Foxbury Servants

There were twenty servants registered in Foxbury in 1881: The butler, Benjamin Royhouse (31) from Chelsea; footman, Alex MacKenzie (29), Argyleshire; two English maids, Susan Clarke (27), London; and Alice Gregory (20), maid, Maidenhead; a nurse, Harriet Hide (40), Farring, Sussex; the cook, Anna Hubble (32). Canterbury; three servants without a title, Arthur Benstead (20), Northboro, Northants; Harriet Clow (16), Tundsay, Kent; Clara Haffer (20), Great Swaffam, Cambs; three laundry women, Louise Greenland (20), Trowbridge, Wilts; Elisa Johnson (22), Chelsea; Jane Toats (30), Impington, Cambs; Susan Scott (34), workwoman, Colchester; under coachman, William Ball, (23), Bromley; two stable helps, John Bennet (21), Welling, Herts and William Hollan (19), Deptford; two gardeners, Arthur Holloway (25) Salisbury, Wilts and Harry Powell (24), Churshow, Warwicks. The servants include two from outside the UK : Felincta Barillot (17) from France, and Magdaline Ruckert (15) from Germany. They are described as maids.

Foxbury staff
A photograph of various members of Foxbury staff in 1890

There were still 20 servants in the house ten years later; the butler was now Tom Harris (30) from Somerset; he had an under butler, Thomas Wilkinson (25) from Yorkshire; Joseph Stratton* is footman, he was 21 and from Pimlico; Harriet Hide was still the nurse, now aged 50; three ladies maids, Elizabeth Coleman* (40) from Thanet; Emma Calsen* (37) from Holstein, Germany; and Amanda Johnson* (26) from Gothenberg, Sweden; four housemaids, Emma White* (33) from Southsea; Lydia Stockbridge (26) from Cambridgeshire; Caroline Edmonds* (19) from Mile End; and Annie Clark* (17) from Keston; two kitchen maids, Ellen Toms* (24) from Reigate; Emma Scoones (18) from Kent; three laundry maids, Mary Bray* (29) from Northampton; Alice Bridgeland* (26) from Kent; and Maria Miles* ( 19) from Brighton; Louise Heinsick* was the nursery maid, she was 22, and from Offenbach Germany; the housekeeper was Annie Oldring* (55) from Southwold in Suffolk, and the cook was Frances Everhurst* (32) from Kent

The 1890 photograph, above, of a group of servants, does not refer to Foxbury, but many of the names are consistent with the names of servants there in 1891, and we have identified them on the photograph reproduced here. The names are identified in the text with an asterisk; some were servants in the house, while others were living in the various lodges and cottages within the grounds of the house. George Petty, middle of the back row, was a particularly key member of the household, loved by the children for the time spent with them.

There were nineteen servants registered at the house in 1901: the butler, George Bradman (48) from Watlington; two footmen, Thomas Macquiure (25) from North Wales; and Herbert Russell (18) from Kent; a hall boy, David Tye (15) from Kent; there was now a male nurse, Thomas Taylor (58) from Ealing; the cook was still Frances Everhurst (42) from Kent; two kitchen maids, Sarah Alder (24) from Gloucester; and Edith Mallinson (19) from Southwark; scullerymaid Gertrude Funnell (16) was surely Herbert’s sister – she was born in Chislehurst; a needlemaid, Emma Calleen (48) from Germany; two ladies maids, Louisa Kohlrude (22) from Germany; and Cleriance Trowsuain (34), from France; three housemaids, Catherine Worley (35) from Lee; her sister Ada (32) from Chislehurst; and Hannah Keeble (20) also from Chislehurst; and finally, four laundrymaids, Mary Stamson (32) from Worcester; Edith Keeble (22) Hannah’s sister, from Chislehurst; Alice Wake (19) from Grimsby; and Elena Colyance (52) from Sarle, Kent.

In 1911 we have Frank Skinner (49), a Butler from Gloucester, Two footmen, William Mills (28), and Charles Barnes (18), from St Mary's Cray, and a Hall Boy, Martin Stepton (15) from Chislehurst. Emma Calsen, now 58, had been elevated to Housekeeper, and Harriet Hide, now aged 70 was described as a Pensioner. Sarah Alder (34) from Gloucester was the Cook. There were two Ladies maids, Annie Harris (26) and Ellen Dennis (20) from Windsor. Hilda Scores (17) was a pantrymaid, and there were four housemaids, Rosa Siddons (38) from Manchester, Emma Chain (22) from Surbiton, Sarah Dickens (19) from Birmingham, and May Hylands (19). There were also four laundrymaids, two sisters from Sussex, Alice Watts (29) and Julia Watts (23), Ellen Harriet (17) from Sheerness, and Fran Andrews (26) from nearby Hayes.

By the 1930s the register of voters shows only 6 servants living at the house. Even allowing for the likelihood that some servants were under 21, this is a remarkable reduction in the numbers for such a large house.