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Servants and the Country Estate: Community, Conflict and Change at Chatsworth, 1712-1811

Wallace, Hannah (2020) Servants and the Country Estate: Community, Conflict and Change at Chatsworth, 1712-1811. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Servants and the Country Estate Vol I Thesis.pdf
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Servants and the Country Estate Thesis Vol II Conclusion, Appendices, Bibliography.pdf
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Abstract

This thesis explores the working lives of servants employed by the dukes of Devonshire on their ancestral estate of Chatsworth over the course of the eighteenth century. While historians have recognised the prevalence of numerous forms of service in early modern society, research into individual experiences of service has remained focused on the relationship between servants and masters. This thesis demonstrates that there are multiple other factors which had an impact on an individual’s time in service. By examining servants’ interactions with residents and workers on the country estate, as well as their relationship with their master’s household, this thesis places servants beyond the house in which they worked to explore their interactions with the rural community. This study examines the experiences of these servants from three perspectives: the duke, the estate’s residents, and the servants themselves, in order to present as broad an understanding as possible of the lives of these individuals. Through the use of estate records, parish registers and personal documents, including household accounts, inventories, overseer of the poor accounts and probate records, this thesis considers: the extent to which servants’ experiences of life and work on the estate differed from the estate’s casual labourers; the status of servants in the estate hierarchy; how servants chose to present their occupational status in public settings; and the extent to which they were able to enact agency during their day-to-day lives on the estate. Through an examination of these areas, this thesis explores aspects of the social, economic and material lives of these servants as they experienced daily life as part of the duke’s household and the local community, and challenges the assumption that servants were isolated from other local residents. In doing so, this case study of the eighteenth-century Chatsworth household contributes to historians’ understanding of the occupation of service and the diverse range of individuals it encompassed, and, in particular, of rural service during a period of transition in the relationship between master and servant.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Country house; servants; rural; community; tenants; social history; material culture; agency
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Hannah Wallace
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2020 16:05
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2020 16:05
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/27206

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