The Colonel

The Colonel was a typical high-ranking military officer of his time, and he came from a very wealthy family. His mother was Lady Fenwick, and the family owned large estates at Wrexham in North Wales, and in England.

He knew who I was, and he stopped to speak to me briefly a number of times, usually to enquire about my studies, and how I was getting along generally. I was only a young teenager and he was always very kind to me, permitting my aunt to have access to the library of books from which I was able to select books on history, and from which, over time, I learned much about the history of England and the world generally.

Snobbery was rife among the staff. My aunt dined with me in her dining room, but in accordance with custom she would invite Lindsay to have lunch with her every Thursday. Lindsay's domain was the pantry, and that was where he dined every day except Thursday for lunch.

He would not dine with the footman, who had to dine in the servants' hall. The personal servants of the gentry dined with each other and would not mix with the general staff. The chef and the cook dined in the kitchen. All the other servants dined in the servants' hall, with the head housemaid at the top of the table and the footman to her right. The least senior of the servants, the scullery and stillroom maids, served the tables.

From Punchestown Races in April, through the "Season" to the following September each year, the Colonel entertained his guests at the house. They were all titled gentry and senior officers of the British army, with their wives. Both male and female guest wore tweeds during the day, and they would spend their time either at the races, or walking or riding on the estate, with the occasional shoot or picnic.

At 7.30 each evening I sounded the gong to remind the gentry to dress for dinner, and at 8, I would again sound it for them to appear in the dining room. The Colonel demanded precision and I remember standing by the butler's side in the dining room one evening, when one of the main guests, a young man, arrived a couple of minutes late. The Colonel was clearly annoyed and when the young man apologised, and explained that his watch had let him down, he was told in a stern voice to buy himself a two and six penny watch in Woolworth's!

previousPrevious - Recollections
Next - Daily Lifenext

Upload to this page

Upload to this page

Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.

Map Search

Related Libraries

Fingal County Library
Contact this library »


History & Heritage

Popular Sections