Since I’ve set my entire “Only in Edenbrooke” series in the country of Dorset, England, during the Regency period, I thought it only fair to give a little background on the area. So, here’s the top five things you should know about this beautiful county:
(The image to the left is of Stoke Water Valley in Dorset. © Copyright Derek Harper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
1. Dorset is a county in South West England, about 109 miles from London, and to the coast, it’s about 125 miles. During the Regency, that would be about 16 hours of travel by coach–one would need to plan on an overnight stay at an inn.
2. Dorset has a dramatic landscape. It’s limestone ridges make for good sheep country! Chalk downs line the coast and low-lying valleys fill the interior. It’s perfect for the lovelorn heroines and brooding heroes to roam.
3. Dorset was the site of much smuggling in the 18th century. Its beaches and caves made it an easy spot for smugglers to travel and hide their ill-gotten goods. Perhaps the most famous smuggler from this area was Isaac Gulliver, 1745-1822. Known for smuggling tea and spirits, Gulliver took advantage of his Majesty’s pardon of such offenses in 1782, became a law-abiding man, and sold wine, which he had stocked in various vaults along the Dorset coast during his smuggling days.
4. Dorset is one of England’s sunniest counties and also one of its warmest.
5. Weymouth, on the Dorset coast, was the summer home for George III between 1789-1805. Georgian terraces built during George III’s reign and George IV’s regency lined a long promenade.
And for a bonus, check out this amazing Georgian house in East Dorset: