July 2009 Volume 4, Issue 6
Understanding the Peerage: A Primer on the Nobility During the Regency
By Emily Hendrickson
(Author of more than 40 Regency Romances)
Note: Emily Hendrickson is quite the expert on Regency life. Her articles are chock full of great details, just as her books. Many regency writers are indebted to her book, "The Regency Reference Guide," which is still available today. I have recently acquired a copy which I have so far only been able to skim; but rest assured I will be poring over it soon, as it looks wonderful.
What follows regarding the peerage is not meant to entertain so much as to inform. It should be of great interest to any history buff, regency writer, reader, or Anglophile. However, since some of you have only a passing interest in such things, I am using only excerpts from the full article. If you want it all, please be sure and download this month's free pdf (below). I added some formatting and illustrations (I love illustrations as you likely have inferred by now!). I have also prepared a printable (text only) copy for those wanting to print out the information and save for future reference.
My special thanks to Ms. Hendrickson for her generosity in sharing this with us!
The nobility consists of the gentlemen of the
peerage. All others are commoners, even
the wives. The aristocracy is comprised
of the nobility and gentry. Gentry is a
word that implies landed gentry, but actually the essential point that admits a
man to this strata of society is his qualification as a gentleman. A man may be born a gentleman or he may
become one through his own merits and hand that title on to his sons...
Far too many of
the peers we encounter in Regency books sound more
American than British. A true
aristocrat should have the accent that comes from attending the exclusive
schools, as well as inflections of the voice, the words used, the degree of interest one affects in subjects of
Also, the nobility tends to stick to their own when it comes to choosing mates... While there are occasional marriages out of the class, that usually occurs to
obtain an heiress. One danger of inbreeding is infertility. On the other hand
it has given us those tall, slim, elegant men with a handsome face, longish
nose, wavy hair, blue eyes.
To summarize these attributes of autocratic
character: the basic qualities are toughness and adaptability, self-confidence
and self-control, love of the country and space, and a dislike of
affectation. They are inclined to be
tenacious and modest. A less attractive
trait is an excessive fondness for money--although this certainly is
as well, when you consider the size of the establishments kept by the upper
gentry and nobility.)
The duke and the marquess
usually had considerable land as well as wealth. To be classed in the wealthier group a
landowner would have to own upwards of 10,000 acres. Estates of over 100,000 acres were not
unknown. No minors could take a seat in the House of
Lords, nor could a bankrupt or one declared insane. A peer could not be excluded for living a
disgraceful life. Before 1868 a peer
could vote by proxy. He had the right to
be hanged by a silken rope should he be condemned to hanging. The accused had a
right to a trial by jury of their peers, except for a peeress in her own right,
who, if charged with treason of a felony, is tried by an ordinary jury, not
lords. A peer could not be arrested 40 days before and 40 days following the
sitting of Parliament. Most peers who
feared some action disappeared into the mists of the Scottish highlands to hunt
for grouse and so were seldom brought to trial during that "open"
At every new
parliament the oaths must be taken afresh by each peer before he can resume his
1640 the lords decided that a peer could not relinquish his peerage. Once
blood was ennobled, it remained that way.
He cannot extinguish a hereditary honor created by the Crown - but
equally, he cannot be compelled to use it.
Because a person inherited the title, it did not
necessarily hold that he would inherit the land and money... The
title of a dukedom is always territorial, that is, the title derives from a
place. Originally it was from a shire - hence a
title like the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Norfolk, etc.
The marquesses originally derived their titles from the land of
the marches, the land along the borders of England,
Eventually they ran out of borders and the marquess
could choose a title that came from other land, with
the help of the Herald's office - where all titles must be finalized. All have of
in their title but one - Marquess Cornwallis.
Originally the earls derived their title as the earl of a
shire or shire town. Later the titles
came from places of all kinds and more recently from surnames. Most earls have the word of included
in their title: The Earl of Whitby for example...
The title of
viscount was thought to be rather alien to England, sounding so very French
and it wasn't terribly popular for some time.
Actually, it is a description of an ancient English sheriff. George IV
created a number of viscountcies in appreciation for
deeds done for the crown.
In 1873 it was
found that only 7,000 people held 75% of the land surface of Great Britain,
a witness to the immense holdings of the peerage considering that the
population was around 35 million at the time...
The son and heir apparent of a Duke, Marquess, or Earl may
use one of his father's peerage titles by courtesy providing it is of a lesser
grade than that used by his father. The
younger sons of a Duke or Marquess had the courtesy style of 'Lord' before christian name and surname.
The younger sons of an Earl and all sons of a Viscount or Baron have the
courtesy style of The Hon, before christian name and
Also note that a
duke's eldest son might have a courtesy title of viscount ~ if that is all his
father has in extra titles, but he would have the rank to the degree of a marquess. Many of
the higher peers hold 3 or 4 titles.
The daughters of a Duke, Marquis, or Earl have
the courtesy style of Lady before christian name and
surname. The daughters of a Viscount or
Baron have the courtesy style of 'The Hon." before christian
name and surname. (This is only used on formal invitations and the like, not in
conversation or in introductions.)
Should a daughter of a peer marry, she assumes the husband's surname
unless she marries a peer or courtesy lord. So if Lady Mary White weds Charles
Black, is Lady Mary Black.
child could inherit a title. There was no such thing as legal adoption at
that time, although a person might be willed an estate as well as informally
adopted into a family. He could not
inherit any title, however, not being of the blood of the peer, nor could he
have a coat of arms.
Thank you, Emily Hendrickson! Remember, to get the full article, be sure and download this month's free pdf, the link for which is at the bottom of the newsletter.
On another note, I just read Ms. Hendrickson's book, The Gallant Lord Ives, which I recommend as a Heyer-like, sweet read for those of you who enjoy regencies. I'll be looking for more of Emily Hendrickson's books myself--and I hardly ever spend time reading fiction just for pleasure!
Calling Mr. Phillip Mornay: Is He Here? (You Decide!)
|How exciting! It's time for the VOTE!
Last month I posted a link to an interview with Phillip Mornay, the hero from my book, Before the Season Ends.
Many of you had a lot of fun with that and enjoyed reading Phillip's thoughts. As promised, this month I've teamed up again with Tina Dee, a fellow author, and we're holding a contest to find the "Reader's Favorite" portrait of Mr. Mornay. In addition to my running the contest here in this newsletter, Tina will be holding it on her blog and keep it running for a week or two. We'll tabulate the votes and run the answers next month.
Above: Could this be the mysterious and brooding Phillip Mornay?
You decide! Choose Portrait #1 if this fits your image of Phillip.
Above: Does this suit your image of the man? This might have been his very look when he discovered his newfound faith. If you agree, choose Portrait #2.
Above: Sir Humphry Davy. A handsome fellow, but a little too "agreeable" looking, perhaps? If not, choose Portrait #3.
Elliot Cowan as "Mr. Darcy."
Hmmm, definitely Mornay material, IMHO (In my humble opinion). Perfectly captures that "formidable face."
James Purefoy as Beau Brummell. Can't you just hear Mr. Mornay saying, "I beg your pardon? Be off with you!"
Mr. Mornay a century earlier? (A century and a half, make that.)
This is Johnny Depp as "The Libertine." Certainly a character to be reckoned with--like Mornay.
Oh, dear, here we have another excellent candidate, Colin Firth in his famous role of Mr. Darcy.(Above) A Janeite favorite, he may be hard to contend with--as Darcy, or as Mornay, as the case may be.
Or could Mr. Mornay be one of these two serious-faced chaps?
Choose Portrait #8 a (YOUR left) or #8 b (right).
An illustration of Beau Brummell, that Regency "Original."
Could our wonderful Mr. Mornay have started out THIS obnoxious? (I'm afraid so!) If you think so, choose Portrait #9.
Three Timothy Daltons! The one on the right was actually a mix of two pictures, made for me by an artist. She used the face of Dalton, and based the garments loosely on Portrait #1, above, to create the "perfect" Mr. Mornay.
If you agree that Dalton captures the essence of our strong-minded, brooding hero, then choose Portrait 10 A (right),
#10 B (below)
Or Portrait #10 C. (left)
Last, but certainly not least, Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy (Left): If this is your choice, pick Portrait #11.
I can't wait to see what you think! Send your choice of portrait
which you think is the BEST Mr. Mornay, and I'll publish the answers next month. Comments are welcome, too!
Jane Quote of the Month (And Contest!)
|"I would not be so fastidious as you are, for a kingdom!" LAST MONTH'S QUOTE:
Those of us who know Mr. Mornay might think Jane could have been speaking to him when she wrote this! But since she wasn't, tell us the true origin of the quotation, from the choices below.
FIRST person who emails me with the correct answer from the choices below will win an autographed free copy of the original version of Before the Season Ends.
(Other entrants with the correct answer will be entered into a second drawing for a copy. A total of two books will be awarded.)
The above quotation is from:
a) Pride and Prejudice
c) Mansfield Park
d) A personal letter written by Jane.
Hit "reply" to send your answer or email me at
Linore [at] LinoreRoseBurkard.com. Please put "Contest" in your email subject line, and the letter of your answer (a, b, c, or d).
And the winners are...(June's Contest)
BERNIE OR SHARON SCHMITT AND DEB BARNUM
, both of whom can expect a free copy of Before the Season Ends
! And our random pick winner, JACKIE WISHERD
. Well done!
(Yes,there are three winners this month. I notified one of the first winners and then realized they weren't the first! They were the second to get in the right answer, but since I already notified them, I felt I should send the book. And I still wanted to do the randomly picked winner as promised, which brought the total to three.) CONGRATULATIONS, WINNERS--Please send me your mailing info if you haven't already!
" On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse."
And the correct answer was C, Sense and Sensibility
Dianne E. Butts
Thanks to everyone who participated. Be sure and try again this month!
1. You've seen the video trailer for Before Season Ends, but did you know there's a trailer for The House in Grosvenor Square? Harvest House Publishers have done it again and given me a great book trailer. See it HERE.
2. For a smart, interpretive article about the fathers in JA's books, but especially Mr. Bennet in P&P, by Anne Stott, click here.
3. Are you a fan of Lord Byron? (Another brooding regency figure; I can't say, 'hero.' An anti-hero? A rebel? Whatever else he was, he was most certainly a brilliant poet.) Here's a cartoon regarding his daughter, Ada, which is just spunky enough to be quite funny; like most humour it exaggerates to marvelous effect. If you're not familiar with the "buzz" regarding the poet's daughter, then skip this. See Ada Byron Lovelace : the Origin.
(As one commenter said, it's "ridiculously cool.")
4. A book on my Regency research wish list! The Lady's Strategem:A Repository of1820s Instructions for the Toilet, Mantua-Making,Stay-Making, Millinery & Etiquette.
(Doesn't that sound divine? Or maybe it only sounds divine to historical writers and seamstresses!) : )
Got a Regency Link to Share? Send it Along and I'll put it here in a future issue.
Email me at: Linore [at] LinoreRoseBurkard.com
(Recommended DVD of the Month)
New! For now on, I'll give you one of my top picks for historical romance adapted to the big screen.
|Little Dorrit, that wonderful Regency-era drama by Charles Dickens, is now available on DVD from Amazon. I highly recommend it for hours of wonderful 19th century atmosphere, and a tale full of twists and turns that only Dickens could write--(replete with romance, of course!) I waited eagerly to catch every episode of this when the BBC aired it on television, and it is absolutely worth adding to your collection of period (costume) dramas. For once, the producers got the costuming right, so that this tale shows Regency fashions, not Victorian.
(Click the picture, right, to buy from
Amazon. You'll get more than 7 hours of
|Download of the Month |
The Peerage, by Emily Hendrickson
Please enjoy this fascinating resource by downloading it directly using THIS LINK.
For the TEXT ONLY version, (easier to print out) use this
alternate link, HERE.
Watch next week for an abbreviated issue detailing my recent speaking engagements and travels along the East Coast!
I wish you excellent reading and real-life happy endings!
Linore Rose Burkard
PO Box 674
Waynesville, OH 45068
|"Once in a while, in an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale"
|Linore's Free Reader Resources OR
Get Regency Reflections right in your in-box.
And get the FREE ebook, "Fact or Fiction: Myths and Mysteries of the Regency!" following sign up
Just click the link above.
|READERS WRITE: |
| Really really liked it! Well done. It was just what I needed last |
escapist, fun and amusing but thoughtful and convincing...
Charlotte H. (UK)
|This book is a delightful mix of comedy, drama, and suspense all wrapped up
into one novel!"Cecelia Dowdy, Author(Click here to read Cecelia's review in full)
I just finished reading The House In Grosvenor Square. What
a wonderful read!
I loved Before the Season Ends and was thrilled to see the sequel.
The continued adventures of Ariana and Phillip gave me many hours of enjoyment.
I appreciate your attention to detail that allows your readers to better
understand the Regency period without the vulgar references so often associated
with that period.
Please don't let your readers wait to terribly long for another fine
God Bless You,
Liz RussellWhat's It All About?
From a letter to Harvest House, my publisher:
I have now read Linore Rose Burkard's second volume and commend you for finding
an author who is both familiar with the Regency era and capable of writing
non-preachy Christian stories.
The House in Grosvenor Square
I like to say it's a madcap march to the altar for the
irrepressible Ariana and But here's the "official" blurb:
her dashing Mornay.
Ariana and Mr. Mornay,
following a rocky courtship, are finally betrothed and have set a
wedding date, but strange things begin to happen in the house in
Grosvenor Square, and when two brothers with a grudge decide to abduct
the future bride to prevent the wedding altogether, what can Mr. Mornay
do to stop them; And--if they succeed--will he ever get her back?
Oh, I loved this!! I finished it just now, and LOVED it!! That was
the longest 13-days-to-a-wedding I've ever experienced! What fun! How exciting!!
I'm enclosing my review here...and can't wait to post it on the blog tour this
weekend. FUN! FUN! FUN!!
Window To My World
I'm just in the beginning of The House in
Grosvenor Square and I want to tell you :Therese Stenzel,up and comiing author
I. AM. ENTRANCED. Oh, the verbiage, the
settings, the descriptions, the emotional tension, oh, oh, oh, I really love it,
and I don't even like Regencies that much, but this is sooo well written. I am
just enjoying escaping each night into the world you created that I wanted you
Got a Reading Group? See the Discussion Questions for The House in Grosvenor Square on this page.
ChristianBook.com low-price Link
|READERS WRITE: |
enjoyed Before the Season Ends
so much that I read it cover to cover -
twice! Not only is the work well-written, with an excellent plot,
well-rounded characters, and a powerful message, but the real struggles
that Ariana faces will touch your heart. Ms. Burkard has not only
succeeded in writing a spectacular novel, but through every word you
can see her love of God, her belief in Him and all of the things that
He can make possible. While I don't want to give away the ending, I
will say that it is sure to bring tears to your eyes - tears of joy,
and more importantly, hope. Before the Season Ends
will renew your faith in love, hope, and in God."
Jessica Coulter Smith
What's It All About?
Before the Season Ends
Romantic woes at home send lovely Miss Ariana Forsythe to fashionable Mayfair in London to stay with her wealthy aunt for the Season. What happens when this determined young woman of faith crosses paths with the Paragon, London's darling rogue--and scandal ensues? Ariana finds herself obliged to live a lie--but is it a lie? Will she end up betrothed to the wrong man, or could it be that all the mixed-up events are somehow leading her right to where her heart is? Her faith is turned upside down and inside out in this sparkling regency romp and only God knows how it can turn out right --before the season ends!
Purchase Links for Before the Season Ends or, The House in Grosvenor Square
The Country House Courtship
I'm thrilled to announce that The Country House Courthship, from Harvest House Publishers will hit bookstores January 2010. You can pre-order now at ChristianBook.com, or at other online booksellers.
The third book in the Regency Series: The Country House Courtship is with my publisher (Harvest House Publishers) and I should be getting the galleys soon. All the characters you've come to love from the first two books are still at large, and Beatrice, now all of seventeen, gets her day. (Hmm--does she look a little headstrong? Hint, hint.)
STRONG WOMEN, BRAVE STORIES is featuring one of my articles. I had a very rough time after the birth of my second child, and the story is here, if you're interested.
WHERE IS LINORE?
Click to see Linore's Calendar of Events
I've been blogging about my June travels and speaking engagements, as well as our family reunions (yes, two of them!) and vacation.
Read about it HERE.
Authors or Book-Related Businesses:
Sponsor this newsletter with your ad or graphic here. (Family-friendly only)
Need A Speaker?
"For anyone who has attended
Linore's teaching [or who would like to] she is GREAT. I'm reading her
handouts from Y-City Writer's Conference for the 4th time and I still
marvel at her incredible resources. [She] is AWESOME! Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
"Linore is a great speaker and marketer! If only I can
learn to be that good!"
Carole B., Writer
To Learn More About Linore's Speaking Topics
see this page of her website.