The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

~Regency Wednesday~ Bedlam

How often have Regencies made references to Bedlam or Bedlamites? I've used both terms in more than one of my novels and will probably use them in more. While longtime fans of the genre are probably familiar with the term and its source, newer readers may be a bit confused.

"Bedlam" is a corruption of the Hospital of St Mary Bethlehem, a religious house in London that was converted into an insane asylum when the monasteries were disbanded in the 16th century. The hospital retained the name along with the vulgar appellation.

In 1815, Bedlam was located in St George's Fields, Southwark.

*Further reading: Wikipedia article Bethlem Royal Hospital; Curiosities of London by John Timbs, page 51; The Penny Cyclopedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volume IV, page 148

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