In the 19th century and earlier decades of the 20th, large houses and estates employed servants. Many of them stayed in service with the same families for decades. But recently I have found the relationship between employer and servant extended to the grave. Alexander Kirkpatrick (1817-1887) was a wealthy Glasgow wine and spirit merchant with a large house in Hamilton called Allanshaw.
He is buried in Hamilton in Bent Cemetery alongside his wife Elizabeth Bryce (1818-1890), her sister Ellen Bryce (1823-1895) and his wife’s niece Elizabeth Jones (c.1842-1929). It is common to find members of a family buried in the same grave, but also noted on the gravestone are two female servants ‘ Kythe Watson – housemaid for 50 years, Jane Baird – lady’s maid for over 50 years .’ In the 1881 Census Kythe Watson is a House Keeper in Allanshaw House, born in 1843 in Gairloch; she is still there in 1891 and in 1901 when Allanshaw is the home of one of Alexanders relations , the Reverend Thomas M B Paterson. Jane Baird is slightly more elusive, she is a lady’s maid to the Kirkpatrick family in 1871, when they are living in Logie. She was born in Falkirk in 1885 but does not appear in the household in later census. However, she maintains a close connection to the family for in 1881 she is a nurse in the household of Alexander Kirkpatrick’s married daughter, Ellen Bryce Kirkpatrick.