Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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274                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
his paper on "The Mode of Life of a Sussex Gentleman" in the last century, when he says, " My grandfather's principal man-servant lived nearly half a century with him; and it was his boast to the day of his death, that he had waited at dinner upon twelve squires at once without being anyways da'nted. And in later days I have often visited at a house in the western division of the county where the cook of the family was nearly 90, and had never lived as a servant in any other house. My estimable friend was her second master, she having lived with his uncle previously; and after he had passed his seventieth year she generally spoke of him as her young master."
Referring, too, to the servants of the Stapleys, of Hickstead, he observes that" the men-servants were not like the pampered menials of the present day, but men who, though they could wait upon their masters and their mistresses, their families and their friends, at their usual meals, could also, when not so employed, turn their hands to anything that might be required of them, either indoors or out, and who became so attached to the families in which they lived that the thought of ' bettering themselves' rarely entered their heads."
As we have said, those were the golden days of masters and mistresses, when they had "the pick" of the girls and boys of the labouring class, and there was neither the recruiting-sergeant, nor the manufacturer, nor the milliner, nor National or State Elementary Schools to interfere with them. It was, in many cases, a choice between service out, or hard work, and sometimes starvation, at home.
We propose to take a peep at these early days of domestic service in Sussex. The earliest record that we find of it in the Archaeological Collections of Sussex is in the journal of the Rev. Giles Moore, Rector of Horsted Keynes, who settled there in the days of the Commonwealth and lived to see the Restoration of Charles II. He had a wife and a daughter, and he was, it is evident, a man of some property independently of the revenue he derived from his living, and seems to have lived in a comfortable, if not liberal, style. One of his
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