Saturday, December 22, 2012

In Consideration of Bare Knuckle Boxing

Dear Readers,
Today's Post comes to you from the desk of Col. Le Chevalier de Valois:

"Men (including Gentlemen) settling their disputes or just have a
little sport, through unarmed combat is hardly a new concept.
In the mid-18th century Bare Knuckle Boxing and Prize fighting began
to gain more popularity. Formal (or at least semi-formal) rules were
developed and Boxing began to gain notice and respectability.
Interestingly, the increased interest in Boxing came at a time when
duels (primarily with swords) were on the decline. In addition, you
see an increased interest in physical culture, of which Boxing was
often an important part.
"Gentleman" John Jackson 1769-1845, Champion of England 1795. Lord Byron received instruction at Jackson's academy for gentlemen on 13 Bond Street.

Clubs, like Gentleman Jackson’s frequently by Lord Byron, became very
popular in late 18th and early 19th century London. Gentlemen were
often expected to be able to box, ride, drive, shoot a pistol and know
a bit of sword work.

Daniel Mendoza 1764-1836, Champion of England 1792-1795. Know as the "father of scientific boxing" and a favourite of the Prince of Wales.

In The Pink Carnation Series by Lauren Willig and The Memoirs of a Bow
Street Runner Series by T.F. Banks several important characters are
skilled pugilists. In the memoirs of a Bow Street Runner the main
character Henry Morton routinely visits Gentleman Jackson’s Club to
box with Lord Byron. These characters are all shown to be in better
physical condition and better able to ‘take care of business’ because
of their boxing training.
"Jem" James Belcher 1781-1811. Know as the  'The pet of the Fancy' and 'the Napoleon of the ring'. Champion of All England 1800-1805

Why a Bare Knuckle Boxing article at this moment? Well, recently
several gentlemen of my acquaintance were able to join me for the
filming of a book trailer for Delilah Marvelle’s upcoming book Forever
a Lord. This book (and the one before it Forever a Lady) features a
fair amount of bare knuckle fighting. In the trailer the main scenes
revolve around one such fight that the main character is in."

 Here is the Trailer:

Come out Swinging,

~ Le Chevalier

Online Images Courtesy of:
The British Library
The Olympic Book Fair
Powells Books
Amazon Books

Sources & further Reading:

Bell's Life In London (an English Sporting Chronicle 1822-1886)
The Truth Teller (New York City's first Catholic newspaper 1820's)
Egan, Pierce  (1813-1828)  Boxiana
Banks, T.F. (2001, 2003). Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner (two books)
Marvelle, Delilah (2012). Forever a Lady
Marvelle, Delilah (2012). Forever a Lord
Willig, Lauren (2005-present). Pink Carnation Series (currently nine books)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Quest for a British Infantry Rifle, Part Two

Dear Readers

It has been many more months of waiting than I would have expected.
If all goes well, my Baker Rifle will be done and shipped in the next week or so.

I did not let the intervening time to pass in vain. First, I had to get all of the kit necessary to fire the Baker. Patches, round ball, flints, cleaning tools, etc. – all of these things were easy, ordered directly from Track of the Wolf. Second, I wanted 95th Rifles inspired leatherwork to carry all of this stuff.

I finished my research on the Rifles style leatherwork, but before I started making it I picked up a Pedersoli AN IX Dragoon pistol in .69 caliber. I found a picture of an artilleryman’s shoulder holster and decided to make my own version. I also added a Rifles style ball pouch and kit pouch to the shoulder holster harness in order to make it more self-contained. I picked up a repro Victorian Rifles belt (virtually the same as the Napoleonic version) and made two more pouches for it. I was going to use an enlisted man’s cartridge box for extra storage, but decided to make an officers’ cartouche bag instead (this is the style of bag that Sean Bean wears in the “Sharpe’s” series). It took about 2 ½ hours to hand sew the bag.

I finally received the bayonet, and made a hanger for it, but still need to get it sharpened. I think I am going to have a hatchet edge put on it instead of a knife edge. I figure I will be killing more blackberry vines than Bonapartists.

Artilleryman's shoulder holster & pistol

Cartouche bag, bayonet belt et al.

Col. de Valois

Friday, September 21, 2012

Historical Cooking for Beginners Part 2

This week's post is Part 2 in GP's Historical Cooking for Beginners series.  Please welcome our newest guest writer, Chef Gaston Boudin, Hôtel de Valois

“Houde was the head chef at Boodle’s, which stood on the same street
as Westcott’s club, White’s. Of all of the famous club in the
neighborhood, Boodle’s was the least political and, traditionally, the
most resistant to foreign innovation. Its members were mainly
fox-hunting men, country gentlemen, and landowners, and their tastes,
left to their own devices, would probably have run to beefsteak, port
wine, and … more beefsteak. But management had decided that Boodle’s
was not to be left behind by such establishments as White’s and
Brooks’, at least in matters culinary, and had acquired their own
Frenchman. Houde’s pedigree was good, if not quite as stellar as the
famous Carême, who had cooked for Tallyrand and the Russian tsar and
now the Prince Regent and was rumored to be headed for the Pulteney
Hotel” (Banks, p. 112).

Marie-Antoine Carême was the most famous chef of his time and one of
the most famous chefs ever. He was most important for simplifying and
codifying cuisine, making it easier for chef and cooks to discuss
cuisine with a set of rules defining basic sauces and techniques. He
also popularized the, relatively, new idea of restaurants. And he
standardized what is still recognized as the “Chef’s Uniform.”
"Cooking for Kings" Ian Kelly
Before restaurants most commercially produced meals were eaten at
inns, public houses, chop houses and private clubs. Most of these
places had a ‘menu’ (if you really want to call it that) with a single
‘special of the day’ and maybe a soup. Your only choice was to eat
what was offered or not eat. In the case of the chop houses and many
private clubs this choice was the same day after day – beefsteak.

Carême’s arrival in England paved the way for an increased interest in
cuisine. This interest in food, especially French food, was further
aided by the Prince of Wales’ fondness for food, drink and parties.
With the end of the Napoleonic Wars food and drink supplies from
Europe became readily available again.
The Prince of Wales & Careme at the Brighton Pavilion

Beverage choices had also been limited by the Napoleonic wars. Beer
and Ale were just fine for the common folk (and sometimes for
breakfast in the upper classes), but the aristocracy had more refined
taste. Port was very popular in no small part because trade with
Portugal was strong. French brandy was consumed more than French wines
as both had to be smuggled, but brandy got you more alcohol from your
smuggling efforts.

All of this continental food and drink did not deter some Englishmen
from sticking to more traditional fare. The Sublime Society of
Beefsteaks was established in 1735 and continued to meet until 1867.
The Order’s menu consisted of beefsteak, grilled onions and a baked
potato. Toasted cheese was often offered as a second course and for
beverages you had a choice of port or porter.
Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, courtesy of "Supersizers Go: Regency"

Bon Appétit,
Chef Gaston Boudin, Hôtel de Valois

Banks, T.F. (2003). The Emperor’s Assassin
Kelly, Ian (2003). Cooking for Kings

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Annual Rendezvous at Fort Bell, Washington

Shooting the trail at Ft Bell

Over Labor Day Weekend,  Theo and I had the opportunity to be the guests of
the Columbia Cascade Company at Fort Bell.

The Columbia Cascade Company is Fur Trade Era (pre-1840) Muzzle Loader
group. Every year they host a Rendezvous over Labor Day weekend. They
offer a variety of trail and novelty shoots as well as activities for
the Ladies and children.

This year Theo and I arrived on Saturday morning. Prior to shooting, we visited at the encampment of
 our good friends, Craig & Deanna Schmidt.  After which, I went off with Craig to
shoot the rifle trail while Theo stayed behind with Deanna and made beeswax candles with the other ladies.
The Fort Bell rifle (and Trade gun) trail consists of 25 target
ranging from 5 yards to 85 yards at various elevations and a wide
variety of shapes.

After returning for a delicious lunch of Duck Rillettes, bread, fresh
blackberries, grapes and brie cheese, as well as some blueberry-apple
cider for the Ladies and Smithwick’s Ale for Craig and I, we returned
to the trail to shoot the 14 pistol targets.
French Dragoon Pistol circa 1798

The next day I returned by myself and started the day with the ‘Luck
Shoot’ followed by the ‘Booshway Shoot.’ The ‘Luck Shoot’ consisted of
firing three shots at the blank side of a target marked with random
numbers – your score is the sum of the numbers. The ‘Booshway Shoot’
was a sort of obstacle course called the ‘Moose Milk Run.’ Competitors
had to set a foothold trap, throw knife and tomahawk until they stick

in a target, shoot at the 125 yard ‘Super Long Gong’ target, shoot at
a much closer target and finally milk a moose. This was done for time.
Despite having never set a spring trap or thrown knife or tomahawk I
did quite well – finishing third or fourth.
Foothold trap

Next, Craig and I did a fencing demonstration featuring smallsword,
sabre and singlestick.  Each form was played to best of five good
hits. I won the smallsword bouts after disarming Craig for the final
hit. Craig won the sabre bouts, rallying after a hard hit to the head.
And finally I won the singlestick bout.
After another delicious lunch, Craig still needed to shoot the Trade
gun Trail. I do not have a Trade gun, but shot the trail with my rifle
for fun.

This Rendezvous was quite the treat. I fully intend to camp the entire
weekend next year. I also need to get my own knife and tomahawk so
that I am not caught unprepared in the future.
Ft Bell Cannon

Best Regards
Colonel deValois

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Historical Cooking for Beginners

Thank you to our readers for you patience, while we were on Summer hiatus.  Now we are refreshed from our various diversions, and have some fun postings to share over the next few months....

To kick off our return to Blogland, here is Professor D.R. Schreiber's review of Jas Townsend's historical food preparation videos: 

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is a saying dating from around the turn of the 18th Century, and it is no surprise that the words still ring true today.  Food, its consumption, creation, gathering, cooking, and hunting of, was a central part of Regency life, just as it had always been and continues to be up to the present day.   Food’s importance in the past is evident through numerous portrayals in art from the Regency period.  Whether the paintings depict gentlemen hunting their next meal or the elite partaking of tea, these paintings tell the tale of food in the 18th Century.

While historically women may have been the main cooks and preparers of food, what man cannot appreciate a good meal?   I have no claim to being neither an excellent nor a decent cook, but I have become fascinated by a somewhat recent discovery, exposing me to intricacy of 18th century food.  The folks at JAS Townsend and Sons (, purveyors of fine 18th century wear, have created a weekly YouTube video series that focuses on the history of food from the 18th and early 19th Centuries.  In the three years since its inception, the series has discussed numerous topics, themes, recipes and histories, all regarding 18th century food.  A few recent topics have included the making of bread, the significance of the earthen oven to early cooks, the importance of salt in the preservation of 18th century food, and much more.   The amount of research put into creating each video is clear, filling each episode with volumes of information.  The writing and presentation is superb.  The production value (sound, lighting, camera movement and editing) makes this series as good as anything seen on broadcast television today.

In the past year, they have built a replica 18th century kitchen, complete with hearth, oven, food storage, and a preparation area, and are slowly filling it with authentic 18th century utensils, pots, and pans.  As they say in the videos, all of these items are available at the JAS Townsend website or print catalog.”

This video series has captured my and my two boys' imaginations.  As soon as we saw these recipes and demonstrations, we had to try it ourselves.  Since watching this series, we have embarked on creating our own twice baked beans, ash cakes, corn bread, stews and more, all cooked on our wood stove in the family room.  My boys are convinced we must build an earthen oven in the backyard this summer, and they just might be right.  The series has helped us to experience, first hand, the smells and tastes of the 18th Century.  While the main purpose of these videos is to display and sell JAS Townsend supplies and materials, the commercial aspect is nearly non-existent or so subtle that you would never consider it intrusive.  The sales aspect typically consists of a single line offering the items for sale, and since many of these items cannot be purchased from anyone else besides JAS Townsend, (unless you know a tinsmith or blacksmith that can create it for you) it is only fitting that JAS Townsend sell these items.

I must tip my hat to JAS Townsend for keeping history alive and for producing these great videos.  I look forward to many more videos, about the past, to come in the near future.
Images courtesy of 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Helpful Research Tips

 Please Join me in welcoming our second Guest Writer, Craig Schmidt

This a few helpful research hints for you gentlemen that are just starting out. The hardest thing to get, surprisingly enough, is where to start. Who are you? Where are you from? What time period? What profession? All these things will dictate your dress, and accoutrements.
For example, my area of “expertise” is Colonial and Republic era Texas (c. 1821 – 1845). I usually portray a ranger or Republic era dragoon. What makes this a challenge is that the history is so intertwined with legend and myth that finding the truth is a hard thing. But the basics are fairly easy. Fashion of the time is well documented and easy enough to reproduce. But a few notes of caution.
Be sure you know the usage of terms. Many word definitions today do not reflect what they mean it the late 18th or 19th centuries. For example, my first flintlock was a Jaeger rifle. I had seen where a list of stores requested by the Consultation for the People’s Army included Yager (Jaeger) rifles. So I assumed that this was the short German style rifle used by German Jaegers (Scouts/light infantry, literally hunters.). Later in my research I found that this reference was most likely in regard to the M1803 Harper’s Ferry Rifle, or even the M1817 Common Rifle. Just as a reference to a “biscuit” is not necessarily the light fluffy breakfast food, but depending on the usage could be hardtack (aka sea biscuit).
Also, spelling can be tricky. Especially in firsthand accounts (Journals, diaries and the such.) spelling is often phonetic, and sometimes the same word is spelled differently in the same sentence. Names also suffer from this same affliction. So what you think might be references to two different people, are, in fact, referencing one person.
The other maddening thing about using firsthand accounts is that usually there is only detail about the unusual. The common place is just that and there is no need to detail the common as everyone knows it.
Let’s consider sources for a bit. It’s tempting to use the internet exclusively. The internet is convenient, but there’s no substitution for good old fashioned book work. My personal library for specifically Texas pre-state history has a rough total of between twenty and thirty volumes. And it continues to grow.
Whenever possible, firsthand accounts are the best material for really getting a view on the attitudes of the time. As well as an insight into speech patterns
It’s not necessary to buy books like a wild thing. The public library is a perfectly fine resource. I just like to be able to access my references whenever I want. Amazon, Alibris and Powell’s are my friends… And don’t forget periodicals!

Another word on books/articles etc., always check the bibliography. It’s a treasure-trove of new sources and could possibly lead to a nugget that could easily be overlooked. Which explains why my bookshelves are overflowing currently…
Somewhere along the line in your research you’ll run across some really neat accoutrement, or article of clothing that you really like. But you need to be able to justify why your persona would have such an item, or article of clothing. Just because something exists at the time period doesn’t necessarily mean it was available to you where you’re located.
Using me as an example, as a ranger in Colonial/Republic Texas I probably would not have leggings in the style of the northeastern tribes (A recent immigrant might… But I usually portray a person that has been in country for a while.). It is more likely that I would be wearing Mexican style botas. See the picture of the Soldado de cuera below.
Photo courtesy of Armas y armaduras en Espania
Likewise a large clip-point Bowie, while I personally love them, wouldn’t be quite appropriate for an early Texian Anglo. I use an eight inch “Longhunter” knife, or a ten inch Spanish/Mexican Belduque.
Top to Bottom: Mid to late 19th Century Bowie, Spanish/Mexican Belduque, “Longhunter” Knife (Photo: Craig Schmidt, C. Schmidt Collection)
While all three are similar, the correct blade can make the difference between an O.K. impression and a stunning impression.
I hope that this helps somewhat. There are many other pitfalls, and cautions, but you need to take the first step. Make your decisions on your era, and profession, and go from there.
Happy hunting, um… researching!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Magic, Science and the Regency Era

 Please welcome our first guest writer, Professor D.R. Schreiber, "The Historical Conjurer"
Chevalier Joseph Pinetti 1750-1800

In the late 18th and early 19th Century, science, industry, technology and innovations were on the move.  It was the discoveries of many men from the age of Enlightenment that lead to these early ideas that planted the seed for the industrial revolution.  The relatively fast pace of advancements made it challenging for even the most educated of gentleman to stay attune.  

The gentlemen conjurer  (magicians) of the Regency era took advantage of this fact.  Often during a demonstration or lecture, a “Professor of Natural Philosophy,” as many conjurers would call themselves, would display what he claimed to be his experiments into science.  Most of the gentleman in the audience would have read about these types of advancements in the newspaper, but had yet to behold them in person.  It was only imagined what they might look like.  So too the conjurer most likely had little or no scientific knowledge.  Instead, his imagination would recreate the experiment using the trickery or deception necessary to make the experiment work correctly.

As a conjurer myself, I attempt to evoke the style, emotion, and spirit of the late 18th and early 19th century by asking the question, "What would a Regency gentleman have believed to be possible?"  With the recent harnessing of lightning, would they be led to believe that man can control the weather, or perhaps that lightning can be directed at man’s own will?  The ideas and theories of Dr. Franz Mesmer led many to believe that mind control was just a step away.  With simple concentration, a person could be made to perform the wishes of the mind controller.  The development of steam power helped to forge the concept that man could move anything with the aid of a machine.

It only took the slight imagination of a conjurer to create a way to make these discoveries come true.  These creations filled the scientific lecture halls with all sorts of apparatus and experiments, many no more than “bells and whistles” meant to hide the actual workings of the illusion.  Gentlemen and ladies alike flocked to places like the Royal Institute to view first-hand these performances of magic disguised as demonstrations of science.

While some might argue that these conjurers were deceptive manipulators, it could be argued that their demonstrations helped to move forward scientific exploration by feeding the public’s fascination for these scientific pursuits.  One example is the use of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.  The gas was isolated in 1772, but was first demonstrated to the public in 1801 as a humorous display of a scientific discovery.  Soon, many conjurers incorporated a laughing gas performance into their act.  It was during one of these conjuring performances that an audience member, a dentist, finally imagined an actual medical use for nitrous oxide, and the next day he performed the first painless tooth extraction with the use of the gas.  If not for the inventiveness of these conjurers, the true power of nitrous oxide would not have been discovered.

One can only imagine what other innovations or developments of science and industry would have lay untouched or unmoved, if it were not for these gentle conjurers.

Your Humble Servant,

Prof. D.R. Schreiber.

Resources & Further Reading:

 "The Great Illusionists" by Edwin A. Dawes. Published by Chartwell Books in 1979.
"Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic" by Simon During. Published by Harvard University Press in 2002.
"The Illustrated History of Magic" by Milbourne and Maurine Christopher. Published by Carroll & Graff in 2006
"Chevalier Pinetti - Conjurer" By Henry Ridgley Evans.  Published in "The Open Court" magazine in 1903.
"Memoirs of Robert-Houdin" by Jean Eugene Robert Houdin.  Published by George G. Evans in 1859.
"The Lives of the Conjurers" by Thomas Frost. Published by Tinsley Brothers in 1876.
"Leaves from Conjurers Scarp Books" by HJ Burlingame.  PUblished by Donohue, Henneberry and Company in 1891.

Contact the Professor here:

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Art of Dueling

The History of Dueling is a bloody one based around the idea of
‘defending one’s honour.’

The personal Duel of Honour vs. the older Judicial Duel most probably
has its roots in the duel of Jarnac vs. Châtaigneraie. Officially,
this was a Judicial duel, both men had grievances and brought them
before the King. In theory, the duel would have been fought and the
winner declared ‘right’ in the eyes of the King and God. In reality,
the fight dragged on, Châtaigneraie was severely injured, but would
not surrender. The King refused to declare the fight over and
Châtaigneraie bled out on the field.

This duel is often cited as the ‘last’ judicial duel or the ‘first’
duel of honour. This is oversimplified, but the point is valid. Before
this time duels were primarily judicial, overseen by the Crown or
representative thereof and were considered legally binding. After this
time, duels became private affairs between individuals over points of
honour and were usually considered illegal (but often unofficially
sactioned, pardoned or out right ignored).

There were a variety of dueling codes (code duello) used in different
parts of the Western world at different times. The codes defined who
could be challenged for what, what rights the challenged had, what
rights the challenger had and what the ‘win’ conditions were.

A copy of the 1777 Irish Code Duello may be seen here:

In the movie “The Duelists” the character Jacquin offers up three ways
d'Hubert can avoid fighting Feraud again:
“You cannot fight,
One: if you're in different places. Physical impossibility.
Two: if you're of different rank. Breach of discipline.
And three: if the state is at war. Duels of nations take absolute precedence.
Therefore, keep away from him. Keep ahead of him. Put your trust in Bonaparte!”

Two additional  links, that got me thinking about this article:

“The Duel at Blood Creek”

“A Gentlemen’s Duel”

-- Colonel Etienne de Valois, duelist

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Sharp Dressed Man Revealed : Online Sutlers & Made to Order Clothing

This month's edition covers putting together a Gentleman's starter ensemble.


So, I know that everyone wants the perfect ‘look.’ Whether that be the
perfect ‘Beau Brummel’ or the perfect ‘Captain Wentworth’ or the
perfect ‘Colonel Brandon.’ But we must be realistic in how we approach
a new and expensive hobby.


When I started fencing I did not go out and buy a $200 mask and the
best blade on a custom hilt. I bought a good mask and a blade that was
good enough to get me on the field. Now, many years later I have the
best mask I have found and many custom hilted weapons with top end

When I started shooting black powder I shopped around for a rifle that
would be fun and safe, but was not going to break the bank. Now I have
ordered my first semi-custom rifle and am getting into some more
expensive accessories.

If we were all lottery winners, then we could go straight to “Empire
Costume” and spend thousands of Euros and look perfect. I do not think
I am speaking to that crowd.

So, we have to come up with an affordable way to look the part, but do
it in reasonable comfort and without breaking the bank.

There are many sutlers out there, but the one I have had the most
success with is Jas. Townsend and Son. Now, keep in mind that there
are many other sutlers out there as well as people that may be willing
to do custom work for affordable prices. This is meant as one example
of using an available sutler to get dressed for events.

The basic ‘Beau Brummel’ look requires a dark coat, dark or cream
(depending on time of day) waistcoat, breeches or trousers, white
shirt, white cravat, black boots and a top hat.

So, first the coat, Townsend does not (yet) offer a Regency Tailcoat,
but they do have two nice ones from a bit earlier. I prefer the linen
coat for this look because it does have a stand up collar.

Linen coat ($240):

Next the waist coat. Townsend has a nice one that, unfortunately, lacks pockets.

Waistcoat ($90):

Breeches or Trousers? I personally prefer breeches for most outfits,
but I know many Gentlemen may feel silly in them. So, trousers are a
perfectly good alternative. I am only including references for the
linen examples, but there are also cotton canvas and wool. Keep in
mind that if you go with breeches you will also need stockings and
possible stocking garters.

Breeches ($95):
Trousers ($95):

Fancy Stockings ($9.50):
Plain Stockings ($10):
Garters ($7.50):
The shirt is easy ($35):

As is the cravat ($15):

I would not do boots, riding boots start at $200.

Shoes are easier ($95):
And they need buckles ($40):
Other shoes:
Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs 1813
Alternately, some modern shoes that buckle closed may be acceptable.

I would not bother with the less used accessories like a top hat,
walking stick, period eyewear, pocket watches until later.

So, once you have your one outfit then you can start upgrading and/or
adding detail bits. Some of which are listed above and are available
from a variety of sutlers.

-       Colonel de Valois

References and Resources:

1)      Empire Costume:
2)      Jas. Townsend and Son:
3)      Cobb Creek:
4)      Smiling Fox Forge:
5)      Corps Sutler:
6)      All images courtesy of  Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Quest for a British Infantry Rifle

Good Evening,

I began shooting blackpowder about a year an a half ago.  The Baker Rifle (more correctly known as the British Infantry Rifle)  was the famous rifle of the British 95th rifles and features as an important pseudo-character in the Bernard Cornwell Sharpe's series (starting with “Sharpe's Rifles”).   As an avid fan of both the Sharpe's book series and the Sharpe's video series I decided that I wanted a Baker Rifle of my own.
Turns out this was far easier said than done. Early research found that no one makes a production reproduction of the Baker Rifle. There is an India made reproduction, but it has a smoothbore not a rifled
barrel. The apparent reason for this is that you have two distinct groups commonly firing reproduction black powder weapons. Military reenactors and Fur Trade reenactors. The military reenactors are perfectly happy with the smoothbore, they are mostly firing blanks anyway so the rifled barrel is unnecessary and even an inconvenience. For the Fur Trade reenactors, the Baker Rifle is not one that there is a lot of interest in. You see way more American style long rifles (Kentucky, Pennsylvania, etc.).

This is not to say that there are not people shooting a rifled Baker Rifle, but they are rare and their rifles are, by necessity, customized to some level. For example Track of the Wolf has a custom made Baker Ordnance Rifle for almost $2700. Nice rifle, but not the pattern I am looking for. I also found some that were being custom made in England, exactly the pattern I wanted, for as much as £3500 (I do not even want to convert that to dollars).
I began with a Pedersolli Kentucky Longrifle in .50 caliber. This has been a very good rifle and will always be my 'first' rifle. However, I still wanted a Baker Rifle. Now I had much more time to work on it as I already had a rifle to shoot. In time, and with much help from Craig Schmidt, I searched more thoroughly. Digging through the forums of the various 95th Rifles reenactment groups. Talking with Sutlers and gunsmiths.
The conclusion I came to was to get an India made Baker Rifle (smoothbore) from Track of the Wolf. Have it sent to Mr. Ed Rayl, barrel-maker, who will swap out the smoothbore for a custom rifled barrel.
This part of the project starts tomorrow.

If all goes well I will have a completed, semi-custom Baker Rifle by the middle of May, perhaps in time for my birthday. While waiting, I will start assembling a shooting kit for this new rifle.

- Colonel de Valois


Wiki overview of the Baker Rifle:

Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe's Series

Track of the Wolf, India made Baker Rifle:

Track of the Wolf, full custom Baker Ordnance Rifle:

Pedersoli, Kentucky Rifle;

Monday, January 16, 2012

Le Chevalier "Throws Down the Gauntlet"

Good Evening Gentlemen,

There is a common concern / complaint / belief that there is very little for Gentlemen to do at Georgian and Regency events.

This is, for the most part, true; and is true because there are very few Gentlemen attending these events.

"What did Gentlemen do?" You ask. Shooting, Fencing, Riding, Rowing, Fishing, Gambling, Smoking, Drinking, Dancing and Looking Good. Obviously, not all of these are going to appeal to all people. Also, some are expensive, especially the first three. Although the Fencing and Shooting may be dabbled in relatively easily.

At Balls it is pretty easy to find a small table and a few friends for a game of Whist. Don't know how to play? No worries, plenty of us do. With regards to Gambling, we would like to avoid real money changing hands, but poker chips, tokens or replica coins may be used. There has been talk about having a year long Whist tournament.

There are a few avenues for fencing. I myself run a Georgian / Victorian fencing practice on most Sunday afternoons. Contact me directly if interested. Academia Duellatoria here in Beaverton also offers classes in western martial arts.

All of these activities require that one 'look' the part. Many modern Gentlemen can be put off by the knee breaches and silk stockings. If this is the case, move forward a few years when they go
out of style and trousers come in. The classic 'Beau Brummel' look is basically the predecessor of the modern suit.

Another option is a Military or Navy look. These two take a bit more work and will be discussed later.

Keep in mind, that for the amount of events you are likely to attend, one outfit will largely suffice.

We have planned a series of three events this summer:

1) A Day at the River. Canoeing, fishing and a pique-nique.
2) A Day at the Salle. An assault of arms with sabre, smallsword, la canne, singlestick, bayonet, rapier, etc.
2) A Day at the Fort. Introduction to black powder flintlock weapons.

In conclusion, when it comes right down to it, in order to get more Gentlemen's Activities we need more Gentlemen willing to come out. At present there are only a few of us and while we enjoy having the ladies to ourselves it would be nice to have more fellows about.

-- Colonel Le Chevalier Etienne de Valois

Friday, January 6, 2012

Welcome to the ORS's Gentlemanly Pursuits page.

Image courtesy of Empire Costume, France.
 The Oregon Regency Society is striving to provide more options for our male participants. In part, we have created this page.

This page will focus on historical and instructional material, costume-related topics for gentlemen, resources for patterns, weapons and kits, most importantly, events listings for men's activities and more.

If you are a regency enthusiast and a gentleman, then this is the place for you. 

Welcome.  We hope to see you at one of our events very soon.