|I've just discovered that Burkes peerage did not appear until 1826 but it is regularly referred to in regencies (not all of them set after 1826). Was there a publication that preceded Burkes?
I own an 1802 copy of Debrett. There were also peerages by Collins, Lodge, Kearsley, and Stockdale.
|Was it possible for a sailor/crewman on a merchant/passenger ship to become a footman? What were the qualifications to become a footman? Was there anyone who couldn’t (due to social reasons) become a footman?
The only requirement needed to be a footman was to be male and have someone hire you for the position. Some employers preferred handsome , tall footmen. Others just wanted men who were competent. There was absolutely no reason why a sailor couldn't become a footman, or just a male servant.
|What were the wages for officers of the peninsula war? Particularly Captains and Lieutenants? Did these vary heavily between regiments? Did they vary much between specialist roles such as a Regimental Surgeon or an officer in the Engineering corps
Per Diem for 365 Days
*1 British Pound (£)= 20 Shillings (s)
1 British Shilling (s)= 12 Pence (d)
daily: 1£ 2s. 6d.
annual: 410£ 12s. 6d.
daily:0£ 15s. 11d.
annual: 290£ 9s. 7d.
daily:0£ 14s. 1d.
annual: 257£ 0s. 5d.
daily:0£ 9s. 5d.
annual: 171£ 17s. 1d.
Surgeon of the Line
daily:0£ 9s. 5d.
annual: 171£ 17s. 1d.
daily:0£ 6s. 5d.
annual: 118£ 17s. 1d.
daily:0£ 5s. 5d.
annual: 98£ 17s. 1d.
Source: The Annual Register, or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1798.
See daily pay of the comissioned and non-commissioned Army Officers, and Privates, in the regular forces. From The Political State of the British Empire, by John Adolphus, 1818
|How soon could a Regency widow remarry? Was there actually any legal enforcement of the yearlong mourning period, and/or would a churchman refuse to perform the ceremony? That is, if she's willing to brave the resulting scandal, is there anything else to stop her?
The short answer is No.
In the late 18th and early 19th century there was no law that said a widow could not marry within a year or two of her husband's death. Society felt that it was proper for her to wait at least a year-- though some preferred she wait two years to remarry, and others felt it wrong for her to ever remarry.
Some felt a widow should never remarry. If the widow had any property from the first husband, his heirs preferred that she not take that to a second marriage in another family.
Complications could arise when a young widow married within a year of her husband's death and she was or became pregnant. A child born within ten months of the first husband's death could be considered his. This was the main reason why people were against widows remarrying too soon after the first husband's death.
Clergymen could counsel against a marriage before the year was out but would not usually refuse to conduct the ceremony.
|If I am wondering a lot about the education system. Were children home school'd? If so, were outside teachers hired to teach in the home? Any other information on education would be fantastic?
Boys of the upper classes and the upper gentry were usually taught at home until they were ten or so and then they were sent to school. . The Austen boys were taught at home until they went either to University or the navy.
Girls had governesses. Special tutors were hired when needed.
They did have seminaries for girls but it was much less common to send girls to school than it was to send boys. Still, there were many so called schools for girls. No school was inspected nor were there qualifications for the teachers or certificates.
There is actually more information about schools in the USA than schools in England, because the English left schooling very much up to the parent.
Poor children went to a dame school or the penny school. They paid a penny for each class they took. there were many charities that started schools.The Sunday School movement was started more to teach reading than to teach the Bible. In deed, the schools were set up so that Protestant children could read the scripture for themselves. They were not always taught to write.
Scotland had parish schools and compulsory education long before England considered the matter.
There are books about the more famous schools and the two universities
|Was it legal for an Earl to have a fox hunting party on his own estate in June?
Most sources say that fox hunting usually was a late autumn and winter sport.While they might go cubbing in September and October to train dogs, most hunts started in November and went until April.
Foxes were considered vermin and weren't covered by game laws. There was more social pressure concerning the right time to hunt foxes then there was legal pressure.
|If a couple produce an illegitimate child and then marry 10 years later, can that child be legitimized to inherit his father's title? If so, how would that be accomplished? Also, I have heard differing views on the legality of a widow marrying her late husband's brother. Was this legal in 1800-1830 or was it considered incest?
This was not possible in England. It was possible in Scotland, if the child were born in Scotland and the parents later married there. Some sources say, it was only possible if the couple were free to marry at the time: that is neither was married to anyone else.
A widow could marry her brother in law if a clergyman could be found to conduct the service. However, this marriage could be challenged as illegal and void at any time and the children of the marriage made illegitimate. Most clergymen called it incest and refused to conduct the marriage ceremony between two people related in that way. This was made completely illegal and all such marriages void in 1835. At that time, all such existing marriages were declared valid but all such marriages from that day, completely null and void.
|Say Earl X has a son, Viscount
XX (courtesy title), owns a manor and house in town, etc.
Does Viscount XX live with daddy Earl until he inherits?
Even after marrying and having children? Or would there
be other property he lived in until he become Earl X? Does
Viscount XX own anything until he inherits, or is it all
at the behest of his father?
They did not seem to have anything against
multiple generations living together. However, it was not uncommon
for there to be a property set aside for the heir where he lived
until he succeeeded his father. The son could also live on property
he got as part of his own marriage settlement. I don't think there
is one answer.
was my understanding that heirs of entailed property and titles
had to be in the direct line. If for instance, the current
Viscount has no immediate male relative (son and grandson
dead) would the grandson of the Viscount's sister be the heir
or would they search for a descendent through the male lines?
I also wondered if you knew of any instances where someone
succeeded in breaking an entail to allow sister's son or grandson
Entailed property does go to one of the male heirs in the direct
line -- but the direct line is from the original possessor.
has property which he entails on his heirs male. He has three
sons. Abner, Ben, Charles. Abner inherits and has a son named
Dick. Dick has no children or only has girls. Then one looks to
see if Ben is alive , if so he inherits; if not, did he have a
son? Ben died without children. So they look next to Charles.
Charles is deceased but left five sons. The property continues
down the line of the oldest of Charles's sons. If that line ends
without sons, then the line goes to the next oldest of Charles'
sons, and so on.
All of these are in direct line from Adam though cousins to the
children of Abner. If there are no male descendents of Adam left
two things could happen. A title would become extinct.
When property is entailed or settled, it usually is tied up for
heirs male . However, the originating document often will have
a contingency clause stating what happens if there are no more
males to inherit. This clause often says that the land goes to
the family of Adam's wife, if the property came from them; or
it could go to the descendents of Adam's younger brother ( none
of Adam's brothers would automatically inherit when he entailed
it to heirs of his body male.), Or the property could be left
to the oldest male descendent of the females born to Adam. Or
the property could go to the oldest surviving female, starting
with the oldest brother's line.
sister's son wouldn't inherit property unless she could inherit
If there is no such clause the land goes to the crown and family
members can petition to have it given to them. That is property.
Titles would descend through the lines like property as far as
Adam's sons, grandsons and descendents are concerned. However,
neither his brother nor any female could inherit unless it was
stated in the patent at the time it was granted.
A sister to a viscount would not get to have the title , so her
son wouldn't inherit it. A female could end up with property but
not the title and her son could not inherit unless she could.
|I saw your reference to country
dances, which interested me because Dickens preferred them
to more formal dancing, but what were they?
Generally, English country dances refers to the dances such as
can be seen in the recent spate of movies loosely based on the
novels of Jane Austen.
Some say the name came about because the dances were danced in
the country and not at court, where the minuet still held sway.
I do not have a definitive answer and matters are clouded by the
renewed popularity of English country dancing (ECD) and the varying
interpretations of it.
What ever the origins, English country dancing was largely abandoned
when couple dances, such as waltzing and then the polka, came
English country dancing is the ancestor of square dancing, Virginia
reels, and Texas line dances.
There are many sites in the web with diagrams, discussions, explanations
and offers for lessons in English country dancing.
One book, Richardson, Philip. The Social Dances of the Nineteenth
Century in England , London. 1960, has a chapter on "Dances
prior to XIX Century."
He, along with many others, give Playford the credit for first
describing English country dances in 1651. His book The English
Dancing Master gave 100 examples of dances.
Thos. Wilson was a well known dancing instructor of the early
19th century and wrote several books giving instruction for various
"Roger de Coverley " is a well known form of the dance.
|What were priest holes? What
time period were they used?
This Wikipedia page answers the question about Priest holes very well. They were
necessary in the time of Elizabeth and James I but not after the
restoration of Charles II.
When no longer needed to hide priest, the holes were used as
wall safes by many.
As the article on Wikipedia says, there are probably still some
priest holes that have never been discovered. Some might even
contain a body. Nice touch for a mystery type story, don't you
an Earl dies, do his daughters wear mourning clothes? If so,
for how long, and what sort of clothes are appropriate for
The daughters wore mourning for approximately six months.
They started out in black dresses, bonnets, pelisses, shawls,
gloves and shoes and gradually added white and grey. The
mourning outfits were different from fashionable ones in
that mourning wear was made of dull fabrics without ornamentation
other than jet beads. Sparkling jewelry was not worn during
mourning do no diamonds or other such gems. plain gold and
silver or jet necklaces could be worn. Some times the person
in mourning would wear a pin made of the deceased's hair.
No one knows the exact time table they used to know when
to go from unrelieved black to black and white and grey
or other somber colors. If the mother was alive, she determined
the extent and length of mourning.
People in deep mourning were not supposed to go out to
any gathering except church, As they added color to their
wardrobes they could add activities to their social calendar.
Dinner with close friends and family was permissible in
a month, then in another month they could go to oratorios,
and concerts. They usually didn't go to balls or dances
for the full six months.
If a wedding had been scheduled for sometime, they usually
went ahead with it. The bride would not wear black. They
did not have wedding gowns , they had gowns they wore to
White was an acceptable color and was both fashionable
and suitable as mourning.
a man were to hold an Irish title (say earl) and a lesser
English one (baron) and he marries in England, does he do
so as the earl or the baron?
He would marry as the earl. He would use his English barony
for a seat in the English House of Lords. There he would
be a baron, otherwise he would be an earl.
from the question about post coaches - I'm fascinated to know
about the network of inns. How did they manage the swapping
of horses? Who owed what horse? or were all horses considered
equal and they didn't mind which horse they went on with?
It was a matter of contracts with stables and inns. Some
companies owned a string of stables and inns .Other stable
owners had a contract with the inn owner to their mutual
benefit. . That is, just as a rental car agency will have
offices in many cities and towns, the companies that let
the horses and the post chaises had specific stops along
the way. The one who rented the horses or the post chaise
had to also take the postilion. The postilion not only guided
the horses, but was there to ensure that the company got
its animals and carriages back.
England, a postillion, for any distance exceeding ten
miles, is very sufficiently paid at the rate of 3 d. a
mile, and the turnpikes may be averaged throughout the
kingdom at 2d. a mile, though, within fifty miles of London,
they do not average more than 1 1/2d a mile, for a chaise
and pair ; consequently, for a stage of twelve miles,
the expense of postillion and turnpikes may be put at
Observations and Opinions on the Continent By Richard Duppa 1825
Horses were rarely leased for a longer distance than twenty
miles at a time.Twenty miles was about the limit the horses
could comfortably go.
The lease of the chaise itself could be for longer periods,
but other arrangements were then made for its return. This
would be when a man planned a trip out of town it would
return with the carriage in three weeks. There are some
law cases recorded in which the renter did not return the
chaise and the owner had them arrested for theft by taking.
Usually the chaise was hired for a certain stretch of the
journey and one changed to another chaise at that point.
One who hired a post chaise to go from Bath to London could
probably stay in the same chaise the whole way, only changing
days and coaching ways By Tristam, W. Outram Railton,
Herbert, Thomson, Hugh, (Internet Archive)
of the road: or, Notes on mail and stage coaching
in Great Britain By Malet, Harold Esdaile; Nimrod
coaching era By Wilson, Violet A. (Internet
and its coaches : a history of the London and Brighton
Road, with some account of the provincial coaches
that have run from Brighton By Blew, William C.
A. (Internet Archive)
There would be extra charges if the post chaise with horses
and postilion had to go to an out of the way place, because
the man might have to stay over night somewhere and rest
A phrase "Hobson's Choice", which actually means
that one had no choice, came from a man named Hobson who
owned a livery stable where people changed horses. Hobson
did not allow any of his customers to choose which horses
they wanted. Each had to take the next team up, no matter
Now, the mail and the stage coach companies had contracts
with the livery stables specifying the horses that were
to be kept only for them. Sometimes the Royal mail and the
stage coach companies had their own horses which they left
at the stables. No one else could use these. Some wealthy
men , also, kept teams of their own horses at stables along
the way from their country seat to London.
"My ride was rendered uncomfortable by a very full
coach, and somewhat hazardous by the numbers on the roof,
where there were no fewer than nineteen grown people, which,
with eight inside, (two more than the stipulated number,)
made twenty-seven persons for one carriage, besides the
coachman and guard, which made twenty- nine ; the postillion,
although not on the coach, made the party thirty. The numbers
on the roof were so great, that their limbs hung down on
all sides around the coach, like icicles from the eves in
a wintry day. I have never known so many to ride on the
roof in any former instance, and I acknowledge the story
is less credible than true. The night was very warm for
the season, and the air in the coach became soon very unpleasant,
so that it was necessary to keep a window open. At the borough
of Petersfield, which is ten or twelve miles from Portsmouth,
we stopped a few minutes, and with an additional pair of
horses and a postillion, proceeded on our way." from A
Journal of Travels in England, Holland and Scotland, and
of Two Passages Over the Atlantic, in the Years 1805 and
1806 by Benjamin Silliman
character needs to travel from Tintagel, North Cornwall, to
London. What kind of coach would he use and how long might
it take in the year 1817? Also, where can I find the names
of hotels in London where he might stay?
No commercial coaches are listed as heading directly for
Tintagel from London. A map shows that it is 230 miles from
London, give or take a mile. That is straight route. Launceston
is 213 miles and Tintagel appears to be just short of twenty
miles away. A Royal mail coach ( limited passenger seating)
goes through Launceston on its way to and from Exeter. The
mail travelled between 5 and 8 miles an hour depending on
the weather. It did not stop often nor for long.
Other options are to hire a Post chaise, called Yellow
Bounders, which were two person closed carriages, driven
by a postilion. The draw back of this mode of travel is
that one had to change both carriage and horses frequently.
The benefit is that one could stop more frequently.
Private travelling carriages were either enclosed carriages
with a coachman and drawn by 4 horses, or one drawn by 4-6
horses and guided by a postilion.
In general the trip would take between 46 and 29 hours.
It could take longer if the traveler had to take a slower
carriage from Tintagel head to Launceston, or if the weather
was bad. The roads would not be good until one reached the
mail routes. It took the Royal mail two days to make the
journey to Falmouth.
Clarendon, Limmer's , Ibbetson's, Fladong's, Stephen's and Grillons were
The Tsar stayed at the Pulteney's.
A lady might stay at Grillon's
The Clarendon was the only public hotel at which
you could get a real French meal at a reasonable cost.
Limmer's evening resort for Sporting world.
Ibbetson's was patronized by clergy and young men
down from University.
Fladong's in Oxford Street patronized mainly by
Walter Scott liked Long's .
Stephen's in Bond Street main abode of officers
and men about town. Strangers were not encouraged to dine
|What might an arsonist
use to have a building burn more quickly?
Gunpowder and lamp oil. Hay, or other easily flammable stuff
along with torches could be set alight and thrust into the
house. Many houses were burnt during riots when torches were
the main means of setting the fire.
|Did Mothers wear mourning
clothes for stillborn infants? Thanks!
I have to say I don't think they did so. One reason is
that women were in "confinement" for a month after the birth.
The first time away from home was usually a trip to church
to be "churched" . If the child lived it could be baptized
at this time as well. The mother could then return to bed
or to partial bed rest for a few more weeks on the grounds
that she was still worn out from delivery. By the time she
was ready to enter society six weeks or so could have passed
. She could dress to suit her mood, though probably wouldn't
wear black. There was no need for her to go to balls or
assemblies, remember, unless she had an older daughter to
launch into the world. Many families lived fairly quietly
in the country for most of the year.
Also, white was worn in mourning for a young child, so
no one would know if the mother were wearing mourning or