What does it mean when an estate is “entailed”?

Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and countless other period pieces use an entailed estate as a key plot element.

But what is an entailed estate?

Simply stated, an entailment meant that the estate had to be inherited by a male. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet had five daughters. No sons. Therefore the estate passed to the closest male heir.

(For more on finding the closest male heir, look at this post.)

In order for an estate to be entailed, one of two scenarios had to happen.

SCENARIO ONE

The possessor of the land didn’t own the property outright. Many years prior, an ancestor of his had been granted the ability to live on it as if it were his own, but since he didn’t own it, he couldn’t will it to whomever he wished.

This granting of land had restrictions on transfer. There were several types of restrictions that could have been placed on the land. Sometimes it was stated that it could only pass to his biological children. Other times, as in the case of P&P and Downton Abbey it was restricted to male biological heirs.

With enough time and money, this could be avoided through legal loopholes that had become common practice by the Regency.

SCENARIO TWO

The property is owned outright, but the somewhere down the line, the estate had been willed as a “life estate”. This meant the male heir had ownership for his lifetime, but he couldn’t sell it because once he was dead, it was already willed to his next male heir.

This is likely the type of scenario that causes problems for our Regency heros and heroines because it was very difficult to get around.

So not all land was entailed and not all land had to go to the first male heir. If there were no restrictions and a man (or woman) owned the property outright, they could will it to whomever they wished whether son, daughter, brother, cousin, or servant.

Got a question you’d like us to answer? Check out our new questions page to submit it. 

 

Guest Post: Why the Classics Live On

Regency Reflections is happy to welcome Marisa Deshaies. Marisa is a lover of Inspirational Regencies and recently obtained her Master’s degree in professional writing. 

Walk into any bookstore or watch previews of upcoming movies, and you’ll surely come across numerous advertisements or displays of classic stories written many years ago. Barnes and Noble consistently presents a few tables of the Classics in its stores.  Every few minutes a trailer for Les Miserables or Anna Karenina shows on television. With each bestseller and Oscar-worthy movie comes a retelling of one of the well-known stories taught in English classes.

Original title page of Pride and PrejudiceWhat is it that endears the public to the Classics? With the advent of three-dimensional directing, popular vampire lore, beloved magical adventures, and modern romance stories that fill the bookshelves and movie theaters, audiences do not lack amusing entertainment. Critics could argue, in fact, that Austen, Dickens, and Tolstoy are authors of the past. Why look back when there are unknown tales waiting to be told?

And yet, retellings of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and other Classics continue to come to theaters and bookstores in droves. Whether authors create fan fiction of the beloved novels or directors discover new techniques with which to tell the stories, without a doubt some retelling is bound to catch your fancy.

Elizabeth-Bennet-and-Mr-Darcy-played-by-Elizabeth-Garvie-and-David-Rintoul-in-Pride-and-Prejudice-1980Jane Austen’s novels are a particular favorite of authors and directors alike to recreate and maneuver to the readers’ and viewers’ delight. In the two hundred (almost) years since Austen’s novels first hit the market, the fan fiction and movies created for audiences are too numerous to count. Pride and Prejudice, in particular, is an audience favorite. Can you blame the viewers of the 1990s BBC-miniseries version for watching the movie numerous times—after all, who doesn’t enjoy watching Colin Firth walking out of Pemberley’s lake dripping wet? (Try to keep your anger in check, P and P novel enthusiasts. We know this scene doesn’t occur in the book.) Austen, known best for her characters that pursue love in spite of difficult situations, wrote novels that connect with young and old, male and female alike (although females probably enjoy the stories more than their male counterparts). Turning these novels into fan fiction and movies is a sure-fire way to connect with book readers and movie watchers.

Pride and Prejudice 1995So what is it about the Classics that resonates so soundly with audiences? With Austen retellings, I’m convinced that readers and viewers live vicariously through the characters. Yes, every movie-goer and novel-reader places themselves in whatever their escape pleasure is—that’s the point of reading or watching, isn’t it? To be swept away to another world? Google-search the Jane Austen Festival, and you’ll see that while Persuasion doesn’t have witches or goblins and Emma doesn’t take place in a haunted mansion, readers of Austen novels and viewers of the novels’ movie counterparts are just as swept away by the stories as anyone reading Harry Potter or Twilight. Men and women dress in Regency costumes, attend balls, put on theatricals, and host luncheons and dinners, all in the fashion of Jane Austen’s time.

Audiences love Austen because her characters live and love through the same situations people experience today. Are you pining for someone you can’t have? Don’t go running to the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s—Pride and Prejudice will give you hope for that relationship much more than a pint of vanilla ice cream will. Contemplating giving relationship advice to your best friend? Read Emma before setting her up with that lothario from work… your friendship will thank you.

Austenland 2It’s simple, really. Readers and watchers (okay, most likely females) enjoy experiencing life in old-fashioned ways. As much as we say modern behavior gives equality between the sexes, anyone who doesn’t secretly desire a Regency courtship is probably in denial. And what about those ball-gowns and gloves? Gorgeous! In reading Austen’s novels or watching the movie adaptations, audiences are brought back to days of propriety. Days of hand-kissing, ballroom-dancing, letter-writing flirtation. Days of familial responsibility and honor. With a willing suspension of disbelief audiences of Austen novels (in any form) go back to a simpler time when true love took hard work and familial loyal was the most important aspect of a relationship. In today’s society of fast-paced activities, internet dating, and individualism, Austen novels and movies emphasize the importance put into marriage and family that simply doesn’t exist today.

Terralton Abbey from PRELUDE FOR A LORD

PreludeCoverCamy here! When I wrote Prelude for a Lord, I admit I put Lord Dommick’s home in there deliberately.

I had visited Newstead Abbey in Nottingham, England, and fell in LOVE, and I knew I wanted to have that house and grounds in my book somehow. So when coming up with Dommick’s character and family, I modeled his family seat, Terralton Abbey, after Newstead Abbey, which was the home of the poet Lord Byron.

This is the front of the house, including the circular driveway that Dommick drives up to. I placed the front door a little differently but essentially Terralton Abbey looks the same.

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Here is what the front of the house looked like in 1880:

Newstead_Abbey_from_Morris's_Seats_of_Noblemen_and_Gentlemen_(1880)

This is the back of the house with one of its lovely gardens:

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Here is the square pool and woody lawn area where Alethea plays with Margaret:

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And here is the lovely river bank and grotto where Alethea and Dommick kiss:

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Sigh! I wish I could go back there again!

The winners of the 3 copies of Prelude for a Lord are:
Lis K
Loraine Nunley
Anne Payne

Congratulations! I’ve emailed you. If you didn’t get it, please email me through my website or message me on Facebook.

I know the rest of you are crying in your Yorkshire pudding. Cheer up! You can order the book online or keep an eye out for my big giveaway next month!

Giving away some Victorian/Regency shawls

PreludeCoverCamy here! To celebrate the release of my debut Regency romance, Prelude for a Lord, I’m planning to hold a giveaway in September! (Originally it was mid August but another book deadline has kept me too busy to put this together. :P)

I wanted to do something neat so I’m going to be giving away some Jane Austen tea (a tea blend from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England), a violin ornament (since Prelude for a Lord is about a mysterious Stradivarius violin), and an autographed copy of the book.

But I also wanted something really special to give away, so I’ve spent the last several months knitting! I’ve knit 4 (finishing up the 5th) lace shawls to give away!

I picked patterns that were published in the early Victorian era, but most of the patterns were most likely in use in Jane Austen’s time (in the Regency era), they just weren’t published in a book or pamphlet—they were probably passed down from mother to daughter verbally. The yarns I’ve used are definitely modern lace yarns—very fine wool, a wool/silk blend, one mohair yarn, and an alpaca yarn—dyed with vibrant colors that I doubt Jane Austen ever saw. :)

After knitting, I blocked the shawls by washing and dampening them (carefully so they don’t felt) and then pinning them into shape so they have nice points to the edging. Here’s one of the shawls I’ll be giving away:

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Sign up for my email newsletter so you’ll be informed when the contest starts! Head to CamilleElliot.com and fill out the form on the right side. When my contest is live, you’ll get an email to let you know how to enter.

I’m also giving away three copies of this book to Regency blog readers who join my newsletter! So join my Camille Elliot email newsletter and then leave a comment here to let me know you joined it, or if you already belong to my newsletter.

Kombucha Tea and the Scandalous Violin with Camille Elliot author of Prelude for a Lord

Vanessa here,

I have the pleasure of welcoming one of our own, Camy Tang, to my southern porch. Camy, you are here on a very good day the humidity has dissipated, and I think I feel a breeze. So let’s get into this wonderful new book, Prelude for a Lord.PreludeCover

Tell me about the heroine, Alethea Sutherton. Some have told me she’s awkward and scandalous. Now that is an accomplishment.

Lady Alethea has felt alone and unloved for most of her life except for two people, her half-sister and her neighbor, Lady Arkright. After her sister is forced to move away and Lady Arkright dies, Alethea feels adrift. Her music is her solace, but because musical circles and instruction is limited in England, she is determined to find a way to move to Italy, where she can play and learn the violin without censure.

Wanting to travel doesn’t sound too scandalous. Can you tell me more of why she feels censured?

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady.

Really? Mental note: Get my daughter back to the pianoforte, no violin. Oh, go on Camy and tell me more. I’ll get you another cup of Kombucha tea, unless that is also too scandalous.

It wasn’t until I started researching violin players in the Georgian and Regency era that I discovered that most Englishmen considered women playing the violin as incredibly unladylike because it raised the arms above her head and exposed her armpits. Can you believe that??? That’s why the pianoforte and the floor harp were considered ladylike instruments, because a woman’s arms never rose too high up. There was a child prodigy violinist who played in England a few years after the Regency era who was absolutely brilliant, but she ran into criticisms that her choice of instrument was scandalous.

So, given that the violin was scandalous, of course I had to write about a woman who played it. :)

Ok, it’s hero time. Tell me about Lord Dommick. Is he tall, dark and handsome?

Lord Dommick is incredibly loyal and loving to his mother and sister. He is also brilliant as a musician, but like most people during that time period, his views of women musicians are limited to pianoforte and harp players and singers. He considers Lady Alethea scandalous, which is what he needs to avoid after his ex-fiance destroyed his reputation after he returned emotionally scarred from war. He needs to repair his reputation in order to assure his sister’s comeout in London in the spring.

His love for his sister drives his concern for his reputation, but it also blinds him to how he is trying to solve everything on his own. His faith is just a byword and doesn’t impact his daily life until he has nothing left to depend upon.

But is he handsome? Can get a cute and brooding?

Yes, and he is brooding.

Okay, brooding can go a long way. Camy Tang books are known for high-kick bottom action, what drew you to the Regency.camywebcopy

I have been reading Regency romances since I was 13 years old, and I’ve read hundreds if not thousands of them since. I got them mostly from garage sales or thrift stores or eBay auctions. Nowadays, I buy them on ebook. :) I even read some Regency research books just for fun (!!!) but never seriously considered writing one until my editor at Zondervan (and a fellow Regency romance lover) dared me to write one.

 

I actually got this idea about a recluse musician many years ago, but never thought about writing it until I was coming up with the plot for Prelude for a Lord. I had a scene in my head where the hero plays with the heroine for the first time, and it’s magical. They both discover things about the other during that rehearsal time. My story pretty much started from that one scene and then the other characters and the mysterious violin appeared.

No wonder your love of the Regency has led to the development of Camille Elliot. If you ever see me writing chocolate jingles, just buy the bars and say nothing. It will be our secret. Seriously, I think it’s wonderful for a passion to come to life, to be birthed from things that touch our hearts. I know you impart pieces of your journey into your characters. How did your Christian Walk affect Lady Althea and Lord Dommick?

My characters almost always have a spiritual arc that is born from my own spiritual struggles. In Protection for Hire, my romantic suspense, I wrote about my own experiences when I had first become a Christian in college and was struggling with how to move forward in newness in Christ after all the terrible things I’d done in my life. In Prelude for a Lord, the heroine feels incredibly alone because of the things in her past that have shaped her, which mirrors how I felt for many years before I became a Christian. Even now, I struggle to remember the truth that God loves me incredibly deeply and He has never left me alone.

That is a great message everyone needs to read and feel. I am realizing many miss this. Hopefully, books like Prelude to a Lord will help. Is Prelude to a Lord a series? You know Sonata to a Sultan, Treble with an Earl, well you get my question.

Yes, I hope to write 3 other books about Dommick’s friends. :) I’m not sure yet if the other books in the series will be contracted by Zondervan, but if not, I’ll definitely self-publish them. If the series is contracted by Zondervan, I’ll also write another Regency series to self-publish in between the times my Zondervan books come out so that there isn’t so much time between releases. As a reader myself, I know I hate it when an author’s books are spaced too far apart!

Well Camy (Camille Elliot), thanks for stopping by and braving my pot of Kombucha. Camy will be have giveaways and other exciting things for the release of this book, but you have to tune into her newsletter for details. Go to her websites:

http://www.camytang.com/

http://www.camilleelliot.com/

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance under her pen name, Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, and for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon.

New Regency Book: Prelude For A Lord

It’s our very own Camy Tang, writing as the fabulous Camille Elliot! We’re very excited to announce her new Regency novel, Prelude for a Lord. 

About the book:

PreludeCoverAn awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?

Bath, England—1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

Find out more about Camy’s alter ego and links to purchase the book at camilleelliot.com. She’s also giving away three copies of her new book to people who join her email list!

 

What do you “hear” when a book mentions music? Do you ever look up the songs mentioned?

What’s the Deal with Almack’s? by Susan Karsten

An exclusive venue, in the true meaning of the word “exclusive” (as in exclude!), Almack’s required membership fees (called subscriptions) and had a powerful doorkeeper.

Lady Jersey, a famous Almack's Patroness, via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Jersey, a famous Almack’s Patroness, via Wikimedia Commons

A committee of high-born ladies, known as patronesses, further added to the exclusivity factor. They controlled access to tickets and, therefore, who could enter the prized environs.

Though it cost money to get in, money alone didn’t guarantee entry, nor did birth status. Other factors considered were: wit, beauty, careful dressing, being a good dancer, or simply having good taste might tip the scales in your favor.

The despotic patronesses held weekly meetings to select attendees. Once “in”, there were still strict rules which had to be followed, or you risked being turned away. You must arrive on time, properly dressed.

Interior of Almack's via Wikimedia Commons

Interior of Almack’s via Wikimedia Commons

Six or seven patronesses ran Almack’s. Lady Jersey, daughter and wife of earls, was a chatterbox heiress, strictly maintained the cachet of the club. Lady Sefton, married to an earl, considered more amiable, was a renowned society hostess in her own right. Lady Cowper, know for her with, tact and affability, was known to smooth over quarrels. Formidable Lady Castlereagh, Icy Mrs. Drummond-Burrell, ruthless Countess Lieven, and spiteful Princess Esterhazy round out the committee.

It almost makes one not want to even try to gain entrance. Do you think you’d have made the cut? (fantasy here!)

To See and Be Seen ~ Regency’s Rotten Row

When I was a teenager, I spent hours strolling the wide halls of the mall, perusing the CD stores and the Hello Kitty paraphernalia in Hallmark. Then I got a job there and got to watch parades of teens do the nightly mating dance around the three layered fountain.

Regency England didn’t have a three story monolith of retail opportunities, but they did have a wide lane where the elite of London’s society went to see and be seen.

Rotten Row today via Wikimedia Commons

Rotten Row today via Wikimedia Commons

Running for one and quarter miles across the lower edge of Hyde Park, Rotten Row gave the Beau Monde a parade ground of epic proportions. The bridal path was covered in a mixture of gravel to support carriage wheels and a soft bark mixture called tan to protect a horse’s legs. It was wide enough for three carriages to ride abreast of each other down the path.

In the mornings, the path was one of the few places in London where horses could be exercised or ridden at a fast pace. It was the domain of grooms and ladies and gentlemen who wished to let the horses go for a good run.

The entrance to Rotten Row from an 1804 drawing, via Wikimedia Commons

The entrance to Rotten Row from an 1804 drawing, via Wikimedia Commons

But come evening, from around 4 in the afternoon until 7 or 8, riders and drivers were expected to maintain a sedate pace so that people could admire each other’s horseflesh, finery, or their latest romantic attachment.

All the riders and carriages in the park were owned by the well-to-do since hired hacks were not allowed within the walls of Hyde Park. Some people took this to extreme, buying and personalizing fancy carriages, which they then paired with horses that coordinated or even matched their rigs.

Should someone wish to participate in the parade without a horse or carriage, walking paths lined each side of the bridal path. More common folk could often be found along here as well, though, treating the parade of ton member as a form of entertainment or celebrity watching.

With the decline of the local mall in most areas, where have you found people go to see and be seen these days?

 

Regency Best Dressed List ~ What would you wear?

Kristi here. It’s no secret that part of the Regency era’s appeal is the clothes. Fancy and glamorous, yet relatable with it’s lack of hoop skirts and horse hair bustles. I’m going to the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in September and one of the events is a dinner where everyone is invited to dress up as one of their characters.

I don’t have a Regency era dress. I’m seriously considering making one (with the help of my considerably more sewing skilled mother). If I do it will probably be a fairly simple cotton one, not a fancy ballgown. But if I were to dream, what kind of Regency dress would I want?

MorningGownRuffleFirst off, it would definitely be an evening dress. The ruffles around the neck and face that often accompany morning dresses would drive me insane.

Second, I’d want some color. I have no desire to look like a ghost walking around in an all white gown. I’d stay away from the lavenders and purples, since those indicated a state of half-mourning. Red would be a bit garish, though the Hubs always likes me in it. I think I’d lean to the blues or greens. I see more blue in Ackerman’s prints than green, so we’ll go with blue.

GauzyEveningDressI think my favorite would be something like this, but with a blue underskirt instead of the pink. ReproductionBlueDress

And guess what? I could actually order a reproduction dress very similar to it… though of course it’s rather expensive. It’s gorgeous though, isn’t it?

PlaidEveningGownOf course, this was all dreamed up before I came across this beauty. One day I’m going to have to write a heroine with the gumption to walk into a ball wearing a plaid evening gown. That is just amazing.

What about you? Do you have a dream Regency outfit?

Catching Up with Reflections Bloggers

Inspirational Regencies Represent!

The Romance Writers of America had their annual awards ceremony this past weekend. Inspirational Regencies were well-represented when our very own Kristi Ann Hunter won the Golden Heart award for unpublished Inspirational manuscripts. You can check out the other winners, including the Rita for best published Inspirational romance at the RWA website.

Here a Book, There a Book, Everywhere a new Book!

In addition to her anticipated Regency (coming out in August!), Camy Tang just released a contemporary romantic suspense in an anthology titled Sealed With a KissShe’s also busy working on two series for next year: a romantic suspense and a regency set.

Speaking of August releases, keep an eye out for Vanessa Riley’s new Regency tale: Swept Away.

Ruth Axtell has stepped a few years past our beloved Regency to delve into the equally stunning Victorian world. Her novelette, Victorian Spring, is available now and the start to a fabulous new series.

Friend of the blog, Kristy Cambron released the first book in her WWII series. The second one comes out in April.

And a Crazy, Wonderful Life It Is

In addition to sending books out through her agent the hopefully-soon-to-be-published Susan Karsten is super busy. A son getting married, two girls headed off to college, and a 25th anniversary to celebrate make for a full and wonderful life!

Laurie Alice Eakes recently returned from the RWA conference.

 

What about you? We’d love to know what’s going on in your life!