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Wolfdown House
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The ducal Staff, servants, and employees in the Village Tales series. The main character sheet is here.

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The Servants

"The Servants' Hall," said Sir Pnote , genially, to Mr Hales-Owennote , "at any one of Charles' old piles, is less a Servants' Hall than an SCR, or at any rate an MCR or GCR. Everyone's an expert in something, has taken a degree in this or is taking another in that, or is a recognised and published expert in the other thing."

    Mr. Viney, Wolfdown House 

''Mr'' Paul Viney BA (Exon) MBA (Bath), butler to HG the Duke of Taunton:

"Not for nothing did Paul Viney rank in pay and port with a civil servant of a comparable grade, and not for nothing was he to everyone save the duke and the adults of the ducal family always Mr Viney."

The Duke's ostensible and technical butler at Wolfdown. In fact, his executive officer: and, outside working hours, vice-captain to the Duke's captaincy of the District 1st XI; fellow churchwarden for the Joint PCC of the Combined Benefice and the PCC specific to Abbas church; and ducal intelligencer, His Grace' eyes and ears in the community. Dignified, wise, kindly, omniscient, omnicompetent, capable of snarking back, and possessed of several degrees and a fistful of certifications, mostly City & Guilds.

Warden, Joint PCC (Combined Benefice); Warden, SS Leonard and Mary Woolfont Abbas PCC; Vice-Captain, the Woolfonts Combined Cricket Club.

"The problem of the moment, reflected Mr Viney, was that the old equilibrium had been upset and the new not yet settled; and this was not owing to the incomers, but was, rather, generational. […] [T]he danger was that His Grace's efforts to – if one put the matter quite frankly – save Cllr Gates' arse, should lead to an irruption of the politics of personality which should spare no one, and bespatter even the Rector.
"Which was, thought Mr Viney, quite grimly and bloody-mindedly, not fucking on."

  • Battle Butler: When His Grace gets stuck in to deal with minor local villainy, Mister Viney is right beside him.
  • Best Friend: To Mr. Simon Kellow of the Blue Boar, and contrariwise. Which does help keep the Duke informed....
  • Butlerspace: Knows it like the back of his hand. Justified and lampshaded by references to the (Truth in Television) architecture of Wolfdown, backstairs, alcoves, and all.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": The Duke may call him, literally, "Paul": but does so only when they are talking on churchwarden-to-churchwarden terms, or Skipper (of the local XI) to Vice-Captain.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With the Duke.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Averted only because the Duke is so damned competent himself. He does augment ducal insufficiencies all the same, sometimes by discreet disobedience.
  • Last-Name Basis: He's a butler. He gets the surname – and a "Mister" in front of it, unless one is the Duke. Christian names are for footmen. And in the Servants' Hall and elsewhere, he is damned well "Mr. Viney" to all.
  • Legacy of Service: Is part of one: Vineys have worked for the House of Fitzjames for generations. One was a footman in the eighth Duke's day (the Victorian era). Their loyalty is to the Family, of whom the Duke of the day is a mere steward for the next, and to the Estate.
  • The Jeeves: Well, yes. Less a servant than an XO and 2i/c, as the Duke approvingly notes.
  • Servile Snarker: Averted – but only because there's nothing servile about Viney.
    Viney: Without asking Mr Mirza, Your Grace? Do you think that wise?
    The Duke: I am not Captain Mainwaring, Viney.
  • The Social Expert: Very much so: and one of the ways he balances the Duke, who has No Social Skills.
  • The Spymaster: He keeps the Duke abreast of sentiment and events in the District.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Tick, check, and bingo.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Unless one is the Duke or a senior member of the Family, he's Mister Viney to you, not "Viney."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In a subtle fashion, with the Duke.

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    Mrs. Viney, Wolfdown House 

Mrs. Viney,note  housekeeper to HG the Duke of Taunton:

Aunt by marriage to the Duke's butler, and not very much older than him (she had married Mr. Viney's father's youngest brother). Kindly but fierce, and very much no-nonsense.

""Even – sometimes, perhaps, especially –, when in service to persons of extraordinary rank and quality and office, the best service one can render, Mrs James,note  is to serve rather their best interests than their usual wishes. It's not an indiscretion, then, nor yet a violation of trust."''


  • Benevolent Boss: When she sees something hasn't been dusted adequately, she assumes the servant responsible must have been taken ill. Anything else is inconceivable.
  • Best Friend: To the Cook – although on a Last-Name Basis with honorifics – and to Rose James, the ducally-trained housekeeper at the Rectory, who does get the occasional indulgence of having her forename used.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: But not lenient. This is a subversion only in American terms: British housekeepers in grand country houses are different to the usual trope. (Perhaps a case of "Our Servants Are Different?")
  • Last-Name Basis: Housekeepers are always "Mrs." And particularly in the Servants' Hall. As are cooks: and Mrs. Viney and Mrs. Woolley remain on just those terms.
  • Legacy of Service: Married into the job. There have long been Vineys on staff at Wolfdown, which they see (and the Duke agrees) is quite as much theirs as it is the Family's.
  • Old Retainer: There are certain standards. They shall be kept up.

    Mrs. Woolley, Wolfdown House 

Mrs. Woolley, Cook, Wolfdown House:

Forthright and occasionally skeptical mistress of the kitchens (plural) at the Duke's primary seat. Somewhat singleminded.

""If he's not off his feed and is having his liver.... Then it's stress, is what it is. With all the gossip and interest and plaguing curiosity – no matter that it's approving and well-meant – and the minority view's back-biting in these three parishes, it's not to be wondered at."''


  • Best Friend: To Mrs. Viney the Housekeeper – although on a Last-Name Basis with honorifics – and to Rose James, the ducally-trained housekeeper at the Rectory.
  • Brutal Honesty: Not a garnish, a main ingredient.
  • Last-Name Basis: Cooks and Housekeepers are always "Mrs." Particularly in the Servants' Hall.
  • Nonindicative Name: She's quite sharp and not in the least woolly. And a bit dubious of wooliness (as when one of the servants from one of the Duke's Scottish holdings, down for Crispin's funeral, was retailing Highland superstition about deaths in families and Second Sight).
  • Supreme Chef: Can give local gastro-hotelier Teddy Gates points. And he admits it, envyingly.
  • The Clan: There are, ahem, LoadsAndLoadsOfWoolleys in the District (insert usual sheep joke), by birth and marriage alike, from Wolfdown to the Village School, and from servants and farm laborers to the white-collar classes.

    Thomas Yeates, Wolfdown House 

Thomas Yeates (BA (Hons) Plymouth), Footman, then First Footman, now Valet and trainee Under-Butler, Wolfdown House:

Dead sexy young man who took the job because of an interest in early porcelain; wise enough to know that the Duke was not amenable to "fashion-forward" suggestions so long as Savile Rownote  yet stood; fiercely protective of the Family.

""I may say, also, that I, as one possessing a degree and some expertise in Art History – Plymouth, Madam –, am not dismissive of expert testimony to the safeguarding of the amenities and the aesthetics of the plan."''


  • Battle Butler: Quite capable of joining a ducal expedition to catch petty crooks in the act of pillaging local Roman antiquities.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Averted with bells on, and lampshaded as being averted. He's not promiscuous; he's certainly not a p(a)edo; and the Duke trusts him wholly with valeting his nephews (well, so long as he doesn't suggest fashion to them, damn it all, what?).
  • The Fashionista: Manqué. And duly frustrated. The Duke is not about to dress or be dressed in anything not approved by Anderson & Sheppard.
  • Has a Type: Not quite to Race Fetish standards, but he does find British Pakistanis specially attractive. Particularly in cricket whites. (Although he cannot imagine being attracted to Sher Mirza, even though everyone In-Universe notoriously is, or for that matter to the Rector (ditto): too much awe gets in the way.)
  • Hidden Depths: Took the job – as is not uncommon in ducal employ – for the perks, including educational bursaries. He's an art historian with a specialism in early Western porcelain, and the ducal collections have, In-Universe, "most of the John Dwight porcellaneous pieces known to have been made," per Mr. Viney.
  • Last-Name Basis: Was "Thomas" as a footman; became "Yeates" when he was promoted.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: He signed on for the porcelain.
  • Straight Gay: So much so he has trouble pulling on days away, having first to assure the other bloke that he's not just curious and won't have a Big Gay Freakout afterwards.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Well, footmen are hired for their looks....

    Lucy Stevens, the Dower House 

Lucy Stevens (Mrs. Robert Larence), Lady Crispin's Lady's-Maid, The Dower House, Wolfdown: note 

Loyal and long-suffering lady's-maid and confidante to Lady Crispin, with Strong Views on the late and by many unlamented Lord Crispin. Daughter-in-law to the ducal riding-master and retired Chief Whip, George Larence.

"She would not have been Lady Crispin's lady's-maid in the first place were she not more than equal to the task.''


  • Battle Butler: Of the "protector" sort, and, obviously, the Distaff Counterpart. She runs a great deal of interference for her lady, who is, in her view, not wantonly to be bothered.
  • The Confidant: Part of the job description, but undertaken seriously. She's one of the few people before and with whom Lady Crispin can drop the mask.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em / Sensing You Are Outmatched: There are of course times when she cannot shield Lady Crispin from absolutely everything and everyone, regardless of whether or not Her Ladyship is in the right. Or the wrong, as when she was stroppy about Crispin's funeral:
    Stevens, Her Ladyship's maid at the Dower House, opened the door to find a formidable delegation who could not possibly be sent away and whom her mistress must and should see, will, or would, she, or nil she. Even His Grace might have been resisted; even Lady Veryan might have been sent away with the plea that the widow was unable just then to receive her. But Lucy Stevens […] was no fool. And Stevens knew, as Lady Crispin was to be made to know, that it was simply not possible to turn away Canon Potecary, Dean Blanchard, and Young Fr Campion.
  • Last-Name Basis: To everyone save the most senior and nearly related of the Peerage. As a lady's-maid, she takes "Miss" regardless of marital status.
  • Legacy of Service: Married on the job: her father-in-law runs the ducal stables. And identifies herself very much with her lady's interests.
  • Maid: Specifically, a lady's-maid. To Her Ladyship. And thus quite high in the Staff hierarchy.
  • Maid Corps: Averted. There are plenty of Staff, but not an absurd amount, whether at Wolfdown or at the other ducal holdings. So far as there is something approaching one, though, Miss Stevens is well up in the ranks and can command a fair few when wanted to come over from Wolfdown House and aid her at the Dower House.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Or no heroine to her lady's-maid: averted. Miss Stevens is well aware of Lady Crispin's faults and sides with her all the same. Largely because Lord Crispin was most assuredly not a hero to Miss Stevens.
  • The Reliable One: In some ways the only such in Lady Crispin's life. (She doesn't count her children: they are far too independent for her taste.)

    Mr. Bernard Street, Wolfdown House 

Bernard Street BSc (Hons) Plymouth MSc Kent, Head Gardener, Wolfdown House:

Uncompromising horticultural expert of vast knowledge and Decided Views; has an MSc in Ethobotany (and still prefers to get his hands dirty).

"Mr Street surveyed the Wolfdown gardens, his domain; and took in as well the computer screen, the drawings, and his undergardeners, all with a wintry eye. "Right," snapped he, a sort of RHS RSM; "here's what we're going on with today, and mind you listen well, I'll not repeat myself. Jim: kitchen garden...."''


  • Battle Butler: Always happy to lend a hand, and possibly a mattock, to any bit of ducal putting-stick-about.
  • Call to Agriculture: Has an advanced degree and scads of qualifications. Sticks to gardening (admittedly for one of the great country houses of England, but, all the same...).
  • Crusty Caretaker: As the Duke says, there are two dread consequences to mucking the Wolfdown gardens about: Street's wrath, and the being haunted by the ghost of Gertrude Jekyll; and he's not certain which should be worse.
  • It's Personal: He and Snook the sexton are mortal enemies.
  • Last-Name Basis: As is appropriate to his place in the Staff hierarchy.
  • Nature Lover: Averted. He knows too much about "nature" to be romantic about it.
  • Old Retainer: Nature may strive for untidiness … but not on his watch. Everything at Wolfdown is going to be perfect. Or he'll know the reason why, and there'll be hell to pay and no pitch hot.
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    Mr. Will Sanger, Wolfdown House 

Will Sanger BSc, Head Gamekeeper, Wolfdown House:

Highly trained keeper (if pessimistic), nicknamed by the Duke as "Sanglier," the Wild Boar, and acknowledged to have been capable of scouting for Lovat or guiding for Lumsden. A ferocious conservationist with a BSc in Conservation and Wildlife Management, and locked in an unending struggle with the local poacher, George Mould. Mrs Sanger is endlessly amused by him: from the touchline (sidelines).

"Sanger was not a man who could be content when away for any extended periods from his coverts: and was by temperament a man assured that all things should go to rack, and likewise to ruin, in his absence and under any locum tenens whatever.''


  • Battle Butler: The servant you must want with you when tracking local villains robbing local archaeological sites.
  • The Cynic / The Pessimist: Has so dour a view of humanity he's suspected of being part Scots.
  • Determinator: Will not allow Nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw to get the upper hand; and damned well shan't let Mould the Poacher get by with any depredations. If it means his not sleeping for days on end.
  • Frontline General: Regards himself as such in his never-ending war against poachers and predators: he has a staff, he just refuses to delegate.
  • Great White Hunter: Of the wildlife management and conservation sort.
  • It's Personal: His ongoing war with the District's semi-official poacher-by-appointment.

    Mr. Cyril Ponton, Wolfdown House 

Cyril Ponton, chief driver [chauffeur] to the Duke, Wolfdown House:

Careful, conscientious, cunning, and well deserving of the nickname given him by Rupert and James: "the Stig." Capable of playing the yokel when necessary – especially around the Press.

"Cyril Ponton, however, was too many for them. He immediately took recourse in adopting the persona so well and so profitably exampled for so many years by Mr Kellow down the Boar. "Now, it ain't no manner of use, a-questionin' of Oi."''


  • Badass Driver: Can get from Point A to Point B, through anything and any weather, in record time … and without ever a summons from the jolly constabulary.
  • Friend to All Children: Rupert, James, and Hetty, naturally; but he and his junior colleagues are also always to hand to drive farm children who can't catch the train and are too far away to walk, to the Village School and (for the older ones) the Free School in Beechbourne. And they all love him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: As the In-Universe press has finally learned, it's pointless to try to wheedle information out of him.

    Miss Jenny Beed, Wolfdown House 

Jenny Beed, Fourth Housemaid, Wolfdown House:

Diligent and dutiful worker, who is occasionally exasperated by muddy paw-prints but is very much thankful that the Octagon Room, with all its mirrors, is no longer used, as in centuries past, for fencing exercises and the teaching of gavottes.

"Only the march of technology had saved its being used nowadays for a similar purpose. [The Duke] had instead created a modern equivalent, with cameras and a monitor, in the nets, where, even as the actions were recorded for later review, the screens showed in real time what the CCTV saw, as bowlers and batsmen perfected their craft for the Woolfonts Combined XI. This was all the better for the Wolfdown servants, who should otherwise have been forever sweeping up shards of shattered looking-glasses, broken by cricket balls; and Jenny Beed, the fourth housemaid, was duly and unfeignedly thankful for that mercy.''


    Miss Amanda Westlake, Wolfdown House 

Mandy (Amanda) Westlake, Scullery Maid, Wolfdown House:

Cheerful country girl getting invaluable work experience. The only threat to her equanimity is the intrusion of the often muddy and always drooling free-range ducal Clumber spaniels.

"The House of Fitzjames did not have servants: it had an affinity, of the sort any great magnate from the Yorkist Age to the succession of the first Charles should have recognised and felt at home with; and its rhythms were mediaeval.''


    Mr Henry (Hal) Fanner, Wolfdown House 

Hal Fanner, Houseboy, Wolfdown House:

Keen young man on the lowest rung of the ladder. He'll surely rise. Kinsman of the postman, Peter "Postman Pete" Fanner.

"Hal was merely the newest in a long line of lads who'd taken their GCSEs and chosen what amounted to an apprenticeship which, starting with the blacking of boots, led inexorably to BTECs and NVQs and diplomas in Hospitality and Catering and Jeevesian buttling and the like. It was likewise useful experience in this, that there was a tradition at Wolfdown of young servants taking what they'd learnt and spending time in HM Forces before returning to Wolfdown if they liked: and riflemen, sappers, and fusiliers, and their equivalent Jolliesnote  and their counterparts in the Andrewnote  and the RAF, tended to be thankful for having learnt beforehand to make a bed and to bullnote  boots.''


    Mr. George Ford 

George Ford BSc (Hons) MSc (Hons), Rural Estate Management, the Royal Agricultural University Circencester:

His Grace's Agent and Factor, point of contact (in theory) with the farmers, and agricultural conscience, Morality Chain, and Devil's Advocate.

"George Ford was a jolly, tweedy, red-faced sort of man (he didn't disdain a pint, but his complexion was rather the result of wind and weather than Woolfont Brewery's work): a jovial sort who looked much more like a West Country farmer than did most of the actual farmers. What he certainly didn't resemble in any way was an agent. Some of the Malets had, in their days, had stewards – indeed, Ned o' the Ford had been one – who had amply justified the mediaeval commination upon grasping seneschals and Unjust Stewards destined for 'Hell, top and tail'. Ned's distant descendant was of a different kidney altogether. He was not in the least lax; nor would he abate a jot of what was owed the ducal estate. But he understood patience, and when to grant it (and, what was more important yet, when not to); and how the unforeseen, in agriculture, always happened, and the inevitable – at least as to the turning up of trumps – never occurred.''


  • Big, Friendly Dog: Noted possessor of a much-admired Flat Coat Retriever bitch.
  • Call to Agriculture: There are plenty of other jobs he could do and do well. And wouldn't do at gunpoint. He Serves The Land, and the Duke a distant second.
  • The Clan: He's "cousin to half the folk of the three parishes."
  • Last-Name Basis: As His Grace's agent, he is very much "Mister" Ford.
  • Legacy of Service: In generations past, the Malets and then the Fitzjames dukes tried to guard against corruption by swapping out seneschals, stewards, and agents from one distant estate to another, before they gave up and started educating them to principles. Mr. Ford is descended from most of these, including stewards and agents brought down from ducal holdings in Worcestershire, Cheshire, and Shropshire. The Ford side, though, is pure Woolfonts-and-Beechbourne since before the Conquest, and have always had somebody working for the Family.
  • Morality Chain: Unlikely to be wanted with the current duke (or Rupert), but stands ready to oppose any decision which is not in the best interest of the Family as a whole and, still more, of the Land. And has made this quite clear – which is why he's the Duke's agent and factor.
    Mr Ford was an agent, not a flunkey. Had the ducal initiative threatened the land and the interests of the land, or had it imposed hardship on the tenants, he'd have said so to the duke's very face, and fought His Grace on it, hammer and tongs. But that wasn't the way of it, here – as indeed, reflected Mr Ford, one'd expect, His Grace being His Grace, and knowing these things quite as well as did Mr Ford. So long as the land didn't suffer by it and His Grace were seeing that none of the farmers suffered by it, Mr Ford was happy to fight the duke's corner.
  • The Spymaster: Like Mr. Viney, he makes certain the Duke, Lady Crispin, and the clergy are aware of any anti-social behavior requiring … intervention.

    At Templecombe House, Bath 

Templecombe House ("Number One, Bath")

The Staff thus far mentioned:


    At Malet House, the Cathedral Close, Salisbury 

Malet House, South Canonry. Sarum

The Staff thus far mentioned:


    Mr. Coppock, Tidnock Hall, Cheshire 

Mr. Coppock, butler to HG the Duke of Taunton at Tidnock:

"Mr Coppock, when not buttling, was a reading man."


  • Big Eater: Evidently: "a man who perforce took exercise so as not to develop, owing to an abiding interest in food and drink, a bay window of his own."
  • Hidden Depths: "Yeates [the First Footman at Wolfdown] might be absorbed by early porcelain[;] Mr Coppock [was] fascinated by early clocks." Also, has Serious Opinions of the economics of the whole Country House set-up.
    To the Rector's gran, on why keeping Tidnock staffed is not wasteful: "Excluding outdoor servants, madam, retaining even a skeleton staff for such a house as Tidnock Hall gives gainful employment – on very liberal terms, if I may say so – to a score or more of persons; and the economic activity of the Hall simply by existing, without considering the Family's personal purchases or the contributions made by the disposable income of Staff, is a significant factor in local prosperity."
  • The Jeeves: Goes with the job, although subverted as to being cleverer than his employer, naturally.
  • Old Retainer: The Duke mayn't be often at Tidnock, but if he shows up unannounced, it will be in apple-pie order for him. And ready, as Coppock points out, for any of the Family at need, or when the ducal nephews marry.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: A reading man and something of an autodidact, he is prone to this, with great port and gravity.

    Mrs. Stanway, Tidnock Hall, Cheshire 

Mrs. Stanway, housekeeper to HG the Duke of Taunton at Tidnock:

"… had already Taken Steps against any eventuality.... […] [I]t behoved them, felt they one and all, that they be ready to vindicate their stewardship and reflect credit upon His Grace."


  • Kindly Housekeeper: Or she wouldn't be the housekeeper. Not under the Duke.
  • Last-Name Basis: Such is the custom for housekeepers.
  • Legacy of Service: Stanways have been at Tidnock for ages; one was exchanged to Wolfdown as an agent and factor a few short centuries ago.
  • Old Retainer: On her watch, Tidnock bloody well shall "vindicate [her] stewardship and reflect credit upon His Grace."

    Adley and Harkin, Tidnock Hall, Cheshire 

Adley and Harkin, footmen to HG the Duke of Taunton at Tidnock:

The Rector: "… capital sandwiches, these: thank you for bringing them."


  • First-Name Basis: Presumably, in the Servants' Hall and on the job. Fr. Paddick does not play that game, and addresses them as ''Mr.'' Adley and ''Mr.'' Harkin. Old Lord Mallerstang doesn't "blink at hearing the footmen given the honorific, perhaps regarding this as in the nature of a priestly indult."
  • Those Two Guys: Tend to appear and work in tandem.

    Mrs. Blough, Tidnock Hall, Cheshire 

Mrs. Blough, Cook, Tidnock

"[A] spare, keen woman who looked much more like a duchess than any conventional idea of a cook...."


    Mr. Davenport 

Mr. Alan Davenport:

Agent and Factor to His Grace at Tidnock Hall and dependant holdings

"He was now reporting to His Grace, with the Tidnock Hall agent, Mr Alan Davenport, sitting in and taking minutes of the meeting."


  • Hypercompetent Sidekick / Reasonable Authority Figure: As Mr. Coppock notes, Tidnock runs at a profit, never needs to open to tourists, can open the gardens for charity without asking money for admittance, and runs to a National Hunt Stud and an experimental agricultural station. Even as the Duke remains a popular landlord and employer. Mr. Davenport is clearly doing something very right.

     Mr. Gittins, Melverley Court, Salop 

Mr. Gittins, butler to His Grace at Melverley:

The ducal butler in the Welsh Marches, in Shropshire, at the confluence of Vyrnwy and Severn.

"[James'] joy was communicable, even to those who, like Sher, were no enthusiasts for the water; and the staff, it was clear, from Mr Gittins in his pantry and Mrs Thorne the housekeeper, to Hoof the first footman and valet, to Mrs Pugh the cook, smiled upon it and him with affectionate indulgence...."


  • Honorary Uncle: To James, particularly, who, as might be expected of a rower, loves Melverley best, and whose tendency to track mud about and drip river-water on things is smilingly indulged. (He doesn't mean to, after all, he's just that excited by being on the river.)
  • The Jeeves: Ex officio.
  • Last-Name Basis: Well: butler. So....

     Mrs. Thorne, Melverley Court, Salop 

Mrs. Thorne, housekeeper to His Grace at Melverley:

The woman who runs Melverley, and sister-in-law to the duke's Shropshire agent.

"… the treasures of the house."


  • Kindly Housekeeper: And surprisingly indulgent. "Mrs Thorne the housekeeper ... smiled upon [James] with affectionate indulgence – even as [she] knew he'd drip, somewhere, or tramp mud despite his most conscientious efforts...."
  • Last-Name Basis: She is after all the housekeeper.

     Mrs. Pugh, Melverley Court, Salop 

Mrs. Pugh, Cook, Melverley:

The kitchen angel of Melverley, and Welsh of the Welsh.

"… affectionate indulgence – even as [she] knew he'd forget the luncheon hamper Mrs Pugh prepared for him...."
"… the excellent Mrs Pugh...."


  • Hidden Depths / The Clan: Seriously Welsh, and has (and follows with interest the doings of) a niece who's a harpist.
  • Last-Name Basis: Cooks in great houses take surnames, with a "Mrs."

    Hoof, Melverley Court, Salop 

Hoof, First Footman and Valet to His Grace at Melverley:

A testament to the joys of promotion.

"… affectionate indulgence – even as [he] knew [James should] leave Hoof, quite without meaning to, with a hell of a task in brushing his clothes."


    Dr Speake, Melverley Court, Salop 

Dr Speake (BA BLitt DPhil Oxon), librarian-residentiary to His Grace at Melverley:

Pompous, elderly, garrulous, old-fashioned, but wise and lovable all the same: and very insistently an Oriel man (which is now James' college).

"Dr Speake was an indefatigable guide to Melverley Court, the Estate, the Church,note  and, with elephantine subtlety, the duke's mind, drawing innocent parallels here and pointing morals in passing there."


     Mr. Hollington, Clentwood House, Worcs 

Mr. Hollington, butler to His Grace at Clentwood:

The ducal butler in the Clent Hills, looking down (in several senses) on Brum and the West Midlands.

"Mr Hollington, the butler, seemed to run on silent hover-technology...."


  • Butlerspace: As in the preceding quote. Clentwood in its present incarnation being Georgian, there is sure to be a Real Life, Truth in Television reason, architecturally, for this ability to pop up from nowhere. Even without the priest holes present at Melverley.
  • Good Samaritan: In themselves and as the Duke's agents in his absence, his servants are always engaged in local affairs. At Clentwood, Mr. Hollington and the rest of the Staff "constituted themselves the ducal lieutenants in Wildest Worcs, and invariably turned up on committees, the parish council and the PCC, and organisations, ranging from the governors of the parochial primary school (surging ahead at last after much anguish and reorganisation), to the ringers, to the gardening club." To almost, locally speaking, Benevolent Conspiracy levels.
  • The Jeeves: Ex officio.
  • Last-Name Basis: He is the butler. Comes with the territory.

     Mrs. Raybould, Clentwood House, Worcs 

Mrs. Raybould, housekeeper to His Grace at Clentwood:

The (inevitably kindly) housekeeper at Clentwood, and a power in the land.

"Mrs Raybould, the Clentwood housekeeper, quietly, privily, and for quite ten minutes together, in her room that evening by herself, laughed herself very nearly sick. She quite liked Dr Lee, but shrewder heads than that of the good doctor had failed, always, to get the better of His Grace."


  • Good Samaritan: Part of a gang of them.
    From Parish Design Statement to Neighbourhood Watch to the Mothers' Union and the Cricket Club and the NFU, bus shelters and wildflower meadows and road surface issues, Clentwood played its part without throwing its weight about....
  • Kindly Housekeeper: At home and in the community.
  • Last-Name Basis: Naturally.

     Mrs. Woodside, Clentwood House, Worcs 

Mrs. Woodside, Cook, Clentwood:

The dancing cook. Well, at Servants' and Tenants' Dances.

"'Uncle Charles,' grinned Rupe, 'always dances with Mrs Woodside at these dos, at least once, and you don't want telling to which tune.'"


  • Last-Name Basis / They Call Me Mister Tibbs: All cooks are Mrs. Wotsit.
  • Meaningful Name / Punny Name: A perfectly respectable Worcestershire name, common in Clent and Hagley. On the other hand, she always dances with the Duke at Servants' and Tenants' Dances … to Count Basie.note 
    • And, yes, the Duke asserts that there is also a housemaid named "Stella." By, presumably, starlight.
  • Supreme Chef: It's a job qualification.

     Other servants, mentioned, Clentwood House, Worcs 

Clentwood servants not yet given more than a mention:

The First Footman is Boughton. The Head Gardener is Shuck.


     Mr. Elwell 

Mr. Elwell:

Agent and Factor to His Grace in Worcs and the West Midlands.

"… in a purely personal capacity and disdaining to invoke the duke's name and influence, Mr Elwell, who was RC, had had a few things to say to the dean in Dudley – and indeed to the Archbishop of Birmingham face to face – about the effective merger of S Wulstan & S Oswald into Our Lady & All Saints Stourbridge...."


     Mr. Malloch, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

Mr. Malloch, butler to His Grace at Camserney:

Butler to the duke – who is, up there, the laird – at Camserney, in Highland Perthshire, between Weem and … Dull.

"Mr Malloch and Mrs Dewar, Mrs Peddie tearful amidst her pots and pans, Mr Alexander Keir as factor, and Dand Roberston, the auld heid ghillie, informed the Castle staff, and Jock Garvie surveyed the policies and his plantings for the flo'ers o' the forest for the funeral. Tam Ferguson, chief piper to His Grace, had been pipe sergeant in 4 SCOTS in his service, and held strong views upon the proprieties."


     Mrs. Dewar, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

Mrs. Dewar, housekeeper to His Grace at Camserney:

Housekeeper at Camserney.

"… the same three disposers of destiny at Camserney, Mr Malloch, Mrs Dewar, and Mr Keir...."


     Mrs. Peddie, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

Mrs. Peddie, Cook, Camserney:

The sentimental, Highland-superstitious, shortbread-making cook at the Castle.

"There are, in every walk of life and without distinction of class, two sorts of Scots grannie: the dour; and the sentimental.
"Mrs Peddie, the cook at Camserney, was of the latter breed, and, newly arrived in Hall, was doling out lashings of stem-ginger shortbread as she dabbed her tearful eyes, and accompanying these tidbits, to Mrs Viney's amused exasperation and the astonishment of the Wolfdown House cook, Mrs Woolley, with tales of omens and signs and Gaelic portents upon the foretold death of heirs."


    Mr. John Garvie, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

Jock Garvie, Head Gardener, Camserney:

Stern Scots gardener, concairnit wi' a' his policiesnote  and "the flowers of the forest."

"... Jock Garvie surveyed the policies and his plantings for the flo'ers o' the forest for the funeral.''


    Mr. Andrew Robertson, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

"Auld" Dand Robertson, Head Ghillie, Camserney:

Ghillie and gamekeeper to His Grace.

"Dand Roberston, the auld heid ghillie, informed the Castle staff....''


  • Great White Hunter: Of the wildlife management and conservation sort. With a specialism in grouse and stags.

    Mr. Thomas Ferguson, Castle Camserney, Perthshire (Perth & Kinross) 

Tam Ferguson, Piper to His Grace, Camserney:

The Duke's personal piper at Camserney.

"Tam Ferguson, chief piper to His Grace, had been pipe sergeant in 4 SCOTS in his service, and held strong views upon the proprieties.''


     Mr. Alexander Keir 

Mr. Alexander (Eck) Keir:

Agent and Factor to His Grace in Perthshire.

"Mr Keir was a man who looked a good deal more like a dominie, or a grave and auld-fashioned minister o' the Kirk, than – as he was – the chief operating officer of a major, and ducal, Perthshire estate. His training and education were at the intersection, and indeed the cutting edge, of rural economics, rural finance, agricultural and countryside management, and agriculture; he was an open agnostic with no interest in deciding the question, and a grandson of the Scots Enlightenment who spurned Calvin and Knox and who worshipped rather at the shrine of Hume than of Marx; and with it all, he remained a dour man of the most Calvinistically desponding temperament, simply as a matter of nature, who could easily be mistaken for the less jovial sort of Wee Free. On the Sabbath. On South Uist. In a midwinter gale."


     Mr. MacBean, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Mr. MacBean, butler to His Grace at Luineag:

Butler to the duke at Luineage Lodge, in the forest by the loch and wrapped in Highland mist and Romantic stereotypes.

"Mr MacBean and Mrs Cruickshank, Mrs Grant the cook and Donald Cameron the head ghillie, Jock Meldrum of the gardens and Mr Gilles the laird's factor, spoke solemnly to their staffs...."


     Mrs. Cruickshank, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Mistressnote  Cruickshank, housekeeper to His Grace at Luineag:

Housekeeper at Luineag.

"… chose who should take the train to the far country away South for the funeral service, and who, keep the Lodge."


     Mrs. Grant, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Mrs. Grant, Cook, Luineag:

A dab hand with venison collops.

"The admirable Mistress Grant...."


    Mr. John Meldrum, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Jock Meldrum, Head Gardener, Luineag:

Making deserts bloom is one thing. Making a garden in the middle of the Highland forests....

"... Jock Meldrum of the gardens....''


    Mr. Donald Cameron, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Donald Cameron, Head Ghillie, Luineag:

Heid (i.e., Head) Ghillie and Keeper to His Grace.

"Donald Cameron … spoke solemnly....''


  • Great White Hunter: Of the wildlife management and conservation sort. At a ducal holding specifically named as and functioning as a lodge (shooting, for the indulgence of).

    Mr. Iain Mackenzie, Luineag Lodge, Highland (Badenoch & Strathspey) (Inverness-shire) 

Iain "Garbh" Mackenzie, Piper to His Grace, Luineag:

The Duke's personal piper at Luineag.

"Piper Mackenzie now took the tune, 'Cumha na Cloinne', 'The Lament for the Children', which Padruig Mòr MacCrimmon composed, and he the father of eight of whom seven died of the great sickness which was in it when the smallpox came to Skye.''


     Mr. Gilles 

Mr. Gilles:

Agent and Factor to His Grace in the Highlands.

"Mr Gilles the laird's factor...."


  • Last-Name Basis: It's a matter of respect, to him and the ducal laird he represents.

     Mr. Stillwell, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Mr. Stillwell, butler to His Grace at Taunton House:

Butler to the duke at his London town house. Which, being in London, sees very little of His Grace, who detests London.

"Mr Stillwell, butler, steward, and majordomo to HG the duke of Taunton at Taunton House in London...."


     Mrs. Austin, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Mrs. Austin, housekeeper to His Grace at Taunton House:

The formidable housekeeper at the Dukes' London seat.

"… Mrs Austin [is] always available for any questions or instruction in anything which interests you...."


     Mrs. Bacon, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Mrs. Bacon, Cook, Taunton House:

London's answer to the great country house cooks.

"Mrs Bacon shall tell you: and what better name for a Cook?"


  • Last-Name Basis: She's the cook.
  • Meaningful Name: And duly lampshaded by Mr. Stillwell, above.note 
  • Supreme Chef: Of necessity.

    Miss Stone, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Miss Stone, Deputy Housekeeper and First Housemaid, Taunton House:

A very busy woman indeed.

"Miss Stone'll put you in the picture as to linens, livery, and laundry, or – should she be busy just now – Miss Priest can tell you all you want to know.''


    Miss Priest, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Miss Priest, Lady's-maid to Lady Crispin, Taunton House:

Very much on top of things, and, in her lady's absence, willing to muck in as deputy to Miss Stone.

"Miss Priest can tell you all you want to know.''


  • Maid: Of considerable seniority and distinction.

    Mr. Ware, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Mr. Ware, First Footman, Valet, and Under-Butler, Taunton House:

And right-hander to the Librarian when wanted.

"Ware, acting for Dr Pearman – librarian to His Grace here –, has your passwords and the like for the Internet and Wi-fi and all that foolery.''


  • Hidden Depths: Capable of assisting the ducal librarian and is the Staff IT guy.
  • Last-Name Basis: Happens when one gets a Rank Up.
  • The Smart Guy: At least as to IT, which discipline seems not to be highly regarded by the rest of Staff. Least of all by Mr. Stillwell, as in the quote above.

    Miss Holland, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Miss Holland, Seamstress and Laundry Maid, Taunton House:

And damned good at it.

"Miss Holland as a practical seamstress and weaver, then....''


    Jonathan Forge, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Jonathan Forge, newest Footman, Taunton House:

The new hire.

"... Jonathan Forge had not come to the ducal ménage had he not already been superlatively well-trained....''


  • Hidden Depths: Interested in tapestries. Knows his London history.
  • First-Name Basis: He gets his full name in narration, but once he's signed on....
  • Naïve Newcomer: To ducal service. Allowing Mr. Stillwell to l'arn him a few things in passing.
    Mr Stillwell, butler, steward, and majordomo to HG the duke of Taunton at Taunton House in London, was instructing the newest member of staff, less in his duties – Jonathan Forge had not come to the ducal ménage had he not already been superlatively well-trained –, but, rather, in the special quirks and quiddities of Taunton House....
    "I really must impress upon you, Jonathan, that His Grace, although affable enough – if peppery – and conversable, and wholly without "side" or snobbery, is in many, many respects almost Royal, although he should be the first to deny it – and with some indignation. In consequence, service here or at any of the Family's residences partakes somewhat of Royal Household service, however hard His Grace may try to play it down and walk humbly (for a duke). In fact, it has been said by those with cause to know it – have you met Timothy yet? Ah. Timothy was on the strength at Clarence House in the days of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the then Queen Mother."
  • Pursue the Dream Job: A man interested in tapestries has plenty of scope at Taunton House.

     Timothy Goodspeed, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Mr. Timothy Goodspeed, Taunton House:

Curator of certain of the Taunton House collections.

"Mr Timothy Goodspeed, nowadays acting as curator of certain of the Taunton House collections, was Mr Stillwell's civil partner – and indeed partner of many years' standing, from well before changes in the law."


  • Gayborhood: Clarence House in the Queen Mum's day, which was one, self-contained. She famously once rang downstairs when the scheduled drink was late and said, "I don't know what you old queens down there are doing, but the Old Queen up here wants her gin."
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted, as to Mr. Goodspeed and Mr. Stillwell.

    Dr Pearman, Taunton House W 1 (London) 

Dr Pearman, librarian-residentiary to His Grace at Taunton House:

The ducal librarian in London.

"Do be aware that Dr Pearman and I, and Mrs Austin, are always available for any questions or instruction in anything which interests you...."

     The Taunton Estates Office 

As their friendly rivals and counterparts of the Bedford, Cadogan, Grosvenor, and Portman Estates were wont to remark, the Taunton Estates and their servants were commonly content to move but little, seldom, and cautiously – but when they did move, it was simply a blitz.

Offices, Templecombe Crescent SW1; Solicitors, Watkins Dod Gorton. Enquire for details.

     Mr. Paul Atherton Wells, the Taunton Estate Office, London 

Paul Wells, the Taunton Estate Office:

Former high-flier in the City, whose character was being warped and family life ruined by it. He was a wanker to a young Sikh he knocked down on the pavement … within a few yards of the Duke, who, ah, intervened. His Grace had him sacked, then hired him to see if he could be retrained into a human being. Wells PA is now making more money and living much more happily, and is much the better for it; and does excellent work for the Duke's property portfolio, handling sums much larger than those he'd dealt in in the City.

"Happier and healthier than he had been in many years, he slept quietly beside his wife, as their daughters slept happily in their airy rooms, safe in a happy harbour."


     Mr. Ravinder Singh Bedi MA, the Taunton Estate 

"Ravi" Singh Bedi, the Taunton Estate:

Courtauld-trained art historian, now curating and advising for the Taunton collections as he finished his degrees. The young Sikh Paul Atherton Wells was a Jerk to. Dignified and prepared to suffer no disrespect, but unwilling to see disproportionate vengeance, as a matter of ''Dan'' and ''Charhdi Kala''.

"Ravi Singh Bedi, that Frightfully Nice young man who'd been tapped on the shoulder by the Taunton Estate as a prospective curator and conservation expert, had leapt with alacrity at the chance to spend a term – he was doing his postgraduate degree at the Courtauld – in the Woolfonts, combining experience with education...."


     Mr. Hari Singh Dhillon FCA FCMA, late WO 1 (Management Accountant), Staff and Personnel Support, the Adjutant General's Corps, Managing Director, the Chickmarsh Quarries, the Taunton Estate 

Hari Dhillon "Haz" Singh, Chickmarsh Quarries, the Taunton Estate:

Sikh old soldiernote  and Chartered Accountant now running the ducal quarries; and a man highly respected in the community and by the Duke.

"Hari Dhillon Singh, who was much in the duke's confidence. […] [A] man who has leveraged an Army career into the management of the ducal quarries in Chickmarsh."


     The Duke's Men of Businessnote  

"More notable, perhaps, was the positive bolt of silk present."

Mentioned in passing are the Taunton Estate Solicitors, Watkins Dod Gorton, and various barristers the Duke will have briefed at need (and for political purposes):

"Even the juniors – Mr Philip Brabazon-Fane (a distant cousin to the duke); Miss Margaret Standle – were high-flyers; but it was the QCs rather unprecedentedly on hand who were the subject of various emotions in those present, from glee to apprehension. The duke's solicitors had, of course, instructed the best of the best: Sir Henry D'Souza QC MP; Sir Gerald Druce QC MP; Sir Martin Chittick QC MP; Priscilla Stanhope-Vesey QC; Benjamin Montefiore QC; Fiona Hardie QC; Shireen Anwar Khan QC: and that alone might, perhaps, have been the explanation for their presence. Or, of course, one might put it down to, say, Gerry Druce's being a member of Vincent's, who had played in the middle order for the OUCC 1st XI when the duke had captained, and to Pip Brabazon-Fane's being a ducal connexion. It was lost on no one, however, that Sir Henry was the Hon. and Learned Member for Quantock and Goathurst in the Liberal Democrat interest; that Sir Gerry was the Tory Hon. and Learned Member for Tidnock and Dane Valley; and that Sir Martin was Labour's Hon. and Learned Member for Brixton West."

And then there are the real heavy hitters in the series:

     Mr. Anthony Macey, Beechbourne solicitor 

Tony Macey, solicitor:

A contentedly provincial solicitor in Beechbourne, and nephew to old Judge Cundick, the Chancellor to the Diocese.

"Tony Macey was, in the main, the very model of a modern solicitor, on duty and off: he rode, he hiked, he played squash, he unobtrusively wore the tie of a minor public school, he managed quite well the tricky business of being dashing and up-to-date and even acceptably breezy without giving any qualms to clients, his fellows, the Bar, and the Bench. Today, so great was the atavistic pressure of ceremony and tradition, he was, unconsciously, transformed into the driest, dustiest, and most Dickensian of provincial solicitors."


  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Averted. He's very good lawyer and a Lawful Good lawyer.
  • The Clan: His uncle is a Circuit Judge; he's distantly related to the Headmaster and the vet; and there are Maceys and Hart-Maceys on every Parochial Church Council for miles around.
  • The Dreaded: Professionally. A letter from Mr. Macey makes persons in breach of contract come immediately to terms. "[A] stiff letter from Mr Macey should no doubt do more to shift Mr Penny's supplier than a thousand angry ringings-up."
  • Respected by the Respected: He and the Duke are commonly on 'Tony-and-Charles' terms.
  • Small Town Boredom: Of a professional kind.
    The one disadvantage, to a provincial solicitor with a taste for conveyancing matters, in living in the District, was that so much of the land was firmly in ducal hands, and, consequently, only rarely re-tenanted, and never alienated. It left one pining for a busier market in land and estates, it truly did do.... Of course, one could always subsist on Wills.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Law and his clients; and to his friends. He refuses to act for anyone trying to trouble the Duke, the Family, or the parishes.

     Mr. Simon Hales-Owen, Fetter Lane (London) solicitor 

Simon Hales-Owen, solicitor:

Old school-fellow of the Duke and the Nawab (prefects about to leave school for Oxford when he was a new boy), whose opinion of him has not much changed.

"… Hales-Owen S had been characterised by the young Charles in terms which that nobleman had never had occasion to change, and which he had seen vindicated as prophetic: the weedy young Simon had indeed been, as Charles had said, 'a swotty, sinuous little slack bob: bound to come to no good, almost certain to end a Kingsman –' Charles detested Tabs – 'and a lawyer or some damned thing'; and when precisely that had been the Hales-Owen course over the ensuing years, it had been no surprise at all that the duke had seen to it that certain matters of business – not, of course, those of the Taunton Estate – had been steered to the said Hales-Owen and his firm as some of His Grace's men of business, when the qualities rather of the serpent than of the dove had been apt to the struggle."


     Sir Pemberton Molyneaux QC, barrister 

Sir Pemberton Molyneaux QC:

Smooth-as-silk silk briefed for the Duke ... rather often.

"Damn it, man, blame the whole cock-up on draughtsmen dead these fifty years, you're a silk as much as I am, we've spent half our lives shuffling blame off onto solicitors.
"[snip] Never play your trump until you mean to take the last trick."


  • The Chessmaster: The Duke in whose interest he'd briefed plays Xanatos Speed Chess; as a barrister, Sir Pemberton is more limited, but, within those limitations, he's Capablanca: even with the Duke's bright ideas and Mr. Hales-Owen's cleverness, there aren't so many barristers who can force the National Trust to give back a donated property to avoid a worse precedent yet.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Opposing counsel – particularly George Tompkins QC, who had been briefed against him in the property action – think him one. And say so.
  • Punny Name: (Noel) Pemberton Billing was a famous(ly unhinged) litigant and conspiracy-theorist in the early 20th Century, who starred in and fomented some famous and scandalous trials.

     The Home Farm, Wolfdownnote  

"The Towers at the Home Farm had a special responsibility: not least to Give A Lead, and to make the Home Farm a Model and Example, a Light Unto the Gentiles and Them That Walk in Darkness. And the Towers knew it."

The Towers have farmed the Home Farm for the Dukes of Taunton and under their eye for generations.

"… the Towers of Home Farm necessarily, even in the midst of Champion Country for sheep, had a full range of operations to manage for the duke's estate: a dairy herd and a beef herd; poultry of all kinds; arable; and not only the wool flocks of breeds proper to the district, but also the prize ducal Wiltshire Horns, for meat. (The Towers and Trulock the Vet were the only folk in the district to whom lambing season was all but unending, with flocks of all possible breeds to hand in their varying seasons and the Dorset Horns lambing twice a year, in Autumn and in Spring.) The Home Farm of Wolfdown was required to be a Model Farm, and to show what might be done with British Rare Breeds suited to the West Country; and ducal estates are meant to be self-sustaining."

     Mr. Will Tower, the Home Farm 

Will Tower of the Home Farm:

Paterfamilias of the Tower family.

"Mr Tower was up at his usual 5.0; and listened to the Shipping Forecast as he broke his fast. By 5.45, he was in his office, reviewing more detailed, and more localised, weather forecasts; answering emails (which, whatever the time-stamp, could, always, very easily be the duke's own emails, coming in with positively ducal celerity and peremptoriness); reviewing reports and data and spreadsheets."


  • Call to Agriculture: He doesn't farm because he's unqualified for cushier jobs; he farms because he loves it.
  • The Clan: The Towers of the Home Farm are merely one branch of the Tower clan, which includes innumerable cousins, including the branch who are the local undertakers and monumental masons (that is, the ones who carve and chisel the tombstones / headstones).
  • Enemies List: He despises politicians of all stripes and parties, and all townees, all of whom, in his view, know nothing of what keeps the country fed and clothed, and he tends to collect and congregate with like-minded haters of politics, so as to discuss what prats the politicians are. (These gatherings are called Farmers' Dinners).
    "Politicians … urban fools, the lot of them. [snip] Leaving lawmaking in the soft hands of urban politicians … he looked at his own hands, a farmer's hands, and bearing the stigmata of years in the job. Daft lot, and ignorant as babes, the House of Commons, thought he.... [snip] He stopped and chuckled as he realised he'd been humming. And just what he'd been humming. And it wasn't from reflecting on slurry for the fields, either, it all came of thinking about MPs. For what he'd been unthinkingly humming was an old Wurzels tune: 'Champion Dung Spreader'."
  • Legacy of Service: The Towers and the ducal Family go waaaay back.
  • The Patriarch: Unquestionably: to all the Towers, as farming the Duke's manorial farms, and to all the farming interest in the District by being The Ace of farming.
  • Respected by the Respected: He has the full confidence of Duke, Rector, and all the District farmers.

     Rob Tower, the Home Farm 

Rob Tower of the Home Farm:

Son and heir to Will. Doing his work-experience / gap year at home before going up to the Royal Agricultural University Cirencester.

"… he'd grown up on the Home Farm, had Rob Tower: through the grinning, mop-haired childhood days, and the pangs of youth as a slightly bacony ginger with a certain gormless charm, to what he was now, an amiable young giant, fiddle-fit, who, bar his colouring, rather resembled the Rector (and, thus, transitively, the duke's niece' joint-favourite member of the duke's niece' favourite boyband). Clever as a jinking fox with it, too, beneath the rugger-bugger superficies and the outward show of country stolidity and slowness; and all Rob wished to do was farm."


  • Bi the Way: Yep.
    "Poor bugger (thought the duke, with empathy) [… Rob was] a common object […] of quite blatant suggestions for a tumble, and not infrequently from […] yummy-mummies playing at Mrs Robinson, and their spear-side counterparts: a fact which was wryly accepted with mingled exasperation and fondness by Rob's boyfriend, a youth of his own age who was doing his work-experience year at the Stud under the Maguires' watchful and horsey eye. A fact which had very much not been acceptable, and had occasioned unmixed wrath and exasperation, in Rob's prior girlfriend, which is why she was no longer Rob's girlfriend...."
  • Call to Agriculture: No, seriously, all he wants to do is farm (farm, farm). See quote above.
  • The Clan: He's a Tower; ergo, he's part of one.
  • Generation Xerox: Averted. He's very much his own man. Well, his own youth.
  • Gentle Giant / The Big Guy: Cares deeply for farm animals, is something of an All-Loving Hero, and can do surprisingly delicate work (see Hidden Depths, below).
  • Farm Boy: Subverted. He is literally a farm boy, but the threat to his Arcadia and family is leaving it and them, and his destiny and quest and goal is in fact staying Down on the Farm.
  • Farmer's Daughter: Spear-side version.
  • Hidden Depths: He's clever under the outward Farm Boy persona. And "roll[s] a tighter, tidier fleece at shearing time than anyone in the County."
  • Hunk: And much lusted after In-Universe.
  • Legacy of Service: The Towers and the ducal Family go waaaay back.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Inadvertently, In-Universe. And with some Squick as to his In-Universe Fandom.
    "The Towers, at the Home Farm, had, with ducal encouragement, done several seasons' worth already of videos of Farming Life and the Farm Family, to no small advantage. [snip] […] a few (but one was too many) of those who nowadays propositioned, uselessly, young Rob Tower, had been avidly watching him grow up online, and had not always waited until he should be of age to indulge lubricious thoughts of him."
  • Three Successful Generations: He's the Youth.

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