Maids in Service
After re-watching the first three series of “Downton Abbey” again I was prompted to take a closer look at the English census records that I had collated on the English Pye relations.
I knew that the majority of the Pye family members from the nineteenth century were labouring class or in-service, however, I had done little research into the larger households where some of the Pyes had worked.
Therefore after a quick look on the Internet this is what I have found.
Wikipedia gives a good description of the ‘types of maids’ including House maids and Kitchen maids.
On the 1871 census, Elizabeth Pye (22yrs) daughter of George and Margaret Pye of Weeping Cross, Stf, worked as a Kitchen maid at Alfreton Hall, Alfreton, Derbyshire. The head of the household was Charles Morewood (51 yrs).
As a Kitchen Maid Elizabeth was a ‘below stair’s maid’ and her duties would have been to help run the kitchens and prepare vegetables, peel potatoes, and assist in the presentation of the finished cooking for serving.
I do not know how many years Elizabeth worked at Alfreton Hall, however she married in 1875 to a leather currier, James Brocklebank at Kington-upon-Hull where they lived and had four children.
Alfreton Hall, Derbyshire
“Alfreton Hall is a country house in Alfreton, Derbyshire. It was at the heart of local social and industrial history in the county. The history of the estate goes back to Norman times, but by the 17th century it was owned by the Morewood family, who were linked to local industry, mainly in coal mining”. Link to Wikipedia gives a further history of the house.
Also on the 1871 census, Elizabeth Pye’s younger sister, Emma Pye (14yrs) was listed as an Under Nurse at Thomas Salt’s Walton house (was this Standon Hall?) . I assume that Emma assisted the children’s Nurse in the nursery. Thomas Salt was a landowner and son of a Banker. His sister Miss Harriet Salt employed another Pye sister, Jane Pye, as her domestic servant, when she first moved to Clevedon, Somersetshire.
Emma may have continued to work for Thomas Salt up until the time she married in 1878. Emma and her husband, William Edward Smith moved to Manchester where Emma died from haemorrhaging following the birth of their third child. She was 28 years of age.
The 1901 census has Edith Smith (19yrs) the daughter of William Edward and Emma Smith née Pye recorded as a Kitchen maid at The Old Hall, Whittington. Stf. The head of the household was Sarah Holliway née Seckham (66yrs), listed as Lodge keeper, plus her sisters Violet 35yrs and Mabel Seckham 25yrs and Kintarra Chetwyn 39yrs and brother-in-law Arthur Chetwyn, 43yrs Magistrate. A total of nine servants were listed on the census.
Whittington Old Hall is a 16th-century mansion house at Whittington, Staffordshire, England, which has been subdivided into separate residential apartments. It is a Grade II listed building.
The house is believed to have been built by the Everard family during the Tudor period. The two-storey entrance front has four gables with dormers and four substantial irregular stone mullioned bays, one offset incorporating a porch.
The Astleys and the Dyotts followed as owners but after the Dyott family moved to nearby Freeford Hall, in 1836, the house was let out to a series of tenants. In 1889, the estate was purchased and occupied by architect and brewer Samuel Lipscomb Seckham, developer of Park Town, Oxford and Bletchley Park, and High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1890.
Seckham extended and renovated the house, but following the death of his son Colonel Basset Thorne Seckham in 1926, the estate was sold off, and the house again passed through the hands of tenants.
In 1959, the neglected property was sold for redevelopment and was subdivided into several separate residential units.
Also on the 1901 census is Edith Mary Pye (23yrs) daughter of Joseph and Ellen Mary Pye; she worked as a Domestic servant at Hoar Cross Hall, Hoar Cross, Stf. John Bowers was the Servant in charge, plus 6 other women servants. Hugo Ingram owned the Hall and his wife was Emily Charlotte Ingram née Wood, daughter of Viscount Halifax.
Hoar Cross is in East Staffordshire. It has a vast church, built in the late 19th century. Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram of Hoar Cross Hall and Temple Newsham married Emily Charlotte Wood, the daughter of the 1st Viscount Halifax in 1863. When he died in 1871, his widow devoted her life to building the church in his memory and embellishing it.
Hoar Cross Hall was designed in the Jacobean style by Henry Clutton and built between 1862 and 1871. Today it is a popular spa venue where one can exercise, undergo a variety of treatments and enjoy fine dining.
Hoar Cross Hall below.
In 1871, Mary Pye (17yrs) daughter of Joseph and Mary Pye was a Kitchenmaid at Hinstock Hall, Hinstock, Shropshire, where Philip and Arabella Williams were the owners. Philip Williams was a MA, JP and landowner.
Philip Williams’s son Philip Victor Williams married Lady Jaquetta Northcote daughter of Rev Hon John Stafford Northcote (peerage records).
Mary Pye, who was orphaned by 1876 was listed an unemployed domestic servant by 1881 and was living with an aunt in Yorkshire. She went with her aunt and uncle to Lancashire and married Robert Sephton in 1886 at Ormskirk, Lancashire and they had four children, one of whom died as an infant and the elder son during the First World War.
HINSTOCK is a parish on the road from Newport to Whitchurch and Chester, 5 miles south-east from Hodnet station on the Wellington, Market Drayton and Crewe section of the Great Western railway, 6 north from Newport and 5 south from Market Drayton. The register dates from 1695, and under the date 1704 has a memorandum stating that Haman Vaughan was rector of Hinstock in 1304. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £370, including 12 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of Mrs. Williams, and held since 1876 by the Rev. Herbert Harvey M. A. of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1887 a reading room was erected for the use of the village by the late Philip Williams esq. Hinstock Hall, the seat of Mrs. Williams, is a handsome edifice, surrounded by extensive plantations, situated nearly one mile north-west of the village. H. R. Corbet esq. J. P. of Adderley Hall, is lord of the manor, and Mrs. Williams is the chief landowner. The soil is partly loam and partly sand; the subsoil is principally red sandstone. The chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 3,254 acres of land and 12 of water; rateable value, £6,131; the population in 1891 was 781. — Kelly’s Directory of Shropshire (1895)
Samuel Pye, (19yrs) Steward’s room man, and his future wife, Mary Ravenscroft, House maid, worked at Ingestre Hall, Ingestre, Stf – 1861 census. Samuel was the son of George and Margaret Pye, and went on to become a Butler at Perton for Mr Charles Frederick Clark. Samuel and Mary Ann had two children and lived initially in Perton, Staffordshire and later at Compton, Staffordshire.
Joseph Pye, (26yrs), son of George and Elizabeth Pye worked as a ‘helper’ at Acton Hall, Wrexham, Wales – 1871. Went on to be a Coachman at Knightley Grange, Knightley, Stf. Arthur P Lonsdale, Barrister, was the head of the household in 1871. Joseph married Ellen Mary Pullen and had two children. His son also worked as a Coachman and later as a van driver.
James Pye, (24yrs) son of James and Abigail Pye, was a servant, groom then gardener at Aston Hall, Seighford – 1871. James married fellow servant, Jane Labram.