Buy this book



Buy this book

ISBN-10: 1446302180
ISBN-13: 978-1446302187

Publisher: David & Charles (August 2012)


Buy this book

Wise Words and Country House Ways

All the essential information needed to run, live in and visit a country house can be found in this new book introduced by Julian Fellowes, creator of the award winning Downton Abbey. ‘This is the world’ he says, ‘that Ruth Binney has brought so wonderfully to life in her book.’

Whether you imagine yourself as lord, lady, maid, cook or country house visitor you’ll delve in these pages into the daily routines of everyone from the scullery maid to the gardener. Complete with charming contemporary line drawings this fascinating guide will appeal to anyone who has wondered what it would be like to be served, or to be in service, in a grand country house.

The size and splendour of a country house and its estate were undoubtedly a reflection of the status and ambition of its owner, and the whole was a self-sufficient world. The details of the way in which the country house worked is reflected in the six chapters of the book, beginning with ‘Keeping House’ and progressing to ‘The Daily Routine’ and ‘The Country House Kitchen’. Since correct behaviour was so important to all activities of the house, ‘A Matter of Manners’ addresses the essentials of etiquette, a theme that also extends into ‘Leisure, Entertainment and Sport’, whether this was hunting, fishing or attending a ball or country house wedding. Finally, ‘Garden and Grounds’ focuses on everything from the cultivation of exotic fruit for the table to brewing and the care of horses and other animals.

Some key sayings from the book:

Country house guests should never be expected to share a room
An entire suite of rooms may be set aside for royalty
Footmen are expected to rise early, before the family are stirring
Knives and other cutlery are attended to in the butler’s pantry
A good governess adheres to a strict timetable
The stockpot is the basis of the kitchen
The kitchen should not be made obvious by its odours
A lady’s dress must be adapted to circumstances and varied with different occasions
Until luncheon, visitors should look about and amuse themselves
The business of the house should never be discussed with strangers
Billiards may be played before or after dinner
A country house ball is a welcome diversion
It is possible for friends to be entertained below stairs
The sundial is an appropriate ornament for the garden
The continuous supply of fresh vegetables is a vital part of the gardener’s duties