Thursday, April 4, 2019

Wiltshire - The Perfect Setting

I have started a new book--my twelfth! I can hardly believe it. And this Regency romance is set in Wiltshire, with a foray into Somerset for a visit to Bath.

The year is 1807, and all is tranquil in the county that is home to Stonehenge, Salisbury, the River Avon, and smugglers who gave the nickname Moonrakers to its native residents. The days are quiet at least in the fictional village that I have created for my characters. This village lies on the edge of the Vale of Pewsey with Salisbury Plain to its south, and the North Wessex Downs to the north.

My village is quiet, but Wiltshire in 1807 was a busy place.

Political concerns were in front of the public in May as new members were required for Parliament. Thomas Calley, the High Sheriff for 1807, was occupied with meetings and paperwork for the nominations and elections.

And then there were Quarter Sessions, promising justice, social gatherings and a great deal of business for everyone involved.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 11 May 1807
The Wiltshire Yeomanry Cavalry was busy in the autumn of 1807. The Yeomanry had been formed in 1797, and although it did not fight abroad in the Napoleonic Wars, it was kept busy with internal skirmishes such as machine riots, and other civil troubles.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 26 October 1807
Charitable activities abounded, and the turnpike trust was busy about the county improving the roads.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 20 April 1807
The social life was likewise active with concerts available, and shops eager for business.
The proximity of Bath added to the social possibilities for residents of Wiltshire, and it is possible my heroine may have take advantage of advertisements like the last one in this trio--for lodgings.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 26 October 1807
 So this is my life at present, researching lovely Wiltshire. I must say it is delightful work!

'Til next time,

Lesley-Anne

Monday, March 4, 2019

Ahhhh, Brighton

Regency London is fascinating, Regency Bath is charming, but oh, Regency Brighton captures my heart and imagination. The seaside location, the humble origins, the rapid growth under the patronage of the Prince of Wales and the extravagance of the subsequent Prince in his Regency--it is all fodder for imagination and story-telling.

It can be difficult however, to get a clear picture of Brighton during the early years of the 19th century. One of the best of the contemporary reports on the town in my opinion, is Attree's Topography of Brighton.

I have not been able to discern which member of the Attree family was responsible for the book. The Attrees were a prominent and long-established family of Brighton. William Attree who died in 1810, was a lawyer and Clerk to the Town Commissioners, and was sometimes known as the King of Brighton. He had a brother Harry who may be the H. R. Attree on the title page above; William also had at least eight children.

Whichever Attree prepared the 'Topography', he/she did a grand job. The detail is remarkable and certainly shows a long familiarity with the town and its surroundings.
Attree unashamedly displays his admiration of the town.
 
The Pavilion of course is among the first places to be described. Its exterior at the early date was substantial but without the Eastern flair it later displayed.

And he does go on to describe every major room in all its highly decorated glory. But he also describes the town, street by street, almost building by building.

And he describes businesses: printing offices, coach offices, carriers' wagon offices and the post office. As well he recommends inns, the Old Ship Inn among others, and
***
 and boarding houses:
The Royal Circus is described as a building "exceedingly well adapted for the purpose for which it is intended...and its decorations
  
I could go on excerpting but this post is already long enough. You can find the book at Google Books and download it free for your reference use. Attree appended to the Topography a 'Picture of Roads' that lead to the town. It is as exhaustive and descriptive as his Topography; all the towns and villages nearby Bath are detailed.

If you are interested in the history of Brighton, I can recommend the following books as well:
New Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Rose Collis, Tim Carder
Historical Brighton: An Illustrated History of Brighton and its Citizens (Classic Reprint) by J. P. C. Winhip
A History of Brighton & Hove by Ken Fines
The Coach Roads to Brighton by Geoffrey Hewlett
and particularly,
Life in Brighton by Clifford Musgrave

If you enter Brighton in this blog's search box, you will find other posts about this interesting English town. Enjoy!

'Til next time,
Lesley-Anne



Friday, February 15, 2019

It is release day for The Governess's Peculiar Burden! It is an exciting time for me, releasing my latest endeavour to the world.

Please visit Amazon.com or your favourite ebook retailer for your copy.