Upstairs or Downstairs?

Ash8_78_1_1 Hello, Nicola here! It's almost April, which means that we are whisking off the dust sheets, getting out the beeswax polish and opening up Ashdown Park, "my" National Trust historic house, for the season. The most difficult part for me is updating my guided tour to include the research I've done in the past year. If I add a few facts to my talk I have to take something out. I have 35 minutes to get my tour group around the house and (I hope!) impart a few fascinating details about the Craven family through the centuries, the art, the architecture and a ghost story or two!

Each year we change the exhibitions we have in the Information Centre, which is housed in the building that was once Ashdown's brewery and bakery. Last year our costume designer made a replica of a seventeenth century gentleman's country outfit, the type of clothes the first Lord Craven would have worn at Ashdown as opposed to what he wore at the court of Charles II. This year she is designing and making a lady's costume to match. We have a small display of items from the Second World War, when American and Canadian troops were stationed at Ashdown prior to D-Day. We also have some archaeological finds from the Iron Age fort of Alfred's Castle. As you can see, we try to cater to all those people who have a special interest in the house as well as those who choose to visit simply because it is a beautiful place.

The other exhibition we will be mounting this year is a display of photographs of Ashdown from the IMG_9261_2_1 Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Victorian period was the only time that Ashdown was lived in on a permanent basis. Unlike his father, the rackety Regency Earl, William Craven Second Earl of the Second Creation was considered a typical Victorian gentleman. He was described by his contemporaries as "a fine horseman and very good to hounds, a first rate all round shot and an extraordinarily fine fly fisherman." These were the virtues admired in the Victorian landowner. As a result of some private correspondence between the Countess and her sister, we also know something a little more personal about William Craven – his wife considered him to be extremely good in bed and would boast of his sexual prowess! Not what we consider typical Victorian behaviour at all! William was also atypical in that he was a pioneer of Victorian photography and so we have an unusually detailed record of Ashdown from that time in photographs.

The family above stairs are fascinating in terms of how they spent their time (visiting friends, walking or riding about the estate and watching the earl take photographs!) but we receive many more enquiries from people who are tracing their family trees and have discovered that they are descended from the Ashdown House servants. During the Victorian era there were on average thirty five indoor and outdoor servants at Ashdown when the family were in residence. The house is unusual because it has no servants' quarters. As a hunting lodge it was built on a very small scale. So in the nineteenth century it was extended to provide extra accommodation for the family – a ballroom, smoking room, billiards room and garden room – and at the same time a new servants' block was built in what is now the courtyard. I think it must have been quite a squash!

IMG_9266_7_1 There was a very strict hierarchy in the servants' hall and this is perfectly illustrated in the Ashdown census returns of the 1800s where the servants are listed according to their status with the governess first, then the butler and housekeeper, then the upper servants and the lower servants. The upper servants included the ladies maids, of which there were two at Ashdown in 1861, one for the Countess and one shared by her elder daughters. They earned between £12 and £15 per annum. The Earl and the male members of the family had several valets to wait on them. The valets earned £25 to £50 a year. Discrimination was alive and well! These were the only servants who formed close bonds with the family, although of course they could never be friends. In her letters the Countess speaks of calling on "little Mrs Brin" the retired housekeeper. The tone of her letters is rather condescending! In her time Mrs Brin had 3 housemaids working for her at Ashdown. One of these became pregnant by one of the footmen despite maids being forbidden from having "followers." They married when the girl was about 5 months pregnant and the Cravens gave the couple a local cottage in which to live. Neither was allowed to continue working at Ashdown, however.

At Ashdown the butler, William Churchill, was assisted by 3 footmen. The upper servants, who also included the cook, the head gardener and the coachman actually had their own servant – the Steward’s Room Man – to wait on them at meals. This shows how incredibly status conscious the servants’ hall
was. At Ashdown this poor lad was a19 year old called William Dyke. He was almost at the bottom of the pile, down there with the kitchen maids and the scullery maids. But there was someone still lower on the social ladder – the odd job man, Edward Cook, who waited on the lower servants.

Throughout the Victorian period the Cravens had French cooks. Again this was a sign of status as FrenchAsh92_92_1_1 cuisine was very highly rated. The kitchens were located in one of Ashdown's lodge houses and were connected to the main house by a corridor. The family wanted the kitchens kept as far away from the dining room as possible because they didn’t want to have to smell the food cooking. So although it was inconvenient for the servants to have a kitchen in the lodge it suited the family well.

Another process that was kept well away from the family – in Ashdown's case a quarter of a mile away – was the laundry. Before the automated laundry process was invented, laundry created a great deal of steam and smell, which was why the laundry was usually away from the rest of the servants’ quarters. Quite often it was near the stables, as it is at Ashdown, and as the historian Mark Girouard remarked, “the laundry was the Achilles heel of the Victorian country house as far as keeping the male and female servants apart was concerned.”

IMG_9265_6_1 Ashdown, being a country sporting estate, had a big stables with coachman, grooms and stable helpers and also six gamekeepers. The house also had extensive kitchen gardens where they grew everything from mushrooms in dark sheds to exotic fruit such as melons and pineapples, against heated walls that still stand today. Much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs eaten by the family and guests came from their own gardens during this period.

By the Edwardian period Ashdown's heyday as a country estate was over. TheCountessofCraven Edwardian Earl of Craven, who had married the American heiress Miss Cornelia Martin in 1893, preferred the opulent splendour of his estates at Coombe Abbey (renovated with American money) to his Berkshire properties. In fact he was so rarely in Berkshire that he was driving past Ashdown one day and remarked "I believe I have a house somewhere around here." It was Cornelia Craven who gave Ashdown to the National Trust in  1956. This year, courtesy of some wonderful photographs from Mr Rick Hutto, we are hoping to have a little display dedicated to Cornelia, the "dollar princess" who saved the Craven family fortunes. 

I hope you have enjoyed this whistle-stop tour through a bit of Ashdown history and a few of our special photographs. If you had been around in the Victorian era would you have preferred to be upstairs or downstairs?

110 thoughts on “Upstairs or Downstairs?”

  1. Interesting comment on the pregnant maid who married the footman. Allowing them a cottage on the estate shows the Countess to have been unusually sympathetic, I think, even though neither could continue to work in the house. Uusually, a pregnant maid got sacked on the grounds that she was obviously a light woman. The man responsible was kept on. I wonder if the footman was offered a job elsewhere on the estate.

    Reply
  2. Interesting comment on the pregnant maid who married the footman. Allowing them a cottage on the estate shows the Countess to have been unusually sympathetic, I think, even though neither could continue to work in the house. Uusually, a pregnant maid got sacked on the grounds that she was obviously a light woman. The man responsible was kept on. I wonder if the footman was offered a job elsewhere on the estate.

    Reply
  3. Interesting comment on the pregnant maid who married the footman. Allowing them a cottage on the estate shows the Countess to have been unusually sympathetic, I think, even though neither could continue to work in the house. Uusually, a pregnant maid got sacked on the grounds that she was obviously a light woman. The man responsible was kept on. I wonder if the footman was offered a job elsewhere on the estate.

    Reply
  4. Interesting comment on the pregnant maid who married the footman. Allowing them a cottage on the estate shows the Countess to have been unusually sympathetic, I think, even though neither could continue to work in the house. Uusually, a pregnant maid got sacked on the grounds that she was obviously a light woman. The man responsible was kept on. I wonder if the footman was offered a job elsewhere on the estate.

    Reply
  5. Interesting comment on the pregnant maid who married the footman. Allowing them a cottage on the estate shows the Countess to have been unusually sympathetic, I think, even though neither could continue to work in the house. Uusually, a pregnant maid got sacked on the grounds that she was obviously a light woman. The man responsible was kept on. I wonder if the footman was offered a job elsewhere on the estate.

    Reply
  6. I agree, Elizabeth. I thought that very unusual. The records show that the Cravens were very generous to their servants, giving them property on retirement, leaving them substatial sums in their wills and finding them other work if they moved. The other interpretation is that the maid was actually pregnant by a member of the family rather than by a servant. There are rumours, if not records, of that happening on more than one occasion and the servant in question being “bought off” and married off with property. Fascinating stuff, though actual evidence is, not surprisingly, very difficult to come by.

    Reply
  7. I agree, Elizabeth. I thought that very unusual. The records show that the Cravens were very generous to their servants, giving them property on retirement, leaving them substatial sums in their wills and finding them other work if they moved. The other interpretation is that the maid was actually pregnant by a member of the family rather than by a servant. There are rumours, if not records, of that happening on more than one occasion and the servant in question being “bought off” and married off with property. Fascinating stuff, though actual evidence is, not surprisingly, very difficult to come by.

    Reply
  8. I agree, Elizabeth. I thought that very unusual. The records show that the Cravens were very generous to their servants, giving them property on retirement, leaving them substatial sums in their wills and finding them other work if they moved. The other interpretation is that the maid was actually pregnant by a member of the family rather than by a servant. There are rumours, if not records, of that happening on more than one occasion and the servant in question being “bought off” and married off with property. Fascinating stuff, though actual evidence is, not surprisingly, very difficult to come by.

    Reply
  9. I agree, Elizabeth. I thought that very unusual. The records show that the Cravens were very generous to their servants, giving them property on retirement, leaving them substatial sums in their wills and finding them other work if they moved. The other interpretation is that the maid was actually pregnant by a member of the family rather than by a servant. There are rumours, if not records, of that happening on more than one occasion and the servant in question being “bought off” and married off with property. Fascinating stuff, though actual evidence is, not surprisingly, very difficult to come by.

    Reply
  10. I agree, Elizabeth. I thought that very unusual. The records show that the Cravens were very generous to their servants, giving them property on retirement, leaving them substatial sums in their wills and finding them other work if they moved. The other interpretation is that the maid was actually pregnant by a member of the family rather than by a servant. There are rumours, if not records, of that happening on more than one occasion and the servant in question being “bought off” and married off with property. Fascinating stuff, though actual evidence is, not surprisingly, very difficult to come by.

    Reply
  11. Nicola, what great information. I love the description of the servants’ hierarchy and the description of the Victorian Earl of Craven. I thought at first he sounded like a dud of a husband, but apparently not!

    Reply
  12. Nicola, what great information. I love the description of the servants’ hierarchy and the description of the Victorian Earl of Craven. I thought at first he sounded like a dud of a husband, but apparently not!

    Reply
  13. Nicola, what great information. I love the description of the servants’ hierarchy and the description of the Victorian Earl of Craven. I thought at first he sounded like a dud of a husband, but apparently not!

    Reply
  14. Nicola, what great information. I love the description of the servants’ hierarchy and the description of the Victorian Earl of Craven. I thought at first he sounded like a dud of a husband, but apparently not!

    Reply
  15. Nicola, what great information. I love the description of the servants’ hierarchy and the description of the Victorian Earl of Craven. I thought at first he sounded like a dud of a husband, but apparently not!

    Reply
  16. Great info Nicola! Thank you. Knowing the (bossy) sort of person that I am, I’ll take the housekeeper position, please. 🙂
    Question: How far would have Ashdown House been from London during the very early Victorian days?

    Reply
  17. Great info Nicola! Thank you. Knowing the (bossy) sort of person that I am, I’ll take the housekeeper position, please. 🙂
    Question: How far would have Ashdown House been from London during the very early Victorian days?

    Reply
  18. Great info Nicola! Thank you. Knowing the (bossy) sort of person that I am, I’ll take the housekeeper position, please. 🙂
    Question: How far would have Ashdown House been from London during the very early Victorian days?

    Reply
  19. Great info Nicola! Thank you. Knowing the (bossy) sort of person that I am, I’ll take the housekeeper position, please. 🙂
    Question: How far would have Ashdown House been from London during the very early Victorian days?

    Reply
  20. Great info Nicola! Thank you. Knowing the (bossy) sort of person that I am, I’ll take the housekeeper position, please. 🙂
    Question: How far would have Ashdown House been from London during the very early Victorian days?

    Reply
  21. LOL, Diane, I think he was a bit of a dark horse! Perhaps he took after his father, who was something of a Regency rake. Lady Craven and her sister Lady Coventry apparently had a bit of sibling rivalry going if their coded letters on this subject are to be believed!
    The servant heirarchy was interesting because I had no idea until I looked at the details quite how rigid the social structure was. Servants to wait on the servants…

    Reply
  22. LOL, Diane, I think he was a bit of a dark horse! Perhaps he took after his father, who was something of a Regency rake. Lady Craven and her sister Lady Coventry apparently had a bit of sibling rivalry going if their coded letters on this subject are to be believed!
    The servant heirarchy was interesting because I had no idea until I looked at the details quite how rigid the social structure was. Servants to wait on the servants…

    Reply
  23. LOL, Diane, I think he was a bit of a dark horse! Perhaps he took after his father, who was something of a Regency rake. Lady Craven and her sister Lady Coventry apparently had a bit of sibling rivalry going if their coded letters on this subject are to be believed!
    The servant heirarchy was interesting because I had no idea until I looked at the details quite how rigid the social structure was. Servants to wait on the servants…

    Reply
  24. LOL, Diane, I think he was a bit of a dark horse! Perhaps he took after his father, who was something of a Regency rake. Lady Craven and her sister Lady Coventry apparently had a bit of sibling rivalry going if their coded letters on this subject are to be believed!
    The servant heirarchy was interesting because I had no idea until I looked at the details quite how rigid the social structure was. Servants to wait on the servants…

    Reply
  25. LOL, Diane, I think he was a bit of a dark horse! Perhaps he took after his father, who was something of a Regency rake. Lady Craven and her sister Lady Coventry apparently had a bit of sibling rivalry going if their coded letters on this subject are to be believed!
    The servant heirarchy was interesting because I had no idea until I looked at the details quite how rigid the social structure was. Servants to wait on the servants…

    Reply
  26. Good choice, Nina – the housekeeper had her own parlour and had a very civilised time of it inviting the upper servants around for tea!
    Ashdown is roughly ninety miles from London and you would have taken the Bath road from London and then headed north west from Newbury. By 1841, however, the railway had come to Bristol and there was a station at Shrivenham which is about 5 miles from Ashdown. The Cravens used to put their carriage on the train there and head off up to London by rail.

    Reply
  27. Good choice, Nina – the housekeeper had her own parlour and had a very civilised time of it inviting the upper servants around for tea!
    Ashdown is roughly ninety miles from London and you would have taken the Bath road from London and then headed north west from Newbury. By 1841, however, the railway had come to Bristol and there was a station at Shrivenham which is about 5 miles from Ashdown. The Cravens used to put their carriage on the train there and head off up to London by rail.

    Reply
  28. Good choice, Nina – the housekeeper had her own parlour and had a very civilised time of it inviting the upper servants around for tea!
    Ashdown is roughly ninety miles from London and you would have taken the Bath road from London and then headed north west from Newbury. By 1841, however, the railway had come to Bristol and there was a station at Shrivenham which is about 5 miles from Ashdown. The Cravens used to put their carriage on the train there and head off up to London by rail.

    Reply
  29. Good choice, Nina – the housekeeper had her own parlour and had a very civilised time of it inviting the upper servants around for tea!
    Ashdown is roughly ninety miles from London and you would have taken the Bath road from London and then headed north west from Newbury. By 1841, however, the railway had come to Bristol and there was a station at Shrivenham which is about 5 miles from Ashdown. The Cravens used to put their carriage on the train there and head off up to London by rail.

    Reply
  30. Good choice, Nina – the housekeeper had her own parlour and had a very civilised time of it inviting the upper servants around for tea!
    Ashdown is roughly ninety miles from London and you would have taken the Bath road from London and then headed north west from Newbury. By 1841, however, the railway had come to Bristol and there was a station at Shrivenham which is about 5 miles from Ashdown. The Cravens used to put their carriage on the train there and head off up to London by rail.

    Reply
  31. Upstairs, as any sensible person would, I think. The Victorians weren’t known for their social safety net, and the realities of poverty are too well known to me (from my younger years) to sign up for it Victorian style. There are too many variables in the downstairs life to willingly sign up for it.
    My personality and preferences are more suited to downstairs than the constraints of upstairs, but it’s easier to be an outcast with money than a happy lark in service.

    Reply
  32. Upstairs, as any sensible person would, I think. The Victorians weren’t known for their social safety net, and the realities of poverty are too well known to me (from my younger years) to sign up for it Victorian style. There are too many variables in the downstairs life to willingly sign up for it.
    My personality and preferences are more suited to downstairs than the constraints of upstairs, but it’s easier to be an outcast with money than a happy lark in service.

    Reply
  33. Upstairs, as any sensible person would, I think. The Victorians weren’t known for their social safety net, and the realities of poverty are too well known to me (from my younger years) to sign up for it Victorian style. There are too many variables in the downstairs life to willingly sign up for it.
    My personality and preferences are more suited to downstairs than the constraints of upstairs, but it’s easier to be an outcast with money than a happy lark in service.

    Reply
  34. Upstairs, as any sensible person would, I think. The Victorians weren’t known for their social safety net, and the realities of poverty are too well known to me (from my younger years) to sign up for it Victorian style. There are too many variables in the downstairs life to willingly sign up for it.
    My personality and preferences are more suited to downstairs than the constraints of upstairs, but it’s easier to be an outcast with money than a happy lark in service.

    Reply
  35. Upstairs, as any sensible person would, I think. The Victorians weren’t known for their social safety net, and the realities of poverty are too well known to me (from my younger years) to sign up for it Victorian style. There are too many variables in the downstairs life to willingly sign up for it.
    My personality and preferences are more suited to downstairs than the constraints of upstairs, but it’s easier to be an outcast with money than a happy lark in service.

    Reply
  36. An interesting perspective, Liz. I think life was precarious in service, especially for a woman. There is some truth in the adage about it being easier to be unhappy in comfort – upstairs!

    Reply
  37. An interesting perspective, Liz. I think life was precarious in service, especially for a woman. There is some truth in the adage about it being easier to be unhappy in comfort – upstairs!

    Reply
  38. An interesting perspective, Liz. I think life was precarious in service, especially for a woman. There is some truth in the adage about it being easier to be unhappy in comfort – upstairs!

    Reply
  39. An interesting perspective, Liz. I think life was precarious in service, especially for a woman. There is some truth in the adage about it being easier to be unhappy in comfort – upstairs!

    Reply
  40. An interesting perspective, Liz. I think life was precarious in service, especially for a woman. There is some truth in the adage about it being easier to be unhappy in comfort – upstairs!

    Reply
  41. This is very interesting, Nicola. It sounds a wonderful place to pay a visit. Upstairs or downstairs? I have to say upstairs ladies seemed to be very listless and bored with so little to do. You would be a lot healthier as a servant – though I agree poverty wouldn’t be fun. However, working at this house sounds a lot better than most! I’ll go for being housekeeper which was respectable and a bit more in charge!

    Reply
  42. This is very interesting, Nicola. It sounds a wonderful place to pay a visit. Upstairs or downstairs? I have to say upstairs ladies seemed to be very listless and bored with so little to do. You would be a lot healthier as a servant – though I agree poverty wouldn’t be fun. However, working at this house sounds a lot better than most! I’ll go for being housekeeper which was respectable and a bit more in charge!

    Reply
  43. This is very interesting, Nicola. It sounds a wonderful place to pay a visit. Upstairs or downstairs? I have to say upstairs ladies seemed to be very listless and bored with so little to do. You would be a lot healthier as a servant – though I agree poverty wouldn’t be fun. However, working at this house sounds a lot better than most! I’ll go for being housekeeper which was respectable and a bit more in charge!

    Reply
  44. This is very interesting, Nicola. It sounds a wonderful place to pay a visit. Upstairs or downstairs? I have to say upstairs ladies seemed to be very listless and bored with so little to do. You would be a lot healthier as a servant – though I agree poverty wouldn’t be fun. However, working at this house sounds a lot better than most! I’ll go for being housekeeper which was respectable and a bit more in charge!

    Reply
  45. This is very interesting, Nicola. It sounds a wonderful place to pay a visit. Upstairs or downstairs? I have to say upstairs ladies seemed to be very listless and bored with so little to do. You would be a lot healthier as a servant – though I agree poverty wouldn’t be fun. However, working at this house sounds a lot better than most! I’ll go for being housekeeper which was respectable and a bit more in charge!

    Reply
  46. Thanks, Nicola, for the link to Ashdown House. We are members of the National Trust because we appreciate their preservation work. My mother is British but lives in Florida. She returns to England each summer to volunteer at other National Trust properties. Her favorite is Wallington in Northumberland.

    Reply
  47. Thanks, Nicola, for the link to Ashdown House. We are members of the National Trust because we appreciate their preservation work. My mother is British but lives in Florida. She returns to England each summer to volunteer at other National Trust properties. Her favorite is Wallington in Northumberland.

    Reply
  48. Thanks, Nicola, for the link to Ashdown House. We are members of the National Trust because we appreciate their preservation work. My mother is British but lives in Florida. She returns to England each summer to volunteer at other National Trust properties. Her favorite is Wallington in Northumberland.

    Reply
  49. Thanks, Nicola, for the link to Ashdown House. We are members of the National Trust because we appreciate their preservation work. My mother is British but lives in Florida. She returns to England each summer to volunteer at other National Trust properties. Her favorite is Wallington in Northumberland.

    Reply
  50. Thanks, Nicola, for the link to Ashdown House. We are members of the National Trust because we appreciate their preservation work. My mother is British but lives in Florida. She returns to England each summer to volunteer at other National Trust properties. Her favorite is Wallington in Northumberland.

    Reply
  51. I may be biased, Lorri, but I do think Ashdown is a wonderful place! I also think that the Craven family took care of their staff in that paternalistic Victorian way, so being in service there may well have been more pleasant than in some other places. I still think it must have been incredibly hard though. There are 8 bedrooms on 2 floors and the housemaids had to go up and down 100 steps to make the fires, polish the staircase etc. There is a great story told by the grand-daughter of a lady who was a maid there who said her grandmother was told that if she was on the stair when the family or guests passed, she had to efface herself against the wall and under no circumstances make eye contact with them! There was no servants’ stair – very inconvenient for the family and staff to have to mix!

    Reply
  52. I may be biased, Lorri, but I do think Ashdown is a wonderful place! I also think that the Craven family took care of their staff in that paternalistic Victorian way, so being in service there may well have been more pleasant than in some other places. I still think it must have been incredibly hard though. There are 8 bedrooms on 2 floors and the housemaids had to go up and down 100 steps to make the fires, polish the staircase etc. There is a great story told by the grand-daughter of a lady who was a maid there who said her grandmother was told that if she was on the stair when the family or guests passed, she had to efface herself against the wall and under no circumstances make eye contact with them! There was no servants’ stair – very inconvenient for the family and staff to have to mix!

    Reply
  53. I may be biased, Lorri, but I do think Ashdown is a wonderful place! I also think that the Craven family took care of their staff in that paternalistic Victorian way, so being in service there may well have been more pleasant than in some other places. I still think it must have been incredibly hard though. There are 8 bedrooms on 2 floors and the housemaids had to go up and down 100 steps to make the fires, polish the staircase etc. There is a great story told by the grand-daughter of a lady who was a maid there who said her grandmother was told that if she was on the stair when the family or guests passed, she had to efface herself against the wall and under no circumstances make eye contact with them! There was no servants’ stair – very inconvenient for the family and staff to have to mix!

    Reply
  54. I may be biased, Lorri, but I do think Ashdown is a wonderful place! I also think that the Craven family took care of their staff in that paternalistic Victorian way, so being in service there may well have been more pleasant than in some other places. I still think it must have been incredibly hard though. There are 8 bedrooms on 2 floors and the housemaids had to go up and down 100 steps to make the fires, polish the staircase etc. There is a great story told by the grand-daughter of a lady who was a maid there who said her grandmother was told that if she was on the stair when the family or guests passed, she had to efface herself against the wall and under no circumstances make eye contact with them! There was no servants’ stair – very inconvenient for the family and staff to have to mix!

    Reply
  55. I may be biased, Lorri, but I do think Ashdown is a wonderful place! I also think that the Craven family took care of their staff in that paternalistic Victorian way, so being in service there may well have been more pleasant than in some other places. I still think it must have been incredibly hard though. There are 8 bedrooms on 2 floors and the housemaids had to go up and down 100 steps to make the fires, polish the staircase etc. There is a great story told by the grand-daughter of a lady who was a maid there who said her grandmother was told that if she was on the stair when the family or guests passed, she had to efface herself against the wall and under no circumstances make eye contact with them! There was no servants’ stair – very inconvenient for the family and staff to have to mix!

    Reply
  56. Kim, how marvellous that your mother comes over to the UK to volunteer at a National Trust property each year. I noticed that they were advertising for people to work at Lindisfarne Castle. Now that is a wonderful spot, and Wallington too!

    Reply
  57. Kim, how marvellous that your mother comes over to the UK to volunteer at a National Trust property each year. I noticed that they were advertising for people to work at Lindisfarne Castle. Now that is a wonderful spot, and Wallington too!

    Reply
  58. Kim, how marvellous that your mother comes over to the UK to volunteer at a National Trust property each year. I noticed that they were advertising for people to work at Lindisfarne Castle. Now that is a wonderful spot, and Wallington too!

    Reply
  59. Kim, how marvellous that your mother comes over to the UK to volunteer at a National Trust property each year. I noticed that they were advertising for people to work at Lindisfarne Castle. Now that is a wonderful spot, and Wallington too!

    Reply
  60. Kim, how marvellous that your mother comes over to the UK to volunteer at a National Trust property each year. I noticed that they were advertising for people to work at Lindisfarne Castle. Now that is a wonderful spot, and Wallington too!

    Reply
  61. Thank you, Nicola! What fun! I’m putting Ashdown House on my list of spots to visit next time I’m over the pond!
    I’d take upstairs, definitely. A younger daughter, I think – not as much pressure to marry whoever is rich enough or titled enough.
    Well, good to know that some of those excellent lovers we know so well among the fictional ton had some real life counterparts in the historical ton. 🙂

    Reply
  62. Thank you, Nicola! What fun! I’m putting Ashdown House on my list of spots to visit next time I’m over the pond!
    I’d take upstairs, definitely. A younger daughter, I think – not as much pressure to marry whoever is rich enough or titled enough.
    Well, good to know that some of those excellent lovers we know so well among the fictional ton had some real life counterparts in the historical ton. 🙂

    Reply
  63. Thank you, Nicola! What fun! I’m putting Ashdown House on my list of spots to visit next time I’m over the pond!
    I’d take upstairs, definitely. A younger daughter, I think – not as much pressure to marry whoever is rich enough or titled enough.
    Well, good to know that some of those excellent lovers we know so well among the fictional ton had some real life counterparts in the historical ton. 🙂

    Reply
  64. Thank you, Nicola! What fun! I’m putting Ashdown House on my list of spots to visit next time I’m over the pond!
    I’d take upstairs, definitely. A younger daughter, I think – not as much pressure to marry whoever is rich enough or titled enough.
    Well, good to know that some of those excellent lovers we know so well among the fictional ton had some real life counterparts in the historical ton. 🙂

    Reply
  65. Thank you, Nicola! What fun! I’m putting Ashdown House on my list of spots to visit next time I’m over the pond!
    I’d take upstairs, definitely. A younger daughter, I think – not as much pressure to marry whoever is rich enough or titled enough.
    Well, good to know that some of those excellent lovers we know so well among the fictional ton had some real life counterparts in the historical ton. 🙂

    Reply
  66. What a lovely glimpse into the Craven family, Nicola! I like that the pregnant maid and her husband got the cottage (and just who was the father of her child???) ANd also it’s a hoot that the countess was boasting of what a studmuffin the earl was. *g*
    Given that I’m not fond of housework even with modern equipment, I think I’d opt for upstairs. The younger sister gig sounds like a good one.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  67. What a lovely glimpse into the Craven family, Nicola! I like that the pregnant maid and her husband got the cottage (and just who was the father of her child???) ANd also it’s a hoot that the countess was boasting of what a studmuffin the earl was. *g*
    Given that I’m not fond of housework even with modern equipment, I think I’d opt for upstairs. The younger sister gig sounds like a good one.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  68. What a lovely glimpse into the Craven family, Nicola! I like that the pregnant maid and her husband got the cottage (and just who was the father of her child???) ANd also it’s a hoot that the countess was boasting of what a studmuffin the earl was. *g*
    Given that I’m not fond of housework even with modern equipment, I think I’d opt for upstairs. The younger sister gig sounds like a good one.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  69. What a lovely glimpse into the Craven family, Nicola! I like that the pregnant maid and her husband got the cottage (and just who was the father of her child???) ANd also it’s a hoot that the countess was boasting of what a studmuffin the earl was. *g*
    Given that I’m not fond of housework even with modern equipment, I think I’d opt for upstairs. The younger sister gig sounds like a good one.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  70. What a lovely glimpse into the Craven family, Nicola! I like that the pregnant maid and her husband got the cottage (and just who was the father of her child???) ANd also it’s a hoot that the countess was boasting of what a studmuffin the earl was. *g*
    Given that I’m not fond of housework even with modern equipment, I think I’d opt for upstairs. The younger sister gig sounds like a good one.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  71. You lucky, lucky lady, Nicola. I love Ashdown with its boxy look. When I lived in England I visited many times. No wonder your books are so rich in the descriptions and feelings of the times. What a setting for a book with all the prehistoric backdrop and cast of characters. Actually it would be a good setting for an anthology with each era of the past covered in a story. The dollar princess sounds fabulous; like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Thanks for a great and inspiring post.

    Reply
  72. You lucky, lucky lady, Nicola. I love Ashdown with its boxy look. When I lived in England I visited many times. No wonder your books are so rich in the descriptions and feelings of the times. What a setting for a book with all the prehistoric backdrop and cast of characters. Actually it would be a good setting for an anthology with each era of the past covered in a story. The dollar princess sounds fabulous; like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Thanks for a great and inspiring post.

    Reply
  73. You lucky, lucky lady, Nicola. I love Ashdown with its boxy look. When I lived in England I visited many times. No wonder your books are so rich in the descriptions and feelings of the times. What a setting for a book with all the prehistoric backdrop and cast of characters. Actually it would be a good setting for an anthology with each era of the past covered in a story. The dollar princess sounds fabulous; like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Thanks for a great and inspiring post.

    Reply
  74. You lucky, lucky lady, Nicola. I love Ashdown with its boxy look. When I lived in England I visited many times. No wonder your books are so rich in the descriptions and feelings of the times. What a setting for a book with all the prehistoric backdrop and cast of characters. Actually it would be a good setting for an anthology with each era of the past covered in a story. The dollar princess sounds fabulous; like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Thanks for a great and inspiring post.

    Reply
  75. You lucky, lucky lady, Nicola. I love Ashdown with its boxy look. When I lived in England I visited many times. No wonder your books are so rich in the descriptions and feelings of the times. What a setting for a book with all the prehistoric backdrop and cast of characters. Actually it would be a good setting for an anthology with each era of the past covered in a story. The dollar princess sounds fabulous; like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Thanks for a great and inspiring post.

    Reply
  76. Thank you so much for such an interesting post. I have volunteered as a docent at historic houses on a shot term basis over the years. It is always interesting and fun. I’ll have to make sure I order our National Trust Passes before we leave when we get a chance to travel to England. It would cover a lot of what we would visit.
    I certainly wouldn’t want to have to do the laundry or all that dusting and waxing, so I’d best opt to be an upstairs lady’s maid.

    Reply
  77. Thank you so much for such an interesting post. I have volunteered as a docent at historic houses on a shot term basis over the years. It is always interesting and fun. I’ll have to make sure I order our National Trust Passes before we leave when we get a chance to travel to England. It would cover a lot of what we would visit.
    I certainly wouldn’t want to have to do the laundry or all that dusting and waxing, so I’d best opt to be an upstairs lady’s maid.

    Reply
  78. Thank you so much for such an interesting post. I have volunteered as a docent at historic houses on a shot term basis over the years. It is always interesting and fun. I’ll have to make sure I order our National Trust Passes before we leave when we get a chance to travel to England. It would cover a lot of what we would visit.
    I certainly wouldn’t want to have to do the laundry or all that dusting and waxing, so I’d best opt to be an upstairs lady’s maid.

    Reply
  79. Thank you so much for such an interesting post. I have volunteered as a docent at historic houses on a shot term basis over the years. It is always interesting and fun. I’ll have to make sure I order our National Trust Passes before we leave when we get a chance to travel to England. It would cover a lot of what we would visit.
    I certainly wouldn’t want to have to do the laundry or all that dusting and waxing, so I’d best opt to be an upstairs lady’s maid.

    Reply
  80. Thank you so much for such an interesting post. I have volunteered as a docent at historic houses on a shot term basis over the years. It is always interesting and fun. I’ll have to make sure I order our National Trust Passes before we leave when we get a chance to travel to England. It would cover a lot of what we would visit.
    I certainly wouldn’t want to have to do the laundry or all that dusting and waxing, so I’d best opt to be an upstairs lady’s maid.

    Reply
  81. Oh yes, Anne, please do come and visit when you are next in the UK. I’d love to show you around the house. The younger sister role is getting quite a few votes. A good choice, I think, in that society!
    Yes, it’s very funny that the Countess gave the Earl such a good write up as a lover! She and her sister definitely had a thing going of “my husband’s better than your husband!”

    Reply
  82. Oh yes, Anne, please do come and visit when you are next in the UK. I’d love to show you around the house. The younger sister role is getting quite a few votes. A good choice, I think, in that society!
    Yes, it’s very funny that the Countess gave the Earl such a good write up as a lover! She and her sister definitely had a thing going of “my husband’s better than your husband!”

    Reply
  83. Oh yes, Anne, please do come and visit when you are next in the UK. I’d love to show you around the house. The younger sister role is getting quite a few votes. A good choice, I think, in that society!
    Yes, it’s very funny that the Countess gave the Earl such a good write up as a lover! She and her sister definitely had a thing going of “my husband’s better than your husband!”

    Reply
  84. Oh yes, Anne, please do come and visit when you are next in the UK. I’d love to show you around the house. The younger sister role is getting quite a few votes. A good choice, I think, in that society!
    Yes, it’s very funny that the Countess gave the Earl such a good write up as a lover! She and her sister definitely had a thing going of “my husband’s better than your husband!”

    Reply
  85. Oh yes, Anne, please do come and visit when you are next in the UK. I’d love to show you around the house. The younger sister role is getting quite a few votes. A good choice, I think, in that society!
    Yes, it’s very funny that the Countess gave the Earl such a good write up as a lover! She and her sister definitely had a thing going of “my husband’s better than your husband!”

    Reply
  86. I’m glad that Ashdown has a fan in you, Sue. Thank you! It is a very inspiring place to work and I love the idea of an anthology set there through the ages.
    I’m hoping to write some more about Cornelia Craven on the Ashdown House blog. The whole dollar princess phenomenon fascinates me. And certainly without Cornelia and her money, Coombe Abbey would never have been renovated and the family fortunes would have crashed a lot sooner.

    Reply
  87. I’m glad that Ashdown has a fan in you, Sue. Thank you! It is a very inspiring place to work and I love the idea of an anthology set there through the ages.
    I’m hoping to write some more about Cornelia Craven on the Ashdown House blog. The whole dollar princess phenomenon fascinates me. And certainly without Cornelia and her money, Coombe Abbey would never have been renovated and the family fortunes would have crashed a lot sooner.

    Reply
  88. I’m glad that Ashdown has a fan in you, Sue. Thank you! It is a very inspiring place to work and I love the idea of an anthology set there through the ages.
    I’m hoping to write some more about Cornelia Craven on the Ashdown House blog. The whole dollar princess phenomenon fascinates me. And certainly without Cornelia and her money, Coombe Abbey would never have been renovated and the family fortunes would have crashed a lot sooner.

    Reply
  89. I’m glad that Ashdown has a fan in you, Sue. Thank you! It is a very inspiring place to work and I love the idea of an anthology set there through the ages.
    I’m hoping to write some more about Cornelia Craven on the Ashdown House blog. The whole dollar princess phenomenon fascinates me. And certainly without Cornelia and her money, Coombe Abbey would never have been renovated and the family fortunes would have crashed a lot sooner.

    Reply
  90. I’m glad that Ashdown has a fan in you, Sue. Thank you! It is a very inspiring place to work and I love the idea of an anthology set there through the ages.
    I’m hoping to write some more about Cornelia Craven on the Ashdown House blog. The whole dollar princess phenomenon fascinates me. And certainly without Cornelia and her money, Coombe Abbey would never have been renovated and the family fortunes would have crashed a lot sooner.

    Reply
  91. I think being a lady’s maid would have been quite interesting, Patricia. Not only would you get to observe the family at close quarters and build a rapport with your mistress but you’d also get her cast-off clothes etc if you were lucky! Not that I could have done that role because you had to have a talent for needlework and I am absolutely hopeless at it!

    Reply
  92. I think being a lady’s maid would have been quite interesting, Patricia. Not only would you get to observe the family at close quarters and build a rapport with your mistress but you’d also get her cast-off clothes etc if you were lucky! Not that I could have done that role because you had to have a talent for needlework and I am absolutely hopeless at it!

    Reply
  93. I think being a lady’s maid would have been quite interesting, Patricia. Not only would you get to observe the family at close quarters and build a rapport with your mistress but you’d also get her cast-off clothes etc if you were lucky! Not that I could have done that role because you had to have a talent for needlework and I am absolutely hopeless at it!

    Reply
  94. I think being a lady’s maid would have been quite interesting, Patricia. Not only would you get to observe the family at close quarters and build a rapport with your mistress but you’d also get her cast-off clothes etc if you were lucky! Not that I could have done that role because you had to have a talent for needlework and I am absolutely hopeless at it!

    Reply
  95. I think being a lady’s maid would have been quite interesting, Patricia. Not only would you get to observe the family at close quarters and build a rapport with your mistress but you’d also get her cast-off clothes etc if you were lucky! Not that I could have done that role because you had to have a talent for needlework and I am absolutely hopeless at it!

    Reply
  96. Need you ask? Of course, I would have liked to be upstairs. Money is great, especially when you have lots of it and you don’t have to work. I’m convinced those people who say “It’s only money” have always wallowed in piles of it that someone else earned.

    Reply
  97. Need you ask? Of course, I would have liked to be upstairs. Money is great, especially when you have lots of it and you don’t have to work. I’m convinced those people who say “It’s only money” have always wallowed in piles of it that someone else earned.

    Reply
  98. Need you ask? Of course, I would have liked to be upstairs. Money is great, especially when you have lots of it and you don’t have to work. I’m convinced those people who say “It’s only money” have always wallowed in piles of it that someone else earned.

    Reply
  99. Need you ask? Of course, I would have liked to be upstairs. Money is great, especially when you have lots of it and you don’t have to work. I’m convinced those people who say “It’s only money” have always wallowed in piles of it that someone else earned.

    Reply
  100. Need you ask? Of course, I would have liked to be upstairs. Money is great, especially when you have lots of it and you don’t have to work. I’m convinced those people who say “It’s only money” have always wallowed in piles of it that someone else earned.

    Reply
  101. Thank you, Andrea. I would be very happy to show you around Ashdown!
    Linda, yes,I imagine that upstairs was a lot more of an easy lifestyle than downstairs. Okay it may not always have been that stimulating being a Victorian lady but you could be miserable in comfort!

    Reply
  102. Thank you, Andrea. I would be very happy to show you around Ashdown!
    Linda, yes,I imagine that upstairs was a lot more of an easy lifestyle than downstairs. Okay it may not always have been that stimulating being a Victorian lady but you could be miserable in comfort!

    Reply
  103. Thank you, Andrea. I would be very happy to show you around Ashdown!
    Linda, yes,I imagine that upstairs was a lot more of an easy lifestyle than downstairs. Okay it may not always have been that stimulating being a Victorian lady but you could be miserable in comfort!

    Reply
  104. Thank you, Andrea. I would be very happy to show you around Ashdown!
    Linda, yes,I imagine that upstairs was a lot more of an easy lifestyle than downstairs. Okay it may not always have been that stimulating being a Victorian lady but you could be miserable in comfort!

    Reply
  105. Thank you, Andrea. I would be very happy to show you around Ashdown!
    Linda, yes,I imagine that upstairs was a lot more of an easy lifestyle than downstairs. Okay it may not always have been that stimulating being a Victorian lady but you could be miserable in comfort!

    Reply

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