Housekeeper vs Butler
Posted by Ann on February 06, 1998 at 00:00:35:
In response to Stewarts & Butlers, written by Patricia Bingham on February 02, 1998 at 23:00:13
] The Steward's vocation in life is a little complicated... as Kate said, he was the one who ran the household in the
] master's absence and, alone among all servants, he did not wear a uniform. Despite the uniform, he was a servant of the master and mistress of the house, the highest. Originally, however, he would have been of the same social class as his employer, this was true until perhaps the end of Elizabethan times. (Richard II's steward was Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester)
] As the mistress of the house took on more domestic responsibilities and more female servants were employed, the steward's role diminished in power and prestige. The steward was weakened further by its division into the separate offices of land steward and house steward. House steward became little more than a butler. Generally, by the nineteenth century, only very grand houses had a steward, and if they did, they rarely had a butler as well.
A while ago, I thought that someone around here said that during the regency, there wasn't really a butler in a house (unless it was the minor servant, whose role eventually grew into what we think of as the butler). Instead, during this period the house would be run by the Houskeeper. In later times her role gave way to that of the butler. So when did the butler gain prominence, and when did the housekeeper lose it?
- the Butler & the Housekeeper P. Bingham 19:03:39 2/06/98 (0)
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