This is an excellent book that traces the history of the country house from the middle ages to the present time. In the early days men predominated in service but by the 19th century women were the driving force. There appears to be more class distinction below stairs than above. There were the Upper Ten (Butler, valet, housekeeper etc) and the Lower Five (footmen, maids etc)and they protected their privileges determinedly. The author traces the development of the country house itself, which will make it more interesting next time I visit a stately home. What amazes is the number of people, 45 plus, per household, to service a family, not forgetting the outside staff, gardeners, grooms etc.The keynote of the relationship between master and servant was Trust and Loyalty. Incidentally, the word servant seems to have diappeared from the modern vocabulary. This is a well researched book, thatI recommend whole heartedly.