This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!


by Robert Cooper

Chapter 8


Served in the small dining room, again a beautiful setting.

A delicious ham salad with crème caramel pudding. With coffee after.

With Standish, Geoff and Edward we had a wide ranging discussion of my plans for the Manor.

Mother kept going away from the subject trying to lead off into social aspects of the manor but each time we pulled her back to repairs and renovations. I was already rethinking my idea of her living here. We would be fighting in no time. I had no intention of being a 'Social Whirl Earl.'

Visits from time to time would be enough, especially with the chaos of the repairs.

Anyway, after lunch she went to change into outdoor clothes. As it was not raining we were going to take a Tour with Sheldon as our guide.

Range Rover with Mother riding "shotgun". We went gently round the estate showing all the best features. Sheldon was very proud of being Estate manager of one of the bigger estates in England at his young age

She was shown the two villages but we did not stop. We went by two of the leasehold farms. I explained to Mother that we did not run these farms, they were the responsibility of the leaseholders. We had enough to do with the rest. The whole estate was farmed organically and with wildlife habitat provision. The leasehold farms supplied the Manor with meat, poultry and eggs. Most of the vegetables, fruit and flowers came from the kitchen gardens behind the Manor.

Back to the Manor, tea and biscuits (home made) in the sitting room behind the main dining room.

I told Mother that the main dining room could seat at least 70

Leading from there was the ballroom, again unused for many years. I explained that the late Earl had been a virtual recluse since the death of The Countess. Entertaining was of no interest, hence the poor state of the place.

According to the Accountants nothing much had been done since War damage repairs in 1948

That was about to change. Geoff, Standish and I were about to embark on a huge programme of repairs and restoration in excess of one and a half million pounds.

All of the service equipment in the kitchens and laundry was very old and inefficient.

Electric wiring was old and unsafe and would not take modern loads, plumbing was old and corroded, again unsuited to modern life.

We may even need to dig new pipes and cables from the road.

After all this we had to decorate throughout.

All in all about 6 to 8 months intensive work, and to my surprise all the staff were looking forward to the chaos of the repairs and ending with a beautiful Manor of which they can be proud.

Geoff and I would be Project Managers with a lot of assistance from Standish who also had to try and keep the Manor running somehow. Edward as our private secretary would wear his shoes out running around after us. He would be a key member of our team, as would Mr. Watson our accounts manager keeping tabs on the money side of things. He gets new offices and a computer system out of it all.

It all kicks off on Tuesday when we make the first enquiries with the Listed Buildings Office, and Edward buys a new filing cabinet for all the paperwork that will be generated. Both our Estate accountants and Legal team were advising strongly for us to work with the L.B.O right from the start.

Geoff: As soon as we have seen your teacher we MUST work on your rents about you being here full time. You can legally leave home after age 16 and with just today's chat I realise that I need you from the start. I have already had a brief chat with the local education office and provided we have a qualified tutor there are no objections on their part. After all we can legally leave school at 16.

We can do A-levels next year easily and then Uni. on the net. Farm Management and Finance. Get your parents down for a weekend so they can see the size of the project.

Standish get s in a clearance contractor and see s about that top floor.

Then we start gathering quotes for rewire and plumbing. Another major part is the total re equipment of the kitchens and laundry. We need to get with a Kitchen Advisory Service for that. We may need new cable and pipe runs.

We must get Sheldon to use his knowledge and find out what he can about any Land Grants that we are able to apply for. He might know of some. He has already told me that some of the farm machinery is old and out of date and possibly dangerous. He has arranged an engineer to inspect.

Mother decides that she has had enough of planning for a major rebuilding project and goes off home. Oh Well! Inform Standish and Mrs Lang.

Notes for Monday Meeting;

Greeting and Introduction. Welcome to the first of our regular Monday Meetings.

Actions already taken. Replacement of Chef, Fields and Seymore's retirement. Reopening of stables. Intended actions. Computers, new Manor Estate Office, new accounts office. Geoff's position in the household.

Long term I want to consider sports activities, riding school, swimming pool, activity centre and perhaps a day school for the two villages on the estate.

Major refurbishment plans.

Our Manor should be a showpiece not an embarrassment as it is at the moment. The staff should be proud to work here and be "on the team". There will be no redundancies, in fact we will need more staff. We have one of t he larger estates in England dating back to Norman times around 1350 or earlier and that is great responsibility and source of pride.

The Manor and Estate has great potential.

Any ideas for improvement or activities, raise them at Monday Meetings.

I would be first to acknowledge that I am young and lack experience so I look to you professionals to advise me.

There have been no major repairs to the Manor since 1948, More than 75 years ago, and that was mostly war damage repairs. We are about to embark on a great challenge with the upcoming repairs and refurbishment. Major repairs first then decorating.

Definition of areas of responsibility.

Myself and Mr Geoffrey.

Joint Project Managers for the forthcoming restoration. Co-ordination of outside agencies. Applications for grants and loans. Sometimes it is more tax efficient to fund certain projects by loans.

Duties of Steward of the Manor. Edward is our private secretary.
Mr Standish. Butler

Building and House Manager. House structure repairs, Equipment maintenance, Staffing. Discipline. Security. Telephone system. Fire precautions. Domestic arrangements. "State" dining rooms and sitting rooms. List of domestic staff and duties. Assume some of Seymour's duties.

House vehicles. Arbiter of 'junk'. Staff Uniforms, Co-ordinator of all House Activities.

Mr. Sheldon, Estate Manager

Estate roads, Tenant Farm liaison, Home farm organisation and efficient use of land.

Kitchen gardens and greenhouses.(Extra staff?) I wish to see the Manor more self sufficient in the future. Farm equipment repairs, Staffing. Office space? Supply of flowers for the Manor,(with Mrs Renney). Farm Vehicles and farm machinery. Advise on Land grants.

Mr Lang. Stable Master

Stable Management and repairs, Staffing. Horses and ponies. P.o.l point and strict records, monthly fuel tank dips, petrol and diesel. Riding instruction for staff who want to learn? Barn dogs and cats to control vermin.

Mrs Lang. Cook

Kitchen repairs, Equipment maintenance/replacement, (Liaise with Mr. Standish) Staffing. Food supply and stock management. Weekly menus. Staff whites. Cooking meals of course.

Mrs Renney. Housekeeper

Internal House "soft repairs"(with Mr. Standish). Equipment repairs and replacement.

Staffing. Flowers and pot plants. Regular area cleaning schedule. Laundry enlargement and ironing.

Zone cleaning on completion of repairs.

Mr Watson. Accountant

Account matters of import. Staffing. Monthly reports when computers installed.

Monthly "nett worth" statement. Insurance requirements. Payroll.

If anybody wishes to change these duties they are not set in stone.


Managers Personal phones, NO SMOKING. Appointment with me at any time.

My reports on major projects.

Well oiled clock, all parts working together .

I have mentioned staffing to each of you. I want you to think seriously about staff use and needs. If you think you need more staff, put up a bid at a Monday Meeting for it to be considered.

My view is that as this is one of the larger Estates in England, the Manor should reflect that fact.

It should be a showpiece not an embarrassment as it is at the moment. The staff should be proud to work here and be "on the team".

I have inherited one of t he larger estates in England dating back to the 1400's or before and that is a great responsibility and source of pride.

The Manor and Estate have great potential. Any ideas for improvement or activities, raise them at Monday Meetings. Edward is responsible for the agendas for those meetings. If YOU think it's a good idea get it on the agenda then sell it to us.

We are about to embark on a great challenge with the upcoming repairs and refurbishment lasting six to eight months or more. To try and maintain the normal schedule would be pointless and lead to much frustration. I have already briefed Mr. Standish on what I would like to happen and he says he feels sure that all the staff will do their best to keep things together. I would hope that if your department is under repair then you will assist elsewhere. If we all work together then this major upheaval will go more smoothly. The first thing will be to get rid of as much "junk" as we can. Standish will be the key man for this, he will decide what is 'junk' and what is 'antique'. He intends to have a clearance company to deal with the top floor. It looks like nobody has lived there since Victoria reigned. Might be a chance to get rid of any other junk/old furniture from other parts of the house.

Staff Welfare.

With more than 3 5 people on the staff we should act like a large family. If anybody has problems we should rally round in support. I would hope that one of us will be a S afe C ounsellor to discuss ANY problem large or small in confidence and who will give impartial advice or guide the person take action to rectify any situation.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead