Obscure Regency Trivia: Rockets and Oak Apple Day
Little known historical facts are what make fiction fun.
I come across a lot of interesting tidbits when I research. Historical fiction is all about working in facts while keeping the story moving forward. In my latest release, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, I worked in lots of Regency trivia, but here are two facts of note.
Oak Apple Day
This ancient celebration dates back to the year 1651. At the time, Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by taking cover in an oak tree. Everyone loved ol’ Charlie and was glad he lived, so in his honor, a new national holiday was born—one that in some parts of England is still celebrated today.
Another name for this annual event is Royal Oak Day and the festivities occur every May 29th. Celebration traditions vary from parades to the ringing of bells, but one thing that is standard is that it’s a day to pin an oak leaf on your lapel. If you fail to wear one, you could end up getting pinched.
Hero Alexander Moore is kind enough to remind the innkeeper’s daughter that she forgot to pin on her leaf, thus saving her from untoward pinches.
Believe it or not, rockets were used way back in the early nineteenth century. The Congreve Rocket was developed in 1804 by William Congreve and first experimentally tried against a French fleet at Boulogne, France in 1805. These were the days of Napoleon’s threat against England.
Back then, the rockets were gunpowder-propelled and used incendiary warheads. Think of a giant bottle-rocket and you’ll have a rough mental image of one. They were launched from tubes set on special ladder-like frames and could be shot from land or sea.
And lest you gloss over this thinking such information has nothing to do with America, think again. You know the line in the U.S. National Anthem, “And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb’s bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there?” Yeah, those were Congreve Rockets.
Next time you pick up a piece of historical fiction, remember that even though you’re enjoying a good story, the author worked hard to seamlessly work in historical facts.
And don't forget that it's not too late to sign up to win your copy of The Innkeeper's Daughter, where you'll learn about more than just obscure holidays and military weaponry. Enter the Rafflecopter drawing…