“Travellers had a place in rural society and as long as they did not abuse the settled community’s generosity relations between the two were peaceful. This was especially true in the Midlands where the land was rich and the farming community prosperous.” — p 53

Kitchen Maid

“She was seldom in her room, however, except to sleep. Most of her time was spent in the large tiled kitchen at the opposite end of the house and in its adjoining scullery where vegetables were cleaned and prepared. And many a trip she made across the hall and down the step, well-scrubbed flight of stairs to the cold cellar with its black slate counters and ceiling meat hooks and to the heated greenhouses outside where grapes and other fruit were grown. The kitchen maid had the lowest rank of the household staff; she was the first up and the last in bed.” — p 60


“Nan’s brother Willie spent most of his time in the butler’s pantry shining the silver and plate, washing the china for the “front of the house,” and looking after the setting, serving, and clearing of the dining room table. “William,” as the family referred to him, was good-looking and well suited to be a butler, a job where appearance counted. But because Gretton House was not that large, he did a fair amount of other work; he was valet to the Master, kept the drawing and dining room fires burning, locked the doors and windows at night, and even did heavier and dirtier work like washing windows. On special occasions, the Evans hired a professionally trained butler, an older man from the village, to wait on guests.” — p 60

Family Name

The men thought that if they had a lot of sons it would keep their name up. The more sons they had, the bigger their name family would be, and the men were very fond of their names. — p 107

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The surface and beneath the surface