Regency Era Lexicon – And Then There Was “T”

take orders – becoming a clergyman in the Church of England

take silks – a barrister would wear a silk gown once he became the King’s Counsel (or the Queen’s Counsel)

tallow – fat from oxen or sheep, which was used to make soap and candles

tambour – a hoop filled with material; used for embroidery work

tandem – a team of two horses harnessed one behind the other, rather than side by side

tanner – slang for a sixpence

taproom – an inn’s room where ordinary laborers were served (as opposed to a private parlor for the genteel sect)

tea caddy – a box that held tea

teapoy – a 3-legged stand used for serving tea

Tea Room – located in the Bath assembly rooms; one could take tea in the room, but it was also used for concerts

tea service – in contrast to the suppers served at private balls, at assemblies or public balls, teas was served halfway through the evening; gentlemen sat with the ladies with whom they had danced prior to the tea service

Temple – the site for two of the four Inns of Court (the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple); was once occupied by the Knights Templar

Temple Bar – a gate that marked the formal entrance to the City of London; the sovereign had to request permission of the Lord Mayor to enter the city; north of the Temple at the eastern end of the Strand

tenants – prosperous farmers who rent land; not necessarily the poor

tenner – slang for a ten-pound note

Test Act – legislation that forbid Catholics from holding public office, including Parliament; was repealed in 1828

Thirty-nine Articles – the basis of the Church of England; a clergyman “read himself in” to a new parish congregation by reading the articles aloud to the congregation from the pulpit

three-decker novel – a common occurrence in novels of the 18th and 19th Centuries; the novel is divided into three volumes within one book; the volumes were published as separates (only Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are two volumes; all other Austen works were 3 volumes)

ticket-of-leave – an early release from jail (similar to parole)

ticket porter – a member of the official group licensed to carry goods, parcels, etc.; a ticket porter carried a badge which identified him as a member of this occupation; like a guild member

ticket to a public ball – anyone who could afford a ticket to a public ball or assembly was admitted; a season of tickets would cost between one pound and ten guineas (depending on the country or in London)

tidewaiter – a customs official for incoming boats/ships

tights – thin, skintight pants worn by gentlemen in the early part of the century; were so tight that men resorted to carrying a purse for their money

tilbury – the cloth covering part of a wagon

Times – the most important newspaper of the day; one could find the entire text of parliamentary debates in the Times

tinderbox – used to start a fire before matches became common; one struck the flint from the box against a piece of metal in hopes that a spark would light the rags inside the box; candles, etc., were lit from the tinderbox

tippet – a fur scarf that hung about the neck and down either side of the chest; many times the tippet was a dead animal (think Fox furs, etc.)

tithes – the amount paid in kind to the local parish clergyman; equal to 1/10 of the farmer’s or tradesman’s annual produce

top – the place in a ballroom or assembly from which the orchestra played; the “top” couple in a line of dance was the one closest to the orchestra; to be at the top of the line was a place of honor, usually afforded to the highest ranking aristocrat in the room

top boots – high boots used for riding

Tory – the conservative party in English politics

training college – a college that trained teachers for the national schools

Transatlantic Trade Triangle – goods were shipped from British ports to the west coast of Africa, where they were exchanged for slaves; the slaves were taken by The Middle Passage to  the Americas; slaves were traded for agricultural goods (cotton and sugar) and returned to England

transportation – sending English criminals overseas as punishment; until 1776, the American colonies were the destination; afterwards, the criminal was sent to Australia

traveling post – a hired driver, chaise, and horses for a journey

treacle – a sweet medicine (similar to molasses)

truck system – paying one’s employees in goods, food, etc., rather than money

tucker – a piece of lace to cover a woman’s chest in lady’s garments

turbans – a popular ladies’ fashion in the early part of the century; an imitation of a Middle Eastern headdress

turnkey – a jailer

turnpike – a toll road; the average toll was 2-3 pence per mile

twelfth cakes – cakes made for Twelfth Night; those who found the coin or bean inside became the “king” or “queen” of the celebration

Twelfth Night – January 5; the night before the 12th day after Christmas; when Christmastide officially ended; January 6 is the Epiphany

two-dance rule – a couple was expected not to dance more than twice; dancing more often with a partner was a symbol of serious matrimonial interest

two-penny post – London’s local mail delivery system, which was run as a separate entity from the national mail system; similar local mail delivery systems rose up within other large metropolitan areas

About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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