Manners Maketh Man
March 11th was my grandfather’s birthday – my mother’s father – and it is funny how these dates remain and live with one: in fact my son is named Edward after him. He had clear cut, chiselled features and was always very well dressed. He was particularly keen on manners and tried very hard to ensure that we, his grandchildren, had good ones. We were supposed to leap to our feet when our parents came in to the room and offer them our chairs (not a popular move when you were trying to hog a chair near the fire or the afternoon tea table), hold open doors for adults and of course mind our table manners to his exacting standards. Napkins, no elbows, ask your neighbour what they would like, eat slowly, don’t take the last thing and so on. I remember two of my sisters, Sarah and Lucy, deliberately picking up their plates one lunch time and licking them just to wind him up, which led to an enormous brouhaha, with my mother trying to keep the peace.
Courtesy defines our culture and society, from the family lunch to respect in the wider community. In the time of the 14th century writer, Geoffrey Chaucer, his poetry and behaviour at Court, though not necessarily in real life, reflected the code of ‘courtly love’, an ideal pattern of behaviour based on ideas of nobility and chivalry. Medieval literature is filled with examples of knights setting out on grand adventures and performing various deeds or services as exemplified by King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.They left us the legend of an ideal world based on honour and good deeds and thus, by extension, good manners. I am not sure that King Arthur in fact even existed in reality – his story or ‘myth’ was first written up several centuries later in the 12th century in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s influential “Historia Regum Britanniae”, creating a native hero who vanquished the Saxons who were invading the Island of the Angles (England).
Seven hundred years later, in the 19th century, Jane Austen created other heroes, with or without manners, for us to fall in love with although I only have to mention Mr Darcy, that paragon of transformed manners, for my husband to change the conversation and walk away.
Apart from Mr Darcy, one of my favourite historical men who I think stands out in terms of humility and respect was William of Wykeham. Born a yeoman’s son, he rose to become adviser to King Edward III, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Bishop of Winchester. “Everything was done by him and nothing was done without him” wrote the contemporary chronicler, Jean Froissart. He was an architect, engaging in a diversity of large building projects, and an educational philanthropist who promoted those he thought had aptitude with both commitment and funds, always acknowledging his own debt to good schooling.
As Bishop of Winchester he spent considerable sums reconstructing his favourite episcopal houses among them, most significantly, the residence at Highclere which became a palace (the foundations remain under the present Castle) and the palace at Bishop’s Waltham, whose monumental ruins testify to this great architect. More importantly, he helped reconstruct both Windsor Castle and part of Winchester Cathedral and built and endowed both Winchester College (the school) and what is now called New College at Oxford University.
It is said that Wykeham had carved on a wall in Windsor Castle the motto ‘Hoc fecit Wykeham’. The King took umbrage leaving Wykeham to explain that it did not mean that he had made the castle, but that the castle had made him.
The motto, however, of both educational establishments is ‘manners makyth man’. This may, in fact, simply have been a proverb of his time since Caxton, in his Prologue to ‘The Book of Good Manners’ (1487), said “accordyng to an olde prouerbe he that is not manerd is no man, for maners make man”. However, like many mottos it gives pause for thought because, whilst it suggests how to conduct oneself in bearing, deportment and good manners, the morality is not explicit. Thus, a later warden at New College translated it into Latin as “mores componunt hominem”, which does suggest morals.
I think I rather prefer a proverb from 1605: ‘For thers an old saying: Be he rich, or be he poore, Be he hye, or be he lowe, Be he borne in barne or hall, Tis maners makes the man and all’. I am sure that my grandfather would have read such a proverb with approval, not least because he was always reminding us to close the door because “we did not live in a barn!”
Your grandfather, my grandmother. She insisted on good manners too and would not accept anything “below standard”. I personally would not have dared to do what your sisters did, her silence would have been unbearable. Whatever others may think, I am glad that she was strict.
It is not so much keeping up appearances (as many would argue) but rather facilitate living in society. Or am I now being thoroughly old fashioned????
It was funny but they were in trouble but with wry amusement too …
Yes, manners are to help us live together with consideration, kindness and respect … simply helpful guidelines and not silly rules and regs as some might say.
Edward III also created the Order of the Garter, circa 1346-48.
I enjoy reading all of Lady Carnarvon’s postings.
He did – he was an amazing King!
Oh thank you for the wonderful sharing story❣️Grandparents are treasures and i’m Blessed to have many loving memories. And with my Scottish Gramma you never went anywhere without “ washing up” and putting on clean clothes….
Your grandfather sounds like my mother’s father. I ended up giggling with tears because he also repeated on a regular basis, “Close the door. You weren’t brought up in a barn.” One day I(in all very youthful truth-telling) contradicted him. “I have grown up in a barn helping take care of our cattle, horses and dogs”. Everyone held their breath and it was one of the few times I heard him give a hearty belly-laugh and I got a hug. Thanks for sharing your memory.
There was always much laughter
I promise, I took more from your writing than this, but your sisters sound terrific fun!
I can see them now lifting up their plates… so funny
Passing this 1605 proverb on to my grown son (38 years old). I have preached this since he was a small boy. He is a lovely man but it is always good to have a refresher.
He accompanied me to Highclere a few years ago. We had a marvelous afternoon….could not have done the trip without him. I guess that falls under “respect your elders”, which he does.
You will have to return!
Gnädige Lady Carnarvon ich Diener Bertram empfinde es als selbstverständlich mich höflich und zuvorkommend gegenüber Damen und Herren zu Benehmen. Perfekte Manieren und Benehmen sollten heutzutage eine Selbstverständlichkeit sein. Mit einer vornehmen und eleganten Verbeugung Diener Bertram.
What’s a lovely post! I think manners are so i portant in our day, but unfortunately not everyone thinks that way. Manners make a kinder society, I believe. What fascinating history of Highclere you have shared with us, about the original foundations presently lying under the present structure today! Can you actually see them? I love seeing, touching, and feeling history. I suppose I should have been archeologist!
I love archaeology too –
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your grandfather sounds like my grandfathers and my parents. Manners were encouraged and enforced. Echoing the same phrase about NOT living in a barn, our elbows came off the table, hands in laps on top of our napkin, and we ( hopefully without spilling)passed the serving bowls around. Please and thank you followed, most of the time.
I do feel that manners are falling away, as I see many young people sulking, slouching and demanding whatever it is they want. We are all part of a greater community and manners show respect and consideration. Our politicians here could use few lessons in good manners!
Your memories sound like a gentle English story. My Grandparents traveled. My Grandmother was an Earth Scientists. Her degree took her all over places in the southwestern U.S. She was not the kind of person you would want to have a social conversation with. My Grandfather was a grumpy Engineer. His forced smile expression was the result of hating silliness and not being able to smoke, but still trying to enjoy moments. Thank you for sharing Lady Carnarvon
Good Morning, Lady Carnarvon, Nothing more need to be said than 1605.
Sometimes old saying like 1605, brings back a certain romance that has been long forgotten, and when heard once again, takes one back to a much simpler time and tradition. Thank God for memories.
John L. Roberts
Amherst N.Y. U.S.A.
P.S. It is so NICE to be back on your webpage again!!
Bravo. Bad manners drive me crazy, bad English and table manners.
Manners make the man, woman and child. I was sitting with my daughter in an old Washington, DC hotel yesterday having afternoon tea. Over the course of enjoying our treats a family starting gathering across from us on a sofa and few odd chairs. There were siblings with partners and young children along with toddlers. Watching all enjoing their tea, conversation and family time was just lovely. You could see that the young ones were having the best time trying new things, all the while staying in their seats, using their inside voices and participating in conversation. One takes good manners with them through out life and I applaud all of those who try to ensure proper behavior for our future generations. How wonderful to have had a loving and caring grandfather that thought of you and those that would come after.
He loved us – and was proud of his daughter – our mother who always had time and was unfailingly kind
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
thank you for sharing your grandfather’s wisdom on manners. I find good manners earns a great deal of respect, as its the little gestures that people most appreciate. I am grateful when a gentleman holds a door open for me, and allows me to pass first. I am sure some feminists would be horror stricken to hear that, but I feel respected and not patronised when this happens. My grandmother used to say “good manners cost nothing”, which is true, and they do earn respect in return, so a very good investment in life.
I like it too!
This almost brought tears to my eyes, such memories of my own dearly loved father. I was rather a chatter box as a little girl and on one occasion at the dining table my father looked at me very sternly and said “in my day little girls were seen and not heard”. He then gave me a little wink out of sight of my rather strict mother.
I am so “grateful” that I had the upbringing that I had and hopefully have passed on to my children.
I do remember the seen but not heard phrase and I prefer to bring all ages in although the art of silence and listening is key. There is a time for everything
This is so true. Manners does make a person. It is important out of respect for others and yourself. I was taught that, you may loose your objects or your home. However; what you learn and the good ways that were instiled, no one can take away.
This is an enlightening research on the history of manners. It is a very good story for youngsters that kindness in daily and personal relationships certainly makes a difference with our impressions on others. And first impressions do make a difference. Even second and third ones! Thank you for your research.
Apparently it is still the first few minutes in which we form impressions – hence Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice was titled First Impressions
I am here in the states but grew up with a proper mother, and a VERY BRITISH step mother. We always had to be on our best behavior at the table.
I just cannot believe parents nowadays who let their children run thru restaurants bothering other patrons, parents think it is so cute of their little one to engage, but not while you are spending hundreds on a nice meal
One time I dared to hold a piece of spaghetti in the air and lower into my mouth, I got the evil eye from my mother and never did that again. That was all it took was “the look” but I never felt that I was loved any less, it was called respect!
Thank you for your thoughts on this subject, we can all relate
Enjoyed this piece and what a beautiful photo of you and the dining table. Love the flower arrangements. Quite a learned discussion of the literature and men. Thank you for providing this for us, Lady Carnarvon. It’s a perfect in-between time, between winter and spring, for us to be a little more academic before we all leap into spring, new lambs, flowers blooming.
Thank you and the lambing will I think busy in the next two weeks!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Oh how I long for society today to know what good manners mean. I, too, had a strict upbringing. Mine was at the hands of the nuns who taught me but I think it made me a better more rounded person. It makes one appreciate our elders and show them the respect they deserve. Call me old fashionioned and I’ll take it as a compliment. I’m sure you will concur.
Every day I am grateful for the day before
I really enjoyed the blog. When I think of manners I refer to Emily Post: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” “Good manners reflect something from inside-an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” My mother always reminded my brothers and I to always use our manners. Sit up straight or take the hat off in the house. It’s a learning sense of trial and error and from this I have always felt an innate sense of consideration for others. We always had food on the table and an extra place for the less fortunate. Of course my oldest brother Fred would tuck his peas under his napkin if he could get away with not eating them. It’s the eldest member or the patriarch of the family to evoke order and propriety and the eldest of the next generation to to test that order. Others just go with the flow.
For all the technology of today we are still the same people, wanted to be liked, wanting to have friends or do things and respect and respect and manners help -I think
You’re grandfather reminds me so much of mine. He was born in 1887, brought up with 3 other boys in a household much impacted by his own maternal grandfather’s life in the military..this included no slouching, no leaving the table unexcused, or elbows at the table, and making sure to use the silverware properly. The thing that made him a bit angry was my love of ice cream “soup”…stirring it rapidly and then slurping it up from the dish. I still do it today. Thank you for this post. It was wonderful!
The reminder of not doing what we supposed to!!!
What a wonderful post today, Lady Carnarvon. I personally believe that part of the degradation of society today is a lack of manners and respect for our fellow man.
Manners, to me, show respect to others above oneself.
What a wonderful post. We spent considerable time teaching our children manners, using proper titles when greeting people, writing thank you notes, not interrupting adults speaking, opening doors and just generally acting in a manner with proper courtesy. We have traveled very extensively in Europe (never England) with our children when they were younger and people always commented on their manners. We now find that they are teaching their children, my grandchildren with those same manners. Thank you for a wonderful and historical article. Vince Baccari
It is so nice receiving letters or sending proper invitations
Good Morning Lady Carnarvon
Here is one of mine to add to the manners list:
“Excuse me, can I please leave the table.?”
“Please my I please leave the table.?”
What about saying Grace. we always did.
Kind Regards Richard
Love this subject as it brings us all back to events with our grandparents (which just shows that those manners that were expected of us then are not very common now). I recall being at the dining table with my family which included my aunt who was much more “civilized” than her sister, my mother. When she wanted something passed to her, she would ask the nearest person if they wouldn’t want it. You were, of course, supposed to say “no, thank-you, but would you care for it?” It took the rest of us a while to figure out what was intended, but then, being rather bratty small children at the time, we would tease her with a response of “No, thank-you”. Making her ask all over again. Sigh……
My mother used to try to the same practice with all of us – “would you like the ketchup?” usually for fish pie or cottage pie….
Thank you so very much for sharing. As I read, I was hearing my father’s voice. He spoke your grandfather’s word often. A flood of memories and smiles.
Thank you indeed for using this platform, your extraordinary skills and revered position to deliver this immensely important message. I had the privilege of meeting you several years ago in Houston at a tea given in your honour so, I know the sincerity and dedication that you devote to your work. Though I enjoy all of the articles you post on your Blog, this one is particularly significant and inspired me to encourage you. I have devoted my retirement years to the research of the rules we call “manners” and “etiquette”. I find that people are much more receptive when they understand the source of the rule, thus my attempt to demystify things that don’t seem to make much sense given our current world and resources. Case in point, you have selected ancient but appropriate documents to demonstrate the timelessness of courtesy. The beginnings of the “rules” were so practical and universally understood at the time of their origin, that it wasn’t necessary to write them down. Everyone knew why you didn’t rest your elbows on the table! You and Karin Hagen have expanded the importance of manners by demonstrating how important they are to healthy relationships. I treasure the Finse of Dogton Abbey books that I have acquired on our Viking Cruises. The charming text along with Suzy-Jane Tanner’s illustrations are excellent ways to introduce children to these important values. (And, also to those of us who so long ago left childhood behind and replaced it with maturity). My own websites are designed to provide an audience with answers to their etiquette questions at the various levels they find themselves and go from detailed explanations in http://www.aquestionofmanners.com to a quick reference guide in http://www.etiquetteonthego.com . More recently, I have recognized the importance of what you have lifted up in this particular post and have created http://www.preservationofelegance.org .
Keep up the good work!
Deidre, (AKA Lady Virginia)
Thank you for your thoughts!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a wonderful blog you have presented to us today.
When it came to being told to “close the door” my father referred to not living in a tent, rather than a barn, which always made sense to me because barns do have doors but tents (at least as I knew them) did not.
In addition to the “no elbows on the table” and “always serve others first”, a favourite of dad’s was “if you are offered a choice of two, be polite and take the smaller portion” He also insisted that “you comb your hair before being seated at the dining table”, “always offer your seat on a bus or train to an older person”, and “always have respect for your elders”.
Also, whether it be in reference to a car, a building, or an office, my father’s rule was to “always open the door for your mother.” Others that these days may be referred to as being ‘sexist’ but which I still consider to be acts of courtesy included “stand as a lady leaves the table and again when she returns.” And “ladies first”, which in reality was ‘applied’ for both sexes as “be courteous, stand back and let others proceed before you”, whether it be into or out of an elevator, through a door, onto a mode of transport or otherwise.
I believe it was Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience.”
And there always was the suggestion to offer assistance in crossing a busy street to anyone who looked in need of same. Also, “talk well of others, never gossip”, “stand up straight and hold your head high, but not your nose” and “always be courteous, kind and grateful”.
As far as speech was concerned, he would often say “Don’t ‘dop’ your “g’s”. Whilst on the topic of speech, when my cousins, my brother and I were very young children, my maternal grandfather would remind us when going out somewhere important “to only speak when you are spoken to” and the (now somewhat dated) “children are to be seen, not heard.” Having said that, I can not recall even just one instance of him excluding us from any of his conversations. He always was interested to hear what we had been doing and to tell us of his exploits.
It’s interesting when you realise just how much an influence one’s own family has had on your development and the “installation” of a moral code and manners. An older generation might prefer the word, “etiquette”.
As I got older, I also drew inspiration (& further advanced the development of both my morality and manners) by reading, learning & most importantly, practicing the doctrine of inspirational poetry, such as Kipling’s “If” and Max Ehrmann‘s “Desiderata” – including such as in the latter: “As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.”
My apologies. I have just realised how much space this contribution to your wonderful blog has taken and i had intended to include many more examples of my dather’s sayings on manners and moral behaviour.
Also, I haven’t even mentioned my absolute delight in reading of the historical figures you have mentioned – some of whom were well known but others of which I had been unaware. Thank you. Most interesting and informative.
In conclusion, “carpe diem”.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy and bring happiness to others.
I agree Carpe Diem
Thank you as always for so graciously sharing your home and your thoughts.
One thing I recall one of my elders saying about manners was that they are “like oil on a squeaky wheel, they ease the rub and reduce the wear and tear.”
Our parents also brought us up to have good manners and we tried to pass this on to our children, who are now having families of their own – as a new “Nana” I would love to buy copies of your book to give to my granddaughters. I found the Finse books by Ms. Hagen online, and your “Finse of Dogton Abbey Afternoon Tea” book, is that the one which includes the pages you shared in your blog, showing the young ones with their “Nanny”? Such a sweet image, especially as I also walk a bit more slowly these days!
Karine and I have such pleasure creating these books – she is amazing for her kindness.. and a special sister to me
Brouhaha Excellent Not used enough these days
Although there are still brouhahas!!
Manners are so refreshing….you reminded me March 11 today is my nephews birthday. He and his wife always send us birthday and holiday cards – I will have to call him today. Even though I say it over and over – I just love your stories!
I can honestly say that if I had ever picked up my plate and licked it, I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale LOL.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I like good manners and I had to teach myself few things growing older, evolving and interacting with other people in the work life.
My parents were insistant on some specific things too. Living in a cold Canada (c ; my father used to say: “close the door, we don’t heat up the outdoors!” If my poor translation from French makes any sens to you! And now that I reread myself, I see an economic common sens to it too obviously.
Today, I find it is disapearing a lot and it makes me sad. It is not only respect of others, but to yourself to have good manners. But not all feel the same for different reasons. I like a gentleman, even if I’m an independant woman. I like good table manners, but I too would have liked to be present to see your sisters defy the code! (c :
I agree – Geordie and I are partners, but he suggest I walk through the door first
First Happy Birthday to your Grandfather, he sounds just like my Grandmother and my dad, my Grandmother was a Southerner, old fashioned, Manners, good diction. Dad was the same , Manners Courtesy, You post brought back a lot of Memories, thank you, have a good day.
As your grandfather and parents and you have done, instilling manners and respect in a person is in my opinion the greatest lesson parents can teach. I also think it is the mindset Jesus preached in the golden rule and is so elegant in its’ simplicity. The world is sorely lacking in keeping that in mind.
Thank you, I’m in trouble at this present moment, I invited the (American) vicar around to bless my house which he did. But the rule is that a vicar must be accompanied by a women, when calling at a lady’s house!
This rule also is a scouting rule. I hope I didn’t get him into trouble?
We weren’t to know. Most of the other rules you mention I was born up with too
And they are still very much alive in my community. Ruth
I, too, growing up with five sisters and quite a proper mother, had many lessons in good manners. But we also shared our table with people from around the world, poor and rich, and learned that graciousness and kindness should reign, since manners are so varied and not at all universal. Respectfulness, curiosity and comaraderie, even with the occasional elbow or (licked plate!) make for warm memories!
Sign of good food!
It is wonderful that you have written this article that emphasizes the importance of having good manners. To me, good manners is another way of saying one behaves graciously. Although I inherited other things from my grandparents and parents, the most precious of them is the lesson on how to be a gracious person. I am happy, in no small part, thanks to the lessons on how to behave with dignity and grace. Bless you, in your fine example of gracious living and your wonderful manner of sharing this with the world.
You are right it is the handed down traditions or customs, maybe not written down but still there
A delightful historic account. My father was the one in our family who made sure we “minded our manners.” The one rule that I had trouble following was, “Don’t sing at the table.” I was a happy child and loved to sing!
In regards to Highclere Castle… Are there any drawings of the original castle? It is fascinating to know that the original foundation lies beneath the castle!
I have some recent sketches as in for the last 250 years which are two incarnations of the home. There are descriptions from the 18th century and descriptions from the 13th century…Abbreviated Latin takes time
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to write these posts. They are delightful! Being fans of Downton (and Jeeves and Wooster), we visited Highclere in the summer of 2017 (a fabulous visit) and your posts are like mini return trips every Monday.
Today’s post was particularly apt for me, as this weekend my husband and I were discussing manners (more particularly, a general decline in manners). I especially enjoyed your description of your husband’s reaction to any mention of Mr. Darcy….my husband responds in a similar manner, often coupled with eye-rolling.
Thank you again!
I think Geordie would do the eye rolling too!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I look forward to reading your posts. I particularly enjoyed this one. I often lament people’s total disregard of manners and the popular acceptance of incorrect grammar. In the US it has become so bad that I was recently told I was wrong to correct a five year old’s use of the wrong tense. Apparently all language is acceptable if it communicates the intended meaning.
I couldn’t disagree more. Your grandfather showed caring and love when he corrected you. You are better for having “endured” his ways.
I imagine you to be a very gracious person who thinks before she speaks and cares for other’s feelings. Never stop!
If you have any suggestions for helping people use good and well correctly without overtly correcting them, I could use help. Hardly a day goes by without someone telling me, ” I am good.”
Keep posting, I thoroughly enjoy hearing about your life.
I am certainly most imperfect but always happy to say sorry, and understanding not to say something or stepping in to say that was not meant is gained through meeting people not phones. Like you, I do think grammar and tenses matter.
How very dare they!
If you mean how could they lick their plates?? It was very funny … and obviously lunch was yummy and perhaps they were no second helpings.
Thank you so much, Lady Carnarvon, for writing this. Manners seem, in these times which try our souls, to be something which are rapidly going the wayside. People feel so much more can be accomplished through rudeness and abruptness. Little do they stop to think, through such rudeness, they are setting themselves back rather than moving themselves ahead.
It is a true, in many cases, that the “squeaky wheel receives the grease”. When the squeaking is done in a kind and polite manner, rather than a rude and abrupt one, much more (and a higher quality) oil is received.
Kudos to you on your marvelous writings (in both your blogs and books). It carries us to a new world and helps us to gain great insights.
Thank you for all your work behind your writings.
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas. Ah, yes. Proper manners and correct usage of the English language. One afternoon, coming in for dinner after playing with neighborhood friends, I decided to use a new word I had heard that day. My dear Aunt Faye, a stickler for all things proper, had arrived to join the family for dinner. I took great pains to use my new word “ain’t.” A great heavy hush fell upon the table. Aunt Faye carefully placed her fork on the plate, and with her eyebrows arched up to her hairline, turned to me and said, “Linda Faye, ain’ts crawl on the ground, not in your mouth.” Lesson learned.
That’s very funny!
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Thank you for your cogent posts.
As an American Anglophile, my parents, grandparents and English uncle, did manage to instill manners and civility in me at an early age. Thank goodness. I passed many of them on to my son. I know that because I have received compliments in restaurants in America and Europe.
I hope for more public and private models of cavity!
Santa Rosa, California
Tee Hee … well my father used to say … “well that’s closer to a manger than you were” … in reference to leaving a door open and being born in a BARN! It always made me smile.
I taught my children manners as my father taught me.
Please and thank you. Yes ma’am and no ma’am. Yes sir, no sir. Sit up straight. No elbows on the table. No singing.
A good foundation last a lifetime.
Foundations – you are right
Good evening Countess carnarvon
I grew up when society was more formal and yet “on the farm” we kids spoke rather loosely. So I was surprised to see you use the phrase “hog a chair”.
I am a snob who thinks people who are on the affluent side of the fence relatively speaking always use proper precise language.
Your blogs have proven me wrong plenty.
Thanks again for your wonderful spirit and love of the human experience.
Shirley Susan Taylor
Your grandfather, my grandfather too. His gentlemen like manner was the standard for all future beaus. Lucky for me, my oldest daughter is born on his birthday. (I also have a daughter whose name is Lucy.) Four daughters to be exact. They stir the soup quite well too.
Thank you for yet another exceptional blog entry and a glimpse into all things Highclere.
Goochland County, Virginia
We were always expected to behave at the table at all times, most especially at the grandparents. We would get the lecture as we were going up the elevator to my Dad’s parents apartment. No running in the hall to their door, running in the house, only play in guest bedroom and hallway. Never never touch anything. We always knew these things. We never dared to disobey. We would eat in the building restaurant. Never did we get up to go to the bathroom or run around. My grandfather believed in “all children are to be seen and not heard from” My parents never had to discipline us at their house or when we were out an about. My grandparents were amazed at how all their grandchildren behaved so well….14 grands. It was the threat of death or getting the look!!!!
Manners never get old or are old fashioned. I wish more people abided by them.
A wonderful article.
Thank you one and all and especially Lady Carnarvon for your tales of early childhood memories of table manners and grand parents My clearest memory of my stern maternal grand father is one of when I was five, not at the dinner table but rather in the dining room itself. In one corner stood a stately oak roll-top, much larger than myself. With wide eyes I studied the many divided cubbyholes and the well-organized top with green blotter. I knew I must not touch it so I delighted in its immense grandness, & unlike your sisters, I dared not tempt fate, as I knew without even turning around that Grandpa was standing in the doorway with eyes on me & no one else. Thank you for your lovely posts that I enjoy from across the pond.
Isn’t there so much we all share across a pond?
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This was my favorite post of all. Over time, you have shared with us: your life with your animals which has offered us a path to keep in in touch with our reality and sensitivities to each other, and the magnificent history as well as the extraordinary natural beauty of the Highclere estate, but I think in this post, you have shared with us a piece of your soul, and for this I believe we were immensely enriched.
Carolyn Cariello, Temecula, CA
Yet again a delightful read m’lady……. Brings back so many fond memories of my paternal grandfather.
What a lovely article. Sadly good manners are not as prevalent as they once were, but how wonderful it is to see them in action. When I was teaching my son good manners, which he now wears with pride, I explained to him that good manners often had built in safety features. For example, not having the bottle lean on the glass when pouring (saves spills) not reaching across someone, etc and generally not making people justify themselves or feel embarrassed. I agree, Good manners help us to keep our traditions and values, and is as important as taking time to listen to others, share what you can with people and have empathy for those around us.
I love built in safety features!!
This is a lovely post. As a 50+ year old woman in the US, I’ve seen a lack of manners over the decades. It’s sad. There are so many things we used to do as a polite society that we don’t see any more. Written (not texted or emailed) responses. RSVPs. Respectful titles for those either older or in higher positions. Basic politeness and face-to-face interaction with people. I’m holding out hope that some of these practices come back into fashion soon.
I always enjoy following your blog. I find English history and things about you and your home fascinating. Please never stop enlightening us.
Oak Forest, Il
I thank my paternal grandmother for the good manners I have today. It is painful to see those who do not have good manners not only at the table but as a guest in someone’s home or in public. Thank you for your anecdotes. One of my mother’s favorite “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?!” Very funny looking back. Thanks once again for your articles.
Heavenly Birthday to your Grandfather. Tomorrow (Wed. March 13) is my birthday. Hope to visit Highclere Castle someday. I am diabetic so I hope I can eat. Hope I get to meet you and have a picture with you. Take Care.
Thank you for sharing this history. My husband always teaches my son (his stepson) chivalry. He might be 23 now but believe me, there are many more lessons yet to be taught and perhaps some have actually stuck with him. I can’t wait to see Highclere in a month. Always enjoy your blog!
Hello Lady Carnarvon,
I always enjoy reading your blog. What a great article. I always thank my parents and grandparents for insisting that we have good manners. It is sad that nowadays that is nonexist.
Take Care and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! How will you celebrate it.
I was also raised that way, but it’s nice to see it reiterated here, especially in this day and age. Thank you for this post!
My three children went to a very small preparatory school in the 1970’s. It had as the school motto “Manners maketh Man.” This made a great impression on the children, most of all my eldest son who took the words to heart. To this day he often reminds me that he still tries to live up to the motto!
It is amazing what stays with us, often despite protestations at the time!!
My Mother is English and we did live in England for a time before moving to the US at 7 years old. We were taught manner and respect and also that in a difficult situation ask yourself “what would the Queen do”. I have passed this on to my son and it is sad to see that people are surprised when he offers his seat to an older person, holds the doors open for others and says please and thank you. Good manners can be hard to find here in California.
Holding the door open is sooo nice! A real way to win friends
I look forward to your thoughts every time. Thank you for sharing your life with us . Here in Florida everything is sooo casual. I wish we could get back the “Emily Post Era”.
Thank you for sharing. This is my favorite post since I read it on my birthday.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
My Grandmother on my Mother’s side stressed how important manners are in life. My Mother expressed the same concerns. Good table manners, sending thank-you cards, keeping your word, a gentleman holding a door for a lady out of respect for the lady.
I am so grateful that they taught these manners to us. I feel good manners are important.
This was a beautiful blog and I loved it. Thank-you for this important message.
ORANGEVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA.
Now I’ve learned how to spell “brouhaha.” I’ve heard Mr. Carson say it on Downton Abbey, but since it’s an expression that I’ve never heard before or seen in print, reading this very entertaining blog, I’ve learned something new…as with each posting. Now I can pass it on to my fellow American DA fans.
Many thanks, Lady Carnarvon.
Mein Kompliment an ihren Blog Gnädige Lady Carnarvon.