Regency Priorities for Servants When Waiting on Men

Footman, Regency priorities for servants when waiting on men

Footman, Courtesy of Library of Congress

Servants had important task in that they were there to serve their mistresses and masters. However, when accomplishing their duties, they had to serve people according to their rank. This could be tricky if a servant was new or if they were waiting on a large party and were unfamiliar with the titles of the guests.

Besides serving people according to rank, the servant also had to take into consideration the age of the person being served.  This meant the oldest person within a rank was served first and the youngest person within that rank last. For example, if strictly serving the son of Dukes, the oldest son would be served first, the second oldest son next, and so on, with the Duke’s youngest son being served last. These rules of rank also applied when serving tea or providing refreshments in the drawing room after a dinner.

Serving men was usually accomplished in this order, after first serving the King:

  1. King’s sons
  2. King’s brothers
  3. King’s uncles
  4. King’s grandsons
  5. King’s nephews
  6. Archbishop of Canterbury
  7. Lord High Chancellor
  8. Archbishop of York
  9. Lord Treasurer
  10. Lord President of the Privy Council
  11. Lord Privy Seal
  12. Lord High Constable
  13. Lord Great Chamberlain of England
  14. Earl Marshal
  15. Lord High Admiral
  16. Lord Steward of the Household
  17. Dukes according to their patents
  18. Marquesses
  19. Duke’s eldest sons
  20. Earls
  21. Marquesses’ eldest sons
  22. Dukes’ younger sons
  23. Viscounts
  24. Earls’ eldest Sons
  25. Marquesses’ eldest sons
  26. Bishop of London
  27. Bishop of Durham
  28. Bishop of Winchester
  29. Bishops according to their seniority of consecration
  30. Barons
  31. Speaker of the House of Commons
  32. Viscounts’ eldest sons
  33. Earls’ younger sons
  34. Baron’s eldest sons
  35. Knights of the Garter
  36. Privy Counselors
  37. Chancellor of the Exchequer
  38. Chancellor the Duchy of Lancaster
  39. Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench
  40. The Master of the Rolls
  41. The Vice-Chancellor
  42. Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
  43. Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
  44. Judges and Barons of the Exchequer according to seniority
  45. Knights Bannerets royal
  46. Viscounts’ younger sons
  47. Barons’ younger sons
  48. Baronets
  49. Knights Bannerets
  50. Knights of the Bath Grand Crosses
  51. Knights Commanders of the Bath
  52. Knights Bachelors
  53. Eldest sons of the eldest sons of Peers
  54. Baronets’ eldest sons
  55. Knights of the Garter’s eldest sons
  56. Bannerets’ eldest sons
  57. Knights of the Baths’ eldest sons
  58. Knights’ eldest sons
  59. Baronets’ younger sons
  60. Sergeants at Law
  61. Doctors, Deans, and Chancellors
  62. Masters in Chancery
  63. Companions of the Bath
  64. Esquires of the King’s Body
  65. Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber
  66. Esquires of the Knights of the Bath
  67. Esquires by creation
  68. Esquires by office or commission
  69. Younger sons of the Knights of the Garter
  70. Younger sons of Bannerets
  71. Younger sons of Knights of the Bath
  72. Younger sons of Knights Bachelors
  73. Gentlemen entitled to bear arms
  74. Clergymen not dignitaries
  75. Barristers at Law
  76. Officers of the Navy
  77. Officers of the Army
  78. Citizens
  79. Burgesses
  80. Married Men and Widowers, served before Single Men of the same rank

If you are interested in regency priorities for servants when waiting on women, click here.

References:

  • The Footman’s Directory, and Butler’s Remembrancer, 1823

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