A is for Angelo’s

I’ve decided to start a new regular feature on Jenna’s Journal. I got the idea from an author on one of my loops who spoke of an alphabet challenge in April where you post something daily going alphabetically throughout the month.  Well, I’m not going to post daily, but once a week I think will work for me.  Then I can get through the alphabet twice each year.  And my postings will most likely have an historical bent to them–as does my first post.

A is for Angelo’s

"I shall conquer this" Watercolor of Henry Angelo's Fencing Academy, by Rowlandson, 1787.

“I shall conquer this” Watercolor of Henry Angelo’s Fencing Academy, by Rowlandson, 1787.

Angelo’s was the premiere fencing academy in London by 1758.  Established by Italian born Dominico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo in 1755, Angelo’s school, located in Soho, rose quickly in reputation based on its proprietor’s skill in both fencing and riding. 

The Duel

The Duel

Angelo (as he was called) won several celebrated fencing matches, most notably against famed Irish duelist Keyes.  This match drew the attention not only of the English nobility but the royal family as well.  In 1758 Angelo was appointed fencing master to the Prince of Wales and the reputation of his academy solidified.

In 1763 Angelo published a book, L’Ecole des Armes (The School of Fencing),

The Fencing School by Fencing Master Angelo

The Fencing School by Fencing Master Angelo

that presented the essential rules of fencing posture and footwork that are still in use in modern fencing today.   He did not allow his students to wear fencing masks in order to train them for real combat.  Swordsmanship was essential to every gentleman of the English aristocracy of the time.  Until the late 18th century, duels of honor were usually fought with swords and unless a man was reasonably skilled he stood to lose his life in defense of his honor.

800px-Dendrono_-_Der_fechtende_StudentAngelo and his sons founded a dynasty of fencing instruction that lasted from 1755 until the late 19th century.  Their academy became the haunt of most of the sons of the nobility, where they were instructed not only in fencing, but in deportment as well.  One contemporary reported “I have seen old Angelo at Oxford bring his foil to the salute, and bowing profoundly to some undergraduate wild from the woods, pronounce with magisterial emphasis, ‘This, sir, is an academy of politeness as well as of arms!’”

In my House of Pleasure series, Angelo’s academy has already figured in Only Scandal Will Do and is mentioned in the second book as well.  As it was such a fixture of the Georgian period, I suspect the name Angelo will make an appearance in each of the series’ works.

This entry was posted in Alphabet Post, House of Pleasure Series, on Georgian Romance, On Only Scandal Will Do, On Romance, On Writing Historical Romance and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A is for Angelo’s

  1. Carrie-Anne says:

    Very informative post! I’m looking forward to participating in the April A to Z challenge for the second time this year (with pre-written, scheduled posts), but if you’re not officially participating, it’s a nice idea to do your own take on it.


  2. D'Ann Lindun says:

    Super interesting! You sure know a lot of stuff that’s neat!


  3. Karen Wilson says:

    I love history, thanks for this very interesting post. Great idea.


  4. Thanks for introducing me to Angelo! Although I don’t write historicals these days, I do read them and admire the work that goes into them. Your knowledge and talent shone through in this article. I’m looking forward to B.


  5. Brenda says:

    Very interesting article.


  6. I’ve never heard of Angelo’s either, and now I wonder why. It was such a large part of history, you’d think it would have made its way into more historical romance novels. Thank you for highlighting this school. My youngest son wants to learn how to fence but, alas…there are not fencing teachers in my area.


    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Thanks for coming by, today, Sheri. That’s so sad you don’t have an instructor. Have you tried the YMCA? Or a local college might have an instructor in the PE department. I took my senior year in high school and it was a blast. I sucked at it, but enjoyed it all the same. 🙂


  7. Fantastic, idea!! Loved the post.


  8. margeryscott says:

    Great idea, Jenna. I love to learn something new while I’m being entertained.


  9. that is interesting, Jenna! I’d never heard of Angelo’s before…now I’m wondering what might happen IF… 😉


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