Weapons of the Regency

lb_headshot_small1Linore Rose Burkard

Those who enjoy the excitement of a western romance, with all its shoot-em-out
pistols and gunsmoke, may not realize that regency romances might also feature a
fair amount of weaponry. While the rules of engagement (for fighting, that is, not matrimony)
were vastly different than those in operation during the years of the “Wild, Wild, West,”
duelling was a real part of regency society, and war was all around. Both required weapons.


It’s impossible to give a good overview of weapons and their uses in any sense of the word
in one short blog-post, but for a few  great pictures of vintage weapons, subscribe to my newsletter.
Regency weapons will be featured in an upcoming issue, including actual photos of weapons in the collection of Vonnie Hughes, a
regency romance writer. Subscribe HERE–it only takes a minute, and one new subscriber during the month
of November will win a free copy of one of my books! It could be YOU.

Beginning with the American Revolution, British and Hessian muskets and rifles were in abundance
not only in the army, but in British society. The guard and coachman on a carriage, stage coach
or the mail would carry a blunderbuss. Even some elements of the famous Red Coat–the
costume of the British soldier–became fashionable for civilians, such as the bicorne (or tricorne), before-the-season-ends-book-cover1
and Hessian boots. But most civilians did not cart around a heavy, awkward rifle or musket. Instead,
they favored pistols, which could fit in a coat pocket, or sit snugly inside a box made just for that
purpose, in a carriage or coach.  Travelers in particular would keep a pistol tucked inside
a pocket or luggage, and the ever present threat of highwaymen, particularly at night, made this
a practical, necessary precaution.

britishflintlockblunderbusspistolpewter11Then there was the pistol at home in its elegant wooden box, shiny and lovely to behold, kept
stashed away somewhere until it was needed, say, for a duel. Guns of the day often had finials, silver fittings
on English walnut with intricate lacy inlays of silver wire. Popular during the regency was a British Holster Pistol,
 carried by both soldiers and civilians, and made by John Richards of London. Later in the century,
cylinder engraving became an art which made many antique weapons collector’s objects from the start.

Duelling was not akin to the saloon brawl that escalated into gun shots in the West. Instead, it
was a more formal affair; but this is not to say that duels did not result from hot-headedness.
Any perceived insult against one’s self, one’s honour, one’s wife or sister could result in a duel being arranged.
The injured party would demand “satisfaction,” which in turn had to be answered–accepted by the
principal. Once the duel was agreed upon, both parties had to choose “seconds,” back up men who had
hessian_boots1to be present at the event. Their first job was to try and effect a reconciliation, which meant trying to make the
perpetrator apologize for his offence. Failing that, they ensured that the rules were followed; that there was no foulmaledress18041
play; and, in the event that the dueller got cold feet or passed out, the “second” would step
in as his substitute, though in practice, this rarely if ever happened. In the event of great injury or death, the second was also
a witness, and quite possibly the only means of procuring much-needed medical attention to a wounded man.

 Calling for a duel was not to be done lightly, as it could result in death. But once called, it
was a matter of honour, and few men would refuse the challenge without suffering a loss of
respect. If a man was killed as a result of a duel, his killer would be charged with murder. 

Lots of old guns can be seen HERE.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a copy of you choice of either Before the Season Ends or The
House in Grosvenor Square.

Linore Rose Burkard is the creator of “Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul.” Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1811 – 1820). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.

Ms. Burkard’s novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Her books and monthly newsletter captivate readers with little-known facts, exciting stories, and historical insights. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy a romance that reminds you happy endings are possible for everyone.
Linore’s Website HERE

Guest Blogger
Updated: January 10, 2010 — 11:59 pm

19 Comments

  1. Hi Linore! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols. Funny you’d blog on weapons . . . I’m shopping for a gun for my outlaw hero for the next book. It’s easy to give every hero a Colt .45, but I try to find the details that match a man’s personality. I’ll check out your links.

    Dueling could sure be risky. I can’t help but think of modern day lawsuits, where people threaten to sue. It’s kind of the same!

    Enjoyed your post!

  2. Interesating blog!

  3. Linore, great posts. I’m with Victoria on the guns. It’s so knee jerk to give them all a Colt six-shooter or a Winchester 73. I need to know more about the possibilities.

    I always hear Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson asking for a Sharps, fifty calibre or better.

    And I just read a long article about Nelson Story and his cattle drive and they had guns…I’m going to just take a stab at what they said and not go look it up, but they had a LOT of guns, I remember the word Carbines and they said how many shots they’d fire in a minute, quite a few. It sounded like a gatling gun, but it couldn’t have been.

  4. My husband is always looking at guns. Like he needs another. :0))))

    Oh, I’d love to win your 2nd book The House in Grosvenor Square. I read the first one and loved it. Thanks.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. hi and welcome Linore.
    What an interesting topic and especially the bit about cylinder engraving. I know there are gun collectors but now I see more why and it’s because of the ‘frills on guns’ if I may use that term.
    I have yet to read your work and am interested in them. Thanks for sharing.

    yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

  6. Hi Ladies,
    Thanks for the warm welcome! This is a really fun blog–almost makes me want to write a western. ALMOST! Speaking of guns, my husband is thinking of getting a muzzle-loader–like he needs another gun, too, yeah. : ) But some of the old pistols are really “pretty” and there was a certain type, small in size, that women favored during the regency. I can’t remember what it was called, and your average woman wouldn’t carry a gun at all. But there are always the exceptions, right?

    Abi, thanks for finding my post here, and by the way, it says a new reader in NOVEMBER will win a book; actually I award two books a month every month (Maybe someone could change that for me on the post? Pretty please?)

    Thanks agin for havin’ me visit y’all–see, I can talk western!

  7. Really interseting post. I always that the older guns were beautiful with all of there intricate details.

  8. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post… I have not had the pleasure of reading your books yet, have to start looking for them… going to look at your website now… 😀

  9. Welcome to the Junction, Linore. It’s wonderful to see you here, and to learn thia great information. I totally agree with Victoria and Mary, although the heroine had a Baby LeMat 32 cal. in my first book. I always remember the Hawken gun in Jeremiah Johnson, one of my totally favorite of all time movies.

    We aren’t gun people so I don’t now a lot about them and need all the help I can get. Best wishes on the books. I also love London and Regencies.

  10. Linore,

    Very interesting I also signed up for your newsletter

    Thanks for sharing
    Melinda

  11. I will certainly be signing up for your newsletter. Thank you for all the information on weaponry in the regency period. I always enjoy learning facts about bygone days.

  12. Thank you, Ladies!
    Rebekah, Colleen, Tanya, Melinda and Linda–what great authors and readers congregate here. : )
    Those who signed up for my newsletter–you’ll be entered in two drawings for a free book this month!

    It was fun reading up about weapons during the regency. In my first book near the end, there’s a chapter where two men spar with epees (fencing swords). They’re not enemies, but the “contest” between them was such fun to “choreograph” and write. I need to get some duelling men in a book just for the fun of writing it up. lol (Not very nice of me, huh? Wanting men to duel!) I know–I’ll have to make it about a woman, of course. Wait a sec–I think I’m getting a new book idea! tee hee.
    Thanks for stopping by, all.

  13. Enjoyed reading the comments. Duels were fascinating as to how they were carried out and the reasons they were performed.

  14. Interesting post. My hubby is into guns tho now does archer more or the old muzzel loader, but he also enjoyed reading this.
    Don’t know that I have read any of your books but will be checking your website to see. I will also be shopping for them.

  15. Linore,
    Interesting post. enjoyed the information on weapons and the link to the gun site. Will be showing that to my husband and son.
    We have many patrons who enjoy regency romances and read christian fiction. Will check out your books for our library. Will they be coming out in large print any time soon? I deliver books to seniors in nursing homes and at the senior apartments and many of them need large print. I look forward to checking out your books.

  16. Great post, filled with useful information. We spent our vacation in Philadelphia last summer and spent a day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has a huge collection of arms and armor. Linore’s post gave me an excellent frame of reference for the beautifully decorated pistols and swords I saw there. Thank you!

  17. I like to read historicals so I was very interested in the history of dueling. Honor, death, murder!

    Swordplay! I loved the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. Great revenge sword fight at the end.

    I really knew nothing about guns so this was informative.

    I’m going to go to sign up for your newsletter. Nice to meet you!

  18. Fascinating blog, Linore. I loved the link to the old guns. This blog was especially interesting to me, because I’m writing a book later this fall called Dueling Hearts, and guess what it’s about!

  19. Joye, Connie, Patricia, Ann, Laurie and Vickie–thanks so much for reading and sharing a little bit of your own interests. Connie, thank you for looking for the book in stores–I found out from my publisher that the first print run has already sold out! (Meaning it may be scarce on shelves right now, but the second print run should be out in about two weeks.) I don’t think my publisher saw this coming–the quick sell out–because they weren’t ready with the next run!

    Patricia–My first two books are both in large print. If you look on Amazon.com, you should see them listed, or click on “Other Editions” on the books’ Amazon page. Thank you for your interest and I love to bless senior citizens. Only thing is, the large print edition is rather pricey.

    Ann, now I know one place to go if I visit Philadelphia! Sounds like fun–thanks.

    Thanks, Laurie, for signing up for my newsletter–if you enjoyed this post then I think you’ll really enjoy the newsletter, even if you aren’t the winner of a book this month!

    And Vickie–thanks for stopping by. Your book sounds really intriguing! Now hurry up and finish it so we can all read it! : )

    Thanks again, ladies. And especially to PETTICOATS AND PISTOLS for hosting this fun giveaway!

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