Life in a Noble Household, 1641-1700

Life in a Noble Household, 1641-1700

Life in a Noble Household, 1641-1700

Life in a Noble Household, 1641-1700

Excerpt

This book calls for little or no prefatory explanation. It is based upon the household papers--account books, bills and letters--handled by the officials and servants of William Russell, fifth Earl and first Duke of Bedford, and reveals the great variety of information that this type of historical source contains.

My original intention was to include a study of the finance of the estates, from which the family income was derived. But it soon became evident that this called for separate treatment in another work and I have, therefore, so far as finance is concerned, confined myself here, in the main to asking how a family of noble birth in the seventeenth century spent its money.

The extracts, except for unidentifiable names, have been modernized in spelling and likewise in punctuation. The dating used in the text is according to the modern style, but double dating for the first three months of the year has been used for the extracts whenever it seemed necessary for the sake of clarity.

I have to express my grateful thanks to many friends who have ungrudgingly given me help and advice. In particular, I am indebted to Mr. W. G. Constable for reading and criticizing the chapter on the portrait gallery; to Mr. Graham Pollard for some valuable notes on the library; to Mr. J. L. Nevinson for his advice on the many intricate questions concerning a nobleman's wardrobe; to Monsieur André Simon for helping me to attain to a measure of understanding of the history of a wine cellar; and not least to Professor R. H. Tawney, who, with characteristic generosity . . .

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