I’m currently reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, which I’m finding fascinating. Today for my thirteen I’m sharing a few of the details I’ve gleaned during reading.
1. People use the term Regency as a general cover-all term when in reality the Regency covers nine years from 5 Feb 1811 to 31 Jan 1820, the period when George, Prince of Wales was sworn in as the Regent until he became King George IV.
2. There was a strict social ladder, determined mainly by birth. It went Monarch, Royalty, Aristocracy, Gentry (country land owners and gentleman of property without a title), Middle Classes, Artisans and Tradespeople, Servants, Labouring Poor, Paupers.
3. The servants also had a class structure – The upper servants included stewards, housekeeper, groom of the chambers, butler, valet, head housemaid and lady’s maid.
4. The lower servants included footman, coachman, groom, housemaid, kitchen maid, scullery maid, laundry maid, stable boy.
5. The cook was often employed by the master or mistress and paid more than the steward. They were considered separate from the rest of the domestic staff and earned a high wage in the case of a male chef.
6. When a woman’s husband died, she regained the legal rights she possessed as a single woman. In many cases, she was better off as a widow.
7. Once a couple became betrothed and a notice was sent to the papers, it was impossible for a man to withdraw from the marriage without damaging his honor and reputation. He could also be sued.
8. Morning calls were generally undertaken in the afternoon. They did not usually last for longer than half an hour.
9. Galloping was prohibited in Hyde Park.
10. At a formal dinner it wasn’t the done thing to talk across the table. Diners only chatted with those on their left or their right.
11. It was acceptable to owe money to a tradesperson. It wasn’t acceptable to owe money to a stranger.
12. Servants were ignored at mealtimes.
13. It was acceptable to offer your snuff-box to those with you, but not the done thing to request a pinch of snuff from those in your group. Snuff is pulverized tobacco that is sniffed through the nose. There were lots of different blends.
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, as the title suggests, also discusses Ms. Heyer’s books in relation to the Regency period. Are you a Georgette Heyer fan?