As with any large house, the servants of Blendon Hall were essential to keep the place going. On the night the census was taken in April 1881 the Pickersgills were staying at their London home. Left behind at Blendon Hall were Mary Ann Baker, the dairy maid aged 47 and Stephen Howell, the gardener aged 45. In the Gardener’s House were Frederick Moore, 40, who had been appointed Head Gardener in the late 1860s, and his wife Eliza. At one of the Lodges was gardener Alfred Beckenham with his wife Ellen and daughters Helen, Maud, Elsie Mary and Alice Maud. At the other Lodge was another gardener, John Payne, with his wife Louisa.

So Blendon’s garden, at least, was being well looked after in the Pickersgills’ absence!

Blendon Lodge

Blendon Lodge

Thirty years later, in 1911, the Jay family were away once again on census night, leaving the servants in residence. At Blendon Hall were 60 year old housemaid Catherine Evans, 29 year old housemaid Emily Sophie Lawrence, 19 year old housemaid Clare May Robinson, footman Charles Harris aged 38 and footman Harold Baxter aged 18.

At Gardener’s Lodge was Alfred Beckenham, still a gardener and now aged 60 with his wife Ellen and daughters Elsie Mary and Harriet. William Humphrey lived at Blendon with his family, having succeeded Frederick Moore as Head Gardener in 1902. At Butler’s Cottage was the butler, George Fryers, 31, with his wife Elsie and 10 month-old son George.

On her death in 1929, Mrs Anna Jay’s will shows how much she appreciated her staff, giving £25 to her secretary Miss Winifred Madelaine Atkins, £50 to her butler George Fryers, £100 to her maid Janet Monro, £10 to her bailiff Peter McGradie, and £10 to each of her servants, Henry Johnson, Alfred Medhurst, Samuel Prior and Samuel Walker.