|Mrs Gregory by William Henry Hunt|
When the Duke found out that Elizabeth had reportedly cut orange flowers from the gardens, made other servants wait on her guests at the dinner table, and worst of all, hosted musical 'soirees' in the Duke's private apartments, he flew into ‘a most terriffic rage'. Sarah wrote, 'if this foolery is to continue any longer, then the Duke is no longer master of his own home'. An investigation followed that saw Elizabeth swiftly removed from Chatsworth. This did not end the matter, however. Sarah wrote that the ‘Tigeress’ was still in contact with some of the maids, who were so upset, ‘there was nothing but skulking in corners going on, no work to be done and every thing sixes and sevens’. Three handed in their notice.
The witness statements offer a rare opportunity to hear the voices of lower servants.
Chatsworth and The University of Sheffield ‘From Servants to Staff’ project