WEDDINGTON CASTLE - An Online History
KEY PEOPLE: The Victorian Servants of Weddington Castle
Whilst history inevitably tends to focus on the high profile, influential individuals who are much better-documented in historical archives, it is important not to forget the equally-important millions of ordinary people who make up the society of any given era.
In the case of Weddington Castle, whilst much is covered in this site about the various owners over the centuries, and their influence in shaping its history; the contribution of the many and various servants and household staff must also be acknowledged. These people were not simply faceless minions: they were all individual personalities, with their own unique stories to tell. This section, therefore, attempts to allo a glimpse into these lives and into the day-to-day running of the Weddington
The Lady’s Maid was hired by and reported directly to the mistress of the house, rather than the Housekeeper. Because her position necessitated a close proximity to her mistress, the lady’s maid was often mistrusted and generally disliked by the lower servants, who possibly felt that she was haughty, or might “tattle” on them. Often, this treatment of the lady’s maid caused her to feel isolated, as if she didn’t quite fit into either world: her position allowed privileges of comfort and luxury not enjoyed by the lower servants, yet no matter how high-ranking her position was, her station remained among the “poor domestic servants”.
To qualify for the position, the lady’s maid was to be neat in appearance; have stronger verbal skills; be pleasant; be able to read and write well; be proficient with her needle and handwork; and was expected to tell the truth, without gossiping. Honesty was an absolute necessity, as the lady’s maid would be handling her mistress’ clothing, jewels and personal items.
The daily duties of the Lady’s Maid included helping her mistress dress and undress, and maintaining her mistress’ wardrobe, including laundering the most delicate items and using her dressmaking skills to create new articles of clothing for any and all occasions. In addition, the lady’s maid prepared beauty lotions for her mistress’ delicate skin, and she styled her mistress’ hair.