NEW FEATURE: Who’s Your Daddy? What Weighs a Ton?

A New Feature Answering  Questions from Latter Day Colonials on British Nobility, Titles and Other Stuff.


Do you ever have a question about something like this:  “WTF is the “Ton?”

I do – often.  I have been reading Romance Novels since I was about 12, when my oldest sister corrupted me with a bosom heaving Victoria Holt.  But, you know, sometimes there are things that seem like they’re in another language and I just kind of get the context and move on.  Then there’s stuff like British English, Historic clothing, food, and above all the Nobility or Peerage.

I mean, in general you get contextually that the ton is a self-defined and policed social structure for persons of rank, money and from a certain social class.  But where did it come from and who died an made these people god?

In a second I will look at that but Why have I called this new feature, “Who’s  Your Daddy?”  Well, it kind of came to me suddenly. So much of a character’s life in historic romance depended on who their father was, an to a lesser extent the identity of your mother. Hence, your name, the status of your parents,  made you or broke you.

But I am not married to it and if someone has a better idea I will consider it. I quickly came up with this little heraldry inspired logo:
whosdaddylogo-Recovered The light bulb represents knowledge and it is standing victorious over a question.  It is actually snicked from a public domain image of bookplate of Elizabeth Duchess of Beaufort at Wikimedia Commons. and then Slightly modified.

The word “Ton” shortened from Le Bon Ton (not to be confused with bon temps), like so many things in the seemingly anti-francophile England derived from the French phrase meaning taste, everything that is fashionable, good manners.

The Ton, pronounced like tone, was the high society of Georgian England. It comprised no more than 1,500 families of about 10,000 people. It was made up of  the aristocracy, the gentry, and royalty and monarch(s).  Perhaps you remember reading about Almacks, a social club in London.  It figures in novels like VANITY FAIR.

A  Ball at Almack's Assembly Rooms
A Ball at Almack’s Assembly Rooms in London, 1805-1825. “Tom and Jerry” book
by George Cruikshank
According to Wikipedia Almacks was ruled by a committee of select and influential ladies from the ton called Patronesses. Balls were held each Wednesday and the Patronesses met weekly to decide if anyone should be allowed in or kicked out.  Since this was the place to see and be seen banishment was a social disgrace.In short, The Ton was high society in the Georgian period. The newly rich might not be welcome and had a hard time climbing up to the ton status.Who made the ton the ton? Well, in a sense the aristocracy keeping to themselves and admitting very few member of the merchant class made themselves the ton.  Like the worst “mean girls club” in any school.

What are you wondering about in a book you read or are reading.  I’m not Einstein, but I am resourceful so maybe I can find an answer.  Just drop me a line!!