January 9th, 2009

Welsh aristocracy

Place and time: The 1930s, mainland Europe

I'm currently editing a novel in which one of the characters is a British aristocrat visiting Europe. I've got a problem with his background: The character is supposed to be Welsh, the descendant of an old noble house. His father is an earl with a very anti-English attitude. I think this is highly unlikely, as, from what I know, the Welsh aristocracy has been virtually non-existent for the last three centuries or so and all titles of nobility are held by the English.

I've got some leeway to change the character's background, because the novel isn't set in Britain the other characters consider him "English" anyway, but I would like to justify the change to the author who really likes the idea of his being Welsh. Alternatively, if it's viable at all to make him the scion of an old Welsh noble house, I'd really appreciate some pointers on how to do that. I can easily downgrade him to a baronet, for example, or make him consider himself an earl without being recognised as such by the English, sitting in his castle and going "We are the true rulers of this land, descendants of Owain Glyndŵr himself, and sod the bloody English" or something along these lines.

I have googled various combinations of "Welsh + aristocrats + aristocracy + nobility + Wales + peerage". Wikipedia says "Many of the former native titles were abolished, with some of the native Welsh lords given English titles in exchange for their loyalty", and it lists earldom titles of Wales, all of which confirm me in my assumption that a Welsh earl in the 1930s is quite an impossible character. I'd just like to know whether he's completely impossible and how much disbelief has to be suspended to keep him in.

'Nuther Steampunk Question

Tried googling a hundred combinations of tesla coil and range, distance, arc, etc. All I can find is related to small coils.

How far could a really freaking huge coil conceivably arc? Say the power from a small city with a hydroelectric generator was entirely diverted to the coil. Like, the biggest tesla coil one could conceivably build. Is there a limit?

Because you can't put zepplins in a steampunk story and not fill them with hydrogen and blow them up with a giant tesla coil.