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Movement In and Out of the Parish

Servants

An examination of the movement of named individuals has shown that many of the people moving in and out were servants.

Another measure of prosperity is the number of servants employed by the prosperous members of the community: the squire, the farmers and the vicar.

Number of servants employed between 1841 and 1901
Farmers Vicar Squire Other Total
1841 12 2 6 1 21
1851 7 3 3 13
1861 10 3 8 21
1871 8 3 13 24
1881 6 2 11 3 22
1891 3 2 13 1 19
1901 2 2 10 4 18

(The term “squire” is rarely used in documents but is here used to denote the occupant of the Manor.)

The number of live-in household servants employed by the Reverend Gordon, the vicar, remains constant throughout the period covered by the census. He had one cook, one house servant and one groom. When the Reverend Gordon died and was replaced by Rev Langhorne in 1881, the number shrank to one cook and one housemaid. Rev Ettington, listed as vicar in 1901, manages with only one general servant and one housemaid.

At the Manor in 1841, William Beresford employed six female servants though W. Herbert, cabinet maker, in 1851, who succeeded him, had only three. When Herbert Parsons moved in the number increased to seven and later ten. In 1861, he employed a lady’s maid, a cook, a nurse, a kitchen maid, a nurse maid, a butler and a groom. In 1891, he needed a butler, a footman, groom, cook, ladies’ maid, laundress, under housemaid, kitchen maid and a scullery maid. By 1901, he was employing eight live-in servants and several servants who lived in separate establishments.

The numbers employed by the farmers show considerable variation. In 1851, for instance, Mr Greaves, farming at Home Farm, employed three house servants and a butler. In 1861 this had shrunk to one female house servant and one male house servant, while in 1871 he employed a dairymaid, a housemaid and a male domestic servant.

The numbers of servants employed by the farmers declined during the agricultural depression after 1871, and it seems likely that they maintained the numbers of agricultural workers in Elsfield at the expense of household servants. In 1891, Hill Farm was being run as a family concern by James Fenemore and three of his four sons with no servants employed, a pattern which had become common throughout Oxfordshire.

In the 1901, census there is only one farmer listed, Daniel Hatt at Church Farm, apart from Herbert Parsons at the Manor because by this time the whole parish had been bought by Herbert Parsons. Mr Hatt employed a lady’s maid and one other servant.

Sescut seems to have been used to house the bailiff (1861) and in subsequent years farm labourers.


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