A chance contact a few weeks ago led to a visit last week from author and historian Mary-Anne Garry. Mary-Anne lives in Castle Acre and has written several books relating to Castle Acre and the large estates at Holkham and Raynham. She also has a special interest in the roles of the domestic servants at these large houses. Her books are based on meticulous research through the archives of these estates and make for fascinating reading. We now have five of her books in stock.
Forward in the World: The Life of Horatio 1st Viscount Townshend
The younger son of an innovative architect and father to a statesman, Horatio Townshend succeeded to the Raynham estate when he was just 18 years old, on the death of his elder brother. The year was 1648. How did he deal with his unexpected inheritance during the turbulent years of the 17th century? Adherence to his Puritan inheritance conflicted with Royalist leanings. His role in the Restoration, his personal and domestic life and the management of the estate are all recorded in this study, which draws extensively on papers in private possession.
Forward in the World is a major addition to the history of the Townshend family and a significant contribution to the social and cultural history of the period.
Paperback 252 pages; Small Hound Press
ISBN 9781527256323; RRP £15.00
Wealthy Masters: The Household at Holkham 1697-1842
The army of servants who served a grand estate such as Holkham Hall in Norfolk was essential, but all too often overlooked and under-valued. In this book the servants, from the steward to the lowest scullery maid, take centre stage.
Who were they? Where did they come from? What did they earn, eat, wear? What exactly were their daily tasks? What happened when they were sick or wished to be married? From a wonderful series of Household Accounts, Mary Anne-Garry is able to answer all these questions and more. In doing so she paints a Frith-like picture of the household of the Coke family, under Thomas Coke who would become the first Earl of Leicester and then under his great-nephew, T.W. Coke who would become the second Earl.
“A remarkable reconstruction of the Holkham ‘family’ from 1697-1842. Mary-Anne Garry shows [how] servants underpinned every aspect of life at Holkham. Any producer contemplating a successor to Downton Abbey might profitably turn to this book.”
Professor Richard Wilson, University of East Anglia
Paperback 298 pages; Larks Press
ISBN 9781904006640; RRP £17.50
An Uncommon Tenant: Fitzroy and Holkham 1808-1837
William FitzRoy was of royal descent, the son of a Baron and nephew of a Duke. After a career in the Coldstream Guards, cut short when he was only 30, FitzRoy took up the tenancy of Kempstone Lodge Farm on Thomas William Coke’s estate at Holkham. Of a different social standing to the other tenant farmers he set out to ‘Make Kempstone Perfect’, a model farm according to the best agricultural practices of the day. But his relationship with Francis Blaikie, the dour and meticulous Scottish agent at Holkham, was not always harmonious. It is the correspondence between FitzRoy and Blaikie which forms the backbone of this fascinating study in social and agricultural history.
Blaikie, the smoothly efficient professional, master of all the details of the estate management from crop rotation to the proper loading of carts, wields his skilful pen against FitzRoy, the enthusiastic amateur with friends in high places. In the background hovers the benevolent presence of the great Coke of Holkham.
Paperback 100 pages; Larks Press
ISBN 9780948400469; RRP £6.50
Castle Acre: A Social History
A comprehensive history of the village of Castle Acre in Norfolk, from Norman times to the present day, recording how people lived in the village and drawing on the archives of the Coke family of Holkham Hall.
Paperback 82 pages; Larks Press
ISBN 9781904006466; RRP £5.50
From Slates to Screens: 170 years of Castle Acre School
A study by social historian Rachel Young in the 1990s analysed the remarkable log books of Castle Acre School and concluded:
“this was often a problem school with low academic standards [caused by] the poverty of most of the children. Irregular attendance, early leaving, too few staff, too little money and often ill-maintained building all contributed to poor results. But determined, able, long-stay teachers could and did effect considerable improvements.”
Mary-Anne Garry has followed up Rachel Young’s studies and researched fully the history of this village school and it makes fascinating reading, not only for those who live in Castle Acre but for all who are interested in the history of education.
Paperback 80 pages; Larks Press
ISBN 9781904006527; RRP £5.50