"The middle class was growing fast in Regency England as increasing numbers of financiers, merchants and industrialists were added to the wealthy doctors, lawyers, engineers, higher clergy and farmers who, among others, comprised the upper ranks of the class. To be in the middle ranks of society usually meant ownership of some kind of property—land, livestock or tools—and the ability to earn a regular and reliable income. The number of servants employed in a house and the type of carriage(s) and number of horses one owned were also useful class indicators, although some among the new middle class, such as the affluent merchant Jonathan Chawleigh in A Civil Contract, tended to mistake opulence for elegance and an excess of food or finery as a sign of wealth and status. But the middle class was a very large and diverse group and it also included shopkeepers, teachers, builders, the lesser clergy, members of the government administration, clerks, innkeepers and even some of the servant class. Property was really the main factor that separated the lowest level of the middle class from the better- off among the labouring poor."
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Format: Paperback, 400pp