Elizabeth Martin: The Careful Housewife of 1763

Elizabeth Martin's Handwriting

Her name was Elizabeth Martin and she resided at Vervil (Coity Lower)  - which is less that two miles from the town centre. We can assume that Elizabeth would have done most, if not all of her shopping at Bridgend. The old house at Vervil was a fairly substantial yeoman's residence, but was demolished when it was acquired by the Nicholl family due to disrepair.

Her account book is a quire of quarto paper which does not seem to have been abstracted from a larger book. We do not know if she was a careful person by nature but we can see that her books of accounts is written neatly and with meticulous accuracy.

There is a separate account for each week, this extends over the period of 53 weeks. (March 1763/1764)

The totally expenditure for this period was £88. 5s. 4 and a half.  
The weekly average was £1. 10s. 6d.
The highest week was £3. 0s. 4 and a half d. 
The lowest was 14/4 and a half d. 

Most of Elizabeth spelling is original and phonetic: Flour as Flower, Celery as Sallary, Lemons as Lemmans, Beef Steaks as Stakes and Salmon as Sammon.

Some of the things that Elizabeth purchases include: Lambs Fri, Sammon, Veal, Caves Head, Gouse, Craw Fish, Pidegons, Sugar, Turnips, Flour, Eggs, Soap, Cockels, Bread, Tea, Oyl, Cheese, Snuff, Sand, Lemmans etc. (all original spelling)

Clothes, Fuel and Furniture were treated as special items (not included in the household books).

 Below are various extracts of the account book transcribed by Dr. Henry Randall.

(Sources: Dr. Randall & Glyn Davies)

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