Wives and Daughters: Women and Children in the Georgian Country House by Joanna Martin - review by Ophelia Field

Ophelia Field

Their Progress Out of Boredom

Wives and Daughters: Women and Children in the Georgian Country House

By

Hambledon & London 454pp £19.99 order from our bookshop
 

IN 1794, WHEN the seventeen-year-old Mary Strangways embarked on her intimidating new role as the mistress Penrice Castle, her sister Harriot's survival advice was simply 'not to think'. Examples of such obvious self-repression are rare in this book, which spans four generations of women (1730-1830), who lived in four grand properties: Redlynch in Somerset, Melbury and Stinsford in Dorset, and Penrice Castle in Glamorgan.

The author herself grew up in Penrice Castle and has now worked for thirty years on the archives found in its attic. As early as 1816, the women about whom she writes began sorting through the family papers; one Harriot Frampton became so engrossed in them that her relatives complained

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