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DavidZahir
01-27-2011, 10:02 AM
I'm trying to work out the household for a (relatively) small manor house circa 1830. The family consists of a baronet, his wife and their two children (ages nine and eleven). Apart from a governess, I was thinking the staff would include a butler/valet, the cook, the head housemaid, two other housemaids, the kitchen maid, the scullery maid and a groundskeeper (probably with an assistant). Maybe a hall boy.

Does that make sense?

MissMacchiato
01-27-2011, 10:22 AM
yep. Makes sense to me, although the head housemaid would likely be called the housekeeper.

waylander
01-27-2011, 11:37 AM
Plus a groom or two who doubled as coachmen

Anne Lyle
01-27-2011, 12:06 PM
The groundsman/gardener would probably need at least a couple of young assistants - most big Victorian houses had extensive kitchen gardens to keep them in fresh produce (and cut flowers) all year round - no supermarkets or air freight, after all, and freighting fresh produce by train didn't become popular until the early 20th century.

Take a look at somewhere like Audley End, not far from where I live:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/garden/

Hallen
01-27-2011, 10:33 PM
The groundsman/gardener would probably need at least a couple of young assistants - most big Victorian houses had extensive kitchen gardens to keep them in fresh produce (and cut flowers) all year round - no supermarkets or air freight, after all, and freighting fresh produce by train didn't become popular until the early 20th century.

Take a look at somewhere like Audley End, not far from where I live:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/garden/

Wouldn't some of those duties be performed by children of the existing staff?
Also, where did these people live? Did they have separate cottages? Or did they all live in the main house?

Anne Lyle
01-27-2011, 10:37 PM
IIRC, female domestic staff would normally have been unmarried - a married woman was expected to stay at home and look after her own family. But the older male servants might be married and have children.

DavidZahir
01-27-2011, 10:42 PM
I am unsure myself of where the Groundsman and/or his assistants might live. I rather assumed the Groundsman/Groundskeeper would have his own cottage but maybe that's just my impression from Harry Potter and The Turn of the Screw.

I'm also not-quite-sure where the Governess would sleep. That she'd have her own bedroom seems clear, but where? On the same floor as the children? Or on the top floor with the rest of the female employees? Or was this a matter of personal choice by the household?

fireluxlou
01-27-2011, 10:56 PM
Wouldn't some of those duties be performed by children of the existing staff?
Also, where did these people live? Did they have separate cottages? Or did they all live in the main house?

Sorry too butt in and if I'm being a pain a here. Usually cottages mainly or servants quarters depending on how big the house was. My gran's farm which I've been helping with research and writing her book on the neighbouring manor with her, is three old Victorian cottages turned into a farm house. When she moved in it had previously belong to three men who worked the grounds of the main manor. On the manor's farm which is what this house called it, they had a cows for milking and their own milking sheds with sheep, chickens and a cattery, there were big gardens on the main ground. The groundsmen also lived in these little cottages.

Some gardens were for show and some were for growing vegetables. This manors farm also had it's own slaughter house I think and it has 4 big barns on it.

I've been researching the local manor with her and workers usually lived in the servants quarters and in the cottages. From my research I have this manor had two entrances one at the north and one at the south. One was a smart entrance for visitors and one was for the staff, though the long drive was desirable. The staff also lived in the near by country houses. The manor is a recreational park owned by the council so it's very modern inside.

The last time this house was like a proper Victorian house was in the 1950s/1960s when my grandma moved in to the cottages. (She had it cheap because when she moved in the house was a "correctional school" for disabled children.) I have some aerial shots I could try and scan and upload showing you what the ground was like before the council got it? I can get a hold of them Monday.

dirtsider
01-27-2011, 10:56 PM
There's a book out called Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. I think that's the one I have.

http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Victorian-Home-Portrait-Domestic/dp/0393052095

Hallen
01-27-2011, 11:04 PM
Sorry too butt in ...
I don't think that's butting in. That's offering pertinent information. I was butting in by asking questions in a thread I didn't start. :)

fireluxlou
01-27-2011, 11:13 PM
I don't think that's butting in. That's offering pertinent information. I was butting in by asking questions in a thread I didn't start. :)

Aww I wouldn't call your post butting in either. I thought it was a curious question relating to the topic :).

DavidZahir
01-27-2011, 11:24 PM
Ditto. I appreciate the interest!

So my fictional manor house should probably have the following staff:
1 Butler/valet
1 housekeeper/head house maid
2 house maids
1 groom
1 cook
1 kitchen maid
1 scullery maid
1 hallboy
plus a governess all living in the house. A total of ten servants in the house itself, with a groundskeeper/groundsman plus one or two assistants in a nearby cottage.

I'm wondering if there'd also be a nearby small farm essentially just to raise livestock--cattle, chickens, etc.? Would those running that farm be employees or tenants?

fireluxlou
01-27-2011, 11:45 PM
Ditto. I appreciate the interest!

So my fictional manor house should probably have the following staff:
1 Butler/valet
1 housekeeper/head house maid
2 house maids
1 groom
1 cook
1 kitchen maid
1 scullery maid
1 hallboy
plus a governess all living in the house. A total of ten servants in the house itself, with a groundskeeper/groundsman plus one or two assistants in a nearby cottage.

I'm wondering if there'd also be a nearby small farm essentially just to raise livestock--cattle, chickens, etc.? Would those running that farm be employees or tenants?

Yes what I said in my first post that this small manor sorry I keep going back to this (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/98334 and http://www.southeastwales.org.uk/venues/Hilston%20Park%20.JPG) had it's own farm. If I could find a big enough picture I'd show you the servants quarters and entrance. I actually could go around there and take photos of it all.

It still looks very much in line with how it used to look in the Victorian period, nothing has changed except the interior, tarmac and rebuilding of original features. Most of its original structures are just left to stand now crumbling due to council trying to leave as much as it as it was, but still intact now but I could tell you what each bit was with pictures to illustrate.

It was only a small manor but no governesses lived there. http://www.flickr.com/photos/28143475@N00/385775216/ That for instance is a very recent photo of the main entrance garden.

Bear in mind that No Governess ever lived here. It was mainly owned by very rich and influential people of the time or minor Lords. It changed a lot of owners throughout the years.

And to answer the first question they would be BOTH tenants and employees to the main household. This is all I know of this particular Manor. Different Manors ran things differently.

EDIT: To give you a picture of what it used to be like I found some really old photos of it back when it used to be a Manor.
http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/component/option,com_parksandgardens/task,image/id,3112/Itemid,292/
http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/component/option,com_parksandgardens/task,image/id,3033/Itemid,292/
http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/component/option,com_parksandgardens/task,image/id,3034/Itemid,292/

And a victorian gentleman from Victorian period in the conservatory
http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/component/option,com_parksandgardens/task,image/id,3035/Itemid,292/

My grans farm is called Home Farm.

Shakesbear
01-27-2011, 11:48 PM
The Complete Servant by Samuel and Sarah Adams, first published in 1825, my edition is the 1989 Southover Press`, ISBN 1 870962 03 6, has "Housekeeper, cook, kitchen maid, Lady's Maid, Young Lady's Maid, Head Nurse, Under Nurse, Nursery Maid, Governess, Upper Housemaid, Under Housemaid, Laundry maid, Dairy maid, Chamber Nurse, Land steward and bailiff, House Steward, Steward's room boy, Butler, Under butler. Valet, man cook, footman, Lady's Footman, Under footman, Hall porter, head coachman, Under, second or Lady's Coachman, Groom, Groom and valetor footman, Head Gardner, under gardners" Sorry about the flying capitals! The role, name and influence of each position would have depended on very many different conventions within each household.

David, The Complete Servant has job descriptions of the various posts, if you want any details please PM me and I'll try to help.

There could well have been a Home Farm attached to an estate.

waylander
01-27-2011, 11:55 PM
Home Farm would be the farm close by the manor house. The estate would most likely have several other farms. The owner of the estate might well employ a steward or farm manager to look after the estate affairs if he didn't want (or know enough) to do so himself.

Shakesbear
01-28-2011, 12:12 AM
Would some of the farms have been rented out?

fireluxlou
01-28-2011, 12:16 AM
Would some of the farms have been rented out?

I'd have thought they'd have been rented out because usually farms around the estate would be owned by the Manor anyway. The owners of the farms would pay rent and be employees of the Manor, they'd sell produce and meat to the local markets in the villages or towns close by. They'd also provide food for the Manor. The farms would essentially be a source of income to the Manor. I am not sure if cottages around (beside the cottages on the Manors land) would be owned by it.

DavidZahir
01-28-2011, 12:20 AM
This is all extremely helpful! Many thanks!

So I would imagine the manor house has one home farm and possibly several other tenant farms, with some kind of manager overseeing the whole process. I'm presuming if such a manager lived on the estate, he would probably not live in the manor house itself?

In my story, I was thinking the Baronet left most estate matters to a estate manager. When the Baronet died, a question arose about inheritance--in theory the Baronet's uncle (who hadn't been heard from in years) should inherit. If not, then the land and revenues would go to the widow and her children. At the moment, she's in a kind of legal limbo. So the Estate Manager (who also handled business affairs for the late Baronet) is sent to try and find the missing Uncle while the widow's brother more-or-less takes over as Estate Manager (given their respective areas of knowledge and personality, this makes the most sense in context).

waylander
01-28-2011, 01:19 AM
This is all extremely helpful! Many thanks!

So I would imagine the manor house has one home farm and possibly several other tenant farms, with some kind of manager overseeing the whole process. I'm presuming if such a manager lived on the estate, he would probably not live in the manor house itself?



The manager would probably live on the second nicest house on the estate.
My family were tenant farmers for generations for various estates. Renting the farm directly from the estate, they were in a pretty good position. They hired their own farm workers, indoor servants and had security of tenure. The oldest son often followed his father in the tenancy.

DavidZahir
01-28-2011, 02:02 AM
The numbers would dpend on how wealthy the baronet was and how he tried to impress others. The rental income from a few farms wouldn't have made him rich.Depends on the size and number of the farms as well as any other properties he owns, as well as the kinds of savings his family has accumulated. Mind you, I don't need him to be extremely rich, just enough to afford a certain lifestyle and then some. He couldn't, for example, afford a second estate nor to keep up a London home as well as the manor house.

Okay, so the manager would live in a smaller but nice house on the estate somewhere. Got it. That puts three structures on the estate proper--the manor house, the groundman's cottage, and a smaller house for the manager, presumably built for such a purpose or maybe as a small dowager house.

waylander
01-28-2011, 02:46 AM
Plus there would be cottages on each farm for farmworkers e.g the cowman or the ploughman (who were skilled workers hired by the year)

pdr
01-28-2011, 11:24 AM
you'll find that the estate manager was usually called the land agent.

Your original list of servants was far too small, David. Take up Shakesbear's offer and get that info from her.

And the head housemaid was not the housekeeper. The Housekeeper could be a poor relation of the family but she was not the head housemaid. There might well be a head housemaid but that would be a position earned by experience and seniority. Housekeepers did far more than housemaids, in the big houses she often did all the still room work, i.e.jam/jelly preserve making and the cakes for afternoon teas.

Buffysquirrel
01-28-2011, 02:33 PM
Land agent or steward.

If there's a lot of produce coming into the house, I would think there'd also be a stillroom maid.

DavidZahir
01-28-2011, 03:12 PM
Methinks it rather depends on the size of the house and the state of finances. I wasn't looking to fill every possible position, because I wasn't imagining this to be a Great House. My fictional Baronet is fairly wealthy, but not fabulously rich.

I'm much more inclined for there to be a head housemaid than a housekeeper, specifically because this is a relatively small manor house--a staff of ten with four family members. There's room for a larger staff and in theory more could be hired, but the Baronet preferred to keep things to a bare minimum. More, I suspect there are only half a dozen or so tenant farms (this takes place on an island).

PeterL
01-28-2011, 07:06 PM
Depends on the size and number of the farms as well as any other properties he owns, as well as the kinds of savings his family has accumulated. Mind you, I don't need him to be extremely rich, just enough to afford a certain lifestyle and then some. He couldn't, for example, afford a second estate nor to keep up a London home as well as the manor house.


Then he would have needed an income of several thousand a year. He probably would have needed to have an estate that covered a few square miles. You might have the whole place enclosed for cattle or sheep. Either would have been more profitable than having tenant farmers.

DavidZahir
01-28-2011, 09:24 PM
PeterL--just to be clear, he cannot afford a second estate nor London home. Just to be clear.

As a matter of fact, I was thinking much of the island is given to sheep farming. That would actually be better as far as I'm concerned--one home farm and most of the rest of the estate's income from sheep. Plus savings (the family has been on the frugal side for a long while).

I'm still curious about where the Governess would sleep, though...on the same floor with the children or on the top floor with the other female servants? Or could it go either way?

Buffysquirrel
01-29-2011, 04:16 AM
I'm still curious about where the Governess would sleep, though...on the same floor with the children or on the top floor with the other female servants? Or could it go either way?

The status of a governess would probably be higher than that of the other servants--they tended to be gentlewomen in reduced circumstances, as the phrase has it--so she would not sleep in the same quarters as them. She might well have a room of her own leading off either the children's room(s) or the schoolroom.

DavidZahir
01-29-2011, 04:24 AM
So I suspected. Thank you very much.

pdr
01-30-2011, 12:55 AM
a Baron of the squire sort would have a housekeeper. His wife would insist! The housekeeper did the main running of the whole house, ostensibly under the lady of the house's direction. The head housemaid would not be in a position to see and know about certain aspects of the household running.

You can, of course, make anything work for the reader if you give good reasons. It will be a very unusual Baron/Squire who lives on an island without a village of fishing people dependent on him, and who does not divide his land into estate gardens, home farm and then a couple of rented out farms.

You suggest:
1 Butler/valet

If this man is not going to London, is not in fashionable society he wouldn't have a valet and many valets would not want to work in such a remote situation.
He probably wouldn't have a Butler but might well have a house steward. There would not be much for a butler to do on your island and I doubt there is a pile of silver, visitors to oversee and guests to organise.

1 housekeeper/head house maid

I think he'd have a housekeeper, a widowed cousin? And a head housemaid because there are children and a nursery and thus lots of work.

2 house maids

Yes, I think that would be right with a head housemaid as well.

1 groom

Remember that all work is done by horses. There would be work horses and riding horses, certainly horses and ponies for governess carts and the like if not a fancy carriage, and all the farm carts and wagons. One groom would need 2 undergrooms or stable boys.

1 cook

Man or woman? Fancy cook or plain?

1 kitchen maid

Remember that there are children, a separate nursery to cook for, and all the household. Thus I think you need 2 maids.

1 scullery maid

Sounds right though she'd want another.

1 hallboy

You mean the young man in training who ran about with coal scuttles and cleaned the boots whom we called the boot boy?

plus a governess all living in the house. A total of ten servants in the house itself, with a groundskeeper/groundsman plus one or two assistants in a nearby cottage.

Remember that the butler and housekeeper are top dogs ranking above all servants. The governess is not a servant! So she ranks with the housekeeper, sort of! She'd have a reasonable room to live in in this type of household.

DavidZahir
01-30-2011, 04:21 PM
I fear there are some details I've not made clear, mostly because I didn't see a particular need but perhaps I was mistaken. The island in question has a fishing village, as well as sheep herding, plus a few farms. The Baronet (not a baron--much closer to a hereditary knight) owns most of the island. His manor house has the bare minimum staff needed, mostly as a reflection of how this particular individual runs things (plus some other factors). This has had at least one beneficial side effect as far as the servants are concerned--namely, that they have ended up with individual rooms (albeit tiny ones by our standards).

The Butler functions as a valet in that he laid out the Baronet's clothing and helped him dress, overseeing the Baronet's bedroom. He is also head of the housekeeping staff, but delegates. There is silver, as a matter of fact, and he functions as manager of the staff as a whole, as well as serving meals.

Neither the Baronet's wife nor their children are allocated specific servants (i.e. a lady's maid nor nursery maids) because that isn't how he wanted things done (and if you think he was not a nice piece of work, you'd be right).

A hallboy is the male equivalent of a scullery maid, doing the worst of household jobs reserved for male servants. There really isn't call for a boot boy as such, due to the relative lack of guests.

Guests are fairly few, but far from unknown. Most were individuals with whom the Baronet had business. His wife's brother (a vicar) visited when he could and at the time of my story is staying at the house (the Baronet having died recently). Probably the most frequent visitor was the local physician, simply as one of the few educated men on the island. But he was hardly a regular dinner guest. Had the late Baronet not been a hypochondriac he might never have set foot in the manor at all.

The cook is female. Plain.

I may decide to go with a housekeeper yet. If so she'll be a spinster cousin of the Baronet's late mother. An excellent suggestion, actually. Thank you.

pdr
01-31-2011, 01:37 AM
I was about to come back and argue for a lady's maid but as you've filled in the details I won't.

The Butler valet cross must be a rum character.

waylander
01-31-2011, 01:59 AM
Could work if the butler/valet was formerly the baronet's batman in the army

FennelGiraffe
01-31-2011, 02:33 AM
So my fictional manor house should probably have the following staff:
1 Butler/valet
1 housekeeper/head house maid
2 house maids
1 groom
1 cook
1 kitchen maid
1 scullery maid
1 hallboy
plus a governess all living in the house.


Wouldn't grooms (and/or coachmen) live above the stables rather than inside the manor house?

DavidZahir
01-31-2011, 02:58 AM
No, a groom in this context is the equivalent of a Footman.

Sir Benedict was never in the army. But it was traditional for a gentleman to have help getting dressed in this era.

The butler/valet is quite a character, yes.

BTW, I did some checking and in order to have a full moon on a certain date (which I need) means this story must take place in 1836. Which means it isn't Victorian at all! She became Queen in 1837! At this point William IV (the "Sailor King") was on the throne, having succeeded his brother George IV (the Prince Regent).

Judelou
02-27-2012, 04:08 AM
Hi, I've just written a book based in Shropshire in 1832. I found the following useful...
http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/servantwages.htm

DavidZahir
02-27-2012, 04:36 AM
Thankee much!!!!

jaksen
02-27-2012, 06:46 AM
I recently learned that one of the 'complaints' (of some upper-class family members) was that privacy was virtually unheard of. Some servants were allowed to walk in and out of rooms with almost total impunity, including personal servants and maids. Or, there'd be a quick knock and there they were: a servant, a valet, a butler. They were trained to be especially attentive and they were.

I learned this during a tour of a wealthy family's house in Newport, RI. It was a complaint of one of the younger daughters of the Vanderbilt family, circa 1900.

And in the same house I learned that at least one butler prided himself on the fact that he 'never had to knock' to enter a room, that he always knew when and where he was need by the master. (Of course, this excluded the rooms of female members of the family.)

DavidZahir
02-27-2012, 07:59 AM
This is very handy but also a little limited--my story takes place just prior to the Victorian Era, when the set up was a bit different.

blacbird
02-27-2012, 08:24 AM
Virtually every early Victorian novel dealt with the foibles and angsts of the privileged classes. Only Dickens seemed capable of writing about the poor and indigent.

Read some Trollope, Thackeray, the Brontės, George Eliot, Austen. They will be full of detail on such households.

caw

mscelina
02-27-2012, 08:35 AM
Well, to kick off with--if you're writing about anything nineteenth century, I strongly recommend you bookmark The History Box (http://thehistorybox.com/). The information you can find there is amazing. You can glean some helpful information about what your lady of the house would be expected to do during the day--and thus a hint about how many and what kinds of servants she needs here. (http://www.thehistorybox.com/ny_city/society/articles/nycity_society_wife_mother_article0048.htm)

This blog (http://impulsivehearts.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/a-primer-on-regency-era-servants/) will help for the late Georgian period. The absolutely best source for Georgian/Regency/early Victorian information is Jane Austen's World. (http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/) I strongly advise you to bookmark this site as well.

Moving out of my bookmarks and into Google-fu, try these:

http://www.likesbooks.com/servants.html
http://faculty.randolphcollege.edu/janeausten/reports/servants.htm
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/agunn/teaching/enl3251/vf/pres/davis.htm
http://rth.org.uk/regency_history/daily_life/daily_life.php

and there are lots of others.

But here's the thing. Sure, your story takes place the year BEFORE Victoria ascended the throne, but there's really not much of a difference between Regency/Georgian domestic servants and Victorian ones. Victoria didn't just ascend the throne and decree "all British manors are required to have five laundry maids." So do your research in BOTH eras, deduce what is practical and realistic for your situation and go from there.