May 122015

So many articles this month! I hope you find some of them to be of interest.

Gillray-very slippy weatherThe prodigiously talented Gillray:

The care and upbringing of foundlings:

A London walk:

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Jan 152015

Assembly Rooms is a collection of links to blogs and articles of interest to lovers of the Regency Era.

Glorious Gothic:

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

An impressive display of carriages: Continue reading »

Oct 222014

Jane Lark, author of a number of historical romances, spent some time at historic Belton House, near Grantham, in Lincolnshire. This great seventeenth century house played the part of the many-windowed mansion of Rosings Park, Lady Catherine de Burgh’s country estate in the 1995 series of Pride and Prejudice. Today, Jane tells us about her tour of the servants’ areas of the great house.

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Apr 172014

Jane Lark, whose most recent Regency romance is The Passionate Love of a Rake, was released this past November. Today, Jane tells us about her visit to the grand estate of Attingham, which was the home of Lord Berwick and his young wife, the former courtesan, Sophia Dubochet, in the early years of the nineteenth century. Fortunately, this elegant house is now the property of the National Trust, and is open to visitors. Once you have read Jane’s tale of its history, you may want to see it for yourself.

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Mar 172014

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Unless you like living in a swamp infested with thieves!

Despite the use of Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, or other locales within Belgravia as the address for one or more characters in recent Regency novels I have read, Belgravia did not exist in the Regency. Wishing, or in this case, writing, cannot make it so. The area which encompasses Belgravia was known as Five Fields during the decade of the Regency, and for centuries before that. It was a marshy, muddy lowland and a known haunt of footpads and highwaymen. It was by no stretch of the imagination a posh address during the Regency. In fact, there were only a few ramshackle sheds in the fields, some used for bull-baiting or cock-fighting. Large sections of the fields were unhealthy as they were heavily saturated with brackish water.

When and how did this marshy wasteland become the address in London?

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Oct 282013

October. The month for scary things. A haunted house fits right in. Today, Angelyn Schmid tells us about some frightening and unexplained things which occurred in the most haunted house in London, which was situated in prestigious Berkeley Square. A word of advice, don’t read this story alone, or in the dark!

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Sep 082013

Jane Lark, author of the recently-released romance novel, Illicit Love, has done a lot of reseaarch into the lives of real Georgian and Regency women for her books. In today’s article, she shares one of those true stories with us. This one is about a Miss L– and her amorous adventures in the Bath of Beau Nash. In fact, the famous Master of Ceremonies was complicit in this curious affair.

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Aug 082013

In her previous article, Jane Lark, author of the new release, Illicit Love, shared her insights into the history of the old trees which adorn the grounds of the Kingston Lacy estate, in Dorset. Today, Jane shares more information about the history of the trees on the estate, along with a selection of additional photographs.

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Aug 052013

Jane Lark, author of the recently-released romance novel, Illicit Love, also loves old trees. And is fascinated by the idea of who might have walked beneath those same trees, centuries ago. Today, in her first of a pair of articles on the old trees on the grounds of Kingston Lacy, a great country house in Dorset, England, she muses on who might have strolled the grounds and enjoyed the shade of those trees. The house was built in the seventeenth century, and many of the trees on the estate were planted at that time. Which means they would have been fully mature by the Regency, providing a lush canopy of leaves over those who rambled below.

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Mar 102013

On a recent trip to the British Isles, Susanna Ives, Regency romance author, had the good fortune to travel to Wales. While there, she took her landlord’s recommendation to visit Llangollen, the home of a pair of quite eccentric ladies during the Regency. Today’s article is the post she filed from Wales after her tour.

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Feb 202013

Today, in the follow-up post to her article on Royal Tunbridge Wells, Regency romance author, Michele Ann Young, aka Ann Lethbridge, shares her knowledge of Pantiles, a unique feature of that spa town. If you have never been to Royal Tunbridge Wells, you may be quite unaware of the existence of this historic item with multiple royal connections. Here is your chance to learn all about them.

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Feb 172013

Today’s article is by Michele Ann Young, aka Ann Lethbridge, Regency romance author and one-time resident of the famous spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. More recently, she spent some time there on a research trip and provides us with a series of questions and answers regarding the history of this charming town in western Kent. She also explains why the town should never be called "Royal" in any stories set there during the Regency.

And so, the answers to your questions about Tunbridge Wells …

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Dec 082012

Berry Bros. at Christmas


Today you can find Berry Bros. & Rudd wine merchants at No. 3 St. James Street in London—just as you could during the Regency period from 1811 to 1820, though the name over the door then was “George Berry.” This historic establishment has been in business since 1698 at the same location. The current owner, Simon Berry tells me the shop has changed little since it opened. Though the fireplace has been abandoned for central heating, and the cellar is now a place for elegant wine dinners, it still has the original oak plank floors, and it still honors its roots as a merchant selling provisions, exotic spices, tea and coffee—as well as wines from around the world.

Berry’s was first established in 1698 by the Widow Bourne as a grocer’s shop, the “Coffee Mill,” and remained in the hands of the good widow until her daughter, Elizabeth, was successfully wooed by William Pickering. In 1731, Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of the House of Commons, leased the shop to Pickering to be rebuilt along with the houses in the court behind, now known as Pickering Place.

In 1734, William Pickering died and his widow Elizabeth took over the running of the business until 1737, when she handed over both the grocery and the “arms painting and heraldic furnishing” side of the business to her sons William and John. John Pickering died in 1754. With no suitable heir, his brother William took as his partner John Clarke who was distantly related.

By 1765, at the sign of the “Coffee Mill,” (which still hangs from the storefront but cannot be clearly seen in the picture as it’s at a right angle), Berry’s not only supplied the fashionable “Coffee Houses” (later to become Clubs such as Boodles and Whites), but also began weighing customers on giant coffee scales. Records of customers’ weights, including those of the Royal Dukes, Lord Byron, former Prime Minister William Pitt and the Aga Khan, span three centuries and are still added to, to this day.

Berry’s first supplied wine to the British Royal Family during King George III’s reign, and today holds two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

John Clarke died in 1788, and while he had no son, his daughter, Mary had married John Berry, a wine merchant in Exeter. Their son, George, although only one year old, had already been designated by his grandfather as heir to the Coffee Mill. Before he died, John Clarke found as a suitable “caretaker” to manage affairs, the Browne’s of Westerham, a rich and prospering family of lawyers and yeomen into which John Berry’s sister had married, and they agreed to look after the business until George was old enough to take over.

George was only sixteen in 1803 when he made the two-day journey from Exeter. For seven years he must have played the part of apprentice, for it was not until he was 23, in 1810 that his name was stretched across the double-fronted fascia of No. 3 St James’s Street. And this is how it looked in Regency England.

In 1815, St James’s Street was a very masculine domain (Georgette Heyer describes her heroine in The Grand Sophy as risking her reputation just by driving her phaeton down St James’s Street); however, the Dighton etching of the shop front, which dates from that same year, shows women amongst the male passers-by, and they do not seem to be causing too much scandal. They are either walking with a male companion or as a pair, so perhaps some form of protection was still the norm.

The paving of Westminster’s streets began in the mid 18th century, but wasn’t completed until the mid 19th. Still, the main roads, such as St James’s Street, would have been paved by 1815 as suggested in the etching.

In 1838 the Chartist riots raged through provincial England and spread panic in London. Accompanied by his friend Prince Louis Napoleon, George Berry was sworn in as a special constable. Prince Louis Napoleon, who as Napoleon III founded the Deuxième Empire in 1851, had a close association with Berry’s. During his two-year stay in London he used the cellars for sundry secret meetings with Sherer the (reputed) editor of the “Standard.”

My new Regency Christmas story, The Holly & The Thistle, begins in Berry’s wine shop where the heroine, a young English widow (“the holly”) and the hero, a Scot (“the thistle”) meet just before Christmastide, each believing the other is someone else. It will put you in the mood for Christmas, I promise!

Regan Walker

Mar 292012

       Traveling to the UK – What to Know Before You Go

                    by Jo Ann Ferguson

          It’s that time of year to think about a vacation/research trip to the UK.

Okay, any time of year is good, but many trips to the UK are in the late spring, summer, or early fall.

2012 is a very exciting year for the UK. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics, make sure you’re up to date on what is happening where. My husband and I are heading to the northeast this spring, and we are keeping an eye on where the Olympic torch will be traveling. We hope to see it, but we also want to be aware of possible traffic restrictions. For information on events occurring in conjunction with the Jubilee, check sites such as or

Information on the Olympic events as well as route of the Olympic torch can be found at: or

Please click the “Details” button for all the helpful details …

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Feb 042012

Regency Florida by Darlene Marshall

St. Augustine Map 1763

St. Augustine Map 1763

In 1812 a plucky band of men of diverse races, nationalities and backgrounds came together to defend their homes from foreign invaders intent on seizing their land and destroying their way of life.

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Jan 152012

Top Ten Places to See the Sea in the UK by Jo Ann Ferguson

The sea has had such an impact on British history. It has protected the country so well that the saying goes that the last successful invasion of England was in 1066 (though there have been a lot of unsuccessful ones, which explains the many castles and fortified sites along the shore). The sea currents affect the weather, so you have palm trees in Cornwall and even in northern Scotland. It inspired the formation of a navy that created a worldwide empire and a maritime fleet that made London a center of industry and shipping and finance.

And it helped create a tourist industry that still thrives today. What would 19th century bank holidays have been without a trip to Blackpool for the lower classes and to Brighton for the upper?

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