In “Courting Lord Whitmire,” there is a lengthy scene where Andrew Whitmire claims his viscountcy before the House of Lords.
Although there were some exceptions to a peerage passing to the eldest son, the majority of those written about in Regency novels follow that pattern. The manner in which a peerage passed from one generation to the next was laid out in the original grant and was strictly followed. No peer could sign away his peerage to another person (gaming debts, dislike of the one who will inherit, etc.)
The heir apparent is the only son (or) eldest son of the holder of the peerage. The only exception would be the holder’s grandson would become the heir apparent if the holder’s son is deceased. Only an heir apparent’s death can remove him from the line of succession.
All newly created peers are introduce to the House of Lords by a distinctive ceremony of introduction that dates back to 1621. Although some changes have occurred over the years, the present day ceremony, as described by Publications.Parliament.UK, reflects the pomp and circumstance of the event. The elements of the present ceremony are…
(1) there is a procession into the Chamber, in which Black Rod and Garter King of Arms lead the new peer, who is accompanied by two supporters, all three wearing parliamentary robes with special hats; at the Woolsack the new peer kneels and presents his or her Writ of Summons to the Lord Chancellor, while Garter presents the new peer’s Letters Patent of Creation;
(2) at the Table of the House the Reading Clerk reads the Patent and Writ and the new peer takes the Oath of allegiance (or makes the solemn affirmation) and signs the Test Roll;
(3) Garter “places” the new peer by conducting the peer, with the supporters, to the bench appropriate to their degree in the peerage; there, three times in succession, they sit, put on their hats, rise, doff their hats and bow to the Lord Chancellor; all involved then proceed out of the Chamber, the new peer shaking hands with the Lord Chancellor on the way out.
Also see “Introduction of a New Peer to the House of Lords” for more details on the ceremony.
The Regency Researcher site shares with us the cost of becoming a peer.
“We think of a man being created a peer as having received an honor, and seldom think of his having to pay for it. However, whether a man was created a peer for merit or succeeded to a peerage of his father or other relative, he had to pay a fee. He also had to pay a fee if he were made a bishop and an additional one if he was translated from one see to a better one.
“These fees are called homage fees, and some sources think the fees were a substitute for knight’s service. There are also fees to have the creation or the succession published in the Gazette.
“When the peer makes his first appearance at the House of Lords, he participates in an old age ceremony for which a fee also must be paid.
These fees were paid to the Receiver of Fees, who was a clerk in the House of Peers. In 1812 this was a Mr. Charles Sutherland.
Prince of Wales: upon creation – £703 6 8 Upon his first introduction to the House he paid £30.
A Duke paid £350 3 4 upon creation and £27 on first introduction
A Marquis paid £272 10 8 , then £19 6 8 upon introduction.
An Earl paid £203 3 4 upon creation, and £14 on first introduction.
A Viscount paid £159 7 4 upon creation, then £12 upon introduction.
A baron paid £150 upon creation and £ 9 upon introduction.
If a peer advanced in title, (If a baron was made a viscount or an earl) he was required to pay the appropriate fee, etc.)
Every bishop was required to pay upon his first Consecration and upon future promotions.
Promotion £14. The Archbishop paid £27 upon introduction.
This information is from the Royal Kalendar and annual Register for 1812.”
Releasing Today: Courting Lord Whitmire: A Regency May-December Romance
At the bend of the path, an unexpected meeting.
She is all May. He is December.
But loves knows not time.
Colonel Lord Andrew Whitmire has returned to England after spending fifteen years in service to his country. In truth, he would prefer to be anywhere but home. Before he departed England, his late wife, from an arranged marriage, had cuckolded him in a scandal that had set Society’s tongues wagging. His daughter, Matilda, who was reared by his father, enjoys calling him “Father” in the most annoying ways. Unfortunately, his future is the viscountcy, and Andrew knows his duty to both the title and his child. He imagines himself the last of his line until he encounters Miss Verity Coopersmith, the niece of his dearest friend, the man who had saved Andrew’s life at Waterloo. Miss Coopersmith sets Whitmire’s world spinning out of control. She is truly everything he did not know he required in his life. However, she is twenty-two years his junior, young enough to be his daughter, but all he can think is she is absolute perfection.
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Excerpt from Chapter Five:
When they learned at Lady Stephenson’s gathering that the Countess of Savidge had taken a fall earlier in the day and had cancelled her entertainment, Verity had convinced Matilda that they should return to Parliament and plead to be admitted to the gallery to view Lord Whitmire’s introduction to the House of Lords.
“What if they turn us away?” Matilda had protested, the girl’s earlier bravado fading quickly before the pudding was set.
“Then we will discover a tea room nearby and wait,” Verity had said without the exasperation she felt. All afternoon, Matilda had bemoaned not being able to join Robinson in the gallery, but now that Verity had suggested their doing so, Matilda wished Verity to beg or to insist, so she would not bear any of the blame, if Lord Whitmire disapproved. It was the girl’s wish not to upset the delicate balance Matilda and Lord Whitmire had achieved, but, on this particular day, Verity had no time, or desire, to coddle the girl. “Do you not wish to view your father’s elevation?”
“Most assuredly, I would wish to observe the proceedings,” Matilda said softly. Her gaze remained steady, although her tone held unrelenting curiosity. “But I have heard it said only those women who hold exalted positions dare enter the gallery. Father may not be happy with our presence.”
“Miss Ridenour again?” Verity questioned. She should have known the chit would say something to discourage Matilda from her desire to sit with Robinson in the gallery.
She did not wait for the girl’s response; instead, Verity decided for them. She had considered Lord Whitmire’s possible disapproval before she had made her suggestion, but she refused to think of his lordship’s disdain when she had the opportunity to look upon him again, especially in such a life-defining moment. She could not consider not being a part of this event, even if it were from a distance. Although he did not recognize her total devotion to him, she wished to share the experience—wished to have the memory to cherish in her old age. Unfortunately for her badly bruised heart, her fascination with the man had not waned; rather, it had intensified the longer she remained in his company. “We shall ask, and, if refused, accept the tradition in which the ceremony is imbued.”
And so, with heavy reprimands delivered toward them by a clerk for even asking for permission to enter the gallery, along with a generous donation to the man’s purse, she and Matilda had been hidden behind a heavy drape, where they might peer down upon the floor of the House of Lords. After what felt like forever, the House was called to order by the Lord Chancellor. A prayer followed, and Verity’s anticipation rose. She tugged Matilda closer, placing the girl before her, so they could share the small space.
She explained in Matilda’s ear. “Black Rod, an officer of the Order of the Garter, has already escorted Lord Whitmire and your father’s two retinues to the King of Arms, who will lead the trio into the main chamber. Just wait a minute, and they will appear where we can see them.” True to her narration, his lordship and the others showed themselves, but, for Verity, the thrill was in watching Andrew Whitmire. Looking upon him, she had never known a prouder moment. His countenance remained stern and respectful of the majesty of the ceremony, while also holding a hint of contentment. He was a man meant for the aristocracy—noble and strong.
“Who is with Father?” Matilda asked softly, destroying the moment for Verity.
Swallowing the sigh of vexation rushing to her lips, Verity leaned closer to whisper once again. “According to tradition, his lordship must be escorted by two of his fellow viscounts. When Robinson goes through the ceremony, my brother will be accompanied by two barons. Lord Whitmire asked two of his former soldiers to serve him. Black Rod leads, followed by the Garter King. The peer in front of your father is the junior peer, Lord Franklin. The one behind Whitmire is Lord Lexford.”
“How did you learn all this?” Matilda asked with what sounded to be a nervous giggle.
Verity smiled easily, enjoying her confession before she spoke it. “I have the habit of overhearing what I should not. I listened as your father explained the process to Robinson.” Her smile grew. “Some day you will learn that men often think women have no brains to understand of what they speak. They sometimes treat the women in their lives as if they were a silent servant.”
“They enjoy strutting their colors as much as would an actor upon a stage,” Matilda observed in hushed tones. Verity realized the girl meant the goings on in the Lords, but Matilda’s words fit many situations where men gathered.
“Or as much as a diamond of the first water in a ballroom,” Verity said with another smile. She pointed over Matilda’s shoulder to the area below. “Notice each peer wears a robe designed to indicate his rank. Also notice that the Garter King of Arms carries a silver gilt scepter in his right hand. In his left is the patent of creation for your father.”
Matilda rose up on her toes and whispered, “Thank you for arranging this. I shall never forget your kindness. I did not think I would enjoy the spectacle of all this, but it is quite remarkable, is it not?”
“Very remarkable, and it is my pleasure to share this with you,” Verity replied in all seriousness.
She wished she could resist the pull and the push that always rested between her and Lord Whitmire. She was both perplexed and fascinated by the man. Her heart knew the deepest compassion when his long-time suffering, at no fault of his own, mind you, marked the lines about his mouth and his eyes. The manner of the conversations in which he partook displayed his quick wit and keen intellect. He was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, but he was also one of the most reasonable men she had ever encountered. His lordship had a firm, stubborn nature, and Verity imagined they would have a regular stream of quarrels, followed by a round of passion, the type she had only read of in Minerva novels. She suspected he held the ability to sweep her off her feet, both, figuratively, and, literally, but he kept his desires rigidly under control. She both admired and despised him at the same time.
Carrying their cocked black hats in their left hands, the lords in the procession below reached the Bar of the House. Lord Whitmire carried his Writ of Summons in his right hand. They walked up the temporal side of the House. They bowed first to where the Sovereign would sit, if present, then to the table where the clerks sat, followed by a third bow to the Judges.
“What now?” Matilda asked. Her excitement showed upon the girl’s face.
“Your father will next approach the Lord Chancellor.” Verity waited, holding her breath until the Lord Chancellor raised his hat to acknowledge Lord Whitmire. “His lordship will kneel on one knee and present the letters patent of his creation to the Lord Chancellor. Once the Lord Chancellor accepts the patent on behalf of the King, he will hand it to the Reading Clerk to be read aloud to all the peers present.”
Along with Matilda, Verity held her breath as she listened to the formalities and to his lordship’s resonant, distinct voice. Then, the oddest thought caught her by surprise: She did not simply admire Lord Andrew Whitmire; she loved him. She could not remove her eyes from where the man stood, tall and proud, even when she felt Matilda shift before her. She could no more control the sense of longing in her chest than she could stop the world from spinning on its axis. The air, what there was to be had in their hiding place, thickened. Her breathing grew short.
“Verity?” Matilda’s voice held the girl’s concern. “Are you unwell? You are so pale. We should leave.”
Verity quickly shook off the idea. “In a moment,” she assured. “The ceremony nears its conclusion.” She returned her attention to what she could view of the proceedings. When the Reading Clerk finished reading the Summons, Lord Whitmire read the Oath of Allegiance. His full-bodied orotund voice carried to the rafters. “Now your father will sign the Test Rolls.”
As his lordship bent over the document to add his signature to a list that went back one hundred twenty-five years, Verity caught Matilda’s hand. “We should go. It is essentially over. Next, your father will change out of the ceremonial constraints and assume his seat in the Lords. Therefore, we should depart before we are seen. We promised the clerk not to be a distraction.” She led the girl through a door and down a set of stairs the clerk had said were rarely used. “I think we should have his lordship’s carriage take us to Whitmire House. Then the driver can return for Lord Whitmire and Robinson. We have no idea how long your father and my brother must tarry before they can leave without being thought poorly of. We might discover ourselves dining alone this evening.”
The door at the bottom of the stairs led to the outside and fresh air. Stepping into a small bricked circle, Verity inhaled deeply. She needed to clear her thinking. What was she to do? Without realizing it, she had given her heart to a man who would never love her.
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