Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the domestic objects and spaces that were meaningful for men and explores how men's domestic engagement and domestic authority was legitimized by the material culture of the house. In ‘keeping house’, men managed goods and people over which they exercised proprietorship, even if legally they did not own them. In doing so, the chapter shows, men rooted themselves and their authority in the physical body of the house. Men engaged with objects as property, inheritance, symbols, makers of memory and relationships, as well as commodities. They consumed low‐value and mundane items alongside larger and intermittent purchases, and the possession and management of these domestic objects created and maintained authority. In their careful management of property and personal investment in meaningful domestic things, the chapter argues, men of the middling‐sorts grounded their identities in the material culture of their domestic lives.
On 27 February 1748, the West Riding rector Henry Richardson recorded a payment he made to William Hudson of 11d for a ‘small hard Brush’.1 In 1754, the Durham cattle dealer Ralph Ward reported the flagging of the ‘fore kitching’ in his new house.2 Much later, in his letters and diary of the 1810s, 20s, and 30s, Robert Sharp, the Yorkshire schoolmaster, noted ordering a pint of ale to accompany the family dinner, commented on the family's acquisition of ‘a new Arm Chair, to match with the others’, and concerned himself with the things that he and his wife packed in their son's box before sending it off to William in London.3 And in a richly evocative image, John Darracott, merchant in Bideford, North Devon, in 1730, described how his children, ‘Like olive plants surrounded my Table’.4 Material things of many different kinds litter the writings that men penned in and about their domestic spaces. In men's account and commonplace books, their diaries, and letters, the texture of everyday physical domestic life is palpable. This chapter examines the domestic objects and spaces that were meaningful for men, and explores how men's domestic engagement and domestic authority was legitimized by some of these objects.
Objects are a central part of our understanding of eighteenth-century domestic life. A new culture of ‘home’ was created partly out of new consumer goods, while the momentous shifts in consumption practices and the nature of commodities was driven in large part by demand for domestic goods.5 The emphasis in many studies is on the consumption of these new items, often by women, to create a feminized domestic interior. This newly decorated interior has also been identified (p.100) as one of the central planks of a middling-sort identity: the ‘middle classes invested the home and its furnishings with monetary value and material comforts but they also believed that it expressed social, cultural, emotional and religious attitudes’; this investment in domesticity during the eighteenth century drove changes in the domestic culture of lower and higher social ranks in subsequent decades.6 Attending to representation rather than practice, others have demonstrated the powerful contemporary connections between women and femininity on the one hand and consumption on the other, though—as we have seen—several historians have also sought to identify the particular kinds of objects associated with men and women respectively.7 While we might expect—and there is indeed evidence for—differences in some of the things that men and women selected and bought, it is not entirely clear that women consumed more of the material things from which ‘home’ was made. Rich but scattered comments in a handful of men's diaries may not sustain the view that men were active in the ‘acquiring and display’ of domestic items.8 Yet taking consumption to mean purchase and possession, this chapter gives evidence that men were engaged in this new material world of ‘home’.9 Men prided themselves on their knowledge about the quality and design of objects, used objects as markers of memories, shored up relationships—familial and commercial—out of networks of objects, and invested things with emotional significance. And at the centre of domestic ceremonies, men's domestic authority in the family was enacted through the richly symbolic material culture of the table. The meaning of domestic material culture for women has been explored in some detail; this chapter hopes to reconstruct the varied depth of meaning that things held for men.
(p.101) Yet several historians have expanded their categories of material culture to include not just ‘consumer goods’ or ‘new’ ‘commodities’ identified by their novelty or fashionability, but also the ‘old’ or ‘traditional’,10 as well as items that are not simply or always commodities.11 Indeed, suggesting the only limited relevance of new commodities to the middling-sort men explored in this book, Henry French has found that the middling sort only rarely possessed a distinctive formation of new consumer items.12 In this chapter I explore different kinds of material culture as it appeared in men's own writing, then, and from the perspectives of the act of purchase, the decision-making prior to purchase, the provision of resources to enable the purchase, the legal ownership of the object, the emotional ownership of the object, the use of the object, and the responsibility for the use and upkeep of the object. Examining this broad range of engagements with a varied material culture shifts the emphasis from ‘home’ to ‘house’, and a central theme is material culture to be bought, sold, and improved. Underpinning this chapter is the fact that for the middling sort who are the main focus of this book, including those from business, the trades, professions, and farming, the family remained ‘the site of most economic, as well as social, activity’.13 This overlap between family and economy and an emphasis on property sits somewhat uneasily in a history that emphasizes decorative art, consumer goods, or an emotional investment in personal things.14 The documents used for this chapter do not uncover individual consumers excited by advertising or searching for the fulfilment of fantasies of pleasure driven by ‘modern autonomous imaginative hedonism’.15 Personal impulses are inarticulate in these records, whereas the unit of the household is palpable.16 The evidence exposes men striving to manage their property well, to (p.102) sustain and consolidate this for their families, and in so doing to root themselves and their authority in the physical body of the house.
Men's engagement with the house was shaped to a considerable extent by the duties of provisioning and management. Oeconomy equipped men to instruct wives and other dependents in managing the resources of the household, and this included those of the physical house. Xenophon advised men to pay close attention to the items bought for the home and its decoration: the house should not be filled with ‘unnecessary Decorations’, for example, but be ‘built with due Consideration, and for the Conveniency of the Inhabitants’; the husband should teach his wife which are the best rooms for valuable possessions, corn, and wine, and which are ‘the most convenient Places for Parlours and Dining-Rooms’, ‘Bed-Chambers’, and the ‘Nursery’.17 Putting into practice the instructions given by her husband, a wife would then, ‘receive Goods that are brought into the House, and distribute such a Part of them as [the husband] think necessary for the Use of the Family’.18 Alongside this moral philosophical sub-genre of oeconomy, didactic books envisaged men not simply as global managers but participants in the mundane and everyday life of the house.19 Not all men put this into practice, and the involvement of men was dependent on several structural familial and individual factors.
One of the most significant shaping factors for men's involvement with domestic material culture was life-course, and particularly marriage. The York solicitor William Gray (1751–1845) pondered this expected change to his own life in his letters to his father written in his early twenties. As a devout Christian, Gray was adamant that ‘the Union between Husband and Wife, the managing a Family, and the bringing up Children’, should be done ‘in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord’. ‘I would not for a Million of Worlds,’ he continued, ‘engage myself to an unregenerate Person if she had every Accomplishment [a] Heart could wish; for… I should only have possession of her Body whilst the Devil had possession of her Soul.’20 By October 1777, William was set to forge his godly union with the twenty-six-year-old Faith Hopwood. In an important letter to his father dealing with ‘the State of Life I am entering upon’, Gray explained that all their attention was given to things ‘of a worldly kind’; he hoped he had support from the Lord, but still, he wrote, ‘we are both in need of help’. The husband-to-be had received £300 from his father-in-law to set up home. Mr Hopwood ‘has too great a Regard for his Daughter not to make her equal with his other Daughter’, ‘which is all I desire’, added William. Of this, £200 will be spent on furniture; another £300 will (p.103) come from the legal partnership, the future profits of which ‘will more than maintain my Family’. He tells his father this, not because—as in so many cases—he requires financial assistance from Mr Gray. Instead, William assures his father that he will now be able to assist him ‘with any Thing you want’, and that as a result his father is now able to prepare a will, leaving a house and personal effects to his daughter.21 William's accounts with his father recorded the £27 12s he paid to Mr Gray between November 1777 and May 1784. On the day that he advised his father to bequest property to his sister, William also committed £200 to fund these payments should his father require it. In 1787, he made a note that this account should be carried over to his second ledger, ‘under the title of Contingent Fund’.22 Marriage for William Gray meant new financial responsibilities as both husband and son.
Only one expression of his feelings, this letter nevertheless showed Gray looking upon marriage as an economic transformation. William preserved his copy, labelled by him as ‘Near October 1777 (mentioning my marriage intended to take place on the 9th)’,23 and it was perhaps his copy of this important document that sparked his retrospective assessment of the financial implications of his marriage in 1821, in his ‘Recollections of God's goodness to me in respect of my temporal concerns’. This short narrative is focused on the riches that he has amassed over his life, showing God's goodness working through William's own determination and success. The comments on his marriage—to a woman he loved and later mourned deeply—are particularly striking for their focus on money. ‘Mean time, I married’, he writes abruptly, receiving ‘only £300’ from his father-in-law. Yet God was kind and this amount increased: ‘But by the affecting circumstance of ye death of her 3 brothers, (all in their manhood) it ultimately became enlarged—my wife receiving 1/3 of her father's property instead of 1/6th.’24 ‘Still’, he reflected, ‘for some time I could scarcely sustain ye burden of my very moderate household expenses.’25 Later, in February 1822, William paid off his own son's debts when he married, and provided him with a considerable loan, the latter making ‘his portion equal with that of each of my other children’.26
Other men—particularly those with sufficient wealth or property—recorded the material changes that occurred upon marriage. The Reverend John Forth married Elizabeth Woodhouse on 23 June 1791, and soon after a household inventory for their house was taken. This was an important record of the shared material life of the couple, recording where and from whom many of their possessions originated. Some objects were ‘old fashioned’, some were ‘common’, many were gifts from named individuals. Others were bought by the couple as they prepared for the wedding. The punch ladle was surely the one that John had purchased for 13s 6d from Richard Clark the goldsmith and jeweller just 10 days before the (p.104) marriage.27 The twelve mahogany chairs had apparently been purchased by ‘Mrs Woodhouse’ (Elizabeth's mother) from John Barber for £15 12s a month earlier, on 13 May 1791.28 These were surely some of the chairs that were later used in either the drawing room, the parlour, or the best lodging room once the couple were married.29 Alongside the inventory, John kept an account book containing the section ‘Expences in furnishing my house’, which included payments to the cabinet maker, silversmith, painter, and upholsterer, and purchases of a ‘Tea board’ and a ‘Napkin Press’, and which totalled more than £520.30 Such evidence for John's global management must be balanced with his involvement in the mundane matters of the household.31 The couple kept at least three joint account books during their marriage, both making entries on various matters. The volume for 1799, for example, includes notes on getting the pans ‘new Tinned’, white-washing the house, and making a start on using up 96 Stone of Soap.32 Expensive furnishings and fittings and small-scale improvements came within the compass of John Forth's household role.
‘Keeping house’ was a significant life-stage for a man even when he and his wife lacked not only a house of their own but much in the way of material possessions. Benjamin Shaw (1772–1841), a mechanic from Preston, married Betty on 23 September 1793, at which point they ‘had nothing to go to house with’.33 Betty was expecting a child, and she had told Benjamin that after the marriage she would live at home until the child was born: ‘it would save us some expence, for we had neither furniture, or money, nor friends, & few cloths & she had her little clothes to provide &c’.34 Soon after the wedding, though, she joined Benjamin in Dolphinholme, and they boarded with a widow. The child was born back at Betty's parents’ house in Lancaster, and following her return a new stage began. In Benjamin's recalling of this, the possessions articulated their new state:
We went to House by our selves & had nothing to put in it, But a bed that my fathers & me at dolphinholme, & Betty had a box of cloaths, & a pair of tings, & a fue pots, &c I made each of us a knife & fork, & 2 Stools, we got a pan, & a looking glass, & a few trifles.35
(p.105) Some months later, in 1795, Benjamin found work in Preston; three weeks later Betty joined them and, as he wrote in 1826, they ‘took 2 rooms at the corner of dale Street, where we have lived 31 years’.36 Shaw's comments articulate how ‘keeping house’ encompassed mundane material domestic things.
The evidence of Gray, Forth, and Shaw is compelling on the connection between a man's role as oeconomist and marriage. Yet while a man may have only become ‘ripe for domestication’ and entry to a culture of home on the verge of marriage, his role as oeconomical housekeeper began not with the legal change of marital status but with the possession—in some sense—of a house.37 This was the force of Shaw's phrase, ‘We went to House by our selves’, and it was echoed by many other men. Thomas Naish had been married and living with his wife for some years when he described how, in 1701 he ‘parted from my father and mother and went my selfe to house keeping’.38 Naish was familiar with the need for upkeep and repairs, being the son of the Clerk of the Fabric, responsible for the material condition of the exterior and interior of the Cathedral, the Close, and other estates of the dean and chapter at Salisbury.39 Daniel Renaud and his wife Christiana shared their house with Daniel's uncle, until the latter married in 1730 and, as Daniel noted, ‘We began To keep House’.40 Neither Naish nor Renaud owned their houses, though they were both married. But starting to ‘keep house’ was not necessarily undertaken by married men. Thomas Mort never married but records equal payments of 2s 6d to James Taylor, Mary, and Ellen, with whom he had ‘began to keep house’ during his sixties.41 Much later, the Manchester grocer George Heywood also described his setting up of a house with his business partner and wife as a family beginning: ‘We have come to live in our own house today, […] with beginning house keeping we shall have more care upon ourselves but the care will be for our own interest.’42 In these cases, housekeeping was predicated on a man's possession of a house and on his authority, but it was also a shared practice. Men of the lower-middling sort in particular were used to sharing houses with many others; regardless of emerging domestic ideals centred on a nuclear family, flexible definitions of ‘family’ were of ongoing relevance.43
(p.106) An unmarried tradesman from Lancaster, William Stout's sense of housekeeping similarly concerned the physical stuff of the household rather than a status or rite of passage. In early 1691, he reported, ‘my trade increasing and shop too little, I had thoughts of adding my bedroom to the shop, and also of house keeping’. It was at this point that his sister Elin, who had already been helping him, offered to be his ‘house keeper’, and so he rented a parlour, the cellar beneath it, and three bedrooms above, all for 50s per annum.44 In 1734, Stout began ‘to keepe house, and dwell in the roomes over the shop, and to take my brother Leonard's two youngest daughters, Margret and Mary, to be my house keepers’.45 From c.1739–1742 he was joined by Mary Bayley, a servant of whom Stout wrote, ‘I have kept house…with good content’.46 For Stout, each new stage in housekeeping usually coincided with a physical move but always involved the arrival of a new female presence in the house. With rooms and female assistance, single men could keep house.
Though they may seem fine distinctions, it is important to distinguish ‘keeping house’ from ‘housekeeping’. Housekeeping connoted domestic tasks that serviced the bodily needs of the family. For the East Riding schoolmaster Robert Sharp, ‘housekeeping’ meant practical domestic tasks, often food preparation, and he performed it reluctantly when left alone in the house: on Sunday 25 June 1826 when a sore foot, no church service, and his daughter's absence prompted the statement, ‘so I was the Housekeeper’, followed by detailed comments on the peas and new potatoes enjoyed at dinner; and on Sunday 15 April 1827, when his wife and daughter had been away since Friday, he remarked, ‘I am still Housekeeper alone, excepting two Cats’, preparing the bacon and eggs for his own dinner.47 Sharp's descriptions of this kind of housekeeping were derisory: as he wrote in May 1833 when Ann was in Skipton, ‘I am now my own Housekeeper an office of which I am not much enamoured; I care not how soon I am quit of the situation.’48 For such men, ‘housekeeping’ was an unpleasant activity performed out of necessity. ‘Keeping house’, by contrast, integrated demarcated architectural space and gendered relationships of household management. While it is true that the dynamic uses of space in the house may, as they did in the seventeenth century, have ‘mitigated, moderated and even rendered irrelevant patriarchal prerogatives of control’, the unit of the middling-sort house correlated with the idea of male household authority and governance.49 In this context, it is not surprising that beginning to ‘keep house’—however facilitated—was such a significant moment.
As with ‘housekeeping’ and ‘keeping house’, uses of the words ‘house’ and ‘home’ show a discerning lexicon associated with the domestic. For the Devon (p.107) merchant John Darracott, ‘my house’ comprised wife, children, furniture, relations, friends, and riches.50 For Richard Kay, the unmarried doctor living with his parents, engaging in ‘Business at Home’ refers to seeing patients, though being ‘employed in Domestic Affairs’, ‘carrying on some concerns about Home’, or being ‘employed mostly in common Concern about Home’ suggested other sorts of activity.51 Being ‘at home’ meant he was present in the house. When Kay reported that he ‘kept House, & much by the Fireside’, this was on account of his bad teeth; two days later he was still suffering: ‘I’m Housekeeper to Day upon Account of my Teeth’.52 In these cases, ‘keeping house’ suggests a degree of compulsion; ‘home’ and ‘house’ also appear somewhat interchangeable. Whether through their occupation, sociability, or leisure, reports of men spending some considerable time in the domestic interior were very common. This is little surprise, given that many occupations and work tasks took place within the house.53 Yet even for those men whose work necessarily took place away from their residence, the house was a venue for meaningful activity. John Stede's diary, ‘Wherein an Account is taken of the Spending of my Time; Where, How, and with Whom’, itemizes his departure and arrival from and to ‘hous’ and ‘home’. Identified as the author by David Hunter, Stede was the prompter of John Rich, who staged The Beggar's Opera, and ‘Hous’ in his diary referred to Rich's Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre.54 ‘Home’ was where Stede slept, dined, and spent some considerable time each day. On 12 September 1723, for example he notes, ‘Rose […] 7.40. wrot 9 p t; drest and to Hous. 10.15, busied there 12:55. home, busied & din’d 3 + chatted littled & dozed 6:30’.55 On 9 March 1754, time at home totalled 3 hours and 10 minutes, from rising at 6.50 a.m. until he left for the theatre at 10 a.m., with the time fully accounted for in his diary.56 Similarly, Robert Sharp's outline of his typical Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. traced his movements during which he returns home at 1 p.m. for ‘Dinner’ and to read.57 Francis Blake's account book also includes several recordings of dining or simply being ‘at Home’.58 In common with Richard Kay's comment, Blake remarked that some time spent at home was because of ill-health; five consecutive references in May 1765 read ‘at home, by ye Gout’.59 Keen to work, Benjamin Shaw felt that some of his time within doors was enforced: Shaw ‘became Soletary, (p.108) & was mostly at home’ due to a leg injury.60 Being at home through injury was a ‘confinement’,61 though as with Kay and Shaw it was the experience of illness rather than the house itself that imposed limits. Rarely do men express feeling trapped by domestic space. ‘Home’ and ‘house’ had a variety of meanings for men. Houses were to be managed, but the house was also a setting for professional work, sociability, retirement, convalescence, and everyday ablutions. By the end of the eighteenth century, ‘home’ meant more than a dwelling; it was a multi-faceted state of being, encompassing the emotional, physical, moral, and spatial.62 ‘House’ was different, incorporating property management, a particular set of ordered relationships, and an architectural unit.
In ‘keeping house’, men managed goods and people over which they exercised proprietorship, even if legally they did not own them. As Rachel Weil has written of the seventeenth century, ‘[t]he image of a man passing on property to his children seems to stand for the bond between a parent and child in this period, in much the same way that the image of a mother nursing a child at the breast might do in another’.63 Indeed, as the discourse of oeconomy combined classical and patriarchal models of governance throughout the long eighteenth century, though shifting in focus from the large landowner transforming to the smaller householder, Weil's account holds just as true for the eighteenth century.64 To some extent this was part of a larger shift towards a capitalist economy in which land and objects became commodified. For some, land was ‘a long-term resource’, while for others it became ‘a commodity to be assessed in terms of price and rent, to be purchased out of the profits of trade and commerce’.65 While this combination of attitude towards land underpinned what French and Hoyle describe as ‘not English Individualism but north-west European individualism’, they argue that even in one small village people assumed both instrumental and sentimental attitudes towards land, sometimes buying land to provide for future generations.66 More widely, the ‘paradigm of property in land’ remained a significant feature of law, society, and culture.67 There also occurred a related shift, in which ‘things’—not simply commodities—were (p.109) elevated as agents, capable of accruing wealth and profit, but also the independence required for political citizenship and power, the show of good taste and the exercise of civility for social status, the shaping of personal identity, and the export of Western values.68 Ownership enabled the independence that fostered a public-spirited citizen, and this ownership encompassed the land a man might own, his material things, as well as his status as ‘proprietor of himself ’.69 Proprietorship was profoundly gendered as well as politicized; the house was the place where these two changes—in ideas about land and objects—converged.
Men's accounts pertain to the coherence of the house as a sound and coherent physical unit, and this invites an analysis of material culture that moves away from what Frank Trentmann has described as the ‘ “soft”, decorative, and visible’.70 This is not to say that men were unconcerned with the look of interior decoration, though in the records used here this is suggested merely by the appearance of bills, such as Joseph Wilson's note of the painter's bill for redecorating the parlour with white and pink walls and blue and green doors.71 A more common concern was with house repairs. The extensive works on a new house undertaken in the winter of 1754 for the Durham cattle dealer Ralph Ward were frequently noted in his diary, such as the major improvement of flagging the ‘fore kitching’ on 21 October.72 Daniel Renaud noted a similarly heavy task in 1742: ‘Laid down an Iron plate under the Kitchen chimney Grate given by Mr R. White.’ ‘The grate’, he noted, ‘made by Richd. David’. Renaud also costed the roofing of the Rectory.73 William Gray's indexed ledger has a section set aside for the ‘Dwelling House’. In this Gray totted up two sets of repair, with a new chimney and ceiling in a small lodging room in 1788, and a new floor, window, door, hearth, and chimney piece in the best lodging room in 1799.74 In the same ledger, when totalling up his rent accounts for the year 1805–6, he notes the costs of ‘Repairs of my own House’ costing £4 7s 1d.75 In Newcastle during the winter of 1815, the reformer and ‘devoted family man’ James Losh recorded his damp entrance hall and passages being laid with Roman cement, and also the near-completion of ‘a very convenient water closet within the house’.76 Finally, a relieved Robert Sharp, schoolmaster of (p.110) South Cave, recorded the long-awaited mending of ‘our Sky light’ on 8 August 1821, it having been broken for almost a year.77
Many of the repairs noted by men fortify and seal the house. This might be significant given the potency of open points or voids, places where danger might enter and protective objects might be concealed.78 Or perhaps these major structural works were simply sufficiently costly to be entered into men's accounts. These interpretations are not mutually exclusive, of course, and the maintenance of the physical house was a common feature of many men's records. For some wealthier men from more established families, houses that had been in the family for generations surely held a particular value. Descended from prosperous lower gentry, Thomas Mort resided in the fine manor house built by his grandfather. The stone above the door of Damhouse commemorated his parents’ presence in the building: ‘Erected by Adam Mort and Margret Mort 1650’. His mother had died in that year, when Thomas was five, and his father eight years later when Thomas was 13. The main body of the house during Thomas Mort's life was constructed much earlier than this in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century.79 Thus Mort spent his life in an old three-storey manor house, with bay windows and gables, and a distinctive long gallery.80 As a minor, then, Thomas inherited a house with a visible past and accompanying social responsibilities in adjoining parishes. By the time Mort died, the house had been sold to his cousin Thomas Sutton, with whom he resided at Damhouse. Mort seemed to have a close relationship with Sutton, making him the distinctive bequest of ‘all my Books’.81
Yet even for those from less wealthy ranks, as collectors of tithes and taxes middling-sort men were acutely aware of the value of buildings and land. This extended to their role as housekeepers. In the manuscripts of men such as Edmund Pilkington, John Forth, and Robert Sharp, calculations on land value, building work, and household repairs are mixed with information on taxes paid and collected. Daniel Renaud's account book reveals how such a volume included calculations on family and professional property. For example, Renaud itemizes the property of his uncle and the route it takes through the family. His expenses ‘in Building & Housekeeping’ were considerable, totalling £531 13s 9d. The house he built at Hinton between 1722 and 1726, including the garden, outbuildings, and a lawyer's bill, cost £987 15s 9d, and each year from 1730–1740 he received from his nephew an annuity of £18 (totalling £180). In 1739, the year before his death, he instructed Daniel on his bequest to his wife Mary, which included rents from the Hinton house, and on Mary's death in 1749, Daniel recorded his sale of the goods (for over £34) and the sale of the house (for £100).82 Daniel had invested in the house at (p.111)
Practices of property management were undertaken by men within and without the house and underline the porosity of any ‘domestic’ boundary. The duties of householder, for instance, were somewhat replicated in the relationship of landlord and tenant. For those with extensive property and complex systems of management, surviving letters give a good sense of the involvement that landlords could have in tenants’ domestic lives. Few could rival James Brydges’ careful attention to the detail of his rented property in Bath. Brydges bought houses for development, and employed the young architect who was to later make his name in Bath, John Wood. Despite his extensive estate at Cannons, Brydges paid close attention to these houses; his letters show not only an impressive knowledge ‘of the most quotidian details of construction’, but also that ‘his knowledge of indoor plumbing was astonishing’.88 He gave instructions on moveables and decoration too. He set limits on the number of chairs allowed to the housekeeper Mrs Degge (‘Six for Every Bed Chamber & ten for every Dining Room’),89 and decreed that the alterations on her house comprise stucco-panelled walls in the dining room to accommodate ‘several Indian Pictures’ in his possession, and a stuccoed floor in either ‘a reddish Colour like my Lord Burlington's, or else…in imitation of Marble in white & black Square's lozengewise’.90 Other landed men monitored their rented property in person. Close to the small family estate at Twisell, County Durham, the baronet Francis Blake visited his property in the villages of West Herrington and Letham, commenting on repairs to fences and dwelling houses.91 Men lower on the social scale could not boast the resources of Brydges and Blake, but they too recorded dealings with tenants over property. William Coleman, tenant to John Bridges, an attorney in Kent, undertook a series of repairs to the farm that he rented for £55 a year. The surviving accounts from 1712 date from Bridges’ death, and continue until 1729.92 The list of repairs conducted by the carpenter, bricklayer, thatcher, gardener, and smith were folded carefully and retained by Mrs Jane (p.113) Bridges for her daughter, Deborah.93 The solicitor William Gray collected rents on several properties and calculated the cost of any repairs.94 For 1805–6, he notes of Mr Richardson's property, there were ‘no repairs of any consequence in this last House during this year’.95 The letters between the Leeds merchant John Micklethwaite and his tenant John Young dating from the later 1790s provide a window onto the negotiations that could take place between tenant and landlord. Over a series of years, John Young made several requests about his accommodation. In 1807, he asked Micklethwaite to evict another tenant in order to allow Young to ‘get room for my Family to eat and sleep’.96 In 1812, the departure of one tenant in the building prompted Young to request a room elsewhere, reporting ‘I find we have not sufficient room for my Family’. The main object of the letter, though, was to request that Micklethwaite allow the Youngs to have sole possession of the out kitchen, and to divide the garden, ‘as it is almost impossible to Keep the Women Folks in good humours where the Children constantly intermix and frequently Quarrell’.97 Finally, on 7 April 1816, Young wrote to request a table for the property.98 Not a landowner like James Brydges seventy years before him, Micklethwaite was nevertheless addressed as a benevolent patrician in a way which mirrored the changing printed works on oeconomy from the latter half of the eighteenth century.99
Letters exchanged amongst upper-middling business families belie any distinctions we might wish to draw between financial and familial matters. Family businesses were ‘a crucial site for female economic activity’, and as such mark out the limits of ‘domestic femininity’ for these women.100 At the same time, conversely, family business ensured men's involvement with the family. This is evident from letters exchanged amongst the Birkbecks, a Quaker merchant and banking family with investments in the Yorkshire Dales textile industry.101 The extensive correspondence of the family spans the period c.1720–1830, and the letters between the adult family members from the 1770s straddled the personal and the financial. Reports of business from one brother-in-law to another of their order for plants and demands from a customer for ‘the Remainder of his Yarn Hose’ concluded with the brisk statement, ‘So much for Business—As to our Nursery’. This was followed fast with a detailed and sympathetic discussion of a wife's sore post- (p.114) partum nipples and painfully swollen breasts.102 In a letter from Deborah Braithwaite, she shared with her brother-in-law, William, her fears about the possible death of her poorly daughter Etty, a burden made heavier by her own ill health and ‘her daddas absence’, making it ‘very hard for human Nature to bear’. She signed off by explaining that her husband would continue the letter on the other side. In fact, showing no compunction about juxtaposing his words with hers, he began to write directly beneath her heart-wrenching report, detailing visits he had made and orders placed for the family business.103
Dating from 1792 to 1828, the family letters to John Micklethwaite include notifications of financial returns, updates on equipment and premises, and discussions of invoices to pay and accounts to complete. Most of these letters integrate family matters, though: the management of a widowed aunt's annuity, the distribution of a father's estate, the placement of sons in school, and exchanges with nephew, niece, son, brother, sister, agent, associate, and invariably the negotiation of various payments to or on behalf of these family members or friends. John Micklethwaite stood at the centre of an extensive web of management. The melding of financial and familial—and the importance of maintaining good family relations for material well-being—is clearest in John's wrangling with his brother Thomas during the late 1790s. We do not have John's replies, but Thomas's letters present his case as one of virtuous desperation. On 21 December 1795 Thomas expresses his disapproval of John entering into a business deal without Thomas's assent. Pointedly, he accused his elder brother of trying ‘to take the Bread out of my Mouth’. The reference to the mundane domestic foodstuff—yet rich with meanings about ‘existence itself’—neatly expresses the material nature of the tussle and the matter at stake.104 Over the next two and a half years, Thomas made repeated pleas for what he describes consistently as his property. He expresses exasperation at his brother's ‘Shuffling stile’ and stresses his own travails, being ‘up to the Ears in Debt’.105 The linguistic strategies being employed by Thomas—consciously or unconsciously—were various. He also invoked higher authorities. On at least two occasions he alluded to legal action, referring to laws that ‘will force even Brothers to act justly to each other’, followed up later with an outright threat of Chancery.106 Revealing his worry that he had gone too far, this last threat was accompanied by a note written the following day, couched in more conciliatory language, and offering to John a happier picture of a family without conflict: (p.115)
I should think was it me I would have done with it for my own ease & comfort but I fear nothing will have any effect upon you it's a pitty [sic] for how happy you might make yourself and the whole of the Family.107
We do not know how this conflict was resolved. The penultimate letter from Thomas in this series describes his receipt of a letter from a creditor, and how his reputation now hangs in the balance; accusing John of prioritizing ‘your own pecuniary advantages’, he announces that he will show the letter to one final external authority—their father.108 Sibling conflict—particularly between older and younger brothers—was a result of the workings of primogeniture in commercial families.109 The material life of all family members was dependent in large part on the maintenance of good family relations.
‘Articles of small value’
The mixing of business and household property in middling men's records exemplifies a coherent arena of management, and this was driven by a desire to preserve economic security and provision for existing and future family. Yet as discussed in Chapter 3, men's management was not limited simply to this macro level; nor do the categories of business and household explain all of the expenses laid out by men. Domestic transactions were often mixed with personal items, alerting us to the ways in which oeconomical management united apparently different areas of practice. Thomas Mort's accounts excluded smaller items of foodstuffs, presumably bundled into the ‘house use’ amounts paid to the servant Harry Whaley, yet some modest purchases were recorded: 2s 6d for a new spring and chain for his watch, 6d for shoelaces and for a number of pans from James Barnes of Wigan.110 Perhaps Mort's single status encouraged his engagement with shopping, in the same way as it did for the widower George Gitton, whose responsibility for small household items surely reflected the absence of his wife.111 William Parkinson's account book include payments ‘for house keeping’ to a number of different women, and excludes many smaller items of domestic consumption. Amongst the large amounts paid for tithes and taxes, though, were payments of 5d for two lemons, 3s for a chine of beef, and 3s 6d for the replacement of a warming pan base.112 As we saw in the previous chapter, Henry Richardson recorded domestic consumption of many different types. His account book records disbursements for coffee, brandy, ‘Gloves & (p.116) Groceries’, ‘Soap and Candles’, brass knobs, and a ‘small hard Brush’ in February, a bed and oak chest in April, a lock for the chest, and more soap in May, handkerchiefs, a book, and ‘a small Knife and Fork’ in August, repairs to an old oak table in September and to his clock face in October, a food hamper for a Christening in November, and ‘two ounces of Scotch Snuff for my Wife’ in December.113
This combination of domestic and personal items was also a feature of elite men's records. Francis Blake's account books survive for 1765–1766 and 1769–1771, largely detailing food, drink, and services consumed outside his London home. Some of these are very small purchases. There are 17 entries for rolls or bread in January 1765 alone, and a single entry for 2s 1/2d of butter on 9 January.114 But the volumes also detail larger expenses relating to domestic decoration. During the winter of 1769, this widower in his early sixties is engaged in refurnishing his London home. On the 13 December he orders new furniture for the library, and on 15 December pays a workman for ironwork. On 27 January he pays for the new furniture to be brought down from Berwick, and three days later the chairs in the library are mended. On 17 February the cabinet-maker's man came to hang curtains in the new room, and he returned on 13 March to lead the curtains, open two drawers in a bureau, and mend the ‘great Chair’.115 Small items, large items, soft furnishings, and repairs are all present. Moreover, Blake's sometimes full and descriptive entries for these items render them not simply records of financial expenditure. They show a concern for quality and appearance, and an awareness of the condition of specific items of furniture.
For men engaged in farming, commerce, or the professions, this range of personal and domestic purchases were recorded alongside business transactions. The ledger of the attorney William Gray contained many large sums relating to his legal business (such as the £5,500 recorded for the sale of Samuel Elam's property in 1811), and moderate sums in accounts of funds such as the balance of £4 4s for the York Auxiliary Bible Society and of £14 1s 103/4d for the Charity Fund.116 But this young man also itemized several smaller items purchased during the first few years of marriage under the title of ‘Pocket and miscellaneous Expences’. These included two penknives (2s), a sheet of marbled paper (11/2d), a riding cane (6d), a walking stick (8d), an almanac for his wife (6d), the services of the hairdresser (6d), and a pencil (4d).117 One of his most regular purchases was fruit, such as 1d for an orange on 11 March 1778, 2d for an apple on 11 April 1778, and the small amounts for oranges, cherries, strawberries, gooseberries, plums, and grapes purchased during 1779.118 The combination of transactions of very different sizes and types is typical of men's records from across the middling sort. This underlines (p.117) men's engagement with the household at different levels, but furthermore indicates how the ‘domestic’ was combined with the ‘personal’ and ‘commercial’ in men's records.
An interest in commodities big and small emerges from men's records, but it is not accurate to insist on men of this middling rank as avid consumers. In their comments on material objects, men showed particular areas of interest and knowledge. Robert Sharp was especially critical of imprudent consumption. A characteristic dismissal was made in June 1821: ‘Bought a Set of China 1 Doz. Cups, 1 Doz. Saucers[,] Teapot, a milk Jug[,] 2 Basons and 2 Plates, double gilt edged all for 12 Shillings; but as we neither want them nor have any place to put them in for display, we have packed them in a Basket and put them in the Garrett Closet, if this be not encouraging manufacturers I know what is!!’119 While Finn remarks that Sharp was ‘determined to purchase’ such items, it seems more likely that this household purchase was dictated by Robert's wife, Ann.120 Robert sought to disassociate himself from such showy items and he was suspicious of the encroachment of ‘Fashion’ in household furnishing, represented for him by ‘an Italian Iron hung by a Brass faced Warming Pan’ appearing alongside the more traditional ‘Brass Mortar & Pestle’, ‘Salt Box’, and shining bellows.121 Succumbing to the attraction of a silk handkerchief in November 1830, Robert was no doubt relieved to discover subsequently it was actually made of cotton.122 Nevertheless, if we extend the analysis wider than ‘new’ and ‘consumer’ items, Robert Sharp appears ‘an acquisitive consumer of personal and household goods’ with developed consumer skills.123 Running the general store with his wife Ann between the years 1828–33, Robert had good cause to be familiar with the price of things. ‘Butter which was 1s. pr. Lb last week’, he commented on market day on Saturday 28 May 1831, ‘is this day 1s/5d an extravagant price’.124 Notably for Sharp, material culture was closely entwined with family relationships. In a letter to his son William (who was in London) in February 1813, Robert laid out specific instructions for the purchase of several items on his behalf. Advising William to postpone ‘the Hat buying’ because he suspected his son might make a poor choice and ‘give too much for it’, he instead requested some other items: ‘2 Skeins of Embroidering Silk like the Pattern & 4 Quire of wove Letter Paper to sell at 1 Shilling & 4 Quire of Do.—to sell at 1/6’.125 While the order for silk was perhaps dictated by his wife or daughter, the paper was surely for him. As he said of one periodical, ‘I have not yet read it, therefore I have the pleasure of anticipation, it is on very fine paper’, adding, ‘I wish the times Gentleman would procure their paper of a little better texture, for they are (p.118) frequently much torn’.126 An avaricious writer and reader, as well as a schoolmaster, Robert was a seasoned consumer of paper.
Though women have been closely associated with the material culture of home, many men engaged in discussions of quality, value, style, and taste.127 Taste was a profoundly ethical issue, though.128 Good management stemmed partly from working within the structural realities of one's status, and for middling-sort men, as for women, material culture was judged by notions of thriftiness and prudence. The twenty-three-year-old York attorney William Gray asserted his determination ‘not to live above my Income, whatever it may be’.129 Even in a rapidly commercializing society, ideas about appropriate consumption of the different ranks endured. The Preston mechanic Benjamin Shaw bemoaned what he saw as his wife's financial intemperance, tracing it back to the early loss of her mother which prevented Betty's instruction in the ‘care and and the [sic] managment of the small income that is frequently the portion of the Poor’.130 Observing the labouring poor such as Shaw, Robert Sharp was critical of the rich: when ‘the poor are nearly in a state of starvation, it is amazing that things should be in the state they are, some wallowing in all kinds of extravagance and Luxury’.131 As a rural middling-sort schoolmaster and tradesman, Sharp employed a notion of thrift that was consonant with Shaw's. In fact, Sharp's views were shaped by the radical writer William Cobbett who advised the labouring classes to avoid china and glass, and instead to use only sturdy and durable vessels.132 Prudent domestic consumption and a return to a traditional English taste could revivify the nation. As argued in Chapter 2, while oeconomy resonated with elite concerns at the beginning of the eighteenth century, by the end of the century it had assumed a new potency as a discourse for and about the labouring class. Nevertheless, Cobbett's words, like those of the middling and landed consumers of domestic wallpaper, can be set within a long-standing debate over ethics and taste, and one in which all social groups were implicated.133 A delight in things was nevertheless patterned by a deep-rooted concern for probity.
Men—including the very wealthy—consumed low-value and rather mundane items repetitively and alongside larger and intermittent purchases. A proprietorial approach united this consumption with the management of other domestic, personal, and commercial or professional practices. The nature and purpose of some of the documents discussed above—particularly account books—are likely to fore (p.119) ground this kind of engagement. In the context of balancing the books, a concern for tasteful prudence was bound to surface. Yet other evidence shows that the material items of the house held significant personal or emotional meanings for men. In commonplace books, for example, material culture was interwoven with other entries on highly valued subjects. In one mid-eighteenth-century commonplace book of unknown authorship, entries on coats of arms, genealogies, inscriptions, and great buildings of note are interleaved with a recipe for linen stained by fruit, notes on the price of tea, and some miscellaneous accounts.134 A later York commonplace book completed mainly from the 1820s, similarly combines recipes for mouth wash and ginger beer, an entry for furniture bought and their prices (on 6 November 1826), quotes from the Bible and local newspapers, and lists of births, marriages, and deaths.135 Preserving these details in a commonplace book shows a significance to material culture that outstripped consumption or the management of resources. The lack of generic distinction is itself evidence of the meaningful connections writers made across their lives, and of the meaningful place accorded to objects within that mental landscape.
Objects were not simply the mundane props of everyday life for men, but were also markers of time and occasion and makers of memory. A good example of this is the ‘commonplace book’ of Christopher Tuthill, inscribed by him in 1681, and typical of the varied form that men's domestic writings took. Christopher Tuthill (1650–1712) was born in Minehead on 24 June 1650. A merchant, he later settled in Youghal, on the south coast of Ireland, later becoming a Bailiff. Though the pedigree of the family gives his date of arrival as 1685, his list of linen taken in 1684 is headed, ‘In youghall 10th February’.136 Married to Mary Hall on 19 May 1685, the couple had five children, Mary dying in January 1695.137 During the Irish war, Tuthill was on the side of the English, carrying information for them in September 1691. He subsequently rented ‘the Town Bog’ as a Bailiff, though the land was damaged by Danish soldiers involved in the conflict. Later, he took a further lease of Kilmore, Ballyliney, and Doorless in 1694, and renewed this lease in 1699.138 By this time Tuthill had married Hannah Rule (in September 1698).139 Their marriage articles stated that Hannah owned one-third of the estate, and that another third of the estate would be held in Trust for her. Upon Christopher's death, Hannah was to receive the moiety of his third. Shortly after his death, (p.120) a deed granted one part of this portion to Christopher and Hannah's son John, his eldest son having died aged 4 in 1695.140
Such eventful lives may be a spur to write them down. From one end the Tuthill volume consists of select autobiographical details and those relating to his family.141 The volume then narrates Tuthill's imprisonment as a Protestant in Ireland in 1689 and 1690.142 Rather incongruously, this section is immediately followed by a recipe for pickled salmon. From the other end of the book, Tuthill entered his ‘accounts’. These were not double-entry accounts, but sometimes simple lists of things without numerical value. Tuthill took frequent stock of his domestic possessions, categorizing objects in several different ways. Separate lists were compiled for books and plate in 1681, and linen in 1681 and 1684, all with values noted. This manner of recording objects by type is soon superseded.143 The next section recorded the ‘Acct: Cost off Goods’ for separate occasional years, including 1676, 1683, 1688, 1688 (for a second time), 1685, 1684, 1680, and 1689. Finally,
Commonplace books were originally compendia of noteworthy extracts which would allow the user to recall significant pieces of information, including philosophical concepts, extraordinary tales, and items of family memoranda. Susan Stabile has demonstrated beautifully how the manuscript commonplace book was used by early American women writers to preserve their memories, in a particularly feminine tradition of remembering.146 Yet the fixing of memories in writing was clearly important to men too. Tuthill used his book to order, record, and preserve apparently unrelated items of personal relevance. His movements across the sea and into and out of prison made his own and his family's future uncertain, and in this context Tuthill's writing can be seen to determinedly fix things during tumultuous times. We cannot know the particular significance of the seemingly out of place recipe for pickled salmon, but, given the weight that Tuthill must have attached to the written record of his life, imprisonment, and domestic possessions, we can safely speculate that this was for him a similarly meaningful and significant feature of domestic life. Quite simply, this volume allowed a variety of domestic things to be later brought to mind.
Objects were remembered. Objects also aided remembrance. Never succumbing to sentimentality in his writing, Robert Sharp plainly reported buying two dozen lead pencils, half a dozen silver spoons (‘for which I gave two pounds’), three hundred quills, two hundred needles, ‘and a penknife and a half’.147 Writing equipment were tools of the trade for a schoolmaster, of course; other items may have aided comfort and were certainly functional.148 Yet the half a penknife was a new (p.122) blade to be put into an old haft, probably the one briefly mentioned in August 1829: ‘that was Jane's, it is not of much value but a great favourite on account of having belonged to her’.149 Jane was a daughter of Robert, who had died aged 11 in 1815.150 Keeping hold of a cheap penknife handle suited Robert's proclivity for prudence, but it was the emotional attachment that made it a favourite. Indeed, when Sharp spoke about things in any detail, it was often in the context of his children, specifically his son William. In South Cave with Ann and their daughter Eliza, Robert's long-distance relationship with his London-based son seems to have been built partly on the exchange of things. These were not always new purchases. William would send his clothes-washing and repairs home to South Cave in Yorkshire via Hull; one delivery appears to have 100 items of clothing, including ‘4 Night Shirts, 8 Shirts, 36 Collars, 32 Cravats, 2 Pairs Drawers, 4 Silk Handkerchiefs, 5 Night Caps, [and] 9 Pairs Stockings’.151 These would have been prepared carefully by Ann, as were the clothes that William sent on Saturday 10 February 1827 and which were ‘got up in a superior stile and bleached so fine & white that they are inimitable’.152 William also sent clothes north for his father. Ever thrifty, Robert had made a pair of black breeches and a waistcoat out of some trousers and a coat that William sent in 1825.153 When a long-missing box finally arrived from William in October 1827, it contained a selection of admirable handkerchiefs and useful second-hand clothes: a coat that Robert planned to use, trousers for ‘excellent waistcoats’, and ‘a Hat which I am told will make a Man of me when I wear it’.154 William also sent new clothing, such as the fine cravats that Robert received shortly before Christmas in 1826.155 This father and son exchanged and discussed clothes frequently, though Ann and Eliza also received new and second-hand clothing from William. As Robert said of ‘a pair of old Shoes’ sent by William to his mother, ‘[s]ometimes articles of small value are highly prized’.156
Other men were cognizant of the domestic manufacture of clothes in their family, and the attachment of each garment to its owner. Residing in the north-east not far from Sharp, the farmer William Burton bought mostly textiles to be made up at home. It is significant, though, that whether raw materials or made-up garments, Burton is careful to pin each item to the wearer, such as the £4 2s paid to Mr Leethem in August 1832 for ‘New Coat & Pantaloons Self ’, and the 10s and 81/2d paid to ‘Frances Selly for Julia a new Bonnett’ the following month.157 Women were heavily invested in material things, especially textiles, though evi (p.123) dently men's relationships could also be bonded by clothing.158 One particularly poignant example can be found in the autobiography of Samuel Millar (1762–1819), a Scottish merchant, sailor, and eventual shipowner. Having accompanied his father on board ship in 1817, Millar's son David was dying of a fever. In his final moments David asked, ‘O Dear Father give me a kiss’. Samuel describes regret and guilt at having to refuse: he could not kiss him on the lips because his son is bleeding at the mouth, ‘his Hearts Blood coming from’. Once dead, Samuel dressed his dead son in a linen shirt and white cotton night cap, before cutting ‘a few locks of hair from his Head to Keep in Rememberance of that good Boy’.159 A white linen shirt denoted cleanliness, respectability, and purity.160 In Samuel Millar's elegiac story, the white shirt restored to the boy—and to his father's memory—his intact and clean body.
Clothing was a high-value and frequent category of expenditure in men's accounting records. Some men spent a significant proportion of their disbursements on new clothing, though clothing repairs also feature very frequently. Thomas Mort's accounts for the year 1703/4 contain more than 30 separate entries for garments and accessories: most were for new bespoke items (including 8 pairs of shoes, 5 pairs of stockings, and a wig), and 11 were for repairs (such as mending ‘my old black wastcoat’ and re-soleing a shoe).161 A mature bachelor such as Mort perhaps had proportionately more to spend on such items than men with families. Yet married men also spent notable amounts on clothing, in a period that supposedly witnessed the ‘great male renunciation’ of fashionable sartorial display.162 Some years later in nearby Bury, the appraisers of yeoman/schoolmaster Edmund Pilkington valued several costly items of household goods, the most valuable items of furniture being a clock and a dresser, each valued at £4 10s. Pilkington's will has little detail of the decorative features of the house, though his account book helps build a fuller picture: the milano fabric bought for a bedhanging in February 1732, and then hung by the tailor (along with some quilting) two months later, the clock case and clock bought for £4 19s on 14 March 1732, and a ‘White Chamber Pot’, stools, and feather bed bought in April.163 Nevertheless, the clock and dresser head the inventory, suggesting, perhaps, that they were visible in prominent positions on entering the house. Yet even these prize possessions were outdone by the value of Pilkington's ‘Wearing Apparel and Watch’, valued at £5.164
(p.124) Even for labourers, contemporary recommendations expected husbands to take 42 per cent of the annual household clothing budget (compared to the 28 per cent taken by the wife).165 The household budget of Henry Richardson matched this for the sample year 1748, the first year of his marriage, though with his wife receiving a somewhat smaller percentage: the total expenditure of £216 6s 6d divided with 19 per cent on Mrs Richardson, 37 per cent on Mr Richardson, and 44 per cent on children or non-identified recipients.166 For this northern Rector, fine clothing was one important part of self-presentation; damaged or inferior garments had undoubtedly negative connotations. Dreaming of his rector's gown on the night of 18 January 1700, both the wife and maid-servant of Thomas Naishe (b.1669) of Salisbury reported it being ‘bad’ and ‘full of montrous holes’. Naish prayed that this did not mark some evil to come, and asked for the Lord's assistance so, ‘I may never dishonour my profession, or bring shame on my function, or scandal upon my religion’.167 For an individual man, dress could express probity and virtue. In the case of fathers, sons, and other household members, fitting out a boy or young man or exchanging appropriate garments might be seen as a middling-sort variation of the dynastic concerns that gentry men expressed in their domestic consumption.168
As seen above, the shaping of father–son relationships with objects is clear in the writings of Robert Sharp. Robert's diary was itself the documentary remains of his relationship with his son, having been written the diary expressly for him. The diary itself—sent to William in regular instalments—was one of the many written items linking father and son, alongside the letters, books, and newspapers. Not surprisingly, perhaps, while his daughter Eliza, who was resident with her parents in the early years of the diary, is hardly mentioned, William is a frequent character in the entries. Yet William features in the diary most often through a small range of objects. All of these were themselves contained in William's box, which regularly journeyed back and forth between South Cave and London. In December 1821 a box for William contained partridges, apples, gingerbread, and stockings.169 In the same year, the Christmas box contained William's shirts, a newspaper, a goose pie, a pork and beef pie, homemade sausages, black puddings and mince pies, and ‘five Gold Guineas’.170 Preparing the box in South Cave was a busy ceremony that often involved the entire family: a ‘throng’ prepared William's Christmas box on Saturday 16 December 1826, with ‘All busy making Minced tarts and a Pork pie for (p.125) William’.171 The items sent to South Cave by William also caused great anticipation.172 In 1825 William sent home on separate occasions a hymn book, pocket books, and mint lozenges; a printed catalogue, mint drops, and novels; and lozenges, tobacco, ginger, and a selection of books. On this last occasion, Robert reported his daughter's disappointment that ‘there was not the smallest token for Eliza’.173 Meat was often included in the box, and Robert made several excursions to obtain hams for William in 1826. Failing to do so, Robert states, ‘however I hope the Box will be fitted up to his satisfaction’.174 The passage of boxes was so busy, that at one point Robert commented, ‘This Box, which we now send, will go inside of the last, and the last will go in the inside of the next we send, so that they will fit one into another like the Sentences in the Agricultural Report, which Cobbett compares to a nest of Pill Boxes’.175 The largest was perhaps ‘the great military Box’ he filled with William's clothes and silk handkerchief in September 1825.176 The range of gifts, tokens, foodstuffs, and books through which the family remained connected to this absent son and brother reveals the myriad domestic items that shored up men's familial relationships. In his letters and diary Robert Sharp revealed the careful attention that he paid to this traffic in things.
In discussing household things in letters—and indeed packaging things with the letters—male writers showed how material culture was part of their ongoing relationships. Writing from Paris in June 1762, as his wife Elizabeth prepared to leave England to join him, Laurence Sterne gave specific instructions on the objects she should pack. Initially requesting only watch chains, pins, needles, and a string bottle-screw,177 he wrote a subsequent letter focusing primarily on equipment for hot drinks. ‘Bring your silver coffee-pot’, he began, continuing:
I had like to have forgot a most necessary thing, there are no copper tea-kettles to be had in France, and we shall find such a thing the most comfortable utensil in the house—buy a good strong one, which will hold two quarts—a dish of tea will be of comfort to us in our journey south—I have a bronze tea-pot, which we will carry also, as China cannot be brought over from England, we must make up a villainous party-coloured tea equipage to regale ourselves.178
The letter ends with the parting comment: ‘Memorandum: Bring watch-chains, tea-kettle, knives, cookery books, &c./You will smile at this last article—so adieu.’179 Sterne alludes to a private joke that he shared with Elizabeth, the content (p.126) of which we might only guess at. But to be sure, everyday things sustained men's social and familial relationships and enabled intimacy.
‘Olive plants around my table’
Sterne's joke may have alluded to his unfamiliarity with kitchen matters, though we cannot be sure. Robert Sharp was more assuredly self-mocking about his culinary ineptitude. For example, he described how one Richard Thornton entered with the intention of purchasing vinegar for his cold beef dinner, but on finding Robert serving in the family shop changed his order: ‘when he saw me he asked for Ink’, Robert explained, ‘imagining I suppose that I was more used to Ink than Vinegar’. Thornton's intimation that Robert was unfamiliar with cooking ingredients is matched by Sharp's own snipe at Thornton's own culinary ineptitude: ‘Rd. did not find out his mistake till he poured the Ink upon his Beef, he thought it looked black, then he recollected he had asked for Ink, thus was he baulked of Beef & Vinegar’.180 Nevertheless, men's attention to the details of food and cooking implements, read alongside the printed sources discussed in Chapter 2, caution against the assumption that all men were ambivalent about food preparation. Tuthill's recipe for pickled salmon was one example of a man's safekeeping of a culinary recipe. Medicinal recipes, historically overlapping with food recipes, certainly appear with some regularity in men's commonplace books. Household accounts abutted a recipe for ‘A cure for the most desperate toothache’ and ‘A Receipt for Rheumatic Pains’, while descriptions of war with America were punctuated by a recipe ‘To make the Green Oil Good for Bruises’ and ‘Directions for Cleaning Brown Tea Urns &c’.181 In contrast, women's cookbooks combined recipes for medicine and beauty with those for food. The cookbook of Margrett Greene includes entries ‘To Take Red Pimples of the Face’ and ‘Lady Wreckleys receipt for a Cancer in the breast’, for example.182 As the title of this last recipe indicated, recipes were often circulated between women. Sara Pennell has described this as ‘a crucial medium of female association, conversation and friendship’, comparing this lightly to the model of knowledge exchange within the gentlemanly culture of natural philosophical practice undertaken by male members of the Royal Society.183 The men's writings used in this book do not reveal such extensive networks, but they do provide a tantalizing (p.127) glimpse of what may have been the limited exchanges between men on these matters, or the participation of men in the networks of women.184 Margrett Greene's book was, in fact, also inscribed ‘John Craven’.185
As a ship's captain, Samuel Millar necessarily concerned himself with matters of health, food, and diet. His remarkable memoir written in c.1819, but based on records made from 1775, records the foodstuffs that he is able to obtain for his shipmen and also the meals enjoyed by merchants on land. In Buenos Aires he finds the eggs make very good pudding, the milk very good, the butter good but dear, and the cheese ‘worse than any of our Scots Cheese’.186 Millar is similarly voluminous on the tarnished elegance of the objects on the breakfast table of ‘one of the first Rate Merchants’: milk is served in ‘a large dirty Pitcher’, and drunk from ‘some White Basons some half Broken and some not over Clean’, while tea was taken from ‘a Tin Tea Pot that 10 years ago might perhaps been a good one but now it had only a half Spout together with small Tea cup and Broken Saucer’.187 The material decline is matched by a moral and sexual one: whereas in the West Indies a merchant was expected to have either ‘a White Woman for his Wife’ or ‘what he call his girl’, here in South America the merchants ‘did not much mind if there is not such a thing as 6 Families slave or Women of any kind to be seen in any Merchant's house’.188 The worn and broken crockery laid on this table reflected the degeneration of the man to whom it belonged.
This description was particularly significant given the importance attached to occasions of domestic sociability in eighteenth-century English home. Carole Shammas argued that the eighteenth-century home became a centre for non-market-oriented sociability organized by women from the 1720s, opposed to the sociability outside the home engaged in by men.189 Female work patterns became oriented towards home consumption and sociability, and women acquired autonomy from using tea objects as ‘tools of domesticity’. ‘Domesticity’, indeed, was ‘largely a female cause’.190 Such claims were qualified somewhat by Lorna Weatherill's finding that men and women consumed in equal measure books and utensils for hot drinks.191 Tea-drinking does appear to have been a domestic activity over which women often presided.192 Despite the undeniably strong cultural association of women and china, though, some sources suggest that the typical ceramic consumer was a man.193 Contemporary producers of fine objects clearly recognized (p.128) the importance of appealing to male consumers.194 More prosaically, men's demand for the lowly and ubiquitous clay smoking pipe certainly boosted the production of domestic ceramic goods after the seventeenth century.195 Prominent men established themselves as fashion leaders in fine ceramic ware. George Washington's collecting habits drew American taste towards the Chinese and French.196 In this influential family, it was George Washington—‘a careful household manager’, and known to English writers as such—who did the ordering of ceramics.197 Set against this Atlantic context, Millar's comments on the Buenos Aires merchant's table become a pointed criticism of poor male management.
Recorded in men's eighteenth-century domestic writings are different occasions of domestic dining and drinking, something of a continuation of seventeenth-century practices in which ‘[m]en were prominent participants in domestic hospitality’.198 Thomas Naish hosted the Pipe feast for 18 members of the society on 17 July 1709, ‘at my house’.199 Between April and June 1798, Richard Hey (brother of the vicar Samuel Hey at Steeple Ashton, and uncle of the Yorkshire vicar Samuel Sharp), recorded the many occasions of tea drinking, dining, and socializing in mixed groups, sometimes ‘with us’ at his home in Hertingfordbury and sometimes elsewhere.200 For Robert Sharp, domestic sociability involved tea, ale, dinner, and, occasionally, wine, at public houses, friends’ homes, and his own house. In this case, this sociability was usually male-only, though Sharp would also dine at women's houses and have mixed company to tea at his own house.201 Though reported infrequently, these occasions must nevertheless have been accompanied in practice by daily acts of family-centred commensality.
Given men's engagement with domestic material culture as property, through provisioning and as constituting family relationships, these occasions of domestic sociability were rich with meaning. The connection between property, ritual, and authority is particularly clear in the images of men gathered with family and friends around a table. One of the most expressive of these images was penned by John Darracott, in the confessional account of his life to God, written between 1707 and 1730. ‘John Darracott jun.’ was a merchant from an important local family in the busy port town of Bideford, North Devon. He died in 1733 and was buried on (p.129)
I was most Happily married To ye most vertuous of wives a scene of pleasure usher’d in my married Estate I had Riches to Command of & friends & Relations served[?] my house and a Hopefull ofspring Like olive plants surrounded my Table.203
Darracott's household family is made up of riches, friends, relations, children, and things, all circling what Darracott describes indubitably ‘my Table’ in ‘my house’. The possessive determiner places Darracott at the centre of this image, not least because this is intended as Protestant confessional writing concerned with the individual soul. Indeed, the final reference to the non-native olive plants is taken from the Psalm 128.204 At the centre and in ‘Command’, it is Darracott's duty to tend to (p.130) this house, including the plant-like children, as a husbandman. At the close of the narrative, and following a series of deaths, those left are gathered again in a thoroughly oeconomical scene: ‘Bless me & ye Remains of my Children & make my house sett To Grow and prosper.’205 Imagining his children around his table, Darracott employed the richly symbolic religious motif of communion at the Lord's table, and his own diary contains numerous references to being a guest at God's Table. Tables were the setting for men's physical and spiritual care of the family: ‘how many there be’, John Flavell asked, ‘whose very tables, in respect of any worship God hath there, do very little differ from the very cribs and mangers at which their horses feed?’206
Tables also held secular meanings. As the phrase ‘bed and board’ suggested, food was both one crucial element of the marital relationship as well as an expectation from temporary lodging. Evidently, the table was a symbol of a householder's authority. Household manuals presented tables as sites of performance for the carving of meat and a master's table as open expressions of his authority.207 Poorer households may have only one chair alongside other forms of seating, the head of the household presumably taking the former.208 In households of varying sizes, the table served as an important object, enabling not just ritual commensality but also the monitoring and the regulated distribution of food and drink. Food and its material culture were ‘an ordering tool and a template of a particular variety of order’.209 In James Brydges’ house, Cannons, tables served as instruments of control. In a remarkable volume of instructions for the household composed in the early 1720s, the Usher of the Halls was deputed to observe servants carefully at mealtimes, ensuring that ‘perfect order be kept’, and that if a person is ‘rude or misbehaves himself, He is to turn him out of the Hall & not to suffer him to have any Diner that Day nor till he had Acknowledged his Offence publickly before all the Servants’.210 Alcohol consumption was carefully regulated for each table in the section, ‘Regulation for the Allowance of Strong Beer and Ale’: the Chaplain's table receiving what they requested, the Officer's table enjoying two bottles of ale ordinarily, or two bottles of strong beer and four bottles of ale when the family was at Cannons, and the servants in the Servants’ Hall allowed 28 gallons of ale each week.211 The same gradations of hierarchy were observable in the objects that diners used at table. The ‘Necessaries’ deemed wanting by the steward at the Chaplain's Table ran to 18 wine glasses, 8 beer glasses, 1 silver tankard, 4 silver beakers, 12 silver knives, (p.131) forks, and spoons, 12 pewter dishes, 60 pewter plates, and 12 pewter cheese plates. The Servants’ Hall tables were equipped with 36 spoons, 5 pint horns, 3 half pint horns, and 6 wooden trenchers.212 Subsequently Brydges instructed a steward to start a daily record of guests dining at all tables, to be presented to him each Monday morning.213 Brydges even used provisions to discipline members of the household. Following ‘rude and affronting Language’ spoken by the confectioner during a dispute about wine at the Officer's table, Brydges withheld wine from that table for a month in 1721.214 Brydges’ estate at Cannons was over 200 miles from Darracott's more humble residence on the Devon coast at Bideford, and these men were further separated by several gradations of rank. Yet for both the table was a significant feature of their oeconomical management, practised and imagined.
In popular printed literature throughout the period, the table was the focus for the domestic sociability orchestrated or presided over by the male housekeeper. The ballad ‘The Old Oak Table’ depicted a man dreaming that his table told its own history and then complained that it would one day be cut up for firewood. On waking, the man celebrated the continuing role of this articulate object, as long as ‘each friend that my humble cheer will partake,/Shall be welcome around my oak table’.215 Such scenes emphasized the sturdy and organic material of the wood, as well as the gathering of the group around—almost its growth out of—the table. Family members were thus easily imagined as crops to be nurtured, as they were in Darracott's text. Chairs were another item of sturdy furniture imagined to root men to the house. William Stout remembered his father ‘sitting in his chair by his house fire’ when he called all his children together to exhort them to live godly lives just a few days before his death.216 Laurence Sterne remembered his father dying in 1731 while in his arm chair.217 In 1750 Richard Kay reported visiting ‘Brother Joseph Baron’ while ill, and finding him unable to sit up in bed, though Kay still ‘in an officious Manner seated him in his
easy Chair with his Gown on’.218 Another writer reported how he ‘went into the Parlour and sat down in my Father's Armchair’ following an accident to his hand.219 In the ballad ‘The Old Home down in the Farm’, the narrator reflects on his own ageing while his own mother and father are dying; the passing of life is clearly articulated as the narrator imagines someone else seated in his father's chair.220 Robert Sharp reported a fascinating
exchange in which a chair prompted a tense exchange over a man's provisioning for a house. Having been invited to sit down in a shop, a customer began pondering on the virtues of marriage and furniture. ‘I have not got an Arm Chair yet’, he reflects, ‘I should like one like this it is so easy…an Arm Chair I will have.’ The shopkeeper replied, ‘well you must buy one when you get your furniture’, at which the customer is affronted: ‘I fancy I have as good fonniterry as a deal of folks’, he insists, ‘I laid out eight pounds to furnish my house so I will leave you to judge whether I should not have some capital fonniterry !!!’221 As represented by Sharp, a ‘great chair’ was a must for a man of comfortable social status. While sitting was not positively associated with relaxation in the middle decades of the eighteenth century, and chairs were not for reclining but for activity, the ‘arm chairs’ and ‘easy chairs’ connote the steady and comfortable authority of men in the house.222 By 1822, William Cobbett prescribed wooden, solid, manly, and English furniture for the labourers of England. ‘Oak-tables, bedsteads and stools, chairs of oak or of yew-tree’ were to populate the rooms of these men in a return to a traditional English taste ‘for things solid, sound, and good; for the useful, the decent, the cleanly in dress, and not for the showy’. Instructively, given the repeated references to fathers and sons in men's discussions of domestic objects, Cobbett favoured things that could be passed down through the male line: ‘A labourer ought to inherit something besides his toil from his great-grandfather’.223 Just as women were linked corporeally to particular things—to fine china and petite desks—sturdy tables and chairs were exemplary masculine objects, synecdoches for men's bodies.224
Men engaged with objects as property, inheritance, symbols, makers of memory and relationships, as well as commodities. The varied types of material culture considered in this chapter constitute not the familiar terrain of the eighteenth-century world of goods, but instead a rather eclectic assortment of things that were important for the British men who left these documents. These things included the mundane and the everyday. The engagement of men with these kinds of goods and provisions was not the same as for women, servants, and their other housekeepers: these men knew the price of butter and bought the bread rolls, but none of the records used in this study show a man buying all the household items required for daily sustenance. Yet we cannot say that these men consumed only the large items that were purchased infrequently; on the contrary, these men were engaged with (p.133) household consumption at most levels and positioned physically and imaginatively within the centre of the house by sturdy objects. Perhaps the objects of some of these men survive in descendants’ living rooms, bric-a-brac shops, or beneath the ground; none of these middling-sort men were rich or remarkable enough to have their possessions preserved in museums. Yet, just as ‘women mapped their lives through intimate domestic spaces and objects, forming links to the past and ensuring connections with posterity’, so the manuscript sketches in which men recorded their lives were punctuated with meaningful things.225
The evidence considered in this chapter suggests that men viewed domestic material culture in distinctive ways. The social imagining of men's rights to property made their relationship with material culture one with considerable ideological import. Reflecting their good taste and oeconomy, the possession and management of domestic objects created and maintained authority. Domestic sociability around a table succinctly captured a man's authority and rootedness in the house, as well as his proprietorial engagement with domestic things. As examined earlier, such management had a continuing public significance in printed works throughout this period.226 Men's oeconomical engagement with the material culture of the household also featured in public debates about men's wider political authority, a point that will be addressed in the final chapter of this book.227 The housekeeping of the male householder remained a motif in the assessment of men's manly skills throughout the long eighteenth century. This was because in their careful management of property and personal investment in meaningful domestic things, men of the middling sort grounded their identities in the material culture of their domestic lives.
(1) Henry Richardson, ‘A Diary of Disbursements since January ye first 1748 The First Year after I was Married’, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield: C658, 27 February 1748.
(2) Two Yorkshire Diaries: The Diary of Arthur Jessop and Ralph Ward's Journal, ed. C. E. Whiting (Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological Society, vol. 117, 1951), p. 141.
(3) The Diary of Robert Sharp of South Cave: Life in a Yorkshire Village, 1812–1837, ed. Janice E. Crowther and Peter A Crowther (Records of Social and Economic History, New Series 26, For the British Academy, by Oxford University Press, 1997), 1 August 1826, p. 53; 30 January 1833, p. 402; and letters on pp. 1–32.
(4) Diary of John Darracott, 1707–30, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1950.010, f. 201.
(5) Jan de Vries, ‘Between Purchasing Power and the World of Goods: Understanding the Household Economy in Early Modern Europe’, in John Brewer and Roy Porter (eds), Consumption and the World of Goods (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 85–132; Jan de Vries, ‘The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution’, Journal of Economic History, 54 (1994), pp. 249–70; Jan de Vries, The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
(6) Margaret Ponsonby, Stories from Home: English Domestic Interiors, 1750–1850 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), p. 8. See also Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (1987; London: Routledge, 1992), esp. pp. 357–88; John Smail, The Origins of Middle Class Culture: Halifax, Yorkshire, 1660–1780 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995), pp. 164–90.
(7) See, for example, Marta Ajmar, ‘Toys for Girls: Objects, Women and Memory in the Renaissance Household’, in Marius Kwint, Christopher Breward and Jeremy Aynsley (eds), Material Memories: Design and Evocation (Oxford: Berg, 1999), pp. 75–89; Leora Auslander, ‘The Gendering of Consumer Practices in Nineteenth-century France’, in Victoria de Grazia and Ellen Furlough (eds), The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 79–112; G. J. Barker Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Maxine Berg, ‘Women's Consumption and the Industrial Classes of Eighteenth-century England’, Journal of Social History, 30 (1996), pp 415–34; Moira Donald, ‘ “The Greatest Necessity for Every Rank of Men”: Gender, Clocks and Watches’, in Moira Donald and Linda Hurcombe (eds), Gender and Material Culture in Historical Perspective (Basingstoke; New York: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 54–75; Beth Kowaleski-Wallace, ‘Tea, Gender and Domesticity in Eighteenth-century England’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 23 (1993), pp. 131–45.
(8) David Hussey, ‘Guns, Horses and Stylish Waistcoats? Male Consumer Activity and Domestic Shopping in Late-Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century England’, in David Hussey and Margaret Ponsonby (eds), Buying for the Home: Shopping for the Domestic from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), p. 68.
(9) See Karen Harvey, ‘Barbarity in a Teacup? Punch, Domesticity and Gender in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of Design History, 21, 3 (2008), pp. 205–21, for a discussion of how men became increasingly engaged with domesticity through the material culture of drinking over the eighteenth century.
(10) Lorna Weatherill's work using probate inventories demonstrated the continuation of the older items alongside new consumer goods, for example. See Lorna Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain, 1660–1760 (London: Routledge, 1988).
(11) Daniel Roche, A History of Everyday Things: The Birth of Consumption in France, 1600–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), includes water and light, for example.
(12) Henry French, The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600–1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 141–200. French finds that only the ‘chief inhabitants’ appear to have more consumer goods, notably for sociability, and these are used so they can make claims to gentility.
(13) Hannah Barker, The Business of Women: Female Enterprise and Urban Development in Northern England, 1760–1830 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 6. See also, de Vries, ‘Between Purchasing Power and the World of Goods’, pp. 85–132; de Vries, Industrious Revolution.
(14) See, for example, Neil McKendrick, John Brewer and J. H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialisation of Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), for accounts that emphasize emulation and social status. Sara Pennell takes a very different approach in her micro-study in ‘Mundane Materiality: Or, Should Small Things Still be Forgotten?’, in Karen Harvey (ed.), History and Material Culture: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources (London: Routledge, 2009), pp. 173–91.
(15) McKendrick, Brewer and Plumb, Birth of a Consumer Society; Colin Campbell, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism (1987; Alcuin, 2005), esp. pp. 77–95. For a useful review of work in this area prior to the late 1990s, see Paul Glennie, ‘Consumption within Historical Studies’, in Danny Miller (ed.), Acknowledging Consumption: A Review of New Studies (London: Routledge, 1995), 164–203.
(16) The most important statement on household-level decisions and consumption is de Vries, Industrious Revolution. De Vries concurs that motivations for consumption became increasingly individuated, an argument that is countered somewhat by the argument in this chapter on the continuing emphasis on the unit of the house.
(17) Xenophon, The Science of Good Husbandry: or, The Oeconomics of Xenophon, trans. Richard Bradley (London, 1727), p. 61.
(20) Letters of William Gray, sen, Gray Family Papers, York City Archives: Acc 5 & 6, W/6, 21 March 1776, f. 3.
(21) Letters of William Gray, sen, Acc 5 & 6, W/7, f. 3.
(22) Ledger of William Gray, Gray Family Papers, York City Archives: Acc 24, A1, f. 31.
(23) Letters of William Gray, sen, Acc 5 & 6, W/7, f. 4.
(24) Memoranda of William Gray, Gray Family Papers, York City Archives: D2a, f. 6.
(26) Ledger of William Gray, f. 147.
(27) Revd Mr Forth, Bill for silverware, 13 June 1791, Munby collection, York City Archives: Acc 54:24a.
(28) Bill for Mrs Woodhouse from John Barber, 13 May 1791, Munby collection, York City Archives: Acc 54: 24e.
(29) ‘An Inventory of the Linen, Plate, china, Glass, Delf, and Pottery Ware, Household Goods, and sundry Fixtures belonging to the Rev.d Mr Forth and Mrs Forth at Slingsby, Taken 3rd December 1791’, Munby collection, York City Archives: Acc 54: 1. Mahogany chairs were also in abundance in the later inventory, ‘An Inventory of the Household Furniture, Plate, Linen, China, Glass, £c. belonging to the Revd Mr Forth at Ganthorp, taken 10th June 1806’, Munby collection, York City Archives: Acc 54: 1.
(30) Account book of John Forth, 1791–2, Munby collection, York City Archives: 54:2, ff. 1–2.
(32) ‘Housekeeping Account for the Year 1799—John and Elizt: Forth’, Munby collection, York City Archives: 54:6, ff. 4, 28, 52.
(33) The Family Records of Benjamin Shaw, Mechanic of Dent, Dolphinholme and Preston, 1772–1841, ed Alan G. Crosby (Record Society of Lancaster and Cheshire, 1991), p. 30.
(37) Quote from Amanda Vickery, Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 88.
(40) Daniel Renaud, Account book [c.1769], William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1977.008, f. 37.
(41) Account book of Thomas Mort, 26 March 1703–13 September 1725. Henry E. Huntington Library: L3A1 [new location S10 K3]: 19 November 1705.
(42) Diary of George Heywood, John Rylands Library, Manchester: Eng. MS 703, fol. 77, quoted in Hannah Barker, ‘A Grocer's Tale: Gender, Family and Class in Early Nineteenth-Century Manchester’, Gender & History, 21, 2 (August 2009), p. 350.
(43) Barker, ‘A Grocer's Tale’, pp. 350–1. See also Hannah Barker and Jane Hamlett, ‘Living above the Shop: Home, Business, and Family in the English “Industrial Revolution” ’, Journal of Family History, 35, 4 (2010), p. 319.
(44) The Autobiography of William Stout of Lancaster, 1665–1752, ed. J. D. Marshall (Manchester: Chetham Society, 1967), vol. 14, 3rd series, p. 102.
(47) Diary of Robert Sharp, pp. 44, 125.
(49) On rank and authority governing access to domestic space, see Amanda Flather, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007), pp. 42, 73. Quote from p. 59.
(50) Diary of John Darracott, ff. 200–2.
(51) Diary of Richard Kay, Chetham's Library: A.7.76: 24 November 1737; 5 October 1742; 26 November 1737; 25 April 1737.
(53) Flather discusses the dynamic spatial division of labour in the seventeenth-century house in Gender and Space, pp. 75–93.
(54) David Hunter, ‘What the Prompter Saw: The Diary of Rich's Prompter, John Stede’, in Jeremy Barlow and Berta Joncus (eds), The Stage's Glory: John Rich (1692–1761) (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2010), p. 70.
(55) Diary of John Bradley (1723–29, 1754), Nostell Priory WYL1352 1215–1986, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds: NP A3/2/ (1718), 12 September 1723.
(56) Quoted in Hunter, ‘What the Prompter Saw’, p. 73.
(57) Diary of Robert Sharp, Wednesday 6 June 1827, pp. 138–9.
(58) There were 10 such references in March 1765 alone. See Francis Blake, ‘Acct Book from 1 January 1765 to 22 February 1766’, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1985.002: March 1765.
(60) Family Records of Benjamin Shaw, p. 37.
(61) Diary of Robert Sharp, Monday 7 May 1827, p. 130. Sharp. here refers to a friend with a knee injury.
(62) See Karen Harvey, ‘Men Making Home: Masculinity and Domesticity in Eighteenth-Century England’, Gender & History, 21, 3 (2009), pp. 520–40.
(63) Rachel Weil, ‘The Family in the Exclusion Crisis: Locke versus Filmer Revisited’, A. Houston and S. Pincus, Nation Transformed: England after the Restoration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 121.
(65) H. R. French and R. W. Hoyle, The Character of English Rural Society: Earls Colne, 1550–1750 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), p. 300.
(67) John Brewer and Susan Staves, ‘Introduction’, in John Brewer and Susan Staves (eds), Early Modern Conceptions of Property (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), p. 2. See the essays in this volume for a consideration of land, people, and genetic material as property.
(68) Frank Trentmann, ‘Materiality in the Future of History: Things, Practices, and Politics’, Journal of British Studies, 48 (April 2009), pp. 291–4.
(69) Matthew McCormack, The Independent Man: Citizenship and Gender Politics in Georgian England (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2005), p. 24.
(70) Trentmann, ‘Materiality in the Future of History’, p. 287.
(71) Commonplace book of Revd Joseph Wilson c.1774–1821, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds: WYL753, Acc 1886, f. 25.
(72) Two Yorkshire Diaries, p. 141.
(73) Renaud, Account book [c.1769], f. 39; Daniel Renaud, Account book [1752–1777], William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1977.009, f. 37.
(74) Ledger of William Gray, f. 35a.
(76) T. S. Dorsch, ‘Losh, James (1763–1833)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 〈http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37689〉, accessed 29 November 2010; The Diaries and Correspondence of James Losh, ed. Edward Hughes (Surtees Society, vol. 171, 1962), p. 46. A statue of Losh dressed in a toga now welcomes the visitor to the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society. I thank Helen Berry for this information.
(77) Diary of Robert Sharp, p. 51.
(78) See Giorgio Reillo's ‘Things that Shape History: Material Culture and Historical Narratives’, in Harvey (ed.), History and Material Culture, pp. 24–46.
(79) John and Sylvia Tonge, Astley Hall (Damhouse) (John and Sylvia Tonge, 2002), p. 10.
(80) For more information on the building, see Tonge, Astley Hall and English Heritage ‘Heritage Gateway’, 〈http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/〉 (accessed July 2009), Astley Hospital, List Entry Number: 1163258.
(81) ‘Will of Thomas Mort of Damhouse 1736’, Lancashire Record Office.
(82) Renaud, Account book [1752–1777], fols 66, 67.
(83) Will of David Renaud of Hinton, Northamptonshire, 17 April 1738, Public Record Office: PROB 11/706.
(84) ‘The will of Daniel Renaud, 1770’, Herefordshire Record Office: Probate series AA20, Box Number 334, June–September 1772. Also see Will of Reverend David Renaud, Clerk of Havant, Hampshire, 9 October 1807: PROB 11/1469.
(85) Personal communication from John Harnden, Herefordshire Record Office, 29 June 2009.
(87) Science of Good Husbandry, p. i.
(88) John Eglin, The Imaginary Autocrat: Beau Nashe and the Invention of Bath (London: Profile, 2005), pp. 148–9. Quotes at pp. 149 and 150.
(89) Letter from James Farquharson to Mrs Degge, Cannons 15 December 1729, Stowe papers, Henry E. Huntington Library: ST57 vol. 34 (1729–30), p. 54.
(90) Letter from James Farquharson to Mr Ferguson, Cannons 4 April 1730, ST57 vol. 34 (1729–30), p. 263.
(91) Francis Blake, ‘Accots. from 11th August 1769 to 1st January 1771’, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1985.002, ff. 2, 68. See also Gordon Goodwin, ‘Blake, Sir Francis, first baronet (1707/8–1780)’, rev. Joseph Gross, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 〈http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2577〉 (accessed 22 July 2005).
(92) On the family, see Edward Hasted, ‘Parishes: Wootton’, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9 (1800), pp. 364–73. British History Online: 〈http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63576〉 (accessed 14 July 2009).
(93) Accounts of William Coleman, 1712–29, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: C692Z [1712–1729]. See fol. 1 for details of the rental agreement between Coleman and Bridges.
(94) Ledger of William Gray, ‘Rent Account’ for 1805–19, pp. 101–6.
(96) John Young to John Micklethwaite, 1 July 1807, John Micklethwaite correspondence, Manchester University John Rylands Special Collections: Eng. MS 1138, folder 2/100, verso.
(97) John Young to John Micklethwaite, 1 August 1812, folder 3/123.
(98) John Young to John Micklethwaite, 7 April 1816, folder 3/144, f. 1. Margaret Young wrote on a broader range of matters concerning the house. See Margaret Young to John Micklethwaite, 2 March 1815, folder 3/141, ff. 1–2.
(100) Barker, Business of Women, pp. 172, 173. See also pp. 103–66.
(101) See Thomas Kelly, George Birkbeck: Pioneer of Adult Education (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1957), pp. 1–19.
(102) George Braithewaite to William Birkbeck: West Yorkshire Archive Service (Leeds), WYL449 Birkbeck Papers: 8/56 March 20 [1786?], f. 1.
(103) ‘Kendal first day morning’, Deborah Braithewaite to William Birkbeck, 8/51 verso, c.1786.
(104) For the meanings of bread in early modern societies, see Piero Camporesi, Bread of Dreams: Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Europe (1980; Polity Press, Cambridge, 1989), trans. David Gentilcore, quote at. p. 17.
(105) See, for example, John Micklethwaite correspondence, folder 1/27 verso and folder 1/29.
(106) Thomas Micklethwaite to John Micklethwaite, 5 December 1797, folder 1/28, 32.
(107) Note appended (dated 6 December 1797), to Thomas Micklethwaite to John Micklethwaite, 5 December 1797, folder 1/32.
(108) Thomas Micklethwaite to John Micklethwaite, Folder 1/35.
(109) See Susan Staves, ‘Resentment or Resignation? Dividing the Spoils among Daughters and Younger Sons’, in Brewer and Staves (eds), Early Modern Conceptions of Property, p. 196.
(110) Account book of Thomas Mort, 20 February 1704, 4 May 1704, 20 October 1711.
(111) Gitten (whose diary from 1866 remains) is the man who seems the most skilled consumer in Hussey's study, ‘Guns, Horses and Stylish Waistcoats?’, pp. 67–8.
(112) Account book of William Smedley, Henry E. Huntington Library: HM3119223, 23 January 1742, 16 August 1751, 4 October 1751.
(113) See Richardson, ‘A Diary of Disbursements’, see entries for 3, 18, 27 February, 16 April, 4 May, 4, 5 August, 7 September, 13 October, 10 November, 14 December.
(114) Blake, ‘Acct Book from 1 January 1765 to 22 February 1766’, entries for January 1765.
(115) Blake, ‘Accots. from 11th August 1769 to 1st January 1771’, entries for 13, 15 December, 27 January 1769, 17 February, 13 March 1770.
(116) Ledger of William Gray, fols 138, 127, 16.
(119) Diary of Robert Sharp, Wednesday 21 June 1826, p. 43.
(120) Margot Finn, ‘Men's Things: Masculine Possession in the Consumer Revolution’, Social History, 25, 2 May 2000, p. 142.
(121) Diary of Robert Sharp, Thursday 9 April 1829, p. 198.
(123) Finn, ‘Men's Things’, pp. 137.
(124) Diary of Robert Sharp, Saturday 28 May 1831, p. 312. On the shop the couple ran together, see, Diary of Robert Sharp, ‘Introduction’, p. xxviii.
(125) Diary of Robert Sharp, Letter of Robert Sharp to William Sharp, 1 February 1813, p. 1.
(126) Diary of Robert Sharp, Thursday 21 January 1830, p. 243.
(127) Amanda Vickery, ‘ “Neat and Not Too Showey”: Words and Wallpaper in Regency England’, in John Styles and Amanda Vickery (eds), Gender, Taste and Material Culture in Britain and North America 1700–1830 (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 201–22.
(128) See John Brewer's brief discussion in The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (London: HarperCollins, 1997), pp. 87–98.
(129) Letters of William Gray, sen, Acc 5 & 6, W4, 21 February 1774, fol. 3.
(130) Family Records of Benjamin Shaw, p. 76.
(131) Diary of Robert Sharp, 9 October 1826, p. 73.
(132) William Cobbett, Cottage Economy (London, 1822), pp. 197–8. See Chapter 2, p. 56.
(133) Vickery, ‘Neat and Not Too Showey’, passim.
(134) Ingilby commonplace book (mid-eighteenth century), West Yorkshire Archive Service Leeds: WYL230/3739.
(135) Diary of Christopher Ware of 54 Stonegate, York City Archives: Acc 143.
(136) The commonplace book of Christopher Tuthill, 1681–1858, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1977.003, f. 4.
(137) Pedigree of Tuthill of Peamore, Co. Devon, of Kilmore and of Faha, Co. Limerick, with Genealogical Notes of the Family, compiled by Lt. Col. P. B. Tuthill, Summersdale, Chichester. Reprinted from Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica (London: Mitchell, Hughes & Clarke, 1908), p. 19.
(138) Ibid. p. 19. See also The Council Book of the Corporation of Youghal from 1600 to 1659, from 1666 to 1687 and from 1690 to 1800. Edited from the original, with Annals and Appendices by Richard Caulfield LL.D., F.S.A., Guildford, 1878, National Library of Ireland: Ir 94145 c 4; quote from entry for 22 July 1691. I thank Justin Homan Martin for his assistance.
(139) Pedigree of Tuthill of Peamore, p. 19.
(140) National Library of Ireland: Lands Index for County Cork, Grantors names Index, vol. 23, p. 7, no. 12227; Pedigree of Tuthill of Peamore, p. 20.
(142) Commonplace book of Christopher Tuthill, f. 4–5.
(146) Susan M. Stabile, Memory's Daughters: The Material Culture of Remembrance in Eighteenth-century America (Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell University Press, 2003), pp. 80–2.
(147) Diary of Robert Sharp, Friday 7 July 1828, p. 46; Wednesday 6 September 1826, p. 62; Wednesday 1 November 1826, p. 81; Saturday 9 December 1826, p. 90.
(148) Finn, ‘Men's Things’, p. 141.
(149) Diary of Robert Sharp, Monday 10 August 1829, p. 216.
(157) Account book and diary of gentleman farmer William Burton (1832–4), West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds: GA/C/38, WYL22, entries for 27 August 1832, 18–24 September 1832.
(158) Amanda Vickery, ‘His and Hers: Gender, Consumption and Household Accounting in Eighteenth-century England,’ in Ruth Harris, Lyndal Roper, and Olwen Hufton (eds), The Art of Survival: Gender and History in Europe, 1450–2000: Essays in Honour of Olwen Hufton, Past & Present, Supplement 1, 2006, pp. 12–38. Also appears in the book Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, pp. 106–28.
(159) Diary of Samuel Millar, Henry E. Huntington Library: HM 47403, pp. 304–5.
(160) Beverly Lemire, The Business of Everyday Life: Gender, Practice and Social Politics in England, c.1600–1900 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2005), p. 115.
(161) Account book of Thomas Mort, entries for the year 1703/4, quote from 5 February.
(162) David Kuchta, The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity: England, 1550–1850 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000).
(163) [Edmund Pilkington] Account book, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1976.001, 22 February 1731; 18 April 1732, 14 March 1731, 25 and 16 April 1732.
(164) ‘Will and inventory of Edmund Pilkington, Yeoman, 24th February 1755’, Lancashire Record Office: WCW 1755.
(165) John Styles, The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 338, 348.
(166) Richardson, ‘A Diary of Disbursements’, calculation based on entries for the year 1748.
(167) The Diary of Thomas Naish, ed. Doreen Slater (Devizes: Wiltshire Archeological and Natural History Society, 1964), vol. 20, 19 January 1700, p. 42.
(168) William Parkinson spends regular amounts on clothes for the Morley sons in his charge, William and Joseph. See Account book of William Smedley, for example, June 1747 and March 1750. See also discussion of William Stout's clothing of his nephew in Chapter 6, p. 181.
(169) Diary of Robert Sharp, Letter from Robert to William, 25 December 1821, p. 9.
(177) Letters of the Late Rev. Mr Laurence Sterne, To his most intimate Friends, 3 vols (London, 1775), vol. 1, p. 166.
(180) Diary of Robert Sharp, Friday 5 February 1830, p. 246.
(181) For pickled salmon see, Commonplace book of Christopher Tuthill, July 1688, f. 27–8; for teeth and rheumatism see Diary of Joshua Sagar of Horbury (1790), RL Arundale Collection, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield: C1039 (add. Ad), 23 March 30; for bruises and tea urns see, ‘R. Mathews Commonplace book’ (c.1780s), Henry E. Huntington Library: HM694, fol. 4, 16.
(182) Cook book of Margrett Greene, 1701, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS.1980.004, fol. 16, 60.
(183) Sara Pennell, ‘Perfecting Practice? Women, Manuscript Recipes and Knowledge in Early Modern England’, in Victoria E. Burke and Jonathan Gibson (eds), Early Modern Women's Manuscript Writing: Selected Papers from the Trinty/Trent Colloquium (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 242, 247. Quote at p. 242.
(185) Cook book of Margrett Greene, 1701, f. v64.
(186) Diary of Samuel Millar, pp. 213–14.
(189) Carole Shammas, ‘The Domestic Environment in Early Modern England and America’, Journal of Social History, 14 (1980), pp. 3–24.
(191) Lorna Weatherill, ‘A Possession of One's Own: Women and Consumer Behaviour in England, 1660–1740’, Journal of British Studies, 25 (1986), pp. 131–56.
(192) Kowaleski-Wallace, ‘Tea, Gender and Domesticity’, pp. 131–45.
(193) Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects. Women, Shopping, and Business in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), p. 58.
(194) Moira Vincentelli, Women and Ceramics: Gendered Vessels (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 112; Sarah Richards, Eighteenth-Century Ceramics: Products for a Civilised Society (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1999), p. 39.
(195) Carole Shammas, The Pre-Industrial Consumer in England and America (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990), p. 187.
(196) Susan Gray Detweiler, with Christine Meadows, George Washington's Chinaware (New York: Harry N Abrams, 1982), p. 9.
(198) Flather, Gender and Space, esp. pp. 98–9. Quote at p. 133.
(199) Diary of Thomas Naish, p. 66.
(200) Diary of Richard Hey, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, Samuel Sharp family papers: C281, 23/3 (April–June 1798).
(201) On mixed sociability, see, for example, Diary of Robert Sharp, Friday 29 December 1826 and Tuesday 31 May 1831, pp. 94, 313.
(202) Bideford parish registers, Devon Record Office: Burials 1679–1733. I thank staff at the record office.
(203) Diary of John Darracott: fol. 200–1.
(204) The book of Psalms, with the argument of each Psalm, And A Preface Giving Some General Rules For The Interpretation Of This Sacred Book. By Peter Allix D. D. late Treasurer of Salisbury. The second edition, (London, 1717), p. 205. See Eighteenth Century Collections Online, 〈http://find.galegroup.com.eresources.shef.ac.uk/ecco/〉, Gale Document Number: CW118057407 (accessed 29 November 2010).
(205) Diary of John Darracott, fol. 201–2.
(206) John Flavell, Husbandry Spiritualized: or, the Heavenly Use of Earthly Things (Leeds, 1788), p. 245.
(207) See, for example, Hannah Woolley, The Queen-like Closet (1684).
(208) Flather, Gender and Space, pp. 63–4.
(209) Sara Pennell, ‘The Material Culture of Food in Early Modern England, c.1650–1750’, in Sarah Tarlow and Susie West (eds), The Familiar Past? Archaeologies of Later Historical Britain (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), p. 47.
(210) Bound volume by Lionell Norman, steward to James Brydges, Stowe Papers, Henry E. Huntington Library: HEH ST44, Part I, ‘The Steward's Instructions’, p. 10.
(213) Audit book for Cannons, Stowe Papers, Henry E. Huntington Library: ST24 vol. 1, Audit book for 16 January 1720–27 April 1724, f. 29, Canons 19 June 1721.
(215) ‘The Old Oak Table’ (London: Printed and Published by H. Such, 123, Union Street, Borough. SE, no date), Sheffield University Special Collections: Hewins Ballads, 529(A).
(216) Autobiography of William Stout, p. 73.
(217) ‘Memoirs of the Life and Family of the late Rev. Mr Laurence Sterne’, in Letters of the Late Rev. Mr Laurence Sterne, 3 vols (London, 1775), vol. 1, p. 16.
(218) Diary of Richard Kay, 24 June 1750.
(219) ‘Bath Diary for 1769’, Henry E. Huntington Library: HM62593, 21 February.
(220) ‘The Old Home down in the Farm’, Written and composed by Gustavus Dubois. Sung by H. J. Howard. Music published by C. Sheard & Co., 192, High Holborn, WC (H. P. Such, Printer, 183, Union Street, Borough, SE), Sheffield University Special Collections: Hewins Ballads, 555/556(K).
(221) Diary of Robert Sharp, Wednesday 19 May 1830, p. 260.
(222) Glenn Adamson, ‘Reading the Absent Object: The Case of the Missing Footstool’, in Harvey (ed.), History and Material Culture, pp. 192–207.
(223) Cobbett, Cottage Economy, p. 197.
(224) Dena Goodman, ‘Furnishing Discourses: Readings of a Writing Desk in Eighteenth-Century France’, in Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger (eds), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 71–88; Beth Kowaleski-Wallace, ‘Women, China and Consumer Culture in Eighteenth-century England’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 29, 2 (1995–6), pp. 153–67.
(225) Stabile, Memory's Daughters, p. 73.