Jul 062016
 

This post originally appeared on Anna Bradley‘s blog on November 23, 2014. Reposted with permission from the author.


Historical Romance and the English Country Home

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England.

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England

Rolling greens lawns, formal gardens and sultry conservatories—is it any wonder so many Regency romance novelists choose the English country house as the backdrop for their love story? There are few settings more romantic, and, given the strict rules of propriety between gentlemen and ladies in Regency England, even fewer where a hero and heroine can pursue their lusts and loves with such freedom.

It’s tempting to believe, Continue reading »

Jul 242015
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Yet again I have made a most delightfully serendipitous find in the course of my research. A lovely Regency-era guide-book which I think many Regency authors will find most helpful when they are seeking a setting for a new story, or perhaps planning a country excursion for their hero and heroine. In fact, the author of this book himself might very well serve as a model for a character in a Regency story.

When a Regency author needs a locale near the metropolis . . .

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May 192015
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

In the West Riding of Yorkshire, about four and a half miles east of the city of Leeds, stands a Jacobean-era country house which has an important link to the Regency. The house, called Temple Newsam, stands on a large estate which has a history stretching back to Roman times. A Roman road connecting Castelford with Adel ran across the property, and the mound which remains of this ancient "street" can still be seen on the north side of the estate. In the early middle ages it was on this property that the Knights Templar built a preceptory, or complex of buildings, which housed a provincial community of their order. It was this preceptory which gave Temple Newsam its name. Here the members of the community worked the land to sustain themselves and to contribute to the support of the Templars. The preceptory is now gone, as is the original manor house, built by Thomas, Baron Darcy, a nobleman beheaded by Henry VIII in 1538, when he rebelled against the dissolution of the monasteries. The property was seized by the Crown after Darcy’s death, and Henry gave it to his niece, Margaret, Countess of Lennox. Thus it became the property of the Earls of Lennox. In that same manor house was born Lord Darnley, who became the ill-fated husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and father of James I of England.

After the death of Lord Darnley, who was the eldest son of the Earl of Lennox, the property passed to his only son, King James I. In the first year of his reign in England, James granted the property to Ludovic Stewart, the second Duke of Lennox. In 1622, the Duke sold the property to Sir Arthur Ingram. In about 1630, with the exception of the part of the house which contained the room in which Lord Darnley had been born, the old manor house was mostly pulled down and rebuilt in red brick. That is the core of the Temple Newsam House which stands today. In 1661, Sir Arthur’s grandson, Henry Ingram, was created Viscount Irwin, (sometimes listed as Irvine), in the Scottish peerage, for his loyalty to King Charles I. There were nine Viscounts Irwin, the last, Charles, died in 1778, leaving five daughters, but no sons.

So, what is the Regency connection to this historic property?

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Nov 102014
 

Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, whose new book, Captured Countess, will be released in December, often writes about Regency fashions at her blog. During the course of her research, she discovered that in the fall of 1813, there were gowns named for a grand fete which had been held that summer at Vauxhall Gardens. The fete was given to celebrate the great victory in Spain which had been won by General, the Marquis of Wellington over the French forces in the Peninsula.

In today’s article, Ann tells us about the grand fete given to celebrate Wellington’s victory at Vittoria. It sounds like quite a crush, at least for some of those in attendance. Perhaps the event might be just the setting for a few scenes in one of your upcoming Regency romances.

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Aug 152014
 

It is August, which means days are getting shorter, summer is coming to a close and soon it will be time for lots of children to go back to the schoolroom, if they are not there already. In today’s article, romance author, Regina Scott, whose boxed set, Timeless:   Historical Romance Through the Ages, is available now, tells us about the country house parties which often took place in the month of August during the Regency. But these parties were not all bucolic pleasure. Once you know about the many requirements for a guest at one of these parties, would you look for an invitation, or would you settle for the hot and smelly metropolis in August?

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Mar 292014
 

Today, Angelyn Schmid shares with us her research into that fiendishly clever barrier which was often found within the grounds of English country estates, the ha-ha. By use of a ha-ha, the view from the manor house would be over an unbroken rolling green sward, but any cattle, sheep, or other animals which were grazing on the other side of the ha-ha would be unable to approach any nearer the house. Angelyn’s article will give you other important details with regard to a ha-ha, should you wish to incorporate one into an upcoming story.

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Dec 032013
 

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can easily be considered the "food season." So many parties and brunches and dinners! There is no doubt that food is an important part of this time of year. In today’s article, award-winning Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, shares the details on preparing cardons. This was a vegetable which was popular during the Regency, though it is nearly unknown today.

If you could find them, would you prepare cardons for your holiday feast?

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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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Apr 042013
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Or not?      Mostly, not.

This past weekend, I read the fourth or fifth Regency novel in the last few years in which a scratching or rustling noise intrudes upon a clandestine meeting or stealthy activity in which the hero and heroine are engaged. The sounds come from the ground, in the dark of night, and in each case this disturbance is ascribed to squirrels.    Impossible!

The facts about squirrels in Regency England …

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Feb 102013
 

Today, Angelyn Schmid, author of Notorious Match, discusses garden rotundas similar to the Temple of Diana, which is situated on the grounds of the fictional estate in her story. Regency gardens are always such wonderful settings for romantic encounters between the hero and heroine. Angelyn explains how these gardens were laid out and enjoyed by those lucky enough to have access to such "natural" beauty.

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Dec 142012
 

Many of us have run across references to the famed herbal by Nicholas Culpeper in the course of our research into various aspects of Regency medicine and horticulture. Though it was originally published in the mid-seventeenth century, it was still in print during the Regency. Not only was it still considered an important medical reference, many gardeners relied upon it to determine which plants to cultivate in their kitchen gardens. In today’s article, Cheryl Bolen reviews a more recent reprint of Culpeper’s best-selling herbal, in which you will learn which plant "stirs up bodily lust" and which plant is a "gallant expeller of wind."

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Dec 172011
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

No, this book is not about Jane Austen’s Mrs. Hurst from Pride and Prejudice. The Mrs. Hurst who lent her name to the title of this delightful volume was a real woman, who lived during the Regency. Her home was in a small English village in Buckinghamshire called Newport Pagnell, and she loved to dance. She was captured in full swing one evening at her home in a charming watercolor by a young friend, Diana Sperling.

The full title of this book is Mrs Hurst Dancing & Other Scenes from Regency Life 1812 – 1823. I stumbled across it in my local library and was immediately enchanted. This volume contains full-size reproductions of a number of watercolor sketches made by a young woman called Diana Sperling during the years of the Regency and just beyond. Miss Sperling also wrote witty explanatory captions for most of these watercolors which gives a real flavor of the daily life of a family of the minor gentry during the Regency.

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