Servants at a Country Estate: An Overview & the Steward

Sharon Lathan

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga, a ten-volume sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

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[…] Servants & Staff at a Country Estate: An Overview […]


[…] Servants & Staff at a Country Estate: An Overview […]

Paula Mitchell

Also I wanted to ask. If a person lived on an estate did they absolutely have to have a farm? Say if their income came from elsewhere?

Paula Mitchell

I am trying to write a story about the Victorian age. One of my main characters is a factory owner who is a gentleman farmer. The inside servants are Butler. Housekeeper. Cook. Young Ladies Maid (The father is a widower with teenage girls). Footman. Three upstairs house maids. Kitchen maid. Scullery Maid and Hall boy. Of course the outside staff is bigger. Stable staff and gardeners. Since he owns a factory he has a small farm on his estate just for the pleasure of it, so his estate is modest. Is this the right amount of servants?


I have a great interest in this topic and really enjoy your posts. My great grandmother was the head cook in a Great House and my own father remembered visiting the kitchens as a child, and being allowed into the lower rooms when the owners were away on their extended absences. I purchased Musson’s book some years ago – and can thoroughly recommend it. I found it particularly interesting that in the medieval and Tudor times, the management of the household was more team oriented, often the main roles going to relations of the Lord of the Manor – probably because they were trustworthy as being members of the same clan with shared interests in the successful running of the manor and estates..


The sad fact of my life is that if I had lived in the time of Darcy and Elizabeth I would have no doubt been a servant!?. Now the question remains as to which servant? I’m not a lover of washing up so not a scullery maid, I also only cook as a necessity so not that either. I can happily ignore dust and clutter and as a child didn’t enjoy trying to get a fire going or making my bed so not an upstairs or downstairs maid. I’m not great at doing hair or ironing so certainly not a lady’s maid. Hmmm well!!! I think if I worked at Pemberley I would have to be the library maid???? checking that the books had all their pages by reading them ???.
You didn’t mention that position above Sharon so maybe I would be the first and therefore be able to command a large remuneration for this great service?
I did read your original posts but am enjoying this updated version thank you.

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