This is the first study of Victorian countrywomen of all kinds from teh aristocracy and gentry to the artisan and labouring classes. Previous accounts of nineteenth--century rural life have tended to concentrate on men, an imbalance which this book seeks to rectify. The author examines the mixture of stability and change in these womena s lives, and considers their distinctive role in the shaping of rural England and Wales. Pamela Horn brings to life the daily round of chores and relaxation in manor house, rectory, farm and cottage. Her account provides a fascinating picture of women at work, and her vivid descriptions of the lighter side of country life, including social events, courtship and marriage make particularly captivating reading. The contemporary preoccupation with female domesticity undoubtedly affected womena s social and economics status in their communities. Yet, the author show how the rise of the professions, and the training of women to work as eachers, nurses and midwives gave thema new prominence in rural society widely at variance with the traditional picture of the Victorial wife and mother.
Pamela Horn lectures in Economic and Social History at Oxford Polytechnic. She is the author of many books and articles on rural life and education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Introduction - women in the village community; family life and morality; wives and daughters of the country house; professional families; farming families; domestic service and work on the land; rural crafts and village trades. Appendices: declared employment of female villagers in nine rural communities 1871; analysis of household size in 12 rural communities 1861-1881; unmarried girls aged 15-24 in seven specimen rural communities in 1871; marriage patterns in specimen rural parishes; illegitimacy rates, birth rates, and under-age marriages in specimen rural counties 1890-1900; proportion of females employed per 10,000 living in rural districts in 1901; women and the settlement laws; female lawbreakers.