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, March 13, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Funerals and Wills

Most of you know I've been writing a serial Regency romance for InD'tale Magazine called The 11th Commandment. The story focuses on a woman, Katherine, who committed adultery, was caught, and sent to Scotland to live alone. The first part features her return to London after her husband's death for the reading of his will. (If you didn't know about this serial and want the story, click on over to InD'tale's site and subscribe. You only get messages when the issue is delivered and subscriptions are FREE. You can find past issues in the site's archive, after you've registered and logged in.)

OK, let me get to the point of mentioning this. For this story I had to delve a bit into the death angle of the Regency world, a topic that isn't written about very often. I found some great info in regard to wills on Courtney Milan's site and a bit about funerals at Regency Reader

Later research revealed that things I'd only guessed at, such as Katherine being present at her husband's burial and whether or not she'd have made it back to London in time to see him before he was buried, I've since been able to confirm. (There are times that you just gotta wing it 'cause the deadline's looming.)

Just a few things I've learned and links to where I found the info: 
  • Katherine would not have been at the burial, as women rarely attended the burial. See the post at Regency Reader titled Regency Reader Questions: Funeral Rites.
  • Katherine would not have made it back from Scotland in time to see his body before the burial. They didn't embalm bodies then and I believe my particular characters would have wanted him in the ground fairly quickly to avoid the overpowering smell. The bit on embalming can be found in an article titled Regency Death and Burial at Historical Hussies.
  • For Katherine to become engaged within a year of her husband's death would be a huge scandal, especially since her husband was a duke. OK, I already knew that. That's kind of a "duh" when mourning for a husband was typically 12 months. 
As for the reading of the will, I assume that took place after the burial. I have not been able to confirm this but it makes sense to me that they would want to lay the deceased to rest before reading the will. I could be wrong on this bit and would love it if someone who knows better can either confirm or deny my assumption.

That's it for now. Next week's post will be about mourning attire. Such cheery subjects I've picked! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

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