Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post by Author Deborah Swift + GIVEAWAY!!

As part of the HFVBT


Today, I have the pleasure of presenting to you the wonderful Deborah Swift,

Author of:  A DIVIDED INHERITANCE

Deborah has written this amazing post for HF Book Muse - News
on Shopping in the 17th Century.  Please read on and then join the Giveaway!

Shopping in the 17th Century
by Deborah Swift

In my novel, A Divided Inheritance, Elspet Leviston wants to follow her father into the lace trade. Lace was imported from Flanders and Brussels, and from Northern France, and then supplied to shopkeepers in the City of London, and to itinerant salesmen and market traders. In those days it mostly went by the name of ‘point’ – ‘lace’ being the word for something with which you would lace your clothes. It was expensive to buy as it was very labour-intensive and time-consuming to make.

Lace was the ideal commodity to be sold by female street vendors as it was light and easy to transport, but also yielded a good profit-margin. The cheaper lace was sold from a tray around the neck, or from a basket on the head. Usually men who plied the streets carried the heavier goods such as coal, sand for scrubbing stone floors or pans, or water.

More expensive silk lace (or ‘point’) would have probably been sold in the New Exchange – a double galleried equivalent of a mall, or in the Royal Exchange on Cornhill, where you could, according to Wenceslaus Hollar, buy
 ‘Arabian odours, silks from Seres here, Peerless sables, jewels, cloaks of gold’.

In the days of coal fires and little heating, gloves were universally worn, and these could be trimmed with point. Five shillings bought you a pair of gloves with a small lace trim, but £12 a yard was the price of fine Flanders lace, nine inches wide suitable for a ruff or collar. (Mercurius Publicus) In those days this was enormously expensive when you consider that even forty years later, Samuel Pepys’s housekeeping costs for a month were only £7.



Shops opened early at first light – 6am and stayed open until nightfall. It was common to use shops as a place for a social gathering, and often a dressmaker or tailor could entertain the clientele with drinks for several hours. The shops had counters which raised up to form shutters at night and were propped open during the day on stilts.

Only Freemen of the City of London had the right to run a shop in the city, and this right was jealously guarded. However, drapers, haberdashers and mercers shops in the Exchanges were often staffed by women, though owned by men. It was considered a demeaning occupation to be a salesgirl and have to work for a living. It was a step up in the world to get married and have a man to provide for you, and a complex emotional and social rite of passage. For a woman, marriage was supposed to be the ultimate aspiration, whereas for men it was seen as the end of their fun and the beginning of duty. Common sayings of the time include ‘winter and wedlock tame both man and beast’, and ‘wedlock is padlock’.

Shops and businesses usually only came to the woman upon the death of her husband, and many widows ran successful businesses. They had experience of budgeting from household accounting. Well-off women employed a many servants and were used to dealing with staff and money. In my novel Elspet Leviston wants to maintain her independence, and in the novel this causes strife with her father who has a traditional seventeenth century view, and wants to pass the business to the nearest male relative. I was interested in making a journey for my main protagonist where she would develop self-reliance and become skilful in a male dominated world. For the journey to be believable, it took a physical passage to another culture as well as her own courage and determination.

Glossary
Draper – dealer in fabrics, wool cloth, linen
Mercer Рdealer in fashionable textiles; silk, velvet, moiré
Haberdasher – dealer in small items of dress – laces, gloves, stockings, sewing supplies etc
Bibliography
Restoration London – Liza Picard
Birth Marriage & Death (in Tudor & Stuart England) – David Cressy
Tudor England – A.H.Dodd
Stuart England – Blair Worden

What an excellent post - Thank you Deborah!

To read more fascinating events on A DIVIDED INHERITANCE, please check out what is happening over at HFVBT HERE.

And now onto the GIVEAWAY of
To ENTER:

Please leave your comment and your email address
For EXTRA points, please follow this blog
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GOOD LUCK To ALL!!!

21 comments:

  1. would love to read A Divided Inheritance!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. i follow this blog as Cyn209

    cyn209 at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. shared on my FB wall: www.facebook.com/cyn209

    cyn209 at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would so love to read this.
    kaiminani@gmail.com

    ps: I received The Serpent and the Pearl. Thank you!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. https://twitter.com/BrokenTeepee/status/402987196090576896

    ReplyDelete
  6. I shared on facebook https://www.facebook.com/pattyleonardwoodland/posts/10202629987250280

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting post; I'm pleased to learn about the difference between a draper and a mercer. I'd love to win and read this novel. Thanks for the giveaway.
    I am a GFC follower, now through Bloglovin
    lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd love to read this book!

    nellista at yahoo dot com dot au

    ReplyDelete
  9. The gloves in the picture are gorgeous! Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to read the book. I have pinned it on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/504332858242842084/ , I follow by Bloglovin and by GFC (Denise) and I have tweeted 6:57 PM - 20 Nov 13 www.facebook.com/denise.duvall.10
    denannduvall(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and posted on my Facebook wall www.facebook.com/denise.duvall.10

      Delete
  10. I'd like to be counted in for this book if it is open to all.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  11. I always like to learn of the smaller things in 17th century London and surrounding environs. It helps me to connect on a more personal level. Thanks for this post.

    I'd also like to win a copy of your new book. My email address is katherinepym@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. This book sounds so good! I loved The Gilded Lily and am excited to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!
    candc320@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    candc320@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I shared on Twitter (https://twitter.com/candc320/status/403537338027892737).
    candc320@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. https://twitter.com/AmyBooksy/status/404307152493215744
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I REALLY want to read this book. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. email campbellamyd at gmail dot com

      Delete
  17. I follow via bloglovin
    amybooksy
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  18. A new author to me. This looks fantastic. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete