REGENCY RESEARCH


I adore Regencies. I love reading them and love writing them. History has always fascinated me and I
especially love using unexpected details in my stories. Some have mystery elements, others spies or magic lockets. Several have the inimitable Miss Tibbles--a dragon of a governess, brought in when families are at their wit's end. And yes, she got her love story, too.

I don't know yet what I will end up having on this page--other than my books and research. I hope you will have fun finding out with me in the days, weeks and months ahead!

Note: Here you can find a link to get a free excerpt booklet featuring samples from 17 historical romance authors including my book Dangerous Masquerade. (Note: This second link has an entirely different excerpt from the book as well as links to purchase the book.)

Here is a short video, courtesy of the amazingly talented Jo Beverley to go with the booklet:
https://animoto.com/play/03u62T3AkYX9KcQIH0zxsw

And just because I love research, I'm putting here an article I wrote some years ago on servants in the Regency era. Below that you will find information about my books.

               
                            SERVANTS IN THE REGENCY ERA

Servants were an indispensable part of any upper class Regency household.  But how many were there and what did they do and how much were they paid? One source shows the following list for an 1825 household. Salaries are given in (guineas per year). 
  Female Servants       Male Servants
Housekeeper (240g)       (French) male cook (80g)
governess (30g)       butler (50g)
lady’s maid (20g)       coachman (28g)
head nurse (20g)       footman (24g)
2nd nurse (10g)       groom (livery & tips)
upper housemaid (15g)       lady’s groom (12g)
under housemaid (14g)       nursery room boy (clothes & tips)
kitchenmaid (14g)       head gamekeeper (70g/yr +12shilling/week board wages,  cottage & firings)
upper laundry maid (14g)      gardener (40g/yr + 13s/week board wages, cottage firings)
under laundry maid (10g)      asst. Gardener (12s/week)
dairy maid (7g)
2nd dairy maid (7g)
still room maid (9g)
scullion (9g)

The source also states that when the family was absent, servants were given board wages--10s/week for women, 12s/week for men. (s=shillings)
Another source says that a cook at Carlton House was paid 1000 pounds/year but he quit because he said the Prince Regent’s tastes were too bourgeois.
Lieutenant Colonel Kelley’s valet had a secret blacking for boots.  It is said that Beau Brummell would have hired him except that he was asking for 200 pounds/yr.
Footmen were also sometimes paid by height:
1st footman  5’6”            30 pounds/yr
2nd footman                20-22 pounds/yr  
1st footman  5’10”-6’      32-40 pounds/yr 
2nd footman                   28-30 pounds/yr
Servants were often tipped by visitors and this helped make up for poor wages.
In general, during the Regency time period, footmen wore livery while women wore regular clothes with quilted petticoats, worsted stockings, and leather shoes.
Footmen were addressed by their first names, as were most female servants.  But the butler was always “Mr.” and the cook and housekeeper were always “Mrs.”
In the Regency era, servants were not as meek as they are often perceived to be during the Victorian era.  The Duke of Cumberland’s valet even tried to kill him with a saber in 1810.
In 1811 Dr. William Kitchiner began writing manuals such as THE HOUSEKEEPER’S ORACLE.  He advised families to hire servants either through recommendations or by using the Free Registry of the London Society for Encouragement of Faithful Female Servants (established in 1813 by H.G.Watkins and charged no fees).  He also advised employers to hire servants who could read and write.  He said that it was appropriate for servants to have one holiday every 3rd month (home by 10pm), with a half holiday other months.  He gave the cost of a maid as 40 pounds/yr in board and wages and the cost of a male servant as 60-70 pounds/yr in board and wages.  
In the country, a servant might be hired at a Mop Fair where cooks wore colored aprons, nursery maids white linens, chamber and waiting maids wore lawn or cambric.

Household Duties:
Housekeeper--kept the keys, pay bills, supervised the still room, made the pastries and confectionery and preserves, syllabubs of wine and cream and the tea for the drawing room (not the cook!)
lady’s maid--laid the fire, woke her mistress, laid out clothes, brought hot water and breakfast, dressed hair, tidied her mistress’ room, dressed and undressed her, made lotions, washes, etc.
Cook--made up the menu, supervised preparation of the food
housemaid--up first, light kitchen fire, open shutters, clean grates in sitting and dining rooms, sweep and polish these rooms, clean candle sticks and lamp glasses, sweep front hall and stair carpets, brush outside steps, polish knocker, then light dressing room fires and carry up hot water for family baths, wait on table, air beds, turn mattresses daily, smooth pillows, sweep under beds, empty wash basins and chamber pots, polish door plates, light fires, do study, answer back door, carry up tea tray, fold down beds, clean wallpaper with 3 day old bread, clean windows
house steward (if there was one)--hire staff, do marketing, keep accounts, write letters to tradesmen, manage journeys
butler--paid bills not handled by housekeeper, check cellars every morning and ventilate if necessary, check wines, add charcoal to malt, add eggs to Malmsey, warm and iron newspapers, polish plate, supervise setting the table for the family, answer front door and announce callers, announce dinner, serve wine, check that all doors and windows were locked and fires safe at night 
valet--polish boots, dress and undress master, supervise journeys (if they only involve the master)
footmen--carry coals, take messages, accompany members of the household, fold napkins
coachman--expected to be ready for the road with 20 minutes notice, dress horses, clean carriage and harness, maintain coach
tiger--liveried boy who sat on the box on the back of a carriage, rang doorbells

Sources: 
WHAT THE BUTLER SAW, E.S.Turner, St. Martin’s Press, 1962
NOT IN FRONT OF THE SERVANTS, Frank Dawes




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love this! What were firings?

April said...

Good question! I no longer have the original source material and I wrote the article many years ago. I think, perhaps, it means the ammunition needed for the head gamekeeper's job which included getting rid of predators. On the other hand, head gamekeepers were entitled to an allowance of candles so maybe firings referred to what was needed to light fire--and candles. If I find out for sure, I'll definitely post the answer here!