Regency Era Lexicon – The Letters “P” and “Q”

Regency Era Lexicon – The Letters “P” and “Q”

packet – a ship carrying mail (and occasionally passengers) along a regularly defined route

packman – a peddler of ladies’ goods (linen and cotton)

paddock – a horse pasture

page – a boy hired to run errands, etc.

palace – the official residence of a king, queen, bishop, or other sovereign or exalted personage; name given to the home of a bishop in the Church of England

Pall Mall and St James's Square shown in Richard Horwood's map of 1799. - Public Domain - Wikipedia

Pall Mall and St James’s Square shown in Richard Horwood’s map of 1799. – Public Domain – Wikipedia

Pall Mall – the site of many fashionable men’s clubs in the West End of London

palsy – any type of paralysis

pamphlets and tracts – very popular with readers of the 17th Century; held true accounts of murders, fires, and robberies, as well as exotic places; often these were “sensational” journalism at its worst; the 19th Century saw a resurgence of these types of story lines in early novels and the Gothic influence

pannier – a large round basket used for market days; slung over a horse

pantalettes – worn from about 1820 to 1850 (end of Regency into the Victorian period) by little girls; undergarments with frilled bottoms and descending below the level of skirt and petticoat to be visible

Men's Silk Pantaloons, 1830s ~ Los Angeles County Museum of Art ~ http://yesterdaysthimble. com/drawers/

Men’s Silk Pantaloons, 1830s ~ Los Angeles County Museum of Art ~ http://yesterdaysthimble.

pantaloon – pants worn from the beginning of the 1800s; in history, men’s tight-fitting trousers, especially those fastening under the instep worn in the late 18th and early 19th centuries

parish – the local unit of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Church of England

park – an enclosed area with trees and lawns and sometimes sheep and deer for the purpose of artistic views, rather than for profit or cultivation

Park Lane – an upscale address in Mayfair; ran along the eastern border of Hyde Park

parlor – the formal room in a modest home

parlormaid – hired in families who could not afford a male servant to perform duties similar to a butler

parsonage – the house given to the local parson as part of the “living” presented to him by his patron; the land attached to the parsonage often remained the property of the local landowner

parterre – different-sized plots of flowers connected by various walkways and paths in a formal garden

http://www.housetohome. box-parterre-garden


pastille – a roll of paper that could be set afire to disinfect or fumigate a room

patent – given by the monarch to his subjects; a “letter patent” was an open letter that could be read by anyone, which permitted the holder certain privileges; a “patent of nobility” was a royal grant of noble status

patience – a card game of solitaire

patriarchal society – a society where women’s rights are ignored; men hold the rights and the decision making powers

pattens – worn by women to keep their shoes from getting muddy or wet in the outdoors; circular rings that could be strapped onto the shoe’s bottom to raise the foot up a few inches

Peeler – nickname given to the members of the new Metropolitan Police Force (Scotland Yard, etc.), which replaced the Bow Street Runners; founded in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel

peer – a nobleman (duke, marquis, earl, viscount, baron); hereditary title; owner of a seat in the House of Lords

pelisse – a long, dress-like coat, which was often lined with fur

Pembroke – a four-legged table with two sides that could be swung up for additional space

pence – the plural of penny

Peninsular War – the campaign fought by the Duke of Wellington from 1808-1814 in Spain and Portugal against Napoleon’s forces

pensioner – an ex-soldier or sailor; in-pensioners resident at the Royal Hospital at Chelsea (army) or Greenwich (navy); out-pensioners lacked an official residence; at Cambridge University, the term meant a nonscholarship student

perpetual curate – a parish clergyman equivalent to a vicar; distinguished from an ordinary curate; Perpetual Curate was a class of resident parish priest or incumbent curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. The name is found in common use mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th Century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.

personal guide book – books that define proper conduct; highly popular in the early 18th century; people of the upwardly mobile middle class sought these self-help books to learn how to conduct themselves properly in Society

petticoat – part of a woman’s intimate clothing; had a decorative binding at the bottom and sometimes extended a bit below the woman’s gown’s hemline; the chemise went over the petticoat; made of linen; its purpose was to protect the hem of the lady’s dress

1794 - Ladies taking an airing in their phaeton Nikolaus Innocentius Wilhelm Clemens von Heideloff, 1761-1837 - Dresses of August 1794 from The Gallery of Fashion - Public Domain - Wikipedia

1794 – Ladies taking an airing in their phaeton
Nikolaus Innocentius Wilhelm Clemens von Heideloff, 1761-1837 – Dresses of August 1794 from The Gallery of Fashion – Public Domain – Wikipedia

phaeton – a light, open carriage with 4 wheels and pulled by 1 or 2 horses and used for pleasure driving; usually had a convertible top; a low phaeton had seats lower to the ground than the high phaeton, which young gentlemen preferred; the high phaeton was more dangerous to drive as the height made it easy to tip over; women often drove low phaetons around restricted areas (i.e., an estate), rather than on public roads

physician – the most distinguished of the medical professions; dealt only with internal disorders (illnesses for which a physic could be given); surgeons handled broken bones, wounds, etc.; physicians were referred to as “Doctor,” while surgeons were “Mr.”

pianoforte – a predecessor of the modern piano

Piccadilly – an upscale street in the West End of London; said to be called as such because an 1600s tailor in the area made high ruff collars called piccadillies

pier glass – a long mirror placed between two windows; used for ornamentation purposes

pin money – an allowance given to a woman as part of the marriage settlements

pipe – wine was sold by the “pipe,” or a unit of 105 gallons

piquet – a card game for two people played with 32 cards (no 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s); players must earn the highest number of cards in one suit

plate – silverward

Plough Monday – first Monday after Twelfth Day; a new agricultural season began on this day

plums – in the Christmas plum pudding, plums were raisins

pluralist – holding more than one benefice or living in the Church of England

pocket borough – a parliamentary borough under the control of a powerful individual; outlawed in 1832 by the Reform Bill; in the man’s “pocket,” so to speak

pocket pistol – a flask for alcohol carried in a pocket; Queen Anne pistols are a type of flintlock pistol distinguished by the lockplate being forged in one piece with the breech and the trigger plate. They are usually a breech-loading design known as a turn-off pistol. Possibly first made in England and certainly achieving relatively little popularity elsewhere, they came in fashion in England during the reign of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, hence the name.

pony – slang for £25

poorhouse – publicly supported homes for the poor

port – a favorite after-dinner drink for gentlemen; a sweet Portuguese red wine

portmanteau – a traveling bag

post – the system by which the king’s horses were provided; later the system for delivering the mail

postboy – boys who delivered the mail on foot or horseback before the mail coaches replaced them in the late 1700s

post captain – title to distinguish captains in the Royal Navy who held permanent positions as captains of ships with at least 20 guns

post chaise – a chaise used with rented horses; on long journeys, it was necessary to change horses periodically; travelers would send their horses home after a long journey and travel on with rented ones

postilion – the person who rides and guides the horses that is pulling a carriage

potboy – a youth who delivered drinks at a tavern

pound – a unit of money = 240 pence or 20 shillings

preferment – a job or position that was a step upward financially or socially

primogeniture – meant that a family’s property and wealth went directly to the eldest son; ensured that property stayed with the family and the paternal surname survived

Prince Consort – a prince married to a reigning queen

Princess Royal – the oldest daughter of a reigning monarch

private ball – given by the owner of a large country house or an upscale home in London’s more prestigious districts; attendance came by invitation only; the evening followed a particular schedule: began at 8 P.M. with mingling and dancing; dancing the supper set with a lady meant a gentleman escorted her in to supper at midnight; departure came between 3-4 A.M.

prize money – a manner of earning a fortune in the British Navy; money or loot obtained from capturing a vessel and dividing the proceeds among the capturing crew

public ball – also referred to as assemblies; open to anyone who could afford a ticket; the ball ticket also included supper; were generally held on a monthly basis to coincide with the full moon (to expedite travel at night)

public school – a particularly English phenomenon with a long history; public schools were actually private schools such as Eton, Harrow, and Rugby; founded by wealthy donors as “independent schools” for ordinary boys to learn Greek and Latin, but, eventually, the schools took in boys from aristocratic and even royal families and became “private” schools; government supported public education did not begin until the 19th century in England; Winchester College was the original English public school

publishing banns – a means to marry in the Church of England; the couple requested the local clergyman to announce their upcoming wedding from the pulpit for three successive Sundays during the service; a bride and groom who lived in different church parishes had the banns read in both; if no one objected to the wedding then the couple could marry within 90 days of the final announcement of the banns; because publishing the banns cost nothing, it was the preferred method of the poorer classes

Pump Room (Bath) – where Society in Bath gathered to ‘take the waters’ (drink the thermal spa water for medicinal purposes); also the place to meet and socialize, and, of course, to ‘promenade’ about the room

purse – used by a gentleman to hold his coins

putrid fever – Typhus

quadrille – a dance performed by four couples in a square formation; had 5 sets of movements; originally the word “quadrille” was a card game played by 4 people with 40 cards, similar to whist

quality – how the lower classes referred to the upper classes

quarter days – four days which marked when rents were due: Lady Day (March 25), Midsummer (June 24), Michaelmas (September 29) and Christmas (December 25)

quarto – a sheet of paper that had been folded twice to yield 4 leaves (8 pages)

quid – money slang for a sovereign; one pound sterling

quinsy – tonsillitis

quiz – someone who mocks others or acts peculiarly

Quorn – one of the oldest and most prestigious of the fox-hunting packs in England; named for Quorn Hall in the Midlands where the pack was first bred in the mid 1700s


About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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2 Responses to Regency Era Lexicon – The Letters “P” and “Q”

  1. Peelers in time became “The Old Bill” then just “The Bill” and is still used; The Bill referred to was the bill establishing the Metropolitan Police Force, which is also known as “the Met” besides ”The Bill”. There was a long running TV production called “The Bill”.

    The title Princess Royal isn’t always conferred on the eldest daughter of the sovereign, Elizabeth II was never created the Princess Royal as her aunt Princess Mary was still alive, the PR once awarded is for life and there can only ever be one PR at a time.

    The practice of referring to surgeons as “Mister” still exists, it stems from the time that the medical profession such as it was in England did not recognize them and they practiced their craft through barber shops, (hence the red and white pole outside, the red signifying the blood running down a limb when operating). The Royal Navy did not have doctors upon their ships, they only had “surgeons” and if the surgeon got killed in action another member of the ships company ( the RN does not have a crew on their ships it’s either a ships company or ships compliment) was appointed to the post.

    just a small thing a slight omission I’m sure but it is actually “Letters Patent” always.

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