Gentry households were large and complex institutions. Ensuring that a large house, family and employees were provided with food and other requirements was a complex business. Accordingly the process of consumption begins not with purchases, but with management and planning. This chapter explores the household and estate management activities of Lady Alice Le Strange, and considers the degree to which activities such as account-keeping gave women power as well as responsibility within the household, and the degree to which those household management activities stretched into farm management and the estate. Comparisons are drawn between Alice’s activities, models of the ideal housewife offered by the advice literature, and the activities of gentlewomen from two other Norfolk families, the Townshends and Hobarts.
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