Regency England and Medical Care
Published on February 13, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 2498

Visiting a doctor in the 21st century isn’t fun, but visiting a doctor in Regency England was often life threatening, and your treatment depended on how much you could afford to pay.  This is why home remedies were tried before the doctor was summoned.  There were three medical practitioners functioning during the time of Regency England.  Physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries, but I think midwives should also have a place and have included them below.


We shall begin with the physicians, who are considered to have better training and experience.  The physician often came from a genteel background.  They were the second or third sons of a gentleman.  The doctors attended prestigious schools and earned their degree at a university.  These universities were associated with various hospitals.  Their training did not include an apprenticeship, nor did they practice on actual patients.  A doctor’s education consisted of listening to medical procedures taught in a lecture hall.

Doctors were considered expensive and hired by the members of the aristocracy.  They also liked to be paid in a discreet manner, since theoretically, gentlemen did not accept money for work.  Only physicians that were licensed by the Royal College of Physicians were addressed by the title of doctor.  If a doctor was staying with a family, he was likely to be invited to dine with them.


Surgeons were not regarded as highly as doctors, nor were they like the surgeons of today.  Surgeons in Regency England were more like general practitioners, and usually had an apprenticeship under a doctor.  In 1815, the laws of apprenticeship changed to require a five-year apprenticeship and a six-month training course to receive a license as a surgeon, prior to this they were not very educated.  Most surgeons of the period learned from on the job training.  Medical knowledge at the time was obtained through trial and error, where experiments were conducted and observations were made and noted in journals.  These medical journals were a source of knowledge for those in the medical field, unfortunately these journals were expensive, so poorer doctors often shared the subscription and passed the journals amongst each other.

Surgery was performed without anesthesia, and was usually limited to amputation or noninvasive surgeries, like cyst removal.  Ether wasn’t discovered until 1842.  Before this time, people who needed surgery were given large does of alcohol, opium, cannabis, or mandrake, which were not very effective.  Less effective measures of pain relief were ice, hypnosis, bloodletting, and nerve compression.  If the pain didn’t kill you, then an infection might, since the chances of dying from infection were very high.  Because the surgeons performed amputations, and lacked the university education, they were seen below doctors in social circles, and thus if staying with a family he would likely dine with the upper servants.


Apothecaries were considered the poor man’s doctor.  They were apprenticed to learn about drugs.  In essence, they were Regency pharmacists and deemed as tradesmen.  But in villages or rural areas, where doctors were scarce, it was the apothecary who would come to your home to treat you.  The problem was that many of these elixirs given for treatment were toxic.  See my early blog on Drugs and Addiction.  Apothecaries were seen even further down on the social scale and fall beneath the surgeons.  An apothecary’s chance of staying to eat with the family was slim, but he would dine with the servants, if invited at all.

Midwives and Women

Women during the era acted as midwives, nurses, and herbal healers.  But during the Regency, more men began to enter into midwifery.  Midwives delivered the majority of babies.  Forceps had been invented by this time for difficult births, but female midwives often wouldn’t use them, while the males would.  Cases of childbed fever increased, due to forceps use.  C-sections were rarely used because of the high rate of infection.  An obstructed baby would be killed and removed in pieces.  If the mother died, they would try to save the baby, but the procedure had to be done quickly or the baby wouldn’t receive oxygen.  Husbands were often consulted before these life or death tactics were taken.

A few doctors were knighted for doctoring the royal family, and although the aristocracy hired doctors, they did not invite them to their parties.  Most of the doctors treated patients in towns and villages, and they rarely visited the hospitals.  People were often treated inside of their home.  The hospitals were mostly located in the cities, and not used by the majority of the population.  Hospitals were considered places of contagion.

Items used by a Regency doctor often included the black leather medical bag, lancets, scalpels, syringes, and bleeding cups.  The Frenchman, René Laennec, invented the stethoscope during the Regency era in 1816.  Hand washing and changing bandages were not concerns, so illnesses often spread or caused infections.  You can see more on medical treatments by referring to my blog on Leeches and Bloodletting.

Although medicine was hit or miss, new medicines were discovered, such as quinine, calamine, proven herbal remedies, and others.  Edward Jenner improved upon the small pox vaccination during the Regency, making it the first infectious disease to be restrained in this manner.


A special thanks to and Roy and Lesley Adkins, Jane Austen’s England and

Why is the Rabbit's Foot Considered Lucky?
Published on January 27, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1445

The rabbit’s foot is often used as an amulet to bring about luck.   The lucky rabbit’s foot originated from ancient beliefs held by the Celts around 600 BC.  The Celts considered the rabbit a friend to the god of fertility, due the rapid rate in which rabbits reproduce.  Rabbits are also associated with spring and the return of flowers and foliage.  Since rabbits live underground, the foot of the rabbit was used to protect a person from evil spirits.

Women who wished to become pregnant or those who wished to enhance their sexual lives, also carried the rabbit’s foot.  In the 16th century, Reginald Scot, an Englishman who wrote The Discoverie of Witchcraft in 1584, claimed a rabbit’s foot in your pocket would ease arthritis pain.  The belief in the lucky rabbit’s foot is seen in Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America, but the view of the rabbit’s foot varies by culture.  To the Chinese, the rabbit’s foot symbolizes prosperity.

Not all of the rabbit’s feet are considered lucky.  When rabbits run, their hind legs land of the ground first, thus it was their right hind leg that was considered magical, since the left was often associated with the devil.  One superstition claims that the foot would only be lucky if the rabbit was shot in the cemetery at night with a silver bullet.

In hoodoo, which is a mix of African/American folk magic, the rabbit’s foot was used in various ceremonies.  Superstition claims that carrying the foot will bring you good luck, and rubbing it on the bottom of a baby’s foot will assure the child good luck for life.

Not all beliefs regarding the rabbit’s foot are said to grant luck, for there were some that believed they evoked bad luck if the owner of the rabbit’s foot kept the talisman for themselves.  The good luck was only believed to come if the owner gave the rabbit’s foot to another.  This would bless the giver and receiver of the rabbit’s foot luck, but if the receiver lost the lucky talisman, both giver and receiver would be met with bad luck.

Animal rights activists have concerns regarding the killing of rabbits for such a purpose, and thus encouragement toward the rabbit’s foot as a lucky charm is passing into history.  Although you can still buy them in some countries, synthetic alternatives are readily available.

A special thanks to Scientific American and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

2014 is the Year of the Wood Horse
Published on January 24, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1020

The year of the Horse begins on January 30th with the new moon and ends on February 18th.

This is the year of the wood horse or the green horse, since wood is an element of spring, when plants begin their regrowth.  In Chinese astrology, the year of the horse is considered a year of luck, competitiveness, and good things, it is also a time of rapid change and power struggles.  The horse is a spirited animal that symbolizes travel and speedy success.  The horse is known for freedom, passion, leadership, and nobility.  Horse is also the strongest fire animal of the Chinese zodiac and so it is connected with heat, fire, and the color red.  Since red is a symbol of love, the horse is treated as a Romantic Star in Chinese horoscope.  People born in the year of the horse are often intelligent and have a gift for speech.

So what does all this mean for the coming year?  2014 will be a lucky year, and bad luck should be minimal.  If it’s a favorable year for you, you could catch a lot of lucky breaks, and if it’s an unfavorable year for you, the luck in the year could soften the blows.  The wood horse is a year of victories, unexpected adventure, and romance.  Wood energy encourages slow growth.  It is the year for taking chances.

A word of forewarning, horse energy is fast and can refer to fools rushing in where the wise fear to go.  So although this may be a lucky year, before you rush to complete your goals, make sure you’re prepared and use common sense to meet with success.  Keep in mind that you don’t want to go galloping off in the wrong direction.  Under the horse there is no middle ground, so as some global economies will become stronger, others will collapse.  This year may bring about opportunities for spiritual growth and attitude changes.  It is the cooperative energy of the horse that reminds us of the courage and stamina necessary to follow our dreams.  Thoughtful transformations and a shared enthusiasm for improvements is a positive indication that 2014 will be a good year.

Historic Sights Part Eleven
Published on January 22, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1348

Castle Stalker is a four-story keep that sits on a tidal island on Loch Linnhe.  It is located off the coast of Argyll, Scotland.  The castle is accessible from the shore at low tide.  The original castle was built in the early 14th century by Clan MacDougall who were the Lords of Lorn. (Lorn is an ancient district in the west of Scotland.)  Around 1388 the Stewarts took over the Lordship of Lorn and were said to have built the castle that currently rests upon the site in the 1440’s.  Due to a drunken wager made by King James IV of Scotland, the castle passed to Clan Campbell in 1620.  The Campbell’s abandoned the castle in 1840, when the keep lost its roof.  In 1965 Lt. Colonel D.R Stewart Allward purchased the castle and began restoration.  Castle stalker is owned privately and is open to the public at select times during the summer.

Ballindalloch Castle is located in Moray, Scotland.  The first tower of the Z plan design was built in 1546, which was a typical design for the late 16th century noble houses in the Grampian region.  The tower house was plundered and burned by the first Marquis of Montrose, but was restored in 1645.  Ballindalloch is known as the Pearl of the North.  The property has been in the Russell Macpherson-Grant family since 1457.  The Macpherson-Grants, founded the famous Aberdeen Angus cattle on this land.  In 1770, two wings were added to the castle by James Grant, who decided to enlarge his family home and allow his chef the use of one of the new wings.  Throughout the property’s history, the castle underwent alterations, which were extensive during the Victorian era, with further modernizations being done in 1965.  The rivers Spey and Avon run through the property.  The home is still family owned and is open to the public.  Guests can partake in light snacks and beverages in the tearoom.

Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle and Victorian gothic revival mansion.  The castle is located in Cardiff, Wales.  The structure was originally a 3rd century Roman fort that was built upon by Norman invaders in the 11th century.  The castle was the heart of the medieval town of Cardiff.  In the 12th century, the castle was rebuilt with stone and defensive walls were erected around the property.  Cardiff Castle underwent many attacks in the 12th century due to conflicts between the Anglo-Normans and the Welsh.  Owen Glendower, the Prince of Wales, attacked the castle in 1404 during the Welsh Revolt against King Henri IV of England.  The English Parliament also took the castle by force during the English Civil War, but Royalist supporters regained it in 1645.  The structure continued to undergo renovations through the years when it passed into the hands of the Marquesses of Bute.  The castle grew into a Georgian mansion and many of the other medieval buildings on the property, along with the walls, were demolished.  The grounds were landscaped and reconstructed to include parks.  The finding of Roman remains led to the walls and a gatehouse being reconstructed into the Roman design.  The interior is considered to be an excellent example of gothic revival.  In the 20th century, many commercial companies took interest in the lands surrounding Cardiff and the property was sold off in pieces, with some of the lands becoming nationalized, until only the castle was left.  The castle is currently owned by the city of Cardiff and it is open to the public.

Alcázar of Segovia is a stone fortification located in the city of Segovia, Spain.  The castle is built upon a rock cliff above the rivers of Eresma and Clamores.  Segovia Castle is shaped like the bow of a ship, making it distinct from other castles.  The fortification first began as an Arab Fort, which was built atop the remains of a Roman fort.  The castle is believed to have been built in the 12th century, after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands. The palace was enlarged and added to during the next four centuries.  During the middle ages the castle served as a royal palace.  It has also served as a state prison, a royal Artillery College, and a military academy.  In 1862 a fire destroyed much of the structure and it was rebuilt two decades later in a more romantic style.  Segovia Castle is one of the castles that inspired Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

Goodreads Giveaway for paperback copy of my new release, The Vengeful Earl
Published on January 12, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 938

Goodreads Book Giveaway
The Vengeful Earl by L.A. Hilden


Giveaway ends February 14, 2014.



at Goodreads.


The Lucky Horseshoe
Published on January 9, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1916

Since early history, working animals were exposed to hoof damage from excessive wear.  In ancient Asia, horses hooves were often wrapped in rawhide or other materials for protection.  The early Roman’s also attempted to wrap their horses’ hooves with a solid, leather and metal contraption, called the hipposandal.  The nailed type of horseshoe came later.  The earliest written record of an iron horseshoe was in 910 A.D.  Around 1000 A.D., cast, bronze horseshoes with nail holes became common.  By the early 11th century, iron horseshoes were manufactured, and due to the value of iron at the time, horseshoes could be accepted to pay taxes.  The continual need for horseshoes, placed blacksmiths in high demand, and their craft led to the development of metallurgy.

Interesting history, but why is the horseshoe considered lucky?  Why do we see them hung over barn doors and along fences?  There are a couple of reasons.  First, lucky horseshoes came into being during festive occasions, where a silver shoe was hammered into a horse’s hoof before the parade, and the retriever won a prize.

Another reason the horseshoe is lucky is because it is said to ward off witches and devils.  The iron used to make the shoe was an element believed to ward off fairy folk and evil entities.  Why iron?  Iron smells like human blood and blood is our life force.  Iron is also found deep in the earth and considered the life force of the earth.  Thus iron, like silver, could ward off witches, fairies, and ghosts.  Although if witches existed, then they likely used iron cauldrons, so their fear of that element seems convoluted.  I’d like to note that prison bars, cemetery gates, and many crucifixes are also made out of iron, which is interesting.  So lower entities of energy dissipate from the grounding element of iron.

Legend says that the blacksmith, Saint Dunstan, nailed a horseshoe to the devil’s foot, with a guarantee that the devil would leave his family in peace if he nailed a horseshoe on the door.

Horseshoes are still seen in the 21st century as well, although I’m unsure if people are aware of the stories behind the symbol they are hanging.  Nailing a horseshoe on the barn was said to prevent a witch from taking or riding your horses.  Western culture claims the user of the lucky talisman should leave the ends upward, so that the luck doesn’t drain out.  Other cultures suggest leaving the ends downward to shower the person with luck.  Most cultures believed that since the horseshoe protects the horse, then it must protect people too.  The horseshoe being recognized as good luck dates back to the 4th century in Greece.  They felt that the iron horseshoe drove away evil and the shape of the horseshoe represented the crescent moon, which was known as a symbol of fertility and good luck.  The horseshoe was a potent charm on land or sea.  Horseshoes were nailed to the masts of ships to protect the crew during storms.  The rule of luck regarding a horseshoe is if you find one and there are nails still in it, count them, for the more nails means a luckier you.  In Northumberland, the rule was that the holes missing nails, indicated the number of years remaining until the person who found the item weds.

A Poem by James T. Fields

The stranger asked to see the shoe;

The farmer brought it into view;

But when the old man raised his head;

He laughed outright and quickly said;

“No wonder skies upon you frown,

You’ve nailed the horse-shoe upside down;

Just turn it round, and soon you’ll see

How you and Fortune will agree.”


A special thanks to and The History & Use of Amulets, Charms and Talisman by Gary R. Varner

Blog Hop
Published on January 3, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1247

So this is my second Blog Hop, which means a different set of questions.  The first questions is:

If I could achieve anything in my writing in 2014, what would it be?

Realistically, I’d love to finish three more books and publish another in each of my current series.  But, in the dream world that I prefer to live in, I’d like to see my books fall under the nose of a fabulous screenwriter, who falls in love with my characters and decides to make all my stories into movies.

What are the top three demons you must slay to reach your goals?

To reach my goals I need to tackle marketing.  If anyone knows anyone who’s a close friend to Oprah, let me know.  I’ve never been big on tooting my own horn.  Finding the right balance in marketing that works for me will be difficult.  Since I have a backlist with six novels in circulation, effective marketing is something that I plan to work on this year.  I also plan on examining spirituality in combination with religion, while trying to remain impartial.  This isn’t always easy, since I tend to often have an opinion, although I don’t always share it.  And lastly, I shall try to fight the overwhelming sensation I sometimes get when I have a story filling my head and I’m not yet finished with the research I wish to do.  This problem tends to send me back to the computer where I end up adding more to the chapters previously written, which is time consuming.

Name three things that inspire you to write?

I’d have to say love.  Love of learning, love of the craft, and love of people.  I tend to crave learning and when I’m doing my research and come upon information that I never knew, I’m instantly fascinated.  I adore writing and feel it is my calling in this life.  I enjoy creating memorable characters that have feelings and flaws, and layers to their personalities.  As is true with any individual, my characters are shaped from their pasts and experiences.  The redemption and forgiveness that comes from love is a timeless story, for love alters and shapes our lives.  And I can’t help delving into the whole boy meets girl story because I find the interaction and sometimes awkwardness between the sexes inspiring as well as comical.

What advice do you have to a new writer who is considering writing fiction?

My advice would be to write what you love to read.  What book is in your head wishing to be written?  That’s the one you write.  It may not be your best, but writing is an art and like all things, the more you practice, the better you become.  Once you have something you are proud of, enter it into a few contests to see what kind of feedback you receive.  Always remember that reading is subjective and what one person loves, another may hate.  Keep in mind that you cannot please all readers.  I then advise you to get a good copy editor, since most readers cannot tolerate an overabundance of errors.  Stay positive and write to make yourself happy, you will not disappoint.

Symbolism of the Feather
Published on December 13, 2013 by lahilden | Views: 1407

Feathers symbolize ascension to the spiritual plane.  In most cultures, feathers represented higher thought and spiritual progression.  Birds were considered divine creatures because they are of the sky and therefore closer to God.

Feathers were worn by the Native Americans to symbolize their communication with the Great Spirit and to convey their celestial wisdom.  Feathers also represented the thunder gods and the power of the air and wind.  For the Native American tribes, the gifting of feathers is a high honor and they are seen as a sign of trust, strength, wisdom, honor, and freedom.

The ancient Celts and Egyptians believed the feather represented the sky gods.  Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of Justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead on the Scales of Justice against the weight of her ostrich feather to determine the soul’s worth.  Souls not worthy were eaten by Ammit, an Egyptian demon.

In Christianity, feathers represent the virtues of charity, hope, and faith.

Feathers are used in sacred ceremonies for many purposes, but different types and colors of feathers have differing meanings.  When I was little, my neighbors had a muster of peacocks and I’d always hear their calls.  To me their calls sounded like laughter, but my brother believed they were calling his name, which I found hysterical.  My mother had a big vase of these iridescence and colorful feathers in our house.  The beautiful peacock feather is a symbol of integrity and the beauty we can achieve if we show our true colors.  I’ve always admired the colors on the peacock feather.  The “eye” that adorns some of these feathers is considered to promote luck, protection, and awareness.  Many ancient cultures saw the peacock as an enchanted beast since it discarded such beautiful feathers during its annual molt.  Some see the peacock as a manifestation of the Phoenix and believe the feathers hold power.  The peacock was coveted by royalty in ancient Egypt, the penalty for a lessor individual having a peacock feather in their possession was death.

For Christians, the peacock represents the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s a symbol of renewal and immortality within their spiritual teachings.  The peacock often appears with the other animals in the stables of Christ’s nativity.

When you find feathers on your path, this may be a sign of encouragement for you to continue a higher spiritual direction.  Feathers are also believed to be sent from the angels as a sign to show that they are near and that you are not alone.  Oft times, they are shown to you as a message to lighten your outlook on things currently happening in your life.  Finding bird feathers is a reflection of change and reaching new levels of consciousness.  Remember that feathers appear when angels are near.

An old Scottish saying: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

A special thank you to and Ted Andrews, Animal Speak.

Blog Hop Questions
Published on December 7, 2013 by lahilden | Views: 918

Hello, I’m participating in a blog hop.  If this is how you reached my page today, then welcome to L.A. Hilden’s blog site.  Typically, I blog about the Regency period, castles, writing tips, and symbolism.  I was provided a set of questions and have given my responses in this blog.

What are you writing?

Currently, I am writing a new time travel series that involves three sister witches and their fight between light and dark.  I’ve been doing a great deal of research for this series.  Delving into the spiritual dimensions has been fascinating reading for me.  I’m only three chapters into the story, but I love the direction this story is taking.

My Regency historical A Vengeful Earl was released a couple of weeks ago.  A.V.E. is book two in the Bewildering Love series.  Aiden Northwood, the Earl of Sinclair, arrives I England to right the wrongs of his past, only to find his plans thwarted when he falls in love with Lydia Witley, a lady he was determined to destroy in the eyes of society.  I’m doing a final read on The Lady Charmer, which is book three in this series.  I plan to release T.L.C. next year.

I’m also putting the finishing touches to my next time travel release, which is book three in my Destiny series called A Tudor Displaced, which I plan to release next year. This is the story about Phoebe Bennett, a Tudor lady who finds herself in Regency England.  Phoebe is a feisty heroine who is destined to drive the Earl of Insley crazy.

How does your new work differ from past projects?

This time travel series differs from anything I’ve ever written because the love story is not the central focus of the story.  As of right now, I don't plan to marry any of the sisters to anyone, but there is tons of romance.  My new series delves further into the spiritual aspects of life as well as witchcraft.  The three sisters in my new story are Reiki practitioners.  They are decedents from the supreme witch, Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt.  The Griffin sisters were placed upon earth to help balance the scales of light and dark, regardless to realm or century.  The goddess Isis assigns them the tasks to complete.  The sisters are not in accord in regards to their destiny, and hiding their secrets from the world and their boyfriends is complicated.

Why do you write?

I love writing and using my imagination to create stories.  I tend to favor Regency England for my settings since there is something about that time that resonates with me.  Writing is my passion and I couldn’t imagine not doing so.  Stories enter my head and plot lines develop, which ends with me in front of the keyboard.

What is your writing process?

My writing process starts with an idea of a story and my imagination takes it from there.  I do not outline or plan an extensive plot.  I allow the story to tell me where it wants to go.  I have notes of funny quips, character bios, and minor plot ideas that I want to include in the story, as well as pages of research littered around me, but I don’t keep a set schedule and I tend to write when inspiration strikes.  When I do sit down in front of the keyboard, I usually write a chapter, which is about thirteen pages.  At that rate I could write a rough draft in thirty days, but that never happens. J

Symbolism and the Butterfly
Published on November 25, 2013 by lahilden | Views: 1044

I often use symbols in my stories, although readers may not always be aware of them.  Since I minored in Art History, I have studied works of art from Egypt to modern times.  The focus in all my studies was symbolism.  Symbols are used in various art forms to convey different connotations from their literal meaning.

I really don’t care for bugs, but if I had to choose a favorite, I’d have to go with the colorful and beautiful Butterfly.  The lifecycle of the butterfly consists of four stages, the egg, larva, pupa, and adult.  They represent transformation and change.  The butterfly emphasizes the ability to move from one state to the next, whether this is a life perspective, or a change in being from physical form to spirit.  The butterfly endures profound changes to become an adult, and its message is to accept the changes in our lives as casually as the butterfly.  Like the butterfly changes, so to do our soul’s by the end of our journey.

The butterfly is a powerful symbol in myth and religion.  They are often associated with the soul in many parts of the world.  To the early Christians, the butterfly symbolized the soul.  In China, the butterfly is seen as a symbol of conjugal bliss and immortality.  Native Americans view the butterfly as a symbol of joy and change.  They also believed the color of the butterfly contains it’s own message.  To the Japanese, the white butterfly symbolizes departed loved ones.  Butterflies serve as a reminder to not take things too seriously in life.  They remind us that change is not only inevitable, but that it is also good, even if it doesn’t feel that way.  So in essence, this pretty insect is telling you to lighten up and allow the heaviness and tension to fly away with the breeze, while you enjoy the ride.

Butterflies serve a higher purpose for many, and I have seen first hand how departed loved ones make use of them.  The stories I have could fill pages and I can’t help finding the heaven sent butterflies amazing.  The joy they bring to a hurting parent’s heart is priceless.  All hail the butterfly.