The year is 1814, and the town of Meryton is overjoyed to see sailors and soldiers returning from the wars. Napoleon has been defeated, and sent off to the Island of Elba in the Mediterranean. In September, representatives of the Great Powers will meet at the Congress of Vienna to redraw the map of Europe. The Island of Britain stands tall and victorious. To the Empire!
Below you will meet the denizens of Spring Grove Cottage, who are receiving guests into their parlour in Meryton for games of whist, good conversation, and general hospitality.
Colonel David Phipps
"Retired half pay Colonel at about 400 pounds per year with active service in American Revolution as an Ensign in 1780 and captured at Yorktown in 1781. Retired in 1812 missing the finish of the Napoleonic War. Most of my career has been on staff in Horse Guards, and feeling bitter about not being in service for the end because my regimental seniority was so low.
Inherited my estate in 1812 when my brother died without heirs. Land and little money came with the estate. Never married but now wishing I had married someone with money. Looking for investors to build a canal through my property to make money on the transport of coal and farm goods to market."
The Ladies of Spring Grove, of course, defer to Col. Phipps on all military matters.
"May I introduce to you to my sister. Her husband is in Canada with the navy and she is visiting me for an extended stay. She is actually staying at Spring Grove Cottage with Miss Tattman and Mrs. Thornberry because of my financial situation has not let me put the house in order since my brother let it go into decline. We always enjoy company for they are a good source of current events."
Photo Courtesy of Historic Locust Grove
"My first husband was a scoundrel that fortunately died. I later married Captain Conklin who is a second son. He was a Lt in the war of 1812. In 1814 after the battle of Lake Erie he captured an american ship named Somers and was given it's command. Since the war he has been off and on guarding the Canadian border but will be returning to England in the autumn due to the treaty. He plans to retire at that time. Although a second son, he does stand to inherit a small piece of property through his mother's side.
I am generally with my husbands family who treats me lovely despite my not having children. However, I feel it necessary from time to time to remove myself from them and visit my own dear family. I am happy to be able to spend time with my brother Col. Phipps and although I cannot stay with him in his lodgings I look forward to when his newly inherited estate is ready. I will be certain to give him my views on how he should improve this estate.
I love to talk of books and art, enjoy music and plays and of course balls and assemblies. Most of all I look forward to renewing friendships and being in the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation."
These characters are fictitious, constructs of our own active imaginations. We have endeavored to be inspired by history and literature, while creating a story which fit what we wanted to do for the event. The ships and battles listed above were real.
Overall, this is our tribute to Jane Austen, with a hint of Cranford thrown in. We hope you will come play with us!