Down and Out in Georgian England

Begging in the street Nicola here, talking today about the experience of being poor in rural Georgian society. In our books we often read and write about the other end of the scale, the aristocracy, the wealth and the glamour. The poor existed right alongside but in another world entirely.

Philanthropy

The Poor Law, which was laid down in 1601, established a system of administering poor relief in England that was still in force over 200 years later. It stated that Justices of the Peace should appoint overseers to administer poor relief in each parish. Each parish was responsible for its own poor and was to maintain the sick, disabled and those too old to work. The able-bodied must be found work and the idle were to be compelled to find work or imprisoned. Children were to be apprenticed.

In theory at least the attitude towards the poor was philanthropic. Instructions in the Overseers' Book from Bampton in Oxfordshire in the 18th century stated: "Bring the Poor that are cast out to your house. Charge them that are rich in this world to doe (sic) good. Give alms of such things as ye have. Thou shalt not glean in the field but leave it to the poor. Take heed that your alms be not seen of other men." In other words, don't make a big show of your charitable giving and exhort your rich neighbours to be generous too!

Reality

In reality of course the treatment of paupers was vastly different. For a start, no one seems to have been very keen to serve as Overseer and as a result people were fined if they refused. The law empowered the Overseer to levy a local Poor Tax on all those parishoners whose income was above ten pounds a year. Naturally this made the Overseer extremely unpopular with his – or her – neighbours. (In my locality there was only one female Overseer during the period, possibly because she was the only woman in the neighbourhood rich enough in her own right and also tough enough to serve in this difficult job!)

One of the problems with the Poor Law was that the rules were so complicated that it was almost impossible to decide who belonged to which parish and was therefore in need of support. For example a woman could be born in Parish A, serve as a housemaid for more than a year in Parish B and then marry a man from Parish C and would thus be entitled to claim poor relief in all three parishes.

Passing the Parcel

The Poor were a financial burden on a parish and so one of the main tasks of the Overseers was to Hogarth_william_crueltyrperfection move on as quickly as possible any pauper who looke as though they were going to be expensive. New arrivals in a parish could be expelled and sent back to their original home. Nowhere was this rule applied more harshly than in the treatment of women who were pregnant but unmarried. The eviction of a heavily-pregnant woman or even one in the act of giving birth was common. This would prevent the bastard child from being born in the parish and therefore becoming an encumbrance. Sometimes women were offered a substantial bribe to move on to a neighbouring parish:

"Gave hir (sic) to go off with her big belly 16 shillings." "Paid to the Warder to remove a big-bellied woman 1 shilling." And even more poignantly: "Mr Burgess and one other drove away Mrs Cooper's big-bellied maid so that ye shall hear no more of her. Burgess paid 1 shilling and 3 pence."

Picture 3 Illegitimate children of a parish were put to work from the age of about eight, watching cattle, scaring the birds or picking up stones from the fields. Many parishes sent pauper children to the cities to be apprenticed.

Unmarried pregnant women would be hauled before the Justice of the Peace and questioned closely as to the identity of the father of the child. If the father came from another parish it was in the interests of the Overseer to make sure that a marriage took place so that the cost of the bride fell on her husband's parish instead. There were a couple of ways of ensuring the match. In one record for a Catherine New, the record states "Five pounds paid to Atkins to marry Catherine New." Further down the list of expenses: "Expenses of men going about with Atkins until the marriage time – one shilling." These men had been told not to let the groom out of their sight in case he changed his mind, but in more extreme cases where it was thought that a groom might run away from his responsibilities he would actually be brought to the church in handcuffs.

Travelling Through

A heavy expense on the parish coffers was also caused by people travelling through. Soldiers and sailors returning from the Napoleonic Wars were pointed in the direction of their original parishes by the Army and Navy. These returning servicemen were not vagrants and they carried "removal certificates" to prove that they were entitled to lodging and food in every parish they passed through on the way home. An entry in one local Overseers' book recorded payment of one shilling to a retired serviceman who was passing through with his wife and seven children.

The cost of transporting the sick poor to hospital also had to be levied through the Poor Law. A glanceThe pest house  into the Overseers' records shows how prevalent sickness was in the rural communities with infant mortality high and many cases of contagious disease. A local carter charged the Overseer 5 shillings and 6 pence to transport a woman with smallpox to the "pest house." Evidently this local hospital could not help her for a week later there was a charge of 13 shillings in the book for her funeral. Pauper funerals were very costly for a parish; ironically they had every reason to try and keep their poor alive because the wool shrouds in which they were obliged to bury the poor by law were extremely expensive.

Fish Skin Breeches

The aim was to get the able-bodied poor to work so that they became self-sufficient and many of them were put to work on the manorial lands. In order to do this though they had to be appropriately dresssed and so the Overseers Book lists the clothing that was provided:

Two pairs of fish skin breeches – 7 shillings and six pence, two foul weather coats, 17 shillings, a pair of stockings (male), 1 shilling.

Beckett House There were no workhouses in the smaller villages but there were "town houses" which gave refuge to the  destitute poor. These were generally hovels with mud walls held up with wooden hurdles.

At the other end of the scale was the manor. Here is Beckett House, the seat of Lord Barrington in the Georgian and Victorian period. As I said at the beginning, another world entirely!

 Do you think that there is a place for exploring the "underworld" and the life of the poor in historical romance books or will we always prefer to read about the balls and the life of high society?

 

 

125 thoughts on “Down and Out in Georgian England”

  1. If you are writing historical romance, then I imagine a reader doesn’t want to be told about the realities of life in Georgian England, true also of contemporary romance. I think there is a place for looking at the dreadful conditions (and surely everyone knows the reality of poverty)but I don’t think romantic novels are it!

    Reply
  2. If you are writing historical romance, then I imagine a reader doesn’t want to be told about the realities of life in Georgian England, true also of contemporary romance. I think there is a place for looking at the dreadful conditions (and surely everyone knows the reality of poverty)but I don’t think romantic novels are it!

    Reply
  3. If you are writing historical romance, then I imagine a reader doesn’t want to be told about the realities of life in Georgian England, true also of contemporary romance. I think there is a place for looking at the dreadful conditions (and surely everyone knows the reality of poverty)but I don’t think romantic novels are it!

    Reply
  4. If you are writing historical romance, then I imagine a reader doesn’t want to be told about the realities of life in Georgian England, true also of contemporary romance. I think there is a place for looking at the dreadful conditions (and surely everyone knows the reality of poverty)but I don’t think romantic novels are it!

    Reply
  5. If you are writing historical romance, then I imagine a reader doesn’t want to be told about the realities of life in Georgian England, true also of contemporary romance. I think there is a place for looking at the dreadful conditions (and surely everyone knows the reality of poverty)but I don’t think romantic novels are it!

    Reply
  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Margaret. There has been a move towards darker stories in the past few years that do feature the London underworld, crime, poverty etc. I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to the glitter and glamour at the other end of society. But I agree that a book entirely focussed on the reality of poverty might not provide the experience people want from a romantic novel!

    Reply
  7. Thanks for your thoughts, Margaret. There has been a move towards darker stories in the past few years that do feature the London underworld, crime, poverty etc. I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to the glitter and glamour at the other end of society. But I agree that a book entirely focussed on the reality of poverty might not provide the experience people want from a romantic novel!

    Reply
  8. Thanks for your thoughts, Margaret. There has been a move towards darker stories in the past few years that do feature the London underworld, crime, poverty etc. I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to the glitter and glamour at the other end of society. But I agree that a book entirely focussed on the reality of poverty might not provide the experience people want from a romantic novel!

    Reply
  9. Thanks for your thoughts, Margaret. There has been a move towards darker stories in the past few years that do feature the London underworld, crime, poverty etc. I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to the glitter and glamour at the other end of society. But I agree that a book entirely focussed on the reality of poverty might not provide the experience people want from a romantic novel!

    Reply
  10. Thanks for your thoughts, Margaret. There has been a move towards darker stories in the past few years that do feature the London underworld, crime, poverty etc. I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to the glitter and glamour at the other end of society. But I agree that a book entirely focussed on the reality of poverty might not provide the experience people want from a romantic novel!

    Reply
  11. I think a little real life, but not too much, should sneak into historical romances. I think it was Mary Jo’s ONE PERFECT ROSE that had the Overseer trying to run a pregnant woman out of the parish. The rich hero stopped him, and gave her 200 pounds to find the father, who wanted to marry her, but for some reason I forgot, couldn’t come back to her.
    I don’t care for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” stories of 200 years ago. I like people who earn their success, so I want my heroes and heroines to do something useful with themselves. Although the heroine who starts a home for widows and orphans has been done to death.

    Reply
  12. I think a little real life, but not too much, should sneak into historical romances. I think it was Mary Jo’s ONE PERFECT ROSE that had the Overseer trying to run a pregnant woman out of the parish. The rich hero stopped him, and gave her 200 pounds to find the father, who wanted to marry her, but for some reason I forgot, couldn’t come back to her.
    I don’t care for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” stories of 200 years ago. I like people who earn their success, so I want my heroes and heroines to do something useful with themselves. Although the heroine who starts a home for widows and orphans has been done to death.

    Reply
  13. I think a little real life, but not too much, should sneak into historical romances. I think it was Mary Jo’s ONE PERFECT ROSE that had the Overseer trying to run a pregnant woman out of the parish. The rich hero stopped him, and gave her 200 pounds to find the father, who wanted to marry her, but for some reason I forgot, couldn’t come back to her.
    I don’t care for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” stories of 200 years ago. I like people who earn their success, so I want my heroes and heroines to do something useful with themselves. Although the heroine who starts a home for widows and orphans has been done to death.

    Reply
  14. I think a little real life, but not too much, should sneak into historical romances. I think it was Mary Jo’s ONE PERFECT ROSE that had the Overseer trying to run a pregnant woman out of the parish. The rich hero stopped him, and gave her 200 pounds to find the father, who wanted to marry her, but for some reason I forgot, couldn’t come back to her.
    I don’t care for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” stories of 200 years ago. I like people who earn their success, so I want my heroes and heroines to do something useful with themselves. Although the heroine who starts a home for widows and orphans has been done to death.

    Reply
  15. I think a little real life, but not too much, should sneak into historical romances. I think it was Mary Jo’s ONE PERFECT ROSE that had the Overseer trying to run a pregnant woman out of the parish. The rich hero stopped him, and gave her 200 pounds to find the father, who wanted to marry her, but for some reason I forgot, couldn’t come back to her.
    I don’t care for “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” stories of 200 years ago. I like people who earn their success, so I want my heroes and heroines to do something useful with themselves. Although the heroine who starts a home for widows and orphans has been done to death.

    Reply
  16. I recently read To Save the Devil, the second book in Kate Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy, and really enjoyed it, as I did To Tempt a Saint, the first book. The heroes are illegitimate sons of a famous courtesan. The eldest wants to bring gas lights to the darkest (literally and metaphorically) London streets. Political corruption and hypocritical philanthropists abound. I really like the Dickensian feel of the series. But the H/H are never homeless or in danger of starving or . . . I think that may be what allows a romance that includes some harsh touches of reality to work.
    Also, your discussion of the treatment of pregnant women reminded me of a scene in Mary Jo’s One Perfect Rose.

    Reply
  17. I recently read To Save the Devil, the second book in Kate Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy, and really enjoyed it, as I did To Tempt a Saint, the first book. The heroes are illegitimate sons of a famous courtesan. The eldest wants to bring gas lights to the darkest (literally and metaphorically) London streets. Political corruption and hypocritical philanthropists abound. I really like the Dickensian feel of the series. But the H/H are never homeless or in danger of starving or . . . I think that may be what allows a romance that includes some harsh touches of reality to work.
    Also, your discussion of the treatment of pregnant women reminded me of a scene in Mary Jo’s One Perfect Rose.

    Reply
  18. I recently read To Save the Devil, the second book in Kate Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy, and really enjoyed it, as I did To Tempt a Saint, the first book. The heroes are illegitimate sons of a famous courtesan. The eldest wants to bring gas lights to the darkest (literally and metaphorically) London streets. Political corruption and hypocritical philanthropists abound. I really like the Dickensian feel of the series. But the H/H are never homeless or in danger of starving or . . . I think that may be what allows a romance that includes some harsh touches of reality to work.
    Also, your discussion of the treatment of pregnant women reminded me of a scene in Mary Jo’s One Perfect Rose.

    Reply
  19. I recently read To Save the Devil, the second book in Kate Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy, and really enjoyed it, as I did To Tempt a Saint, the first book. The heroes are illegitimate sons of a famous courtesan. The eldest wants to bring gas lights to the darkest (literally and metaphorically) London streets. Political corruption and hypocritical philanthropists abound. I really like the Dickensian feel of the series. But the H/H are never homeless or in danger of starving or . . . I think that may be what allows a romance that includes some harsh touches of reality to work.
    Also, your discussion of the treatment of pregnant women reminded me of a scene in Mary Jo’s One Perfect Rose.

    Reply
  20. I recently read To Save the Devil, the second book in Kate Moore’s Sons of Sin trilogy, and really enjoyed it, as I did To Tempt a Saint, the first book. The heroes are illegitimate sons of a famous courtesan. The eldest wants to bring gas lights to the darkest (literally and metaphorically) London streets. Political corruption and hypocritical philanthropists abound. I really like the Dickensian feel of the series. But the H/H are never homeless or in danger of starving or . . . I think that may be what allows a romance that includes some harsh touches of reality to work.
    Also, your discussion of the treatment of pregnant women reminded me of a scene in Mary Jo’s One Perfect Rose.

    Reply
  21. Oh, Janga, I didn’t know TO SAVE THE DEVIL was out yet. I loved TO TEMPT A SAINT, too. Like you said, some of the harsh facts of life, but not too many. And heroes to die for. Sigh.

    Reply
  22. Oh, Janga, I didn’t know TO SAVE THE DEVIL was out yet. I loved TO TEMPT A SAINT, too. Like you said, some of the harsh facts of life, but not too many. And heroes to die for. Sigh.

    Reply
  23. Oh, Janga, I didn’t know TO SAVE THE DEVIL was out yet. I loved TO TEMPT A SAINT, too. Like you said, some of the harsh facts of life, but not too many. And heroes to die for. Sigh.

    Reply
  24. Oh, Janga, I didn’t know TO SAVE THE DEVIL was out yet. I loved TO TEMPT A SAINT, too. Like you said, some of the harsh facts of life, but not too many. And heroes to die for. Sigh.

    Reply
  25. Oh, Janga, I didn’t know TO SAVE THE DEVIL was out yet. I loved TO TEMPT A SAINT, too. Like you said, some of the harsh facts of life, but not too many. And heroes to die for. Sigh.

    Reply
  26. This may make me seem trite or shallow, but I read my Regencies and other historical romance novels for escape. The “realities” of the modern rich are so ridiculous that I would not want to read contemporary stories about them, but Almack’s and the Season are a delightful view of a lifestyle that I can never have but enjoy reading about.

    Reply
  27. This may make me seem trite or shallow, but I read my Regencies and other historical romance novels for escape. The “realities” of the modern rich are so ridiculous that I would not want to read contemporary stories about them, but Almack’s and the Season are a delightful view of a lifestyle that I can never have but enjoy reading about.

    Reply
  28. This may make me seem trite or shallow, but I read my Regencies and other historical romance novels for escape. The “realities” of the modern rich are so ridiculous that I would not want to read contemporary stories about them, but Almack’s and the Season are a delightful view of a lifestyle that I can never have but enjoy reading about.

    Reply
  29. This may make me seem trite or shallow, but I read my Regencies and other historical romance novels for escape. The “realities” of the modern rich are so ridiculous that I would not want to read contemporary stories about them, but Almack’s and the Season are a delightful view of a lifestyle that I can never have but enjoy reading about.

    Reply
  30. This may make me seem trite or shallow, but I read my Regencies and other historical romance novels for escape. The “realities” of the modern rich are so ridiculous that I would not want to read contemporary stories about them, but Almack’s and the Season are a delightful view of a lifestyle that I can never have but enjoy reading about.

    Reply
  31. LOL, LadyDoc I don’t think that’s shallow. We all enjoy some escapism! Linda, Janga, I agree – for me it’s a matter of balance. I love the unusual background provided by some of these darker threads but wouldn’t want them to overshadow the romance.

    Reply
  32. LOL, LadyDoc I don’t think that’s shallow. We all enjoy some escapism! Linda, Janga, I agree – for me it’s a matter of balance. I love the unusual background provided by some of these darker threads but wouldn’t want them to overshadow the romance.

    Reply
  33. LOL, LadyDoc I don’t think that’s shallow. We all enjoy some escapism! Linda, Janga, I agree – for me it’s a matter of balance. I love the unusual background provided by some of these darker threads but wouldn’t want them to overshadow the romance.

    Reply
  34. LOL, LadyDoc I don’t think that’s shallow. We all enjoy some escapism! Linda, Janga, I agree – for me it’s a matter of balance. I love the unusual background provided by some of these darker threads but wouldn’t want them to overshadow the romance.

    Reply
  35. LOL, LadyDoc I don’t think that’s shallow. We all enjoy some escapism! Linda, Janga, I agree – for me it’s a matter of balance. I love the unusual background provided by some of these darker threads but wouldn’t want them to overshadow the romance.

    Reply
  36. Linda, I read an ARC of TSTD. The official release day is October 5, the same day as Anne’s wonderful new release, The Accidental Wedding.

    Reply
  37. Linda, I read an ARC of TSTD. The official release day is October 5, the same day as Anne’s wonderful new release, The Accidental Wedding.

    Reply
  38. Linda, I read an ARC of TSTD. The official release day is October 5, the same day as Anne’s wonderful new release, The Accidental Wedding.

    Reply
  39. Linda, I read an ARC of TSTD. The official release day is October 5, the same day as Anne’s wonderful new release, The Accidental Wedding.

    Reply
  40. Linda, I read an ARC of TSTD. The official release day is October 5, the same day as Anne’s wonderful new release, The Accidental Wedding.

    Reply
  41. Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. I can relate to a readers opinion that when they pick up a historical romance they do not want to be inundated with the reality of life issues. However, time marches on and the issue of poverty remains with us.

    Reply
  42. Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. I can relate to a readers opinion that when they pick up a historical romance they do not want to be inundated with the reality of life issues. However, time marches on and the issue of poverty remains with us.

    Reply
  43. Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. I can relate to a readers opinion that when they pick up a historical romance they do not want to be inundated with the reality of life issues. However, time marches on and the issue of poverty remains with us.

    Reply
  44. Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. I can relate to a readers opinion that when they pick up a historical romance they do not want to be inundated with the reality of life issues. However, time marches on and the issue of poverty remains with us.

    Reply
  45. Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. I can relate to a readers opinion that when they pick up a historical romance they do not want to be inundated with the reality of life issues. However, time marches on and the issue of poverty remains with us.

    Reply
  46. Absolutely, Kat. Different ages and societies deal with it differently, which is one of the reasons I think it’s interesting to have a taste of what that side of life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Reply
  47. Absolutely, Kat. Different ages and societies deal with it differently, which is one of the reasons I think it’s interesting to have a taste of what that side of life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Reply
  48. Absolutely, Kat. Different ages and societies deal with it differently, which is one of the reasons I think it’s interesting to have a taste of what that side of life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Reply
  49. Absolutely, Kat. Different ages and societies deal with it differently, which is one of the reasons I think it’s interesting to have a taste of what that side of life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Reply
  50. Absolutely, Kat. Different ages and societies deal with it differently, which is one of the reasons I think it’s interesting to have a taste of what that side of life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Reply
  51. I like froth, but I also like books that provide a more varied picture of life in the past. To mention a subject is not necessarily to wallow in it. As noted above, MJP did a VG job in “One Perfect Rose”. One of Carla Kelly’s short stories has the hero and heroine going to workhouses to look for a little girl sent away by the villain and falling in love while doing so. Information about how the poor were treated was transmitted organically through the story, and the search gave the H/H a chance to show their characters and shine. As with everything, it comes down to the cliched but true “it’s not so much what is done as how it is done”, and a good author can make it work and still make for a first class romance.

    Reply
  52. I like froth, but I also like books that provide a more varied picture of life in the past. To mention a subject is not necessarily to wallow in it. As noted above, MJP did a VG job in “One Perfect Rose”. One of Carla Kelly’s short stories has the hero and heroine going to workhouses to look for a little girl sent away by the villain and falling in love while doing so. Information about how the poor were treated was transmitted organically through the story, and the search gave the H/H a chance to show their characters and shine. As with everything, it comes down to the cliched but true “it’s not so much what is done as how it is done”, and a good author can make it work and still make for a first class romance.

    Reply
  53. I like froth, but I also like books that provide a more varied picture of life in the past. To mention a subject is not necessarily to wallow in it. As noted above, MJP did a VG job in “One Perfect Rose”. One of Carla Kelly’s short stories has the hero and heroine going to workhouses to look for a little girl sent away by the villain and falling in love while doing so. Information about how the poor were treated was transmitted organically through the story, and the search gave the H/H a chance to show their characters and shine. As with everything, it comes down to the cliched but true “it’s not so much what is done as how it is done”, and a good author can make it work and still make for a first class romance.

    Reply
  54. I like froth, but I also like books that provide a more varied picture of life in the past. To mention a subject is not necessarily to wallow in it. As noted above, MJP did a VG job in “One Perfect Rose”. One of Carla Kelly’s short stories has the hero and heroine going to workhouses to look for a little girl sent away by the villain and falling in love while doing so. Information about how the poor were treated was transmitted organically through the story, and the search gave the H/H a chance to show their characters and shine. As with everything, it comes down to the cliched but true “it’s not so much what is done as how it is done”, and a good author can make it work and still make for a first class romance.

    Reply
  55. I like froth, but I also like books that provide a more varied picture of life in the past. To mention a subject is not necessarily to wallow in it. As noted above, MJP did a VG job in “One Perfect Rose”. One of Carla Kelly’s short stories has the hero and heroine going to workhouses to look for a little girl sent away by the villain and falling in love while doing so. Information about how the poor were treated was transmitted organically through the story, and the search gave the H/H a chance to show their characters and shine. As with everything, it comes down to the cliched but true “it’s not so much what is done as how it is done”, and a good author can make it work and still make for a first class romance.

    Reply
  56. Wonderful post, Nicola! You come up with the coolest stuff. *g*
    As several people mentioned, in my book One Perfect Rose there is a scene where the hero and heroine find one parish trying to ship a woman in labor to the next parish. She and her sweetheart had planned to marry, but he was killed. This gave the hero a chance to be compassionate and decisive and showed some of what happened without getting too grim. (I don’t love grim, either.)

    Reply
  57. Wonderful post, Nicola! You come up with the coolest stuff. *g*
    As several people mentioned, in my book One Perfect Rose there is a scene where the hero and heroine find one parish trying to ship a woman in labor to the next parish. She and her sweetheart had planned to marry, but he was killed. This gave the hero a chance to be compassionate and decisive and showed some of what happened without getting too grim. (I don’t love grim, either.)

    Reply
  58. Wonderful post, Nicola! You come up with the coolest stuff. *g*
    As several people mentioned, in my book One Perfect Rose there is a scene where the hero and heroine find one parish trying to ship a woman in labor to the next parish. She and her sweetheart had planned to marry, but he was killed. This gave the hero a chance to be compassionate and decisive and showed some of what happened without getting too grim. (I don’t love grim, either.)

    Reply
  59. Wonderful post, Nicola! You come up with the coolest stuff. *g*
    As several people mentioned, in my book One Perfect Rose there is a scene where the hero and heroine find one parish trying to ship a woman in labor to the next parish. She and her sweetheart had planned to marry, but he was killed. This gave the hero a chance to be compassionate and decisive and showed some of what happened without getting too grim. (I don’t love grim, either.)

    Reply
  60. Wonderful post, Nicola! You come up with the coolest stuff. *g*
    As several people mentioned, in my book One Perfect Rose there is a scene where the hero and heroine find one parish trying to ship a woman in labor to the next parish. She and her sweetheart had planned to marry, but he was killed. This gave the hero a chance to be compassionate and decisive and showed some of what happened without getting too grim. (I don’t love grim, either.)

    Reply
  61. I love a good glimpse at the historical reality of the time period, but I think a romance where the protagonists were destitute would be quite depressing.
    A romance between the overseer and one of his/her charges however could be great in the right hands.

    Reply
  62. I love a good glimpse at the historical reality of the time period, but I think a romance where the protagonists were destitute would be quite depressing.
    A romance between the overseer and one of his/her charges however could be great in the right hands.

    Reply
  63. I love a good glimpse at the historical reality of the time period, but I think a romance where the protagonists were destitute would be quite depressing.
    A romance between the overseer and one of his/her charges however could be great in the right hands.

    Reply
  64. I love a good glimpse at the historical reality of the time period, but I think a romance where the protagonists were destitute would be quite depressing.
    A romance between the overseer and one of his/her charges however could be great in the right hands.

    Reply
  65. I love a good glimpse at the historical reality of the time period, but I think a romance where the protagonists were destitute would be quite depressing.
    A romance between the overseer and one of his/her charges however could be great in the right hands.

    Reply
  66. I read the wonderful historicals to enjoy the balls etc but I have read some where the rich try to help the poor and this gives us a bit of insight into the poors plight without taking too much away from the wonderful story.
    It really must have been awful to be poor back then it is bad enough now let alone then.
    Very interesting post Nicola
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  67. I read the wonderful historicals to enjoy the balls etc but I have read some where the rich try to help the poor and this gives us a bit of insight into the poors plight without taking too much away from the wonderful story.
    It really must have been awful to be poor back then it is bad enough now let alone then.
    Very interesting post Nicola
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  68. I read the wonderful historicals to enjoy the balls etc but I have read some where the rich try to help the poor and this gives us a bit of insight into the poors plight without taking too much away from the wonderful story.
    It really must have been awful to be poor back then it is bad enough now let alone then.
    Very interesting post Nicola
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  69. I read the wonderful historicals to enjoy the balls etc but I have read some where the rich try to help the poor and this gives us a bit of insight into the poors plight without taking too much away from the wonderful story.
    It really must have been awful to be poor back then it is bad enough now let alone then.
    Very interesting post Nicola
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  70. I read the wonderful historicals to enjoy the balls etc but I have read some where the rich try to help the poor and this gives us a bit of insight into the poors plight without taking too much away from the wonderful story.
    It really must have been awful to be poor back then it is bad enough now let alone then.
    Very interesting post Nicola
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  71. Ultimately a romance is a fairy tale – so I don’t think the genre would support a story where the poverty was permanent. I love a tale where at least one character has lived in the ‘real’ world before coming to money, it makes for a more interesting book. (For some reason this post makes me think of Penelope Williamson The Passions Of Emma)
    Having been poor now, I really find things on historical poverty interesting. My family history is one of gilt faucets and pauper graves in equal measure. So, I loved this blog. If you haven’t read it, you might like a look at Victorian poverty – Thomas Holmes is great not just for conditions of the day, but for how little moralizing about them has changed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1420

    Reply
  72. Ultimately a romance is a fairy tale – so I don’t think the genre would support a story where the poverty was permanent. I love a tale where at least one character has lived in the ‘real’ world before coming to money, it makes for a more interesting book. (For some reason this post makes me think of Penelope Williamson The Passions Of Emma)
    Having been poor now, I really find things on historical poverty interesting. My family history is one of gilt faucets and pauper graves in equal measure. So, I loved this blog. If you haven’t read it, you might like a look at Victorian poverty – Thomas Holmes is great not just for conditions of the day, but for how little moralizing about them has changed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1420

    Reply
  73. Ultimately a romance is a fairy tale – so I don’t think the genre would support a story where the poverty was permanent. I love a tale where at least one character has lived in the ‘real’ world before coming to money, it makes for a more interesting book. (For some reason this post makes me think of Penelope Williamson The Passions Of Emma)
    Having been poor now, I really find things on historical poverty interesting. My family history is one of gilt faucets and pauper graves in equal measure. So, I loved this blog. If you haven’t read it, you might like a look at Victorian poverty – Thomas Holmes is great not just for conditions of the day, but for how little moralizing about them has changed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1420

    Reply
  74. Ultimately a romance is a fairy tale – so I don’t think the genre would support a story where the poverty was permanent. I love a tale where at least one character has lived in the ‘real’ world before coming to money, it makes for a more interesting book. (For some reason this post makes me think of Penelope Williamson The Passions Of Emma)
    Having been poor now, I really find things on historical poverty interesting. My family history is one of gilt faucets and pauper graves in equal measure. So, I loved this blog. If you haven’t read it, you might like a look at Victorian poverty – Thomas Holmes is great not just for conditions of the day, but for how little moralizing about them has changed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1420

    Reply
  75. Ultimately a romance is a fairy tale – so I don’t think the genre would support a story where the poverty was permanent. I love a tale where at least one character has lived in the ‘real’ world before coming to money, it makes for a more interesting book. (For some reason this post makes me think of Penelope Williamson The Passions Of Emma)
    Having been poor now, I really find things on historical poverty interesting. My family history is one of gilt faucets and pauper graves in equal measure. So, I loved this blog. If you haven’t read it, you might like a look at Victorian poverty – Thomas Holmes is great not just for conditions of the day, but for how little moralizing about them has changed.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1420

    Reply
  76. Hi Nicola, this is a very interesting post.
    I am currently reading “Flunkeys and Scullions – Life Below Stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn. It is a real eye opener as to what went on for someone living in the 21st century. For example I was unaware that there was a servant tax first introduced in 1777 to help cover the costs incurred in fighting the American War of Independence. It continued to be levied in one way or another on male servants, and sometimes female servants, until 1937!
    I am only up to chapter 3 so far so I expect to come across some more interesting information, if the above is an indication.

    Reply
  77. Hi Nicola, this is a very interesting post.
    I am currently reading “Flunkeys and Scullions – Life Below Stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn. It is a real eye opener as to what went on for someone living in the 21st century. For example I was unaware that there was a servant tax first introduced in 1777 to help cover the costs incurred in fighting the American War of Independence. It continued to be levied in one way or another on male servants, and sometimes female servants, until 1937!
    I am only up to chapter 3 so far so I expect to come across some more interesting information, if the above is an indication.

    Reply
  78. Hi Nicola, this is a very interesting post.
    I am currently reading “Flunkeys and Scullions – Life Below Stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn. It is a real eye opener as to what went on for someone living in the 21st century. For example I was unaware that there was a servant tax first introduced in 1777 to help cover the costs incurred in fighting the American War of Independence. It continued to be levied in one way or another on male servants, and sometimes female servants, until 1937!
    I am only up to chapter 3 so far so I expect to come across some more interesting information, if the above is an indication.

    Reply
  79. Hi Nicola, this is a very interesting post.
    I am currently reading “Flunkeys and Scullions – Life Below Stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn. It is a real eye opener as to what went on for someone living in the 21st century. For example I was unaware that there was a servant tax first introduced in 1777 to help cover the costs incurred in fighting the American War of Independence. It continued to be levied in one way or another on male servants, and sometimes female servants, until 1937!
    I am only up to chapter 3 so far so I expect to come across some more interesting information, if the above is an indication.

    Reply
  80. Hi Nicola, this is a very interesting post.
    I am currently reading “Flunkeys and Scullions – Life Below Stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn. It is a real eye opener as to what went on for someone living in the 21st century. For example I was unaware that there was a servant tax first introduced in 1777 to help cover the costs incurred in fighting the American War of Independence. It continued to be levied in one way or another on male servants, and sometimes female servants, until 1937!
    I am only up to chapter 3 so far so I expect to come across some more interesting information, if the above is an indication.

    Reply
  81. Thank you, Mary Jo! I’m glad people like the post – I love drawing on the records of real people; makes it all more real and poignant for me.
    Isobel,the idea of a romance between the overseer and his or her charge is a rather intriguing one!

    Reply
  82. Thank you, Mary Jo! I’m glad people like the post – I love drawing on the records of real people; makes it all more real and poignant for me.
    Isobel,the idea of a romance between the overseer and his or her charge is a rather intriguing one!

    Reply
  83. Thank you, Mary Jo! I’m glad people like the post – I love drawing on the records of real people; makes it all more real and poignant for me.
    Isobel,the idea of a romance between the overseer and his or her charge is a rather intriguing one!

    Reply
  84. Thank you, Mary Jo! I’m glad people like the post – I love drawing on the records of real people; makes it all more real and poignant for me.
    Isobel,the idea of a romance between the overseer and his or her charge is a rather intriguing one!

    Reply
  85. Thank you, Mary Jo! I’m glad people like the post – I love drawing on the records of real people; makes it all more real and poignant for me.
    Isobel,the idea of a romance between the overseer and his or her charge is a rather intriguing one!

    Reply
  86. Helen, I love the balls and the glamour too butlike many readers I do like some reality mixed in. Meoskop, that’s interesting about the characters having lived in the “real world.” It gives them more depth and interest, and there is certainly plenty of stuff to draw upon. The Kate Moore books sound very interesting in that regard.
    I must hunt up Flunkeys and Scullions too. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny. I’d heard about the servant tax from the background research I did for my Brides of Fortune trilogy. I had no idea that it was still in force as recently as 1937 though. Extraordinary!

    Reply
  87. Helen, I love the balls and the glamour too butlike many readers I do like some reality mixed in. Meoskop, that’s interesting about the characters having lived in the “real world.” It gives them more depth and interest, and there is certainly plenty of stuff to draw upon. The Kate Moore books sound very interesting in that regard.
    I must hunt up Flunkeys and Scullions too. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny. I’d heard about the servant tax from the background research I did for my Brides of Fortune trilogy. I had no idea that it was still in force as recently as 1937 though. Extraordinary!

    Reply
  88. Helen, I love the balls and the glamour too butlike many readers I do like some reality mixed in. Meoskop, that’s interesting about the characters having lived in the “real world.” It gives them more depth and interest, and there is certainly plenty of stuff to draw upon. The Kate Moore books sound very interesting in that regard.
    I must hunt up Flunkeys and Scullions too. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny. I’d heard about the servant tax from the background research I did for my Brides of Fortune trilogy. I had no idea that it was still in force as recently as 1937 though. Extraordinary!

    Reply
  89. Helen, I love the balls and the glamour too butlike many readers I do like some reality mixed in. Meoskop, that’s interesting about the characters having lived in the “real world.” It gives them more depth and interest, and there is certainly plenty of stuff to draw upon. The Kate Moore books sound very interesting in that regard.
    I must hunt up Flunkeys and Scullions too. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny. I’d heard about the servant tax from the background research I did for my Brides of Fortune trilogy. I had no idea that it was still in force as recently as 1937 though. Extraordinary!

    Reply
  90. Helen, I love the balls and the glamour too butlike many readers I do like some reality mixed in. Meoskop, that’s interesting about the characters having lived in the “real world.” It gives them more depth and interest, and there is certainly plenty of stuff to draw upon. The Kate Moore books sound very interesting in that regard.
    I must hunt up Flunkeys and Scullions too. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for the recommendation, Jenny. I’d heard about the servant tax from the background research I did for my Brides of Fortune trilogy. I had no idea that it was still in force as recently as 1937 though. Extraordinary!

    Reply
  91. Of course, I’m glad to see this topic. I love the Regency period partly because of the inherent drama of contrast between the glittering West End and the wretched rookeries of London and between sane, steady England and the continent in the turmoil of war. The era seems to invite the writer.

    Reply
  92. Of course, I’m glad to see this topic. I love the Regency period partly because of the inherent drama of contrast between the glittering West End and the wretched rookeries of London and between sane, steady England and the continent in the turmoil of war. The era seems to invite the writer.

    Reply
  93. Of course, I’m glad to see this topic. I love the Regency period partly because of the inherent drama of contrast between the glittering West End and the wretched rookeries of London and between sane, steady England and the continent in the turmoil of war. The era seems to invite the writer.

    Reply
  94. Of course, I’m glad to see this topic. I love the Regency period partly because of the inherent drama of contrast between the glittering West End and the wretched rookeries of London and between sane, steady England and the continent in the turmoil of war. The era seems to invite the writer.

    Reply
  95. Of course, I’m glad to see this topic. I love the Regency period partly because of the inherent drama of contrast between the glittering West End and the wretched rookeries of London and between sane, steady England and the continent in the turmoil of war. The era seems to invite the writer.

    Reply
  96. Thank you very much for dropping by, Kate. I’m glad you liked th topic and I enjoy seeing it reflected in your books. A world of contrasts indeed. I also love the idea of so much simmering beneath the surface of society. The West End and the rookeries were so close and yet poles apart. And although we have had our rebellions there does seem to be something in the British character that meant we would never go to the extremes of, say, the French Revolution.

    Reply
  97. Thank you very much for dropping by, Kate. I’m glad you liked th topic and I enjoy seeing it reflected in your books. A world of contrasts indeed. I also love the idea of so much simmering beneath the surface of society. The West End and the rookeries were so close and yet poles apart. And although we have had our rebellions there does seem to be something in the British character that meant we would never go to the extremes of, say, the French Revolution.

    Reply
  98. Thank you very much for dropping by, Kate. I’m glad you liked th topic and I enjoy seeing it reflected in your books. A world of contrasts indeed. I also love the idea of so much simmering beneath the surface of society. The West End and the rookeries were so close and yet poles apart. And although we have had our rebellions there does seem to be something in the British character that meant we would never go to the extremes of, say, the French Revolution.

    Reply
  99. Thank you very much for dropping by, Kate. I’m glad you liked th topic and I enjoy seeing it reflected in your books. A world of contrasts indeed. I also love the idea of so much simmering beneath the surface of society. The West End and the rookeries were so close and yet poles apart. And although we have had our rebellions there does seem to be something in the British character that meant we would never go to the extremes of, say, the French Revolution.

    Reply
  100. Thank you very much for dropping by, Kate. I’m glad you liked th topic and I enjoy seeing it reflected in your books. A world of contrasts indeed. I also love the idea of so much simmering beneath the surface of society. The West End and the rookeries were so close and yet poles apart. And although we have had our rebellions there does seem to be something in the British character that meant we would never go to the extremes of, say, the French Revolution.

    Reply
  101. I can understand people not wanting to read books for entertainment which wallow in filth, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc. However I do despise those authors whose books are set in some fairytale historic period where none of those things seem to exist because all the characters are blissfully oblivious of them. People in those times would have been very aware of poverty and danger because it was all around them, and they (or those who protected them) must have felt some fear of finding themselves in the same plight. Maybe they wouldn’t dwell on it but an awareness would have been there. Yet I find so many cotton candy regencies that it seems to me it’s a blindness in the mindset of the authors; they really don’t get that there was no social safety net then. When I see that I can’t believe in the characters because they’re not real anymore.

    Reply
  102. I can understand people not wanting to read books for entertainment which wallow in filth, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc. However I do despise those authors whose books are set in some fairytale historic period where none of those things seem to exist because all the characters are blissfully oblivious of them. People in those times would have been very aware of poverty and danger because it was all around them, and they (or those who protected them) must have felt some fear of finding themselves in the same plight. Maybe they wouldn’t dwell on it but an awareness would have been there. Yet I find so many cotton candy regencies that it seems to me it’s a blindness in the mindset of the authors; they really don’t get that there was no social safety net then. When I see that I can’t believe in the characters because they’re not real anymore.

    Reply
  103. I can understand people not wanting to read books for entertainment which wallow in filth, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc. However I do despise those authors whose books are set in some fairytale historic period where none of those things seem to exist because all the characters are blissfully oblivious of them. People in those times would have been very aware of poverty and danger because it was all around them, and they (or those who protected them) must have felt some fear of finding themselves in the same plight. Maybe they wouldn’t dwell on it but an awareness would have been there. Yet I find so many cotton candy regencies that it seems to me it’s a blindness in the mindset of the authors; they really don’t get that there was no social safety net then. When I see that I can’t believe in the characters because they’re not real anymore.

    Reply
  104. I can understand people not wanting to read books for entertainment which wallow in filth, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc. However I do despise those authors whose books are set in some fairytale historic period where none of those things seem to exist because all the characters are blissfully oblivious of them. People in those times would have been very aware of poverty and danger because it was all around them, and they (or those who protected them) must have felt some fear of finding themselves in the same plight. Maybe they wouldn’t dwell on it but an awareness would have been there. Yet I find so many cotton candy regencies that it seems to me it’s a blindness in the mindset of the authors; they really don’t get that there was no social safety net then. When I see that I can’t believe in the characters because they’re not real anymore.

    Reply
  105. I can understand people not wanting to read books for entertainment which wallow in filth, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc. However I do despise those authors whose books are set in some fairytale historic period where none of those things seem to exist because all the characters are blissfully oblivious of them. People in those times would have been very aware of poverty and danger because it was all around them, and they (or those who protected them) must have felt some fear of finding themselves in the same plight. Maybe they wouldn’t dwell on it but an awareness would have been there. Yet I find so many cotton candy regencies that it seems to me it’s a blindness in the mindset of the authors; they really don’t get that there was no social safety net then. When I see that I can’t believe in the characters because they’re not real anymore.

    Reply
  106. Thanks for your perspective, Janice. I think it makes the characters more rounded to show an awareness of the broader picture in society. In my current wip I’m writing about characters who have no money and have taken various paths to try to succeed in society. Hopefully I am showing just how precarious life can be in a world with very little in the way of a safety net.

    Reply
  107. Thanks for your perspective, Janice. I think it makes the characters more rounded to show an awareness of the broader picture in society. In my current wip I’m writing about characters who have no money and have taken various paths to try to succeed in society. Hopefully I am showing just how precarious life can be in a world with very little in the way of a safety net.

    Reply
  108. Thanks for your perspective, Janice. I think it makes the characters more rounded to show an awareness of the broader picture in society. In my current wip I’m writing about characters who have no money and have taken various paths to try to succeed in society. Hopefully I am showing just how precarious life can be in a world with very little in the way of a safety net.

    Reply
  109. Thanks for your perspective, Janice. I think it makes the characters more rounded to show an awareness of the broader picture in society. In my current wip I’m writing about characters who have no money and have taken various paths to try to succeed in society. Hopefully I am showing just how precarious life can be in a world with very little in the way of a safety net.

    Reply
  110. Thanks for your perspective, Janice. I think it makes the characters more rounded to show an awareness of the broader picture in society. In my current wip I’m writing about characters who have no money and have taken various paths to try to succeed in society. Hopefully I am showing just how precarious life can be in a world with very little in the way of a safety net.

    Reply

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