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TITLE
Life on the Foulis Estate, Kiltearn (9 of 16)
EXTERNAL ID
EOHP_FOULIS_ESTATE_09
PLACENAME
Foulis
DISTRICT
Dingwall
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Kiltearn
DATE OF RECORDING
1991; 1992
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Marianne Chamier & Joan Paton
SOURCE
Evanton Oral History Project
ASSET ID
41140
KEYWORDS
audios
estates
Clan Munro
Munros of Foulis

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This audio extract is from the Evanton Oral History Project, a project undertaken in 1991-92 by Adrian Clark.

In this extract, sisters Marianne Chamier and Joan Paton (née Gascoigne) share their memories of life at Foulis Castle including dealing with the problem of rats.

Interviewer: And what was the kitchen like in those days? How many people would be working there?

Marianne: Well, there'd be a cook and a kitchen maid.

Interviewer: Yes.

Marianne: And perhaps somebody called a 'tweenie' which was sort of a mixture between a kitchen maid and a house maid, I think. A couple of housemaids, a tablemaid, and the cook, and oh, extremely basic. I mean, a huge stove the size of the side of this room that ate about a ton of coal a day, I should think. And the scullery was extremely basic with a stone sink, you know, and rats. There were rats in the walls - they never came out upstairs - but they came out in the kitchen all right and I've seen them, I've seen my mother's housekeeper, who she had after granny died, kill one with a poker, several times. And we, we had one tremendous scene - it was after the war because we were living at Foulis. I must, I think my husband must have been abroad, or something, or somewhere I couldn't go with him - and we were at Foulis having supper one evening. And my sister, this one, had a dog - it was very keen on hunting rats and all that sort of thing - and we were sitting in the dining room at Foulis, at a table at the window, and the dog was sitting, looking up at the curtain, top of the curtains - and we were not paying much attention, and suddenly a rat sprang off the top of the curtains onto the sideboard, bounced once, almost into the dishes of food, onto the floor, with the dog in hot pursuit, and managed to get under the door and down the back stairs before it could get it. So they occasionally did come out on the upper floors but I used to be very frightened as a child, in bed, at Foulis, because I was very often put to sleep on the top floor. And they'd be all down at supper downstairs, and I'd be alone up there, and you'd hear the rats squeezing through the walls, inside, you know, rattling down. I used to be terrified.

Interviewer: Do they still have rats at the castle?

Marianne: No, no. They, I think, they went, after my uncle was killed, I think, Granny & Grandpa went away at one time and the house was closed up and they got a ratcatcher, I think, with terriers and that sort of thing in, and I think they were never seen again much after that. And also when they moved the kitchen - it's not on the ground, on the basement any longer; it's upstairs, you know, on the first floor, and I don't think - there were a few outside but not in the house. Not since I was in my teens, anyway.

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Life on the Foulis Estate, Kiltearn (9 of 16)

ROSS: Kiltearn

1990s

audios; estates; Clan Munro; Munros of Foulis

Evanton Oral History Project

Evanton Oral History Project

This audio extract is from the Evanton Oral History Project, a project undertaken in 1991-92 by Adrian Clark. <br /> <br /> In this extract, sisters Marianne Chamier and Joan Paton (née Gascoigne) share their memories of life at Foulis Castle including dealing with the problem of rats.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And what was the kitchen like in those days? How many people would be working there?<br /> <br /> Marianne: Well, there'd be a cook and a kitchen maid.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Marianne: And perhaps somebody called a 'tweenie' which was sort of a mixture between a kitchen maid and a house maid, I think. A couple of housemaids, a tablemaid, and the cook, and oh, extremely basic. I mean, a huge stove the size of the side of this room that ate about a ton of coal a day, I should think. And the scullery was extremely basic with a stone sink, you know, and rats. There were rats in the walls - they never came out upstairs - but they came out in the kitchen all right and I've seen them, I've seen my mother's housekeeper, who she had after granny died, kill one with a poker, several times. And we, we had one tremendous scene - it was after the war because we were living at Foulis. I must, I think my husband must have been abroad, or something, or somewhere I couldn't go with him - and we were at Foulis having supper one evening. And my sister, this one, had a dog - it was very keen on hunting rats and all that sort of thing - and we were sitting in the dining room at Foulis, at a table at the window, and the dog was sitting, looking up at the curtain, top of the curtains - and we were not paying much attention, and suddenly a rat sprang off the top of the curtains onto the sideboard, bounced once, almost into the dishes of food, onto the floor, with the dog in hot pursuit, and managed to get under the door and down the back stairs before it could get it. So they occasionally did come out on the upper floors but I used to be very frightened as a child, in bed, at Foulis, because I was very often put to sleep on the top floor. And they'd be all down at supper downstairs, and I'd be alone up there, and you'd hear the rats squeezing through the walls, inside, you know, rattling down. I used to be terrified.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Do they still have rats at the castle?<br /> <br /> Marianne: No, no. They, I think, they went, after my uncle was killed, I think, Granny & Grandpa went away at one time and the house was closed up and they got a ratcatcher, I think, with terriers and that sort of thing in, and I think they were never seen again much after that. And also when they moved the kitchen - it's not on the ground, on the basement any longer; it's upstairs, you know, on the first floor, and I don't think - there were a few outside but not in the house. Not since I was in my teens, anyway.