In old age the Honourable Edith Dillon Mahon, daughter of Lord Luke Dillon, fourth baron of Clonbrock, wrote a fascinatiing account of her childhood memories at the ancestral home in Ahasragh county Galway during the late Victorian period when the Anglo-Irish aristrocracy still held sway in Ireland. In this extract, Valerie Thornton reads from Edith’s diaries about the strict protocol and pecking order that governed the daily chores of life in the ‘Big House’.

 


Protocol & pecking order was strictly adhered to in the Victorian Grand Houses. Meals were treated as solemn rituals with processions, food service, dress code and seating arrangements following a programme of custom.  Even amongst the household servants, there was a strong hierarchical structure with butlers, lady maids and nannies  at the top of the social ladder and scullery maids and page boys at the bottom.