Dear Regency Enthusiast
The most entertaining way of doing research for your novel is by travelling. In many towns and historic houses you can still find traces of the Regency and its famous or infamous people. Visiting the right places is almost as good as travelling back in time to the Regency era. I went to many such places in the past years, and to give you an idea of what’s waiting for you, I have written a series of articles about the places, the related people and the history. Continue reading
In this post:
- A gentleman who thought it possible to cross breed rabbits and chickens
- A cabinet of wonders
- The trial of a conspirator
Burton Constable Hall is located 3 miles (5 km) south-east of Skirlaugh, Yorkshire.
Burton Constable Hall is famous for the “Cabinet of Curiosities” of one of its most remarkable owners, William Constable.
“Cabinets of Curiosities”, also known as “Cabinets of Wonders”, were collections of objects from natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religion, alchemy and art. They became popular in the late Renaissance era. Originally, only royalties possessed the fortune and the opportunity to collect in grand style, but by the 18th century many gentlemen sought to acquire the latest scientific instruments and unusual objects from around the world. So did William Constable. His collection is today the most important scientific collection by a gentleman from the late 18th century that is on display in a country house. The collection is substantially intact and still has the original labels. (1)
If you visit Burton Constable Hall, the Cabinet of Curiosities is a must-see, but you will also enjoy the 30 rooms filled with fine furniture, paintings and sculptures. The exotic Chinese Room was inspired by the Prince Regent’s Royal Pavillon in Brighton. (1)
In this post:
• An illegitimate son rescuing the family seat
• A haunted bedroom
Lyme Park is located two miles south of Disley, Cheshire.
It goes without saying that every Regency Enthusiast knows Lyme Park as Mr Darcy’s Pemberley in the Pride & Prejudice series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. But drama and romance at Lyme Park are not limited to movies. It has its own drama and romance in an incident worth a Wickham/Darcy tale.
I bet you hadn’t expected to read about Birmingham here. London, Bath, Brighton and Gretna Green are the typical locations of a Regency Novel. Besides these, you might find Harrogate and Newmarket, but certainly not Birmingham. But, dear Regency Enthusiast, Birmingham has great potential as a location of your novel. Find out why the town used to attract even the wealthy and aristocratic.
In this post:
- An English House as an Italian Palace
- A Gentleman Egyptologist
- The Dangers of “Not Being in the Petticoat-Line”
Kingston Lacy is located 3.5 miles from Wimborne Minster, Dorset. From the 17th to the late 20th century it was the family seat of the Bankes family. The Bankes were leading gentry. Their wealth was founded in land and in owning a graphite mine (1).
Kingston Lacy is lavishly decorated and famous for its collection of fine art and antiquities. It owes much of its splendor to William John Bankes (1786 – 1855) and his friend, the architect Charles Barry: They worked hard to make Kingston Lacy resemble an Italian Palace. They imported Carrara marble for the staircase, planned and executed designs for new and lavish interiors, built a loggia on the east side and an elegant terrace on the south side. Poor William John Banks could not enjoy his Italian Palace. Due to a scandal, he had to flee the country to save his life …
Forde Abbey is located 3.6 miles from Chard, Somerset. It was founded as Cistercian monastery in the 12th century. Its interior is mostly covered in oak panelling and plasterwork. Thus, those preferring the more splendid Georgian style may be reluctant to visit Forde Abbey. However, it is well worth having a closer look at it:
From 1814 to 1818, you would have met Jeremy Bentham at Forde Abbey. He was known as one of the most important social reformers of his time. He had rented Forde Abbey from its owner. He wrote several books there, turned to radical politics and entertained some of the greatest thinkers of the early 19th century, among them the economist David Ricardo and legal reformer Sir Samuel Romilly.
In this post:
– The amorous entanglement of a handsome young Englishman in France
– It’s tricky to inherit!
– A gentleman as agricultural reformer
Holkham Hall is located two miles west of Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. It is one of the most splendid houses in England.