Stagecoach Travel: Information on Porters, Goods & Luggage (1819)

Rules of the Road | Wanstead | UK Destinations | Porters, Goods & Luggage

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

The coaching era is generally thought to have begun around 1660 and lasted until the late 1840s when the last passenger-carrying mail coaches and stage services were discontinued, as the age of steam travel was now upon us. Though several key routes were established from London across Britain during the reign of Charles II, the state of roads meant that coach travel was only ever undertaken if absolutely necessary. However this was all to change after the creation of various statutory bodies empowered to raise tolls for the maintenance and improvement of important stretches of road. By the reign of George III there were over 1000 of these ‘Turnpike Trusts‘ administering about 2500 miles of roadway.

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

Turnpike at Kings Road, in rural Chelsea c.1819

Turnpike tolls ranged from a penny per person or horse to sixpence for carts, waggons and coaches. But the mail coaches, the army, and local labourers on foot were allowed to use such roads free of charge. At first the Trusts were little more than local tax-raising fiefdoms, as very little of the money raised was invested in road improvements. However, two technological breakthroughs changed all this, leading to an era of fast and efficient stage coach travel – perhaps reaching its apogee in the 1820s. Firstly, the appointment of engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) signalled a policy of easing gradients on existing roads, and finding short cuts which avoided uneven terrain. Telford also implemented new systems of drainage meaning that the roads were passable more often and over a greater period of the year. Secondly the introduction of a new road material, ‘tarmacadam’, named after its inventor John Macadam (1756-1836) was vital for modernising Britain’s roadways, ushering in an era of mass stagecoach travel both for  business and pleasure. These advances meant that a stagecoach journey from London to Manchester (which would have taken 4 and a half days in 1750) could be done in 26 hours by 1821.

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

Expect to be fleeced at provincial coaching inns

When undertaking a long journey from London, the cost of your fare and luggage was far from the only expense to be considered. Provincial inns has a reputation pretty much like today’s motorway service stations and were only to ready to fleece passengers for all manner of additional charges as they stopped for rest and refreshment. For example it was widely established that stops should only last 20 minutes. Passengers were expected to pay for their meal in advance but rarely had time to eat it before going on their way. So coaching inns commonly re-sold ‘left-overs’ to the next coach party. If you were unfortunate enough to stay overnight, it was usual to tip the coachman and any accompanying staff, waiters, coaching inn porters, and even charges for candles in your room (which could be as much as 5 shillings extra per night!). There were even ‘local’ taxes levied for support of the poor. Hence lengthy journeys often led to hefty bills, so the best option for any departee from London was to find a regular service from an established carrier, using good roads with minimal stops.

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

Fully laden stagecoach at Highgate c.1835

The cost of travel was also affected by tax charged upon each and every coach using the roads. After 1776 there was a £5 Stamp Duty on all coaches, plus from 1783 half a penny per mile travelled was levied – applying whether the coach was fully loaded or not. Hence it became economic to load up coaches as much as possible to spread the cost, but also resulted in less frequent winter services due to reduced passenger numbers making it uneconomical. Over time these taxes increased by degree, reaching 2 and a half pence per mile by 1838. The Government perhaps inadvertently hastened the decline of stage coach travel by being very slow to release stage coach operators from the burden of excise duty, at a time when railways were taking away much of their trade.

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

Porters – vital  cogs in the wheels of industry right back to Roman times

In Roman times carriages and chariots were prevented from driving into the forum by barriers across approaching roadways. All merchandise had to be handed over to porters, whose job it was to unload and distribute deliveries to and from the forum. The above image can be found on a wall behind the forum at Pompeii, signifying the important role carried out by porters. Fast forward to 1819 and we find that the most important job at any London coaching inn is carried out by the head porter. It was a well paid, responsible, and powerful job – The porter was the main point of contact with passengers, and organised staff at the inn and on the coaches – collecting tips and other benefits on their behalf during the loading and unloading process. Anyone staying overnight could rely on the head-porter to act as a concierge procuring goods and services or arranging entertainment for clients satisfaction. However, my guide to Stage Coaches for 1819 sets down some very important standards of behaviour expected from head-porters in the performance of their duties

wicked william's guide to stagecoach travel 1819

Beware the unscrupulous porter

A porter must ensure that parcels conveyed from coaching inns will not exceed the following rates:

  1. Anything up to a quarter of a mile – 3 pence
  2. Between 1 and up to two miles – 6 pence
  3. Two miles and above – 10 pence with an additional 3 pence for every half mile thereafter

Any person or porter demanding more than the above rates, for any parcel not exceeding 56lb*, will be compelled to forfeit 20 shillings

Any inn or warehouse keeper neglecting to send a Ticket with every parcel, containing the Name or Description of the Inn or Warehouse from whence the same is sent, with the Christian and Surname of the Porter who is to deliver the same, and Carriage and Porterage marked thereon, forfeits 40 shillings, and the Porter not leaving the Ticket with the Parcel, or, altering, or wilfully obliterating, anything written thereon, forfeits 40 shillings. and if he demands more than written on such ticket, 20 shillings

Every parcel arriving by Coach to be delivered within 6 hours after such Arrival; (if not after 4pm, or before 7am, then within 6 hrs after 7am;) or by Waggon, within 24 hours after such arrival; or Inn-keeper to forfeit 20 shillings 

Parcels directed ‘to be left till called for’ to be delivered on Payment of Carriage and 2d Warehouse-room for the first, and 1d for each week after, or forfeit 20 shillings

Every porter misbehaving, forfeits 20 shillings

These offences are cognizable before any Justice of the District.

*56lb was 4 stone in imperial weight, which is about 25 kilos. This is not a bad baggage allowance when thinking about airlines today.


If moving a load, then waggons or carts are for you

As well as the above rules of conduct for porters, it was important to be aware of charges payable for larger items being transported. My guide book sets it out thus:

  1. A ‘load’  = 25 hundredweight (1.25 tons)
  2. A ‘half load’ = 15-19 hundredweight (from 0.75 up to one ton)
  3. A ‘small load’ anything under 15cwt (0.75 tons)

Some items which might constitute a load: Two hogsheads of sugar, 50 baskets of raisins, 20 barrels of figs, 5 barrels of rice, 3 bales of aniseed, 6 barrels of almonds or 10 barrels of fish oil

hogshead of sugar

A hogshead of sugar – very popular with children

A half load tended to be scaled down quantities of full load items, such as one hogshead of sugar

A small load might be made up of: 50 jars of raisins, one butt of currents, or 3 puncheons of prunes

The orange wharf at London bridge

The Orange Wharf at London Bridge

If you direct a coach or waggon to collect goods on your behalf from any of London’s many wharves – there are a sliding scale of costs applicable. For example quays around London Bridge incur a surcharge per load of 3 shillings and four pence, but wharves around the Tower of London charge as much as 4 shillings and a penny. In all wharves goods such as wine, olive oil, rum, and brandy are liable to additional charges – which can vary by individual wharf – often dependent on how the goods are packaged and distributed from the ships or barges.

Goods collected from wharves and leaving the City of London by more than a mile radius are charged 5 shillings and two pence, rising on a sliding scale thereafter according to distance travelled to point of delivery

stagecoach 1

I hope you have enjoyed this little dip into Regency transport for London, and that reproduction of any part of this blog will be fully acknowledged or credited. Any comment or feedback is always welcome.

For the modern-day equivalent of Regency stage coach service why not consider a London & UK Taxi Tour – or for a broader brush look at all things Georgian try Rachel Knowles’ Regency History website. To learn about Britain’s very first celebrity couple – who caused a Regency scandal extraordinaire visit author Geraldine Roberts

For more about horsemanship in Georgian Britain why not check out the Epping Hunt – or follow Wicked William off to war


Principal Departures for London Coaches (1819)

Rules of the Road | Wanstead | UK Destinations | Porters, Goods & Luggage

coaching inn porter 4 1829 satire

If you are heading out of London in 1819, you ought to be aware the best coaching inn from where to begin your journey. First and foremost it is important to remember that London is served by over 120 stagecoach inns, and every one of them offers a selection of destinations. Where stabling is ample, such as the Golden Cross in Charing Cross, the widest selection of options are available. However, most inns concentrate on specific routes to the same part of the country. A good example of this is the Blue Boar Cellar at Aldgate, which heavily relies upon Essex trade. Inns cited near important industry or London markets such as Smithfield will place greater emphasis on waggons or carts with much less traffic by stagecoach. Blossoms Inn (see below) has taken advantage of the recent boom in tourism by providing  a frequent and regular service to Brighton.  Some inns are owned by the same businessmen. The Swan with 2 necks, the Spread Eagle and the White Horse all belong to William Chaplin. Chaplin is ahead of his time in regard to corporate branding because all coaches have livery relating to the specific inn from where they operate. Thus it is common to see coaches with either a two-necked swan, a white horse or an eagle emblazoned across their rear.


In this blog have I have listed the principal London departure points for major towns throughout Britain in the year 1819, and tried to give some background information on each inn selected.

swan with 2 necks lad lane - london coaching inn

The Swan with Two Necks, Cheapside

The Swan with Two Necks was in Lad Lane (renamed Gresham Street in 1851). Known to have existed since the 16th Century this large inn was significant from early days of organised coach travel, and was a key departure point for the mail coaches until the 1840s

Depart here for: Andover, Axminster, Basingstoke, Bath, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Camelford, Chester, Coventry, Daventry, Dartmouth, Devonport, Exeter, Falmouth, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester, Nottingham, Penzance, Plymouth, Preston, Reigate, Salisbury, Southampton, Stroud, Totnes, Towcester, Truro, Winchester, or Wolverhampton

golden cross charing x - London coaching inn

The Golden Cross, Charing Cross

This famous inn was a thriving transport hub back in the days when Charing Cross was a mere village between the cities of London and Westminster. Probably reaching its apogee in 1819, a combination of pressure for urban redevelopment and the onset of railways lead to a sudden death for this inn. By 1827 The Gentleman’s Magazine reported that the Golden Cross and its ‘extensive stables’ had been acquired by commissioners acting on behalf of the architect John Nash for the princely sum of £30,000 – and Trafalgar Square’s development was underway. There is a great literary connection to Charles Dickens as The Golden Cross features in Sketches by Boz, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers

Depart here for: Ashby de la Zouch, Ashford (Kent), Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Chichester, Dover, Durham, Eastbourne, Harrogate, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Litchfield, Ludlow, Maidstone, Mitcham, Nantwich, Newmarket, Potteries (Stafford), Stratford upon Avon, Tamworth, Taunton, Thetford, Worcester, Wrotham (Kent),  or York

La Belle Sauvage, Ludgate Hill, London Coaching Inn

La Belle Sauvage Inn, Ludgate Hill

This coaching inn has been around since Elizabethan times where it also served as a playhouse and venue for sporting events, its rear balconies serving as upper and lower circles for crowds attending. Famous lodgers include Pocahontas (1616), and it is said to be the place where the first rhinoceros brought to England was kept. This is one of several pubs and inns mentioned in Dickens novel The Pickwick Papers. La Belle Sauvage was literally swept away by the railways when it was demolished in 1873 to make way for a viaduct.

Depart here for: Anglesey, Chippenham, Colchester, Darlington, Downham (Norfolk), Ely, Fulham, Holyhead, Kew, (Kings) Lynn, Maidenhead (Berks), Norwich, Shepton Mallet, Sherborne (Dorset), Shrewsbury, St Austell, Swindon, Tiverton, Trowbridge, Walsall, Warminster, Warrington, Warwick, Wimborne, or Windsor

white horse fetter lane - London coaching inn

The White Horse, Fetter Lane

The yard of this inn provided stabling for over 70 horses, and there were ample lodgings for both long and short-term visitors to the capital. It was demolished and rebuilt to a smaller scale in 1899, as the stables were no longer needed for the hotel guests, most of whom now travelled by rail.

Depart here for: Aberdeen, Aldborough, Arundel, Barnet,Barton Mills, Bishop Auckland, Blackburn, Bradford, Bury, Canterbury, Cromer, Croydon, Darlington, Dartford, Douglas (Isle of Man), Edinburgh, Gosport, Halifax, Hartlepool, Holmes Chapel, Hounslow, Huddersfield, Inverness, Kidderminster, Kilmarnock, Kirby Lonsdale, Kirkaldy, Knutsford, Lancaster, Leek, Milford Haven, Newark, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newport Pagnall, Nuneaton, Peterhead, Pontefract, Rugby, Stockton on Tees, Selkirk, Sheerness, Sheffield, Stevenage, Stockport, Stockton upon Tees, Sunderland, Swansea, Ware (Herts), Wetherby, Wisbech, OR Worksop


Saracens Head Aldgate 1855 - London coaching inn

The Saracen’s Head, Snow Hill

The Saracen’s Head Hotel, Snow Hill (Holborn) is described in Chapter Four of Charles Dickens Nicholas Nickleby

Near to the jail, and by consequence near to Smithfield…and on that particular part of Snow Hill where omnibus horses going eastwards seriously think of falling down on purpose, and where horses in hackney cabriolets going westwards not unfrequently fall by accident, is the coach-yard of the Saracen’s Head inn, its portal guarded by two Saracens’ heads and shoulders…frowning upon you from either side of the gateway, and the inn itself, garnished with another Saracen’s Head, frowns upon you from the top of the yard

Knocked down to make way for the Holborn Viaduct in 1868 this ancient inn was once frequented by Samuel Pepys

Depart here for: Arbroath, Barnsley, Braintree, Burnley, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Colne, Egham, Falkirk, Fishguard, Forfar,Greenwich, Grimsby, Hertford, Huntingdon, Kendall, Malmsbury, Marlborough, Minehead, Montrose, Newbury, Oldham, Padstow, Paisley, Perth, Poole, Reading, Sidmouth, Stirling, Thirsk, Ulverstone (Lancs), Upminster, Wakefield, Welwyn, Wentworth (Yorks), Weymouth, Whitehaven, OR Wigan

Bull and Mouth St Matrins le Grand 1830 - London coaching inn

The Bull & Mouth, St Martins Le Grand

This inn was situated near Smithfield Market was originally named ‘Boulogne Mouth’ in reference to a siege laid upon this French port by Henry VIII. It was burned down in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt as a thriving coaching inn until 1831, when it was replaced by The Queen’s Hotel. On his excellent London rambles blog Mark Rowland has written an intriguing post about the mystery of the Bull & Mouth

Depart here for: Bangor, Cardiff, Carlisle, Carnavon, Chesterfield, Dublin, Dudley, Dunstable, Glasgow, Fakenham, Henley, Knaresborough, Leighton Buzzard, Melton Mowbray, Northampton, Pembroke, Ripon, Rotherham, Scarborough, Skipton, St Albans, Stamford, Stourbridge, Stow on the Wold, Stranraer, Sutton Coldfield, Tipton, Wells (Norfolk), Woburn, OR Wrexham

Inner yard Blossoms Inn, Lawrence Lane Cheapside 1850 London coaching inn

Blossoms Inn, Cheapside

A corruption of the somewhat bawdy ‘Bosoms Inn’ this coaching inn dates back to the 14th century. In 1331 it was the venue for a jousting tournament that lasted three days. Pickfords Travel Company based their London headquarters here in 1720.

In 1822 The New Monthly Magazine published a popular ode to the coach journey from Bloossoms Inn to Brighton
blossoms inn poetry - London coaching inn

Depart here for: Brighton, Folkstone, Ramsgate, OR Sittingbourne,

spread eagle gracechurch st - London coaching inn

The Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street

This pub is recorded as a very important commuter hub for counting-house (banking) employees in the 1760s with a service 4 times daily to Camberwell. By 1819 it was still a very important meeting place and venue for commercial activities. One such businessman who used the Spread Eagle for deliveries was Thomas Twining the tea merchant.

Depart here for: Bromley (Kent), Epsom, Gravesend, Harwich, Lewisham, Lincoln, Lowestoft, Peterborough, Rochester, Sleaford, Stilton, Stoke (Suffolk), Streatham, Tooting, Woodbridge (Suffolk), OR Yarmouth

Bell Inn Holborn 1853 rear view - London coaching inn

The Bell and Crown, Holborn

This Holborn pub was largely concerned with routes from London into Hampshire, with Southampton and Winchester fairly important goods destinations.It was a very important masonic meeting place – Well past its best by 1819 – constrained by size and competition from a myriad of inns in and around Holborn

Depart here for: Aylesbury, Banbury, Berkhamstead, Edgware, Edmonton, Hampstead, Harrow on on the Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Leatherhead, Lewes, Rickmansworth, Stokenchurch, Teignmouth (Devon), Tottenham, Walthamstow, Watford, OR Wendover

blue boar aldgate - London coaching inn

The Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate

If Eastenders had a coaching inn, this would be it. The bulk of all coach travel into Essex originated at the Blue Boar Cellar. But in the 1750s it was more renowned as a departure point for young men heading on a Grand Tour of Europe – Stagecoaches ran to the port of Harwich which was the favoured port for those travelling to the Low Countries or Germany. By 1819 and the restoration of peace with France, Dover and Folkestone had gained the ascendancy for cross-channel trips.

Depart here for: Barking, Bishops Stortford, Brentwood, Chigwell, Dagenham, East Ham, Epping, Grays, Harlow. Hornchurch, Ilford, Plaistow, Rayleigh, Romford ,Southend-on-Sea, Stanstead, Stratford (Essex), OR Waltham Abbey

The Bolt and Tun Fleet St 1859 - London coaching inn

The Bolt in Tun, Fleet Street

The Bolt in Tun is recorded as open as long ago as 1443, and it survived right up until 1853. The coming of the railways put paid to the vast majority of coaching inns by 1850, so the demise of the Bolt in Tun was not surprising. Bolt-in-Tun is Regency period slang for a man who has absconded from lodgings, or escaped from jail. The pub itself had a reputation for riotous celebrations and drunkenness amongst its clientele, so perhaps it was popular with wild youth of the Georgian era. Book your journey from here by all means, but don’t hang around after dark!

Depart here for: Aberystwyth, Battle (Hastings), Cheltenham, Cowes (Isle of Wight), Esher, Eton, Froom, Gloucester, Guildford, Havant, Hereford, Margate, Monmouth, Oxford, Petworth, Portsmouth, Sevenoaks, Shepperton, Tewkesbury, Tunbridge, Twickenham, Walton on Thames, OR Wells (Somerset),

For a very comprehensive guide to London’s lost pubs and inns look no further than Pubs History

If you like Georgian London, then try Death of a Regency Prizefighter or a brief history of Royal Ascot – or you can find out just how multicultural our great city was 200 years ago

In the final part of my blog series on transport from 1819 I will describe the role of the inn porter: what was expected of him, and what recourse disgruntled travellers have when things don’t go according to plan. I will also give you some guidance on transporting goods – what you can take and how much it is likely to cost. Finally we can consider some of the many wharfs and docks serving London and providing an equally important and reliable transportation system

A Guide to Commuting In Regency London

Rules of the Road | Wanstead | UK Destinations | Porters, Goods & Luggage

stagecoach perils

Finding a stagecoach might be the start of your troubles

Should you ever find yourself transported back to Regency London (1819), here is an essential guide to making your way home. Remember that this was an age before trains, or motorised public transport could whisk you home in time for tea. Your destination will undoubtedly be unrecognisable from how it looks today, yet I hope my advice will remove you from the streets of the Metropolis before darkness sets in, and the Regency Underworld takes over.

Having explained the rules and regulations of coach fares, this second post focusses on my own locality, namely Wanstead and its environs. But part three now provides information upon travelling to other destinations throughout Britain. Special priority will be given to requests submitted by anyone overly anxious about the dangers of slipping through a time portal.

book reference

Information drawn from this hand-book

So if one day you do happen to wake up in 1819, please DON’T PANIC because London already has a highly organised and efficient transport system, relying on horse power [and Old Father Thames] to move people from A to B. You will discover a network of coaching inns and wharves, acting as proto ‘station terminals’ taking you to all manner of destinations.  Each can offer a choice of departure times, mode of carriage, and hospitality to suit the weary traveller should they decide to bide a while longer in the City before departure.

Before you book your journey, it is necessary to draw your attention to the terms and conditions prevailing in 1819.  After all you don’t want to end up in darkest Snaresbrook being bludgeoned by an irate coach driver because you have failed to read the small print governing Regency period transportation.

Most coaching inns provide stagecoaches, with some offering luxury Chariots to their richest clients. However, to reach your destination safely you may be compelled to board a Waggon alongside farm animals – or worse still, endure the ignominy of sharing a Cart with anything from perishable goods through to dead bodies (perished goods heading back to their parish for burial). So please study the timetable carefully to ensure you make the right choice!!


Wanstead [Essex, 8 miles from London] – Approximate cost 11 shillings

Magpie and Stump3
The Magpie & Stump – With prime views of Newgate Prison executions from the upstairs windows

As late as 1821 Wanstead was a very sparsely populated, with most local employment engaged at Wanstead House. In fact the only means of hired travel to Wanstead was by Cart:-

Kings Arms, Leadenhall Street, and Spotted Dog, Strand 4pm daily; Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate, Kings Arms & Flower Pot, Bishopsgate; Three Nuns, Whitechapel, and White Hart, Strand, 2pm daily; Cheshire Cheese, Crutched Friars, and Magpie & Stump, Newgate Street, daily (on demand)

Given that the Wanstead Estate produced a great deal of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as timber, it is likely that Carts travelled to London laden with goods early each day and then in the afternoon served as carriages for their return journey.


Leytonstone [Essex, 6 miles] – Approximate cost 8 shillings

saracens head aldgate 1855

The Saracen’s Head, Aldgate – Regular trips to Leytonstone

Given the surprising difference in mileage from that of nearby Wanstead, I assume that ‘Laytonstone’ (as it was then termed) must have had a drop off point nearer the parish boundary with Stratford. There are far more options available to Leytonstone dwellers:

By Coach daily: – The Bull, Aldgate, 11am and 3pm; Kings Arms, Leadenhall Street, 10am, 3pm, 4pm and 7pm; Saracen’s Head Aldgate, and Three Nuns, Whitechapel, 10am and 7pm; Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate, 4pm during summer, 3pm in winter.

By Cart daily:- White Hart, Strand, Flower Pot and King’s Arms, Bishopsgate, and The Bull, Whitechapel at 3pm, Cheshire Cheese, Crutched Friars, The Bull and Blackboy & Camel, Leadenhall Street, and Magpie and Stump Newgate, (on demand)


Snaresbrook [Essex, 8 miles] – Approximate cost 11 shillings

the bell gracechurch st

The Bell, Bell Yard, Holborn – served Snaresbrook

During my research into Wanstead House I discovered that Snaresbrook was an important stage post for carriages travelling in the direction of Norfolk. This may explain why there are a reasonable amount of options available in London for what was (at this time) mainly open country.

By Coach daily:- Flower Pot and Four Swans, Bishopsgate, 10am, 4pm and 7pm

By Waggon daily:- The Bull, Aldgate, 3pm

By Cart daily:-   The Bell, Bell Yard, Gracechurch Street and Flower Pot, Bishopsgate Street 3pm and Kings Arms, Bishopsgate, at 2pm


Woodford [Essex, 9 miles] – Approximate cost 12 shillings

the kings arms holborn

The Kings Arms – good for Woodford

By 1819 Woodford had a number of fine mansions, farms and estates, so this may explain the range of options available for travel to that destination

By Coach daily:- King’s Arms, Leadenhall Street, 10am, 3pm, 4pm and 7pm; Saracen’s Head, Aldgate, and Blackboy & Camel, Leadenhall Street 3pm and outside No 93 Bishopsgate Street 4-30pm. The Bull, Leadenhall Street has a service 3pm daily apart from Sunday which leaves at 10-30am; and Three Nuns, Whitechapel, does 10-30am and 7pm daily, apart from Sunday when it departs at 9am and 7pm

By Cart daily:- Three Nuns, Whitechapel, 4pm; Flower Pot, Bishopsgate, 2pm; The Bull, Aldgate,  3pm and Magpie & Stump, Newgate Street, 2pm daily. Kings Arms, Bishopsgate, offers a service Wednesdays & Saturdays only at 2pm


Woodford Bridge [Essex, 10 miles] – Approximate cost 13 shillings

blue boar aldgate

The Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate – try here for Woodford Bridge

Given that Woodford Bridge is close to Woodford, I am surprised to note the lack of overlap in service between these two destinations. The Bull, Aldgate for example offers a Coach to Woodford Bridge but only a cart to Woodford – and none of the regular coach services to Woodford have the option to stay on until Woodford Bridge. Perhaps folk were happy to walk the mile or two between destinations rather than looking upon coach services as a series of stops – which they clearly weren’t given the limited passenger capacity of each carriage.

By Coach daily:- The Bull, Aldgate, 3pm and Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate,  4pm winter and 3pm summer, daily, save for Sunday which is at 8am

By Cart daily:-  Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate,  4pm winter and 3pm summer, daily, save for Sunday which is at 8am, and The Bull, Aldgate, and Talbot, Whitechapel, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays  only at 3pm

♦   ♦   ♦

I hope you have found this an interesting guide as to how our ancestors found their way home from London. All information is drawn from a book in my possession, published by Critchett & Woods at the end of 1818. Meticulous work seems to have gone into the production of their guide – and I will be dipping into it again to examine other destinations served by the once great coaching inns of old London town.

These beautiful water colour paintings of London’s lost inns are all by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1792-1864). If he was around today I would gladly buy him a pint for his dedicated attention to detail.

If you like to know about old London pubs and coaching inns, I recommend Pubs History – an excellent resource for any local historian

Some Advice on Coach Travel in Regency London

Rules of the Road | Wanstead | UK Destinations | Porters, Goods & Luggage

Please bear in mind the following ground rules to ensure your acceptance as a passenger, and more importantly what you might expect to pay, should you ever find yourself back in Regency London, at the start of 1819.

rates 1

Much like modern times, basic fares can be liable to surcharge
  1. The Coachman is entitled to decide whether to calculate the fare according to time OR distance. A journey of 5 miles for example would cost 5 shillings – which is the same charge as a 2 hour journey would cost. These charges are per Coach, not per person. Hence it would be wise to ensure you travel with others to avoid meeting the full expense of your journey. (See table of charges above). Should traffic out of London be heavy the Coachman may recalculate his fare according to time, and you will end up footing the bill.
  2. Every Coach or Chariot hired to go out into the Country, and setting down passengers, after 7pm (between Michaelmas Day and Lady-day, or Sept 25th and March 25th to you) is entitled to the full rate or fare back to the nearest paved roadway, or to any designated taxi tank which lies beyond the paved roadway. Who would have thought that pavements played such an important role in determining fares charged? It is clear that pavements represented urban areas where passengers could be picked up, so the traveller was obliged to compensate his coachman for however long he was off-grid and unable to find new clients.
  3. Any Coach or Chariot leaving London during the day-time is entitled to sixpence per mile for every mile above 4 miles ridden. So, if you are unlucky enough to live in Woodford Bridge you may incur a surcharge of up to 3 shillings.
  4. This is an age before standardised times, so it has been decided that sunset begins at 8pm between Lady-day and Michaelmas (25th March to 25th September) and during the winter months sunset falls at 5pm.
  5. Every Hackney Coachman is obliged to carry four adult persons inside his coach, and a servant outside (on top), if required. Chariots can only take three persons inside, and obligatory servant braving the elements outside. However, if the client wants to squeeze more passengers on board – he must pay one shilling for each person (not being a child in arms or on lap) in addition to the fare.

coach overturned

Beware the Overloaded Coach

Armed with the above information, you should feel more confident about making your way to one of a myriad of London Inns and Wharves from where your journey can be booked, and the fun begins!

blue boar trade card

Coaching inns were a hub of commercial and social activity

In 1819 there were over 120 different coaching inns available in central London, each having a unique timetable of departure times and modes of transport. Many inns were a hive of commercial activity, where goods and services could be traded – quite often tradesmen used their local inn on business cards. Most inns also offered entertainment alongside accommodation for their clients. Sports such as boxing were a common draw, delaying passengers from leaving too soon. The Magpie & Stump, for example, was able to offer rooms overlooking the courtyard of Newgate Prison, where public executions were held. By tradition the pub sent a final pint to each condemned man.

Magpie and Stump4

Coaching Inns – important business centres

If Regency London appeals to you, you might be interested in the fascinating history of one Georgian mansion – or, to learn more about the Regency boxing scene, hear the sad tale of Tom Shelton. For a sense of occasion you could always go to Wicked William’s Hunt – or spend the day at Royal Ascot

Wellington’s Favourite Niece? You Decide

Mary-Emily-Priscilla by Lawrence 3 Graces

With the sad news that Lord Raglan’s collection is up for auction at Christie’s in London on 22-23 of May, this is an opportune time to explore the runners and riders in the race for recognition as The Duke of Wellington’s favourite niece.

Lot 40 of the Raglan sale (above) contains all three candidates for this special place in the affections of our greatest military general. As the item is likely to fetch upwards of £50,000 there is a distinct possibility that it will leave the UK once the gavel has fallen next week. So if you have a chance to get to King Street prior to auction, I would recommend you seize the moment, and view first hand this wonderful portrait of three women collectively dubbed ‘the three graces’. From left to right we have Mary Bagot, Emily Raglan and Priscilla Burghersh. These ladies more than compensated for the stress and disruption Wellington endured at the hands of their only brother ‘Wicked’ William Long-Wellesley, and for distinct reasons each one has been attributed by differing historians the honour of being Wellington’s favourite niece.

Let’s examine each claim individually


Contestant No 1 – Mary Bagot (Age in picture -28)





As Wellesley-Pole’s eldest daughter Mary was old enough to remember her kindly uncle as a lodger at the family home in Hanover Square before he set off for India in 1797. She was a wild child like her brother William, and brought a fair degree of scandal upon the Wellesley family even after her marriage to society hunk Charles ‘Beauty’ Bagot.


Link to Wellington

Mary really came into her own after 1816 when she went to Washington when her husband was appointed Ambassador to America. It was here she became close friends with the Caton family whose three wealthy daughters Marianne, Bess, Louisa were intending to visit England and Europe. It was Mary Bagot that directed the Caton sisters to her parent’s house in Savile Row, where Marianne first met Arthur Wellesley and became perhaps the single most important relationship of his life. However, this was one battle that Wellington ended up losing, and the victorious suitor who deprived him of Marianne’s love was none other than Richard, his oldest brother. Wellington never really came to terms with the loss of this great love of his life to a brother he regarded with suspicion and contempt.

When Wellington went to St Petersburg for the funeral of Czar Alexander in 1825 he was guaranteed a great reception not only because of his exploits at Waterloo but also on account of Mary Bagot’s popularity in the Russian court during her husband’s 3 year stint as ambassador to Russia

Championed by

Jehanne Wake, who has written an excellent book on the Caton sisters entitled Sisters of Fortune, identifies Mary as Wellington’s favourite.

Arguments Against

Mary’s husband Charles was very closely allied to George Canning, with whom Wellington had a long history of animosity. This would have made it awkward for Mary to have been the chosen one

Interesting Fact about Mary

When Napoleon returned to Paris in 1814, he spotted Mary at Notre Dame Cathedral and had her carriage moved to the front steps so that she could not leave without acknowledging him.




Contestant No 2 – Priscilla Burghersh (Age in picture 22)





Priscilla is widely regarded as Wellington’s favourite niece not least because there is a plenty of correspondence between her and the Duke of Wellington. Though she was only 5 when Uncle Arthur went to India, she vividly remembered that his first port of call upon his return in 1805 was to the Wellesley-Pole house in Blackheath where he insisted that Priscilla was roused from her bed so he could see her.

Priscilla was a very straight-laced woman who firmly believed in decorum at all times.

Link to Wellington

She met and married Wellington’s aide-de-camp Lord Burghersh, who was a talented musician and sensitive man, not cut out for military life. However Burghersh was a brave soldier met his bride having been sent home injured from the Peninsular and was told to visit Wellesley-Pole by Wellington during his convalescence. Once married Priscilla joined her husband travelling with the Allied forces from Germany towards France right up until Napoleon’s defeat and exile in 1814. She kept a journal recoding events of the war which was published by John Murray in 1822.

Priscilla spent many years abroad as her husband became an established diplomat. After her return to England in the late 1820s she spent a lot of time in her uncle’s company, sharing his views on morals and standards in public life. Her uncompromising character and inflexibility drew comparisons with Wellington.

Championed by

Historians such as John Severn and Elizabeth Longford, as well as the curators of Apsley House, which was Wellington’s London home. Priscilla can be found standing in a doorway in the Waterloo Banquet painting in the lobby of Apsley House looking kindly over her uncle as he hosts the veterans’ annual dinner. A very good copy of that iconic print is amongst the lots for sale this week, together with some paintings by Priscilla, who was a very competent artist in her own right.

Arguments Against

It is hard to believe that Wellington could confide in Priscilla considering her uncompromising principles

Interesting Fact about Priscilla

When Napoleon escaped from Elba and made his return to France he travelled under the false name of ‘Lord Burghersh,’ which if nothing else proves that the Emperor had a great sense of humour


Contestant No 3 – Emily Raglan (Age in picture – 21)




Youngest of the Wellesley-Pole sisters, Emily was present at Brussels, about to give birth, on the day of the Battle of Waterloo. She married Wellington’s most famous aide-de-camp Fitzroy Somerset in 1814 having travelled to Paris with her father to visit her victorious uncle Arthur following Napoleon’s defeat and exile. Whilst there she met and fell in love with Fitzroy Somerset, though she was besieged with suitors for several years before and right up to the day of her marriage.

Link to Wellington

As we all know, Fitzroy Somerset (or Lord Raglan as he became) lost his arm at the Battle of Waterloo. As Wellington’s closest military confidante and now family-member, Raglan continued to enjoy a close relationship with the Duke long after they left the arena of warfare. Naturally Wellington was very familiar with his niece whom he saw regularly for a great many years

Championed by

John Sweetman, who has written the definitive biography of Lord Raglan, emphasises the special relationship between the Duke and Emily as wife to his closest companion. Also the very knowledgeable staff at Christie’s in King Street, who have prepared a truly sumptuous auction guide, are very much in favour of Emily’s claim.

Arguments Against

Emily was a bit of a hypochondriac and there is plenty of evidence to suggest she could be a real pain in the butt at times moaning about various ailments. Her own husband found her a little wearing for this reason. This might explain why Emily burned all the Raglan private correspondence after her husband’s tragic death in the Crimea in 1855

Interesting Fact about Emily

Emily was pestered for a time by Charles Arbuthnot, who was dazzled by her renowned beauty. Then, when she went to Paris in 1814 a young prince became besotted and followed her round like a love-sick puppy. The Wellesley-Poles took pity on him because they knew that Emily had fallen for Fitzroy Somerset. So they brought him back to England and Emily introduced this handsome admirer named Leopold of Saxe-Coburg to her good friend Princess Charlotte. But for Charlotte’s tragic death, Emily could have been the maker of a new royal dynasty, though Leopold did go on to become King of Belgium, which for some must be considered a booby prize.




It’s a close one to call especially as both Mary Bagot and Emily Raglan destroyed their private correspondence, but on balance I would have to opt for Priscilla as there seems to be a definite bond between herself and Wellington in the pages of their surviving published letters, that seems to indicate a mutual love and understanding. Of course you must decide for yourselves, as this 200-year old debate will continue to divide opinion!

I hope this blog has shed some light on some very interesting WOMEN in the Wellesley family, each of whom I am sure you will agree are worthy of greater attention.

Even if they don’t receive any recognition on their own right, I hope at least we can continue to appreciate their beauty via Lawrence’s work,  if a white-knight comes forward to buy this fascinating drawing for the nation


For more information on the dispersal of Lord Raglan’s collection visit

Lady Westmoreland’s Rebuke


If such behaviour were to be countenanced by Lady Westmoreland it would become a disgrace to the English Nation…


The following letter transcribed in full from the Sneyd family papers at Keele University alludes to a social faux pas perpetrated by Ralph Sneyd when visiting Rome in the winter of 1821. Ralph seems to have misunderstood the sphere of social and domestic pleasure, and that he needed to follow strict rules of engagement when dealing with elite ladies. His protagonist, Lady Westmoreland outranks him in age, wealth and status. She certainly displays very fixed opinions about the rules of gossip-mongering.

But far from being an impressionable youth Sneyd was in fact 28 years old, so perhaps he ought to have known better than to rile such a high-ranked hostess. He appears to have been warned twice already before the redoubtable Lady Westmoreland finally excludes him from her concert party, sending this letter explaining her reasons.  Yet Lady Jane Westmoreland was not your archetypal crusty old matriarch, and was actually a staggeringly attractive 32 year old blonde with a far-from spotless reputation of her own. This letter of censure reveals that Lady Westmoreland had not in fact followed her own rules of confidentiality and that her animosity to Mr Sneyd arose at least in part because she herself had been upbraided by Lord Kinnaird for repeating the allegations Sneyd made against the un-named Lady. I think, however, that Sneyd’s real crime was his failure to appreciate the character of Lady Westmoreland – for he must have known that her presence in Rome was entirely on account of social exclusion and gossip resulting in her effective exile from London society

jane huck-saunders

Lady Westmoreland (1783-1857)


NPG D20641; Ralph Sneyd by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after  George Richmond

Ralph Sneyd (1793-1870)


Born Jane-Huck Saunders in 1783, at the age of 17 she became second wife to awkward and cantankerous 41-year-old John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmoreland.  She bore him three children but her wealth and lack of inhibition provided Lady Westmoreland opportunities to conduct a series of secret liaisons with men of her own age. Around 1810 Lady Westmoreland caused a sensation by leaving her marital home (including children and 5 additional stepchildren) and setting up her own establishment in London. Leaving her children behind may seem callous in today’s terms, but Lady Westmoreland would have had no legal right to take them and could not have quit the household any other way. In fact the legality of her actions was so questionable that her husband commenced action to have her committed (to a sanatorium) on the basis of ‘irresponsible conduct’. The truth was that Lady Westmoreland’s new home served as a magnet for those on the edge of society – for example Lord Byron who first saw Caroline Lamb in her house,  – and she was becoming an embarrassment. Damned by public opinion Lady Westmoreland was compelled to go abroad in 1814, establishing herself in Rome and living in style. From her magnificent residence she dominated the social scene and became a  renowned patron of the arts. One of her protégés was John Severn who extricated himself from her romantic overtures in 1821 by suggesting she take up with his friend Frederick Catherwood. She replied: “My dear Mr Severn, I do not know this young man , but I would take anyone of your commending, because I feel you understand me.” Consequently Catherwood became her lover and moved into her palace for several months until the relationship petered out. Lady Westmoreland’s position at the head of Rome’s ex-pat community endured because of her wealth and ability to control the social calendar. She had well-deserved reputation as a brilliant conversationalist, generous when it suited her, yet also unstable and domineering in character. 

Perhaps Lady Westmoreland’s real objection to Sneyd was his decision to judge the tantalisingly un-named Lady without holding a shred of evidence to back up his story. In doing so he struck at the heart of Lady Westmoreland’s own exclusion from London society, something that was bound to raise her heckles. Had Sneyd reflected upon the reputation of Lady Westmoreland before he opened his mouth, he might have avoided her wrath and her subsequently brutal put-down of his own character and status.

This letter provides a marvellous insight into Lady Westmoreland’s views on this important facet of aristocratic social etiquette, with a few choice insults thrown in to boot. Please notice that Lady Westmoreland refers to herself in the third-person throughout, probably to emphasise the gulf in class between her and Sneyd.


Letter Reference 20/235 – Sneyd MS, Keele University Libary

 [Marked in pencil:  ‘Jane, 2nd wife of 10th Earl of Westmoreland’]

Lady Westmoreland having been asked by several persons why she did not ask Mr Sneyd to her concert thinks it right to acquaint Mr Sneyd that the following is the explanation she has given of her reasons

About 5 weeks ago Lady Westmoreland met Mr Sneyd at dinner at Lady Sandwich’s & suffering every man she saw in Lady Sandwich’s house to be a person of gentlemanly honour, she conversed with Mr Sneyd respecting a Lady latterly arrived at Rome & whose name has been the subject of discussion in several houses where Mr Sneyd has obtained admittance. Mr Sneyd gave it to Lady Westmoreland confidentially as his opinions that the stories as circulated in London concerning the Lady were of so unpleasant a nature & had obtained so much credit in public opinion, that it would be improper and impossible to cause that Lady to be received in general society.

Lady Westmoreland answered Mr Sneyd that (being in ignorance herself upon the subject) if she should find that to be the general sentiment of the English Ladies & Gentlemen at Rome she should not make any effort to persuade those who entertained that opinion to act inconsistently with it, but she stated also to Mr Sneyd that it would make no difference in her own conduct regarding the Lady who had been introduced to her in terms of such respectful recommendation, as would decide her at once to give the protection that was requested. & the more so, if that protection became manifestly necessary from the general sentiment of Rome being unfavourable to the Lady. – Lady Westmoreland explained that she intended to invite the Lady in question to her house with such of her friends as would not object to meet her. & Lady Westmoreland told Mr Sneyd that she thought all the single gentlemen at Rome ought to offer their respects & protection, to this their countrywoman, a Lady, of highest rank, defenceless, in a foreign land – most especially if they thought it their duty to recommend an opposite line of conduct to those Ladies who might be influenced by their testimony.

As the answers of Mr Sneyd were extremely positive & decided regarding the reputation of the Lady, the questions of Lady Westmoreland were few.

It happened however that after the lapse of a fortnight or three weeks, various circumstances came to the knowledge and observation of Lady Westmoreland, that caused her to remark that calumnies so readily uttered seemed sanctioned by very little proof & that indeed the very existence of some of them, was a presumptive disproof of others.

Lady Westmoreland therefore a second time (at Lady Bute’s) addressed herself to Mr Sneyd & resumed her enquiries more particularly. She asked him if he had ever had any means of authenticating the charges advanced.

Mr Sneyd distinctly answered that he knew nothing whatever but the gossiping stories tattled in the world of the foundation of which or the real circumstances, he had not the slightest knowledge or information.

Lady Westmoreland asked Mr Sneyd if he knew any ill opinion to be expressed of this Lady by the direct assertion of any man of honourable name or if any man of honourable name did, or ever had given his authority to any charge or distinct censure brought against her by others.

Mr Sneyd again distinctly replied that there was the total absence of any such information, that he was possessed of nothing but stories, which he supposed were believed, but which he had never traced to any honourable or credible authority & which he had only alluded to in his conversation with Lady Westmoreland from believing himself to be communicating in “strict honour and confidence”.

Lady Westmoreland answered Mr Sneyd that she also had considered the conversation to be one of strict honour and confidence & therefore she had made a point of not mentioning Mr Sneyd’s name.

(In truth Lord Kinnaird had called upon Lady Westmoreland to give up the names of the persons who slandered the honour of the Lady concerned & Lady Westmoreland informed Lord Kinnaird that without first asking their permission she did not feel at liberty so to do).

Lady Westmoreland stated to Mr Sneyd at this second conversation, that having herself received the same answers, of their entire ignorance of the truth, from all the persons who had been the loudest in defaming the Lady in question, she was of opinion that there was not cause brought forward to justify hostile conduct against the Lady nor ground sufficient to give implicit faith to the assertions that had been so positively and publicly made to her discredit. Lady Westmoreland therefore repeated more strongly than before, & as a request from herself that Mr Sneyd should in the manly character assist Lady Westmoreland in giving that protection which it became more and more the duty of Lady Westmoreland not to withdraw, & of her countrymen to assist her in according since the accusations increased in virulence against the Lady in proportion as they were acted upon, while the proofs receded upon enquiry and investigation.

Mr Sneyd answered Lady Westmoreland with the appearance of embarrassment & alarm that he wished to decline what she proposed to him as it was not an acquaintance he should have wished to form under the circumstances, & in the present ones, he feared the Lady might require some service such as request him to introduce her to some other person etc. Lady Westmoreland abruptly terminated the subject saying that “Mr Sneyd must judge for himself”, & thinking that any gentleman who when asked for protection to a woman, expresses fear, whatever may be the nature of his apprehensions, can be an acquaintance, the loss of which, is no disadvantage to the Lady.

It is with pain and surprise, & not without indignation that Lady Westmoreland has since heard, that during all these weeks that Mr Sneyd has been sheltering himself under her honour & decency, he has been permitting his tongue the greatest licence & levity in the public mention of the Lady whose name he attacks, & in promulgating with the most persuasive intention all the evil impressions that such statements are calculated to convey.

Lady Westmoreland considers that she should become the accomplice herself in such proceedings if she were to allow them her sanction.

Such behaviour is not only to defame, but to belie a Lady’s honour. For he who repeats with the authority of truth scandalous accusations that he does not positively know to be true, debases what he does positively know may be false. & when the object and result of that is to expose to infamy, contempt and insult, a woman of his own Nation, alone, and undefended in a foreign country, it is the very worst action by which a man can degrade his own character.

Lady Westmoreland has been told by several persons that she is making Mr Sneyd of too much consequence & acting with too much condescension in deigning to communicate with him at all. But Lady Westmoreland is not of this opinion. On the contrary it is one of her maxims in life by which she has constantly regulated her actions, to consider the honour of every individual as of equal value & of the same value as each individual ought to consider it himself & to the most inconsiderable person in society Lady Westmoreland would give the same opportunity of justification, & would become herself his defender if she had accused him unjustly, with the same alacrity that she would do to the first in station and honour.

Lady Westmoreland knows scarcely anything of Mr Sneyd, and not enough to have any prejudice either in his favour or against him. She does not think she has ever heard him mentioned since about 6 or 7 years ago, when she recollects having a cursory view of a copy of verses of his performance the subject of which she did not comprehend, nor did the verses themselves invite a very attentive perusal as she remembers they gave her but a mediocre idea of the natural talents of the author in a composition which seemed to convey a desperation to lampoon Lord and Lady Burghersh.  Neither did Lady Westmoreland appreciate much more highly the judgement of the person who displayed a very blunt attempt to ridicule the Lord and Lady of a house in which Mr Sneyd had probably been received with Lord Burghersh’s accustomed hospitality.

As however Lord and Lady Burghersh could at Florence have crushed Mr Sneyd pleasantly with a glance, Lady Westmoreland would have conceded from good nature what she in truth suppressed from forgetfulness. For she does not recollect that from that hour to this the subject has ever recurred to her recollection nor does she think it ever would have done so if she had not now heard that Mr Sneyd has again come forth in the character of a public jester; & that he is going about from house to house talking loosely with levity upon those slanders which he tells Lady Westmoreland he only alludes to in “strict honour & confidence”, thus exposing the name of a Lady while he avails himself of the integrity of persons of honour, to serve his own.

Lady Westmoreland is sorry that Mr Sneyd should misuse a capacity that might tend to better objects than employments so degrading – Lady Westmoreland has had many years’ experience of the world herself and has acquired in consequence great contempt for all its empty contrivances. In that long experience too she has constantly observed that the jester at length becomes the joker, & those who introduce themselves into the society of persons of higher rank than themselves by deigning to amuse the community at the expense of others, generally end by diverting it at their own.

It is too great condescension to men of distinction by the mention of high sounding names & it is a much better calculation in the end to act so as to command respect then to confine the brain to the humble occupation of seeking to awaken laughter.

Lady Westmoreland is very sorry that Mr Sneyd in having communicated with her confidentially upon this subject & then having acted entirely contrary to the spirit of honourable communication, has compelled Lady Westmoreland to manifest her sense of his conduct.

In the present state of the case it is only disgraceful to one young man who may mend his manners by experience. But if such behaviour were to be countenanced by Lady Westmoreland it would become a disgrace to the English Nation.

As Lady Westmoreland considers the conduct of Mr Sneyd to be a failure in gentlemanly honour she declines any immediate conversation with him herself. But if Mr Sneyd has any statement to make in intimation of the accusation which Lady Westmoreland brings against him in this letter, she should listen to it with the kindest attention through the medium of any of the respectable married men at Rome if there should be any one of them who after reading this letter of Lady Westmoreland, will charge himself with any excuse for the conduct of Mr Sneyd

Palazzo [Rockingham], Monday 24th December 1821



Sneyd’s first cousin by marriage was Sir Charles Bagot whose wife Mary was the sister of Priscilla, Lady Burghersh – whose husband was English Minister at Florence and Lady Westmoreland’s stepson, John Fane. This explains why she alludes to her annoyance at Sneyd poking fun at the hospitality of the Burghersh family via his ‘mediocre verses’.


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