Eleonore Wickham: The Master Spy’s Wife

On 25th September 1799, shortly before 5 o’clock in the morning, the Wickhams woke up by the sound of guns. Were the French marching against Zurich again? William Wickham (1761 – 1840), England’s leading spy on the Continent, placed his wife Eleonore (1763-1836) under the care of his private secretary, the Count of St. George. He himself rode out reconnoitring the situation. Continue reading

The Unconventional Miss Starke: Writer and Adventuress

One of the most proficient travel writers of the late 18th century was – a woman: Mariana Starke. Her travel guides were an essential companion for British travellers to the Continent.
Being successful didn’t make life easy for Mariana. Female writing for the public was frowned upon. From her years as budding authoress to the latest edition of her successful travel guide, she always had to deal with criticism from more conventional members of society. Unperturbed by this, she led an unusual life for a woman of her time. Continue reading

The Lady is A Spy: Joanne Major and Sarah Murden Uncover the Intriguing Life of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs

Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs (c. 1763—1827) lived an incredible life in an age when the world was dominated by men. Joanne Major and Sarah Murden, dedicated historians and authors of several non-fiction books about the Georgian Age, have written an amazing biography about an extraordinary lady. In A Georgian Heroine: The Intriguing Life of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs, they uncover the bizarre but true story of Mrs. Biggs, who was a playwright and author, a political pamphleteer and a spy, working for the British Government. It’s a treat for me to present Sarah’s and Joanne’s post about Mrs. Biggs’ connection to the man who plotted to kill Napoleon.

The Plot of the Infernal Machine Continue reading

This is to the hero: Emma Hamilton`s ways to celebrate Horatio Nelson

It’s 1798. Admiral Horatio Nelson is on a mission to support the Neapolitan monarchy in Naples. He has already made a remarkable carreer, even if his greatest success is still to come. He is also marked by war: He has lost an arm and suffers from coughing spells. In Naples, he stays with the British Ambassador Sir William Hamilton, and his wife lovely Emma Hamilton.

A man on a mission falls in love

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Writer’s Travel Guide: Anna-Maria Hunt and the Rescue of Lanhydrock House

In this post:

Lanhydrock House is located 3 miles from Bodmin, Cornwall. Today, the house is presented mainly on the basis of the events and owners of the Victorian age. But Lanhydrock House is well rooted in the Regency period and can tell you the story of Anna-Maria Hunt (1771-1861) and her arduous inheritance.

An Arduous Inheritance

Anna-Maria had always been considered the heir of Lanhydrock House, at that time owned by her uncle, George Hunt. In the eyes of the fine society, she was a lucky heiress, the aim of every fortune-hunter. But when her uncle died in 1798, she was confronted with a tricky testament and the strange humour of Uncle George:  He left her Lanhydrock, but also the shocking amount of £68,000 (£2.2m in today’s money) in debts. Uncle George’s money, his shares in mines, arrears from tin, copper and timber dues and even the furniture of Lanhydrock went to some distant cousins. Anna-Maria found herself with £100 with which to run the estate and only three people in service living in Lanhydrock: an aged housekeeper, her daughter and the gardener. Continue reading