Nicola here. Today I am musing about life in the English village. So many of the historical romances I’ve read are set it cities such as London or Bath, or smaller towns like Brighton or Cheltenham. This makes sense. These places were the epicentres of activity in the Regency era, the venue for balls and other social events, a place where people might go for their health, for sea bathing or to take the spa waters. They were a good hunting ground for ladies looking to secure a titled husband, or for men seeking an heiress. It feels as though all the excitement is focussed on the towns and cities where there are lots of new people to meet and lots of things going on. After all, as Jane Austen wrote in Northanger Abbey: “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
In some ways, things haven’t changed much in two hundred years. When I was younger I lived in a number of different English cities: Leeds, London, Leicester. They were vibrant places with a mix of cultures and events that was very stimulating. Even today a trip to London, or Edinburgh, or Oxford is something of a treat. The combination of history and shopping is irresistible and much more exciting that what is on offer at home. So where does that leave the English village?