Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas in 1805

Although I have done other blog posts about Regency Christmases from newspapers of the day, I thought it might be interesting to focus on one particular year. In 1805, the Ordnance Survey had begun publication of its detailed maps of England, Walter Scott had published The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the Eton/Harrow cricket match had taken place for the first time, and the Battle of Trafalgar (with Lord Nelson's tragic death) had taken place in October.

In 1805, mention of Christmas does not appear in the newspapers I surveyed until the week before the 25th of December. Perhaps predictably, the first notice is from a retailer.
Morning Post - Wednesday December 18 1805
Advertisements for Christmas gifts are not so numerous as one might expect given today's retail frenzy, but they do exist.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 23 December 1805
Evidence of the celebration of Christmas continuing through until Twelfth Night--January 6--is contained in the advertisements for the Season.
The Courier - Tuesday 31 December 1805
But then, as now, there was more to the Season than commercialism. There were songs and poems:
Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 05 January 1805

There were some funny, some impenetrable, and some rather rude jokes:

Morning Advertiser - Friday 27 December 1805
Evening Mail - Monday 30 December 1805

The solemnity of the Season and the importance of charity were not overlooked:

The Courier - Tuesday 24 December 1805
And the activities of the royals, and the notables of society, were reported in detail:
Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Tuesday 01 January 1805

London Courier and Evening Gazette - Saturday 21 December 1805
London Courier and Evening Gazette - Tuesday 31 December 1805
 And finally, in a note that seems oddly contemporary, the Lotteries are touted:
Morning Advertiser - Monday 23 December 1805

Morning Advertiser - Thursday 26 December 1805
There you have a picture of a Regency Christmas in the year 1805--a Christmas not so very unlike our own.
 I hope that you enjoy a very Happy Holiday Season, and every joy in the New Year.

'Til next time,


All illustrations in this blog post are from

More Christmas information and illustrations can also be seen at my website:

1 comment:

Angelina Jameson said...

Thank you for assembling these newspaper excerpts. I;m still going through them. A fascinating look at the season.