Saturday, 9 June 2012

Horncastle Regency Festival 2012 - Part 1

The weekend before last I attended the Horncastle Regency Festival. Horncastle is a tiny picturesque town in Lincolnshire, and it was the first Regency festival to be held there, although there was a ball in 2010. The festival was based on the JAF in Bath but much smaller and shorter (Thursday - Sunday).

I arrived in Horncastle, late afternoon on the Thursday and checked into my hotel, which was where most of the events were taking place. That evening was the first event which was just meant to be a meet-and-greet drinks party but actually turned out to be a mini concert.  After the concert we all sat around chatting, eating and drinking mulled wine (yes I know a strange drink for early summer but it was rather tasty. :) ).

A gentleman there had a first edition of P&P Volume 1 !!!!! And he let us hold it!!! :) Here I am reading the first page. :)

The frontispiece 

After the concert we all (me and 3 friends) decided to go and sit in the hotel bar and chat.

And of course take photos :) 
Jackie, Emily and I

Jackie, Emily and Claire

The next day there were a couple of talks and a picnic. The first talk was on regency clothing - tips on how to make your own - best material to use, sewing tips etc. It was very interesting.

The lecturer and her gowns, and her matching doll, which I won in a competition :). The competition was a question - "In Emma, what is Miss Bates's first name?" None of us knew the answer! Then the lecturer said it began with an H and so we all started shouting out suggestions, but still none of us said the right answer. Finally she gave up and told us that it was Hettie. I had mentioned the name Henrietta, so someone said that I should have it as it was probably Miss Bates's full name and Hettie was a nickname. Apparently her name is mentioned twice in the book!! I think I need to go back and reread it. :)

Bonnets - sadly none of them fit my overly large head :(

Bib front gown close-up. I really want one but sadly this one was too short, but Emily ended up buying it, and it really suited her.

I bought the white gown. :) I had gone to the festival determined not to buy any more gowns, but it was so pretty, made out of muslin (and all my day dresses are cotton), it had trimming near the hem that made it 1812ish looking, and it was near-enough the perfect length (most ready-made gowns are too short for me), so I had to buy it. :) It was also really reasonably priced. It is extremely rare in the UK to find a gown that is well made and is less than £120, this one was under £100! I will definitely be ordering other regency clothing from her.

I didn't buy the spencer. Luckily, for more purse, I didn't like the colour. :)

This is an  original 1820s gown that the Festival organiser, Ellen Eley (seen here in the white gown), found in an antiques shop in Horncastle!! It was gorgeous. :)

Detail of the hem decoration

The second lecture was interesting but there was just a bit too much blood and gore for my liking. It was about the lives of soldiers and their families during the Napoleonic Wars. During one particularly gory description of medical procedures during the time, Ellen came up to me offering a fan, as apparently I was looking rather faint and flustered!!! :)

That afternoon we drove to the village of Somersby, to the rectory where Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born and grew up. According to the itinery, we were meant to be going on a nature walk followed by tea in the garden of the rectory. However, we arrived to find that there was no walk but we were going straight to a picnic lunch and the option of tea. I wasn't terribly disappointed as it was so windy, and who can be unhappy about having tea in a garden. :)

When history meets the modern world! :)

Emily, Claire and I in the Rectory garden. The garden was beautiful!

Claire and Jackie about to tuck into the picnic. 

A picturesque image of Regency dressed children playing with blossoms that had fallen from the tree.

Emily walking in the garden

Me :) You can see how windy it was!!

Pretty garden

More pretty garden

Ellen is a music teacher (I think) and quite a few of her students performed throughout the festival. Here she is with 4 of her students (all from the same family), who were singing an early 19th century song and pretending to be Tennyson's brothers and sisters. The family were absolutely adorable, all were dressed in Regencyish clothing and came to quite a few of the events.

The house from the garden

The church were Tennyson's father was vicar.

Next: Horncastle Regency Festival - Part 2


  1. Thank you for the share of photos...what a beautiful setting for a Regency Festival - and such gorgeous weather!!!


  2. We were there for the four days, also, and enjoyed it very much.

    You looked lovely in the white muslin dress, it would have been a crime not to buy it!

    I am afraid that blog-writing has rather gone by the wayside for me this year, so I really must get busy, so I can share some of my photos, too.

  3. I got a pleasant surprise when I looked closely at the pictures of your Regency attire talk and recognised the bonnets - I found them on eBay just recently! In fact, I loved them so much that I contacted the seller and commissioned her to create a a custom stovepipe bonnet for me. It is absolutely beautiful and fits me perfectly, and Lynn was such a delight to deal with. She's agreed to sew an open robe and spencer for me in a few months, too. Until reading your blog I never knew what she looked like!

    1. The bonnets were gorgeous. I was so sad that none of them fit me, though I am planning on ordering a custom one from her. :)

  4. can you tell me please,where I can buy such dress in London?

  5. Unfortunately no one seems to sell regency dresses in London, but you can rent one from Angels Fancy Dress on Shaftesbury Avenue. Or there are some great seamstress on the web who live all over England - - the cheapest regency clothes I have found on the web, or more expensive but beautifully made. Hope that helps. :)