James Crump, Butler to Mr. Gosling

July 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm (estates, people, places) (, , )

Yesterday I found a small “treasure” – a letter, written by James Crump, in which he claims the position of BUTLER in the Roehampton Grove household of Mr. William Gosling! The letter is dated August 1820.

roehamptongrove

Roehampton Grove

Thanks to the greater volume of Smith family letters, I have some names of servants within their household. Thanks to Mary’s later diaries, especially those written after the death of her husband Charles, I have some names of servants in the household of Suttons (1830s).

This *find* was truly EXCITING! though I was disappointed in not finding MORE information about the man.

From the small cache of letters (four) found, a little of Mr. Crump’s history can be surmised:

  • he has a daughter-in-law

Therefore, he is older; is married or has been married; has had children – and those children are of an age to have gotten married already.

  • his correspondent is the Earl of Sheffield

In discussing a loan of £20, obtained from the earl in 1814, he must have been part of the earl’s household at the time of the loan. Without a census, which would have answered questions of Crump’s age and position within the household, this question cannot be easily answered. He enclosed two pounds, interest on the loan.

  • one letter was sent from abroad – Brussels

A LONG list of places seen, and one can guess why (in a later letter) he is hankering to get abroad again. As the old song says, “How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm (after they’ve seen Paree)”.

  • same 1819 letter places him in service to the Marchioness of Downshire

It was the Marchioness’ two sons – Lord George Hill and Lord Augustus Hill – with whom Mr. Crump travelled. He describes himself as being employed a year by the Marchioness; he act as courier or travelling servant for her sons. The Marchioness had been widowed in 1801; her sons were a little younger than the Gosling boys. So, at the time of their lengthy trip abroad, they were in their late teens – George, born in December 1801, was the younger of the two (Augustus being born in August 1800). They were children of the late Arthur Hill, the 2nd Marquess of Downshire, and his wife Mary Sandys.

  • by August 1820, Crump was Butler at Roehampton, but looking to go abroad

Two letters written in the summer of 1820 bring us up to date with Mr. Crump. In the earlier letter, he has repaid the £20 loan; in this letter of August, he thanks the earl for the return of his promissory note, and actually refers to having “lived so long in your Lordship’s service”.

It was therefore, between the Brussels letter of September 1819 and the first letter written from Roehampton Grove (July 1820) that Crump was hired as Butler.

One would think, by hinting to the earl that he would LIKE to be a travelling servant again, that Crump didn’t stay LONG in the Gosling household.

But I wonder…

Granted, an unknown name could be misread OR clumsy fingers create a typo, but I searched through letters and found young Maria Smith ending one letter with some curious news.

Maria Smith

Maria mentions the recent move of Charlotte Gosling, the youngest Gosling sister. The very next sentence,  I think, continues Gosling household news. Surely the Mr. Crump or Crumpe (difficult to tell) that Maria then mentions is tied in some manner to the Goslings. The man was soon off, to become steward to Lord Glenlyon, with a battalion of foresters and grooms to supervise. Maria added that the position would be a great change for him! Indeed, _IF_ he had been “butlering” for the past twenty years. The letter is dated 1840.

Like the surmising of James Crump’s early life with the Earl of Sheffield, we can only surmise his years (perhaps) with Lord Glenlyon. AND his years (perhaps) with the Goslings. If anyone knows further information of James Crump, please do get in touch.

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Fanny’s Lament

July 28, 2015 at 11:52 am (diaries, estates, history, people, places) (, , )

Poor Fanny Smith — or, I should really say: Poor Fanny Seymour. For her “trouble with servants” comes AFTER her marriage, AFTER her removal to Kinwarton (Warwickshire), AFTER she has begun to set up her own household.

Fanny, of all the Smith of Suttons siblings, settled the furthest away from everyone else. And, as a girl and then woman, used to the quiet of the country at certain seasons but the BUSTLE of LONDON during “the season”, she is finding Kinwarton a little too-quiet. And, therefore, she knows what other will think

And so she informs her sister Charlotte, to whom she turns after a letter arrived asking Fanny to consider hiring a protegée of someone known to Charlotte (who, by the way, is living in London [Cavendish Square] – with husband Arthur Currie).

NB: a protegée is meant to convey the idea of recommendation: A servant (new to the market or simply seeking a different position) whom the friend or relation can recommend to the attention of someone seeking a servant.

My! what an absorbing letter to read! The gist of Fanny’s lament is not that she doesn’t think the woman will suit => Fanny believes the position would NOT at all suit the woman! The woman is too used to fine households (“white gloves” were mentioned…); and her brother is in the household of a titled family. What has the Kinwarton Vicarage to offer other than a stone-floored kitchen – no “housekeeper’s room” at all, as in all the fine house’s the woman may indeed associate with the Smiths: Suttons (in Essex), Stoke (in Wiltshire), Tring (in Hertfordshire). Fanny asks her sister to be candid, to tell the ex-Lady’s Maid — though one of Charlotte’s servants — all the letter contains about the position and the household. Tell this also to the lady who wrote to Fanny, so that she too will be under no misapprehensions.

Alas! Poor Fanny then leaves the door open, for she writes towards the end: IF the woman cares to pursue the position still, let her contact Fanny.

fanny signature

Foolish Fanny!

Now, Fanny had written Charlotte that the WORST scenario she could EVER envision was one where an unhappy servant moans and complains… Fanny may be a new-ish bride (it’s been well over a year since the wedding), but she is no “young” lady: she is in her 30s and well used to the large establishment of her mother’s household (yet, of course, always had her mother on the other side of a letter if advice was required about the said household).

Indeed, it seems, from one short sentence, that James Edward Austen (Emma’s husband) sat Fanny down and told her a few facts about life in the country’s more impecunious rectories. She knew, going into the marriage, she writes Charlotte, that she’d been heading a household where hundreds and not thousands (of pounds) would be spent in a year.

So why on earth does she simply NOT even consider taking “White Gloves” on?

For the next letter finds the woman IN KINWARTON!

Oh Fanny….

The situation is not the happiest, on both sides (as Fanny predicted!), and Fanny, pregnant and planning to move south to be with her mother for her confinement, is already planning to give the woman her dismissal: the plan is NOT to engage her further once they arrive in London. The plan, then, calls for the woman – whom we now know to be nearer 50 than 40 in age (another Lament!) to be unemployed come Christmas, for Fanny was confined in mid-January.

Ah, for MORE in order to know IF this plan was followed!  DID she arrive back in London with a handshake and a pay-off?

Richard’s diary mentions the woman just once: the fact of her travelling separately to Oxford as they break their journey south. Nothing more, as if the household does not affect him at ALL. And perhaps it didn’t! Fanny could write reams to her sisters, laments and pleadings for advice, but Richard can’t even be bothered to note the woman’s arrival or dismissal, or his wife’s unease.

MEN!

So, until more letters come to light – or, more mentions of a woman named Heck or Hook – this story too is a “torso” waiting for a conclusion.

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The “Invisible Cast”

December 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , )

Being the anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth (16 Dec 1775) — as well, I must mention, of the marriage of Emma Smith and James Edward Austen (16 Dec 1828) — JASNA publishes Persuasions On-line. The first article which GRABBED my attention was Natalie Walshe’s “The Importance of Servants in Jane Austen’s Novels.”

all austen

The servants who come-go-serve the Smith & Gosling households are, as in Jane Austen’s novels, there. One must, however, tease them out! Sometimes they appear as a surname only. Or, when a first name, you wonder if when a first AND last name comes up IF the two are the same person — or different people. I’ve a few names posted online – but, gosh, there are TONS more. (I have been VERY remiss getting more names online.)

And how welcome an opportunity when someone points out a more subtle WHY behind the “half-smile” of such as Baddeley! (Mansfield Park) So many small points go over our heads (for, I don’t know about YOU, but I’ve never employed a servant…)

Consider Persuasions On-line as an early Christmas present: much to be enjoyed!

* * *

Extras:

“A servant should neither blow his nose or spit in his master’s presence;
and, if possible, neither sneeze nor cough.”
— Dr. Trusler, Domestic Management (1819)

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Queen Advertises for Maid

October 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm (books, british royalty, history, jane austen, jasna, news, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

On tonight’s news, the “bulletin” that the Queen of England is in search of a … MAID! See my recent post on the EXCELLENT BBC series, Servants:The True Story of Life Below Stairs with Pamela Cox.

The “Housekeeping Assistant” works 40 hours per week, and is expected to spend three months out of London.

Accommodation is available.

Apply by the 26th!

The London household is also looking for, among other positions, a gardener, an events coordinator; the Windsor household is looking for a groom.

I am reminded to mention again a book purchased a few years ago in Montreal at dear Nicholas Hoare Bookstore: Mrs Woolf and the Servants, by Alison Light.

I also recently read a FASCINATING account of servants in Jane Austen’s novelsJudith Terry (U of Victoria, BC) entitled her survey “Seen but not heard: Servants in Jane Austen’s England.” I must confess that I couldn’t have named half of those servants Terry has unearthed!

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Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs (BBC)

October 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm (diaries, entertainment, estates, history) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Calista alerted me to a terrific new three-part documentary, Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs.  Our guide through this world is Dr. Pamela Cox (University of Essex), whose great-grandmothers were servants.

Here is Dr Cox talking about the servant portraits at Knole (in Kent). Calista hasn’t forgotten the photographic portraits — and poems! — found at Erddig Hall (near Wrexham) – so I’ll give you what I emailed her (from my Ladies of Llangollen site):

Merlin WATERSON, The Servants’ Hall: A ‘Downstairs’ History of a British Country House (1980) – pictures and text trace the history of Erddig Hall (National Trust property; near Wrexham), the estate belonging to the Yorke family (a distant relative was the General Yorke who purchased, and expanded, Plas Newydd late in the 19th century). 

A favorite section, perhaps because it went back in time to an era during which my Mary and Emma were young brides and mothers, concerned the diary of William Taylor, servant to a widow living in Great Cumberland Street, London.

The diary was kept during the year of 1837 – so at the very beginning of Victoria’s reign. Like the portraits illustrated above, with the servants seemingly in street clothes and certainly not in the “servant uniforms” we all think of when pictures from Upstairs, Downstairs flash into our brains – William’s diary is a rare example of a pre-Victorian household.

Two items I noted, while listening to the discussion, were entries from May. On the 14th  he has written a very thought-provoking statement defending the servant class: “servants form one of the most respectable classes of person that is in existence: they must be healthy, clean, honest, a sober set of people.”

And I had to chuckle over his comments about young ladies at a party being “nearly naked to the waist“. Oh, for more from William Taylor! Has his diary been published? Will it be published? And include William’s delightful drawings.

Yes, a man who draws about life in service, his family, etc etc. He’s as comic and informative as my favorite “naive” artist, Diana Sperling (by the way, another Essex country inhabitant; if you don’t know her work, do look up the book Mrs Hurst Dancing).

This is a self-portrait: William has come home for a visit – to the astonishment of relations. To see those relations portrayed you’ll have to watch the TV show. William is discussed in part 1 of the series, “Knowing Your Place.” A HIGHLY recommended series. I’m going to catch part 3 before heading to bed.

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Serving the Servants

June 16, 2009 at 8:08 am (books) (, , , , )

woolfIn Montreal Sunday for a local meeting of JASNA, I just had to hit two stores. One was Bramble House, in Pointe Claire (west of downtown), which sells British food and teas and tea pots & cosies. The other, Nicholas Hoare, the Westmount bookstore at which I always find something to take away (to the detriment of my wallet!).

Sunday, the take away was Mrs Woolf and the Servants. This look at servants, in the household of the Stephens and Woolf families, traces the backgrounds and working lives of these little-recognized people.

One of my tasks is to do HALF as much for the staff members in the households at Suttons, Roehampton, etc etc. Given that many servants are entered into the diaries as one name only (first or last), this may be asking the impossible; yet a few people stand out as not only having a long history with the family, but also are mentioned in a manner that fleshes them out a bit.

And now I add to this post a bit, though names and examples come from the ‘can you help’ page. I’ve done more work extracting and “cataloguing” names from Mary (Gosling) Smith’s diaries, than from Emma (Smith) Austen-Leigh’s. That is a task yet to come…

From Mary’s diaries, therefore, we pull names of women like Mrs Sandoz (seemingly Mary’s governess) and her daughter; Mr Sendall (tutor to little Charles, Mary’s son) and Mr Wyatt (another tutor). I pull out these people because tutors and governesses were not treated in quite the same ‘servant’ category as others working in the household, never mind the estate workers.

Mary Adams; Barlow (I presume a lady’s maid – but what if Barlow was a man?!); Sarah Batch; Martha Finch; Ketcham (a maid); Betsey Thomas also get their mentions; I will cull the diaries and see in at context they are mentioned – and report back! (Often, however, there IS no context.0

Men include Bowen; Conybeare (a real wonder about the spelling of this), who was hired as a new Butler in 1832 at Suttons; Davis; Foster; Godfrey; Hinds.

You can find more by looking in the files called ‘dramatis personae’, including the year-dates in which they appear in Mary’s diaries. For instance, Mary Adams found on the A-F listing, appears in the diaries in the year 1829 only, and I conclude her to be a ‘waged servant’. Why??

Searching the file (which contains transcriptions of all Lady Smith’s diaries), we find the following about Mary Adams:

She possibly replaced Betsey Furlong. On 9 June 1829, Mary (Lady Smith) writes “My sister came from London  Betsey Furlong went away” [Yes, that is the ENTIRE entry for this day; you see, therefore, how cryptic are the originals I work with!] My surmising that Mary replaced her comes from the entry of 11 June: “Mary Adams came” and in the column, against the “pounds” (nothing in the shilling or pence columns), Mary has written “6”. Undoubtedly the girl’s wages!

But in March 1830 we see this notation: “Betsey went home to her mother” – could this be Betsey Furlong or someone else? Then, in July 1832, Mary notes, “Went with Furlong cutting many of laurels in the shubbery [sic].” No mention again of Furlong or Betsey or Mary Adams.

Am finding Mrs Woolf and the Servants of interest, but I’m not far into it yet (a couple chapters). Indeed, it sounds as if the author had more to work with: Virginia Woolf sounds to have written at length, at times, about her ‘servant problems’. Stay tuned.

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