Charles, Earl of Banbury, died in 1740. During his lifetime, to no avail, he presented five petitions to the Crown. However, not being officially recognized as the Earl of Banbury did not prevent him and his family from enjoying their position in Society.

Charles was followed by another two Charleses and a William, who died in 1776. Williams brother Thomas held the title until his death in 1793, when his son William Knollys, then called Viscount Wallingford, sent a formal petition in 1806 to the Crown for the Banbury earldom, the question of which was again returned to the House of Lords. By 1806, there had been an Earl of Banburyfor 180 years. Yet, Williams father, Thomas, had held a commission in the Third Regiment of Foot as a Lieutenant-General.As such, Thomas was styled by his military rank and not Banbury, causing Williams claim to be denied. Needless to say, primogeniture is not a clearly defined practice.

Angel .jpgAngel Comes to the Devils Keep [Romantic Suspense]

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?

Posted in British history, Church of England, historical fiction, history, Inheritance, Jane Austen, marriage, primogenture, titles of aristocracy | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jane Austen Adaptations: Film, TV, Web, and Stage

Realizing that many of my readers are unfamiliar with how the media has seen fit to adapt Jane Austen’s many novels, below you will find a list of the majority of them. We who write Austen adaptations know that our readers see the movie/TV adaptation and become hooked on the story lines.

Austen on Stage: The Complete Works of Jane Austen Adapted for the Stage (2019) – by Jon Jory [Note: Jory previously created 3-act plays of Pride and Prejudice, as well as Sense and Sensibility.]

A Modern Persuasion (2019) 

Sandition (2019) – PBS

Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018) – a Hallmark channel modern Pride and Prejudice

Marrying Mr. Darcy (2018) – a Hallmark channel sequel to Unleashing Mr. Darcy

Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018) – a Hallmark channel modern story loosely based on Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (2017) – a Kate Hamil adaptation for the stage

The Cate Morland Chronicles (2016) – an adaptive web series 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) – a movie based on the novel of the same name 

Pride and Prejudice (2016) – described as a “fresh and sexy” adaptation 

Love and Freindship (2016) – a film version of Lady Susan

Unleashing Mr. Darcy (2016) – a Hallmark channel modern version of Pride and Prejudice

Austenatious (2015) – TV series

Jane by the Sea (2015) – film, turns Austen’s real life into a romantic comedy

Northbound (2015) – modern TV series based on Northanger Abbey





















From Mansfield with Love (2014) – a YouTube vlog adaptation of Mansfield Park by Foot in the Door Theatre

The Jane Games (2014) – TV Series 

Kumkum Bhagya (2014) – an Indian television serial  based on Sense and Sensibility

Sandition (2014) – film adaptation 

Sense and Sensibility (2014) – a Kate Hamil adaptation for the stage

Emma Approved (2013-2014) – an Emmy-winning YouTube adaptation in which Emma Woodhouse is a matchmaker











Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) – a 3-part murder mystery television drama

Welcome to Sandition (2013) – a web series spin off of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – (2012 – 2013) – an Emmy winning YouTube adaption

Mansfield Park (2012) – stage adaptation by Tim Luscombe, produced by the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 

Jane Austen Hand Held (2011) – film based on Pride and Prejudice, as told through the lens of a documentary film crew 

Mansfield Park (2011) – a chamber opera

Pride and Prejudice: A Modern Day Tale of First Impressions (2011) – film







Prada to Nada (2011) – Film – modern day Sense and Sensibility with a Spanish “flavor”
Aisha (2010) – an Indie film version of Emma

Emma (2009) a BBC TV mini-series

Darcy and Elizabeth (2008) – a one-act play by Jon Jory

Sense and Sensibilidad (2008) – Film
Lost in Austen (2008) – TV mini-series that takes the main character into the novel’s pages
Sense and Sensibility (2008) – TV mini-series
Jane Austen Trilogy (2008) – a documentary with bibliographic intentions
Miss Austen Regrets (2008) – a made-for-TV show based on Austen’s letters
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) – film based on the popular best-selling book
Mansfield Park (2007) – TV movie
Northanger Abbey (2007) – TV movie
Persuasion (2007) – TV movie
Becoming Jane (2007) – popular film based on Austen’s letters











I Love You Because (2006) – a modern play based on Pride and Prejudice

JANE, the musical (2006) – a West-End style musical theatre production based on the life of Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice (2005) – Film
Bride and Prejudice (2004) – Indie film
Pride and Prejudice (2003) -modern adaptation film
The Real Jane Austen (2002) TV movie based on Jane Austen’s letters
Kandukondain, Kandukondain (2000) Film based on Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park (1998) – Film
“Wishbone”- “Pup Fiction” (1998) -an episode of the popular TV show based on Northanger Abbey
“Wishbone”- “Furst Impressions” (1997) – an episode of the popular TV show
Emma (1996) – TV movie
Emma (1996) – Film









Sense and Sensibility (1995) – Film
Persuasion (1995) – TV movie
Pride and Prejudice (1995) – TV mini-series

Pride and Prejudice (1995) – a musical by Bernard J. Taylor

Ruby in Paradise (1993) – an homage
Sensibility and Sense (1990) – TV movie

Metropolitan (1990) (originally titled “Manhattan”) – directed by Whit Stillman, was a loose adaptation of Mansfield Park set in modern time –  the film tracks “the Austen phenomenon beyond Austen, into what (is called) the ‘post-heritage’ film, a kind of historical costume drama that uses the past in a deliberate or explicit way to explore current issues in cultural politics

Northanger Abbey (1987) -TV movie
Mansfield Park (1983) – TV mini-series
Sense and Sensibility (1981) – TV movie
Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980) – Film
Pride and Prejudice (1980) – TV mini-series
Emma (1972) – TV mini-series novel
“Novela” – “Persuasión (1972) -TV series episode
Sense and Sensibility (1971) – TV movie
Persuasion (1971) -TV mini-series
“Novela” – “La abadía de Northanger (1968) -TV series episode
Pride and Prejudice (1967) – TV series
“Novela” – “Emma (1967) – TV series episode
“Novela” – “Orgullo y prejuicio (1966) -TV series episode
Vier dochters Bennet, De (1961) – TV mini-series based on Pride and Prejudice
Emma (1960) – TV movie
Camera Three (1960) – TV series based on Emma
Persuasion (1960) – TV mini-series














First Impressions (1959) – Broadway musical version of Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice (1958) – TV series
Pride and Prejudice (1958) – TV film
“General Motors Presents: Pride and Prejudice” (1958) – TV series episode
Orgoglio e pregiudizio” (1957) – TV mini-series
“Matinee Theater: Pride and Prejudice” (1956) _ TV series episode
“Kraft Television Theatre: Emma” (1954) – TV series episode
Pride and Prejudice (1952) – TV mini-series
“The Philco Television Playhouse: Sense and Sensibility” (1950) – TV series episode
“The Philco Television Playhouse: Pride and Prejudice” (1949) – TV series episode
Emma (1948) -TV film
Pride and Prejudice (1940) – Film
Pride and Prejudice (1938) -TV

Pride and Prejudice (1935) – Helen Jerome’s Broadway play (basis for the 1940 film)

“The Bennets: A Play Without a Plot, Adapted from Jane Austen’s Novel ‘ Pride and Prejudice,” (1901)

Jane Austen’s novels have never been out of print. It would seem that we might say the same thing of cinematic adaptations.

Posted in Austen actors, Austen Authors, contemporary romance, film adaptations, holidays, JASNA, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, playwrights, Pride and Prejudice, romance, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Beginning of the Turnpike Roads in Georgian England


The Hyde Park Gate in London, erected by the Kensington Turnpike Trust. This was the first toll point encountered along the Bath Road, upon leaving London. ~ Public Domain ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Turnpike_trusts#/media/ File:Hyde_park_turnpike_toll_ gate.jpg

 The roads leading into London were placed under the control of individual turnpike trusts during the first 30 years of the 1700s in England. My mid century, cross-routes were added to the list under turnpike trusts. The roads, especially those leading toward Wales and the northwestern shires were turnpiked, many roads placed under the same trust authority. Roads, for example in the southern sections of Wales were grouped by counties under a single trust for each. The 1770s saw connecting roads, those over bridges, and those leading to growing industrial areas, as well as the roads in Scotland brought under the auspices of trust authorities. More than 1000 turnpike trusts were created during the 1800s. According to E. Pawson’s (1977) Transport and Economy: the turnpike roads of eighteenth century England, “About 150 trusts were established by 1750; by 1772 a further 400 were established and, in 1800, there were over 700 trusts. In 1825 about 1,000 trusts controlled 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of road in England and Wales.”

Taxing the people who used the roads seemed the fairest means of improving them so new trusts and renewals of older legislation took root in 18th Century England. Overseeing the upkeep and administration of turnpikes was left to each individual parish. The parish exacted a toll on the users of the road, hopefully in proportion to the “wear and tear” upon the road’s surface. We must recall that at this time the roads were often in poor shape: deep ruts, icy in winter, poor drainage during a rainstorm, dry and cracked in the summer heat, etc. 

Parliament expected each trust authority to raise loans for road repair, erect milestones it indicate directions and mileage to the next town or parish, erect gates and tollhouses. “Rules of the Road” grew out of common and courteous practice. One drove on the left, for example. The turnpike trusts could change the charge based on weather conditions. They might charge a bit more to wet down the roads during the summer to keep dust at a minimum. General Turnpike Acts dealt with the administration of the trusts and restrictions on the width of wheels – narrow wheels were said to cause a disproportionate amount of damage to the road.


Poster advertising the letting of tolls, 1826. Unknown – National Library of Wales ~ Public Domain ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnpike_trusts#/media/ File:To_Be_Let_The_Tolls_Cribbin,_ Llanfihangel_and_ Pencader_Gates_1826.jpg

Each trust authority employed a local lawyer/solicitor as clerk, a treasurer and a surveyor. When the road passed a particular estate or cut across a gentleman’s land, the landowner had a say in the road’s condition. 

Not everyone paid the same toll to cross the turnpike: The size of the vehicle and the number of horses drawing it determined the amount of the toll. The weight of the load also affected the toll exacted at some tollhouses. Some tollhouses used a weighing machine to determine the weight of the wagon and its load. If so, a ticket was produced so the driver could present it to each of the subsequent tollhouses he encountered upon his journey. 

220px-ThomasTelford.jpg By the early 19th Century turnpike trusts had made major highway improvements. Thomas Telford reorganized the existing trusts along the London to Holyhead Road and oversaw the construction of large sections of new road. Telford was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason, and a noted road, bridge and canal builder. After establishing himself as an engineer of road and canal projects in Shropshire, he designed numerous infrastructure projects in his native Scotland, as well as harbors and tunnels. Such was his reputation as a prolific designer of highways and related bridges, he was dubbed The Colossus of Roads (a pun on the Colossus of Rhodes), and, reflecting his command of all types of civil engineering in the early 19th century, he was elected as the first President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a post he retained for 14 years until his death.

“By 1838 the turnpike trusts in England were collecting £1.5 million p.a. from leasing the collection of tolls but had a cumulative debt of £7 million, mainly as mortgages. Even at its greatest extent, the turnpike system only administered a fifth of the roads in Britain; the majority being maintained by the parishes. A trust would typically be responsible for about 20 miles (32 km) of highway, although exceptions such as the Exeter Turnpike Trust controlled 147 miles (237 km) of roads radiating from the city. On the Bath Road for instance, a traveller from London to the head of the Thames Valley in Wiltshire would pass through the jurisdiction of seven trusts, paying a toll at the gates of each. Although a few trusts built new bridges (e.g. at Shillingford over the Thames), most bridges remained a county responsibility. A few bridges were built with private funds and tolls taken at these (e.g., the present Swinford Toll Bridge over the Thames).” (Turnpike Trusts)

Coaching routes followed the main roads, those that were better maintained, but only a small portion of the roads under the authority of the various trusts were overseen with care…only about 12%. Packhorses were the only means to transport goods along the roads and pathways not part of the turnpike system. Tollhouses were generally situated at cross roads where the toll keeper had a good view of the gates, the roads, and the traffic. Unfortunately for many travelers, the toll keeper was not always available: away from his post, asleep, inebriated, or off taking care of his own business. As they were only paid an average of 9s per week, one can imagine they were not always as diligent as they should have been. According to the Regency Collection, “This changed in the 1770’s when the operation of the turnpikes was “farmed” out to the highest bidder at auction (an early example of privatisation). This meant that the “farmer” paid annual rent to the trust, but kept the tolls collected. He would either run the tollgate himself or appoint a gate-keeper.”

Daniel Defoe commented as such on the subject of toll gates in the early years of the 18th Century:
“…Turn pikes or toll bars have been set up on the several great roads of England, beginning at London and proceeding thro’ almost all those dirty deep roads in the Midland Counties especially; at which, turn pikes all carriages, droves or cattle and travellers on horseback are oblig’d to pay an easy toll; that is to say, a horse a penny, a coach three pence, a cart fourpence, at some six to eight pence, a wagon six pence, in some a shilling. Cattle pay by the score, or by the herd, in some places more. But in no place is it thought a burthen that ever I met with, the benefit of a good road abundantly making amends for the little charge the travellers are put to at the turn pikes…”.

List of Turnpike Trusts with details of their size and income collected in a table can be found HERE.


Map of the Turnpike Tollgates in London 1801. ~ J. Cary – Old London Maps at http://www.oldlondonmaps.com/viewspages/0462.html ~ Public Domain ~ via Wikipedia https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Tollgates_London_1801.jpg


Bogart, Dan. “Turnpike Trusts and the transportation revolution in the 18th Century” 

“Roads 1750-1900,” The History Learning Site 

“Turnpike Trusts,” Schools History 

“Turnpikes and Toll,” UK Parliament

Posted in British history, buildings and structures, commerce, Georgian England, Industrial Revolution, Living in the UK, Scotland, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Marrying During the Regency

pridewedding1For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families. Until the 16th-century, Christian churches accepted the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s declarations. If two people claimed that they had exchanged marital vows—even without witnesses—the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married. During the Regency, couples who chose to marry could be joined by several means. Many chose to purchase what was known as an ordinary, common or standard license. Others chose to have what was known as a calling of the banns.  

Sharon Lathan tells us, “A wedding could take place on any day of the week. All weddings took place in the parish chapel where at least one of the two persons lived. Per Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753, weddings occurred during canonical hours of eight AM to noon.

“Since most members of the ton could claim London as their residence, and lived in the fashionable districts such as Mayfair, Grosvenor, and St. James, many Regency weddings took place at Saint George’s Church in Hanover Square. From 1725 when St. George’s was established, thousands of weddings were conducted there. In 1816 alone there were 1063 weddings!”

A requirement for  banns of marriage was introduced to England and Wales by the Church in 1215. The banns were a public announcement in the parish church of an upcoming marriage. The banns permitted anyone who objected to the marriage to raise a canonical or civil legal impediment. Such impediments could include a preexisting marriage that was not annulled or dissolved, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple’s being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship. 

The banns would be read for three consecutive Sundays and posted in a public place, customarily outside the church door, before the ceremony could take place. The couple would have three months to claim marriage. If they did not marry within that time, another round of banns would be required. 

Marriage licenses were introduced in the 14th century, to permit the usual notice period under banns to be waived, on payment of a fee and accompanied by a sworn declaration, that there was no canonical impediments to the marriage existed.  Originally, licenses were only granted by an archbishop, bishop, or archdeacon. 

The standard or common license did not require a calling of the banns, but the stipulation of marrying within three months still needed to occur. The banns or the license had to come before the service. Everyone who was not a Jew marrying a Jew or a Quaker marrying a Quaker were required to be married in the local parish church of the Church of England. Roman Catholics were supposed to be married first by an Anglican priest before marrying in the Catholic church, but in practice many married in Catholic rites first. However, the marriage was not valid until and unless they married according to the law by a clergyman of the Church of England. All marriages had to be registered in the parish register even if the couple married in a private house by special license. If no one protested the marriage when the banns were read, or at the ceremony when it is asked if any one knows why the two people should not be married, then the marriage could proceed.

wedding-8-2 “There were two kinds of marriage licences that could be issued: the usual was known as a common licence and named one or two parishes where the wedding could take place, within the jurisdiction of the person who issued the license. The clergyman who administered the ceremony had to be associated with the Church of England. He would issue the licence as a cost of a few shillings to a pound, depending upon the wealth of those applying. The license was valid for 15 days. The couple had the option of marrying in either the parish of the bride or that of the groom. They must be a resident of the parish in which they were to marry. (Do you recall Wickham had to wait to marry to Lydia Bennet until he could establish residency. “We were married, you know, at St. Clement’s, because Wickham’s lodgings were in that parish. And it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o’clock.”) Both the groom and the bride had to make sworn statements that no impediments existed that would cancel their marriage vows.

The other was the special licence, which could ONLY be granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury or his officials and allowed the marriage to take place in any church or even at home. A special licence was more expensive than the common licence: over 20 guineas plus a £4 to £5 Stamp Duty for the paper. As mentioned above,  the couple could be married at any time of the day and anywhere they wanted. All the other requirements were the same.

“To obtain a marriage licence, the couple, or more usually the bridegroom, had to swear that there was no just cause or impediment why they should not marry. This was the marriage allegation. A bond was also lodged with the church authorities for a sum of money to be paid if it turned out that the marriage was contrary to Canon Law. The bishop kept the allegation and bond and issued the licence to the groom, who then gave it to the vicar of the church where they were to get married. There was no obligation for the vicar to keep the licence and many were simply destroyed. Hence, few historical examples of marriage licences, in England and Wales, survive. However, the allegations and bonds were usually retained and are an important source for English genealogy.” (Marriage License)

hfThe poor often married without benefit of clergy or ceremony–they just called themselves married and that was that (made divorce a lot easier and possible, too). Needless to say, the Church of England heartily disapproved. The old custom–marriage by cohabitation had been legal before the Hardwick Act of 1753, and there was the even older custom of handfasting–often held with the very poor, particularly since marriage was more about a legal agreement as to the disposition of property and inheritance from a legal alliance. Handfasting is a historical term for  “betrothal” or “wedding.” Handfasting is a history term for “betrothal” or “wedding.” ” In Scottish history of the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in the Hebrides, the term could also refer to a temporary marriage. The verb to handfast in the sense of “to formally promise, to make a contract” is recorded for Late Old English, especially in the context of a contract of marriage. The derived handfasting is for a ceremony of engagement or betrothal is recorded in Early Modern English. [ “handfasting, n.” and “handfast, v.” OED Online. November 2010. Oxford University Press. “Old Norse hand-festa to strike a bargain by joining hands, to pledge, betroth” The earliest cited English use in connection with marital status is from a manuscript of c. 1200, when Mary is described as “handfast (to) a good man called Joseph“. “?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 2389 “Ȝho wass hanndfesst an god mann Þatt iosæp wass ȝehatenn.”]

The practice was supposedly common in 16th and 17th centuries Scotland. 

And there is always the distinction between the respectable poor, for whom a proper legal marriage was very important, and the less respectable poor, who would either ignore the law or be ignorant of it. Marriage was never only about property. It was also about morality and respectability, which mattered to the middle class and the respectable poor far more than it did to some of the aristocracy.

In Regency England, one was supposed to use one’s correct name for banns and the license to marry. The interpretation of correct name varied in that one marriage was annulled because, among other things, the banns were called in a boy’s baptismal name, though he was always called by his middle name. When banns were called, clarity and identity were most important. Everyone, especially parents and guardians had to be made aware of the names of those marrying. 

Other Resources: 


Gretna Green.com 

Historical Handfasting


Posted in British history, Church of England, customs and tradiitons, Georgian England, Living in the Regency, marriage, marriage customs, marriage licenses | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments