Author Topic: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants  (Read 15749 times)

Offline oldcrone

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Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« on: Sunday 17 August 08 15:09 BST (UK) »
I'm wondering if anyone can help me get a bit more insight into the lives of agricultural labourers/servants in the 19th century?

To be more specific, I'm researching the life of my g-g-g-grandmother, the wife of a lime-burner, who was widowed in her 30s, and left on poor relief with 6 children in a tiny village in Sussex (1851 census).  At the next census, she was a 'laundress', had had twins (no father listed), and then another son out of wedlock (although she eventually married the father).  Whilst married for the second time, she was living and working on a local farm as a servant, apart from her husband and son; but the next census shows her as a 'farmer of 3 acres' - presumably she's been given a bit of land to farm?  All very complicated, and I know that it's difficult to put the detail on this sort of story, but...

Can anyone help me understand this scenario a bit more?  Any books/publications which might fill in the gaps?  I'm writing up some of this particular strand of the family history at the moment.

Many thanks for any help!
Shaw/Smith: Ottawa, Canada<br />Davies/Hill: Monmouth/Gloucestershire/Middlesex/Surrey<br />Chatfield: Kent<br />Crone: Kent/Sussex/Surrey/Ireland<br />Lyden: Ireland<br />Pannell, Newland, Proudley (travellers): Sussex/Surrey<br />Dobson, Hollins: Staffs/Cheshire/Warwicks<br />Boys: Sussex/London<br />Payne: Suffolk/London
Hasting(s): Sussex

Offline meles

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 17 August 08 15:20 BST (UK) »
Sounds like she rather improved her status.

A laundress worked very hard for not much money - an occupation of last resort for a woman with children (she could work at home).

I think it unlikey she was given land (unless she managed to save from her megre income), but I would guess that her husband rented the small plot and worked it. When he died, the owner allowed her to carry on.

meles

Brock: Alburgh, Norfolk, and after 1850, London; Tooley: Norfolk<br />Grimmer: Norfolk; Grimson: Norfolk<br />Harrison: London; Pollock<br />Dixon: Hampshire; Collins: Middx<br />Jeary: Norfolk; Davison: Norfolk<br />Rogers: London; Bartlett: London<br />Drew: Kent; Alden: Hants<br />Gamble: Yorkshire; Huntingford: East London

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline coombs

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 17 August 08 15:24 BST (UK) »
Hi

I think an ag lab was a skilled farm labourer who was given a cottage to live in by the farmer in return for work. I think an ag lab did a lot of digging ditches, helping plough fields, and other skilled, but probably back breaking work.

Servants were people who were hired at a house by a family, ie, helping keep the house, cook, wash, and all sorts. Male servants were butlers, footmen, coachmen and gardeners mainly.

Here is a story as my family have Sussex blood.

My ggggran Mary Ann Walder born in 1839 was the daughter of a successful wheelwright in the Slaugham area of Sussex. She gave birth to an illegitimate baby daughter in December 1863 in Warninglid, Sussex. The father, Thomas Roberts lived a few miles away in Brighton. He was a 50-year old servant and footman. I think that could be how they met. When Mary Ann Walder fell pregnant in about April 1863, Thomas was still married, but his wife was very ill with TB. The previous wife died on 14 Nov 1863 in Brighton.

Inbetween Feb and June 1864, Thos and Mary Ann both moved to London and Thos gt a job as a servant in Stoke Newington. I believe their behaviour caused a scandal back in Warninglid and that could explain their sudden departure from Sussex.

Ben
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline toni*

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Holman & Vinton- Cornwall, Wojciechowskyj & Hussak- Bukowiec & Zahutyn, Bentley & Richards- Leicester, Taylor-Kent/Sussex  Punnett-Sussex,  Bear/e- Monkleigh Gazey-Warwicks

UK Census information is Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchive


Offline oldcrone

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 17 August 08 16:05 BST (UK) »
Thank you, Meles: that's exactly what I thought!  It seems that her 2nd husband was a 'man of a ?bit of means' (he's listed on Pigots, or something, as a glazier), so the thought of him having a bit of land that she then carried on after his death makes sense (and he did die before her).

Thanks so much for that!

xxx
Shaw/Smith: Ottawa, Canada<br />Davies/Hill: Monmouth/Gloucestershire/Middlesex/Surrey<br />Chatfield: Kent<br />Crone: Kent/Sussex/Surrey/Ireland<br />Lyden: Ireland<br />Pannell, Newland, Proudley (travellers): Sussex/Surrey<br />Dobson, Hollins: Staffs/Cheshire/Warwicks<br />Boys: Sussex/London<br />Payne: Suffolk/London
Hasting(s): Sussex

Offline meles

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 17 August 08 16:10 BST (UK) »
My pleasure!  :)

I hope the references the others gave you are helpful for your research.

mele
Brock: Alburgh, Norfolk, and after 1850, London; Tooley: Norfolk<br />Grimmer: Norfolk; Grimson: Norfolk<br />Harrison: London; Pollock<br />Dixon: Hampshire; Collins: Middx<br />Jeary: Norfolk; Davison: Norfolk<br />Rogers: London; Bartlett: London<br />Drew: Kent; Alden: Hants<br />Gamble: Yorkshire; Huntingford: East London

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline oldcrone

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 17 August 08 16:11 BST (UK) »
Thank you, Ben!  That really helps to give me some context to my own family history research.  I can't imagine whether my g-g-g-grandmother's behaviour caused a stir!  She definitely had illegitimate twins, and then another illegit son (although she did end up marrying the father).

To me, she sounds like a very tough woman!

Thank you, Toni and Stanmapstone, I will investigate your links!

xxx



Shaw/Smith: Ottawa, Canada<br />Davies/Hill: Monmouth/Gloucestershire/Middlesex/Surrey<br />Chatfield: Kent<br />Crone: Kent/Sussex/Surrey/Ireland<br />Lyden: Ireland<br />Pannell, Newland, Proudley (travellers): Sussex/Surrey<br />Dobson, Hollins: Staffs/Cheshire/Warwicks<br />Boys: Sussex/London<br />Payne: Suffolk/London
Hasting(s): Sussex

Offline meles

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Re: Help with researching the history of agricultural labourers/servants
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 17 August 08 16:18 BST (UK) »
I don't think the illegitimate births would have raised an eyebrow. It was very common - indeed my own gg grandmother had three illegitimate births, whilst she was an ag lab, then she too became a washerwoman.

Her marriage to a tailor was a step up.

meles
Brock: Alburgh, Norfolk, and after 1850, London; Tooley: Norfolk<br />Grimmer: Norfolk; Grimson: Norfolk<br />Harrison: London; Pollock<br />Dixon: Hampshire; Collins: Middx<br />Jeary: Norfolk; Davison: Norfolk<br />Rogers: London; Bartlett: London<br />Drew: Kent; Alden: Hants<br />Gamble: Yorkshire; Huntingford: East London

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk