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TITLE
Evanton Oral History Project - Jessie Macdonald (3 of 4)
EXTERNAL ID
EOHP_JESSIE_MACDONALD_03
PLACENAME
Evanton
DISTRICT
Dingwall
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Kiltearn
DATE OF RECORDING
1991; 1992
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Jessie Macdonald
SOURCE
Evanton Oral History Project
ASSET ID
41148
KEYWORDS
audios
recollections
oral histories
oral history

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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 Jessie MacDonald remembers Balconie Castle, near Evanton.


I was inside the castle for six weeks as a housemaid.

Interviewer: Yes

It was one of the, one of the English maid's mother died - got sick and died - and of course she went home, and it was just six weeks until they would go back to Wigan, in Lancashire. That was their big place. This was just a shooting kind of place.

Other voice: Fishing and -

Fishing and shooting, yes. So they asked if I would, could come down for six weeks. Well, I didn't know anything about a castle, how it worked. They were so many servants, so many girls, and a butler, a butler, a footman, two footmen.

Other voice: Housekeeper, valets, valets, the lot of them. They had a lot of servants.

Kitchenmaid.

Other voice: Kitchenmaid.

Cook.

Other voice: Undermaid, cook, and scullerymaid

And then there was, how many? Five or six housemaids.

Other voice: Yes.

I'll be the wee one, So -

Interviewer: Do you remember how much you got paid?

[Laughter]. If I got paid at all, I never saw it.

Interviewer: Uh-huh.

I [?] paid at all. I don't know. They'll have put it in with my father's cheque or whatever he was getting.

Interviewer: Yes.

If there was cheques in it.

Interviewer: Yes.

I don't know, but

Other voice: Too young.

Oh, it was strange to work in a huge - And everything had to be done early, and everything had to be done before any of the gentry appeared. You wouldn't, you couldn't meet any of them I don't know why. So, och it was, it give, it give me experience. It give me, it give me six weeks of living a different life and how, you know, how other people, how they lived in a big house, a big castle.

Interviewer: How was the castle? Did it have nice carpets and nice firnishings?

Och it was lovely in a way but it gave me a disappointment. It was bare and it was -

Other voice: A lot of things on the walls, and the deer's head and the tartan rugs, and things like that.

You see, you thought, well when you look at the houses today and they're beautiful. But the castle was nothing.

Interviewer: It was bare, was it?

Bare.

Interviewer: Yes.

Other voice: Like a fortress.

But then -

Interviewer: How often did they come to the castle?

They just came once a year. They came just for the fishing and the shooting, in August.

Interviewer: Yes.

And then they took up all that kind of service; everyone came up with them, everyone went back with them.

Interviewer: Yes.

What a stir was down there. And then there was a coachman, there was a chauffeur, there was a gardener, oh, many gardeners; there was a head gardener, and then ther was a crowd of boys. What money was put out in salaries.

Other voice: But they weren't paid terribly much in those days.

They must have been, they must have been wealthy. They'd be something. What would they have in Lancashire? Thay'd be some - that mills, do you think it was mills?

Interviewer: I think it was coal. I think he was rich from coal.

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Evanton Oral History Project - Jessie Macdonald (3 of 4)

ROSS: Kiltearn

1990s

audios; recollections; oral histories; oral history

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. In this extract Jessie MacDonald remembers Balconie Castle, near Evanton.<br /> <br /> <br /> I was inside the castle for six weeks as a housemaid.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes<br /> <br /> It was one of the, one of the English maid's mother died - got sick and died - and of course she went home, and it was just six weeks until they would go back to Wigan, in Lancashire. That was their big place. This was just a shooting kind of place.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Fishing and -<br /> <br /> Fishing and shooting, yes. So they asked if I would, could come down for six weeks. Well, I didn't know anything about a castle, how it worked. They were so many servants, so many girls, and a butler, a butler, a footman, two footmen.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Housekeeper, valets, valets, the lot of them. They had a lot of servants.<br /> <br /> Kitchenmaid.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Kitchenmaid.<br /> <br /> Cook.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Undermaid, cook, and scullerymaid<br /> <br /> And then there was, how many? Five or six housemaids.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Yes.<br /> <br /> I'll be the wee one, So - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Do you remember how much you got paid?<br /> <br /> [Laughter]. If I got paid at all, I never saw it.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Uh-huh.<br /> <br /> I [?] paid at all. I don't know. They'll have put it in with my father's cheque or whatever he was getting.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> If there was cheques in it.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> I don't know, but<br /> <br /> Other voice: Too young.<br /> <br /> Oh, it was strange to work in a huge - And everything had to be done early, and everything had to be done before any of the gentry appeared. You wouldn't, you couldn't meet any of them I don't know why. So, och it was, it give, it give me experience. It give me, it give me six weeks of living a different life and how, you know, how other people, how they lived in a big house, a big castle.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How was the castle? Did it have nice carpets and nice firnishings?<br /> <br /> Och it was lovely in a way but it gave me a disappointment. It was bare and it was -<br /> <br /> Other voice: A lot of things on the walls, and the deer's head and the tartan rugs, and things like that.<br /> <br /> You see, you thought, well when you look at the houses today and they're beautiful. But the castle was nothing.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: It was bare, was it?<br /> <br /> Bare.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Other voice: Like a fortress.<br /> <br /> But then -<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How often did they come to the castle?<br /> <br /> They just came once a year. They came just for the fishing and the shooting, in August.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> And then they took up all that kind of service; everyone came up with them, everyone went back with them.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> What a stir was down there. And then there was a coachman, there was a chauffeur, there was a gardener, oh, many gardeners; there was a head gardener, and then ther was a crowd of boys. What money was put out in salaries.<br /> <br /> Other voice: But they weren't paid terribly much in those days.<br /> <br /> They must have been, they must have been wealthy. They'd be something. What would they have in Lancashire? Thay'd be some - that mills, do you think it was mills?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: I think it was coal. I think he was rich from coal.