Dame Audrey - Her Household, Family, Friends and Employees
Few people would live alone. Most householders, even the poorest, would have servants. Servants might be either freemen or bondsmen/slaves. Families and neighborhoods were close-knit.
Dame Audrey’s household includes her cousin and companion, Margaret, and her servants, John and Emily Holt and their thirteen-year old son, Alfred. Her young apprentice, Matthew Cornelius, lives in her house, except for holidays when he stays with his parents. Jacob Cornelius serves as Audrey’s steward and runs the trade when she is away. He and his wife, Hanna, are expert weavers from Flanders.
Audrey has a wolfhound called Rufus, and keeps riding horses for herself, Margaret and John and a packhorse. Traveling alone would be improper for a woman and dangerous for anyone.
Audrey’s widowed mother, Gwen Smith, lives in the village of Pangbourne, about 7 miles from Reading. Gwen has two servants, Elfreda and Kenneth. The local blacksmith in Pangbourne is one of her cousins.
Her sister, Bethany, lives in Redding in the next parish.
Her aunt and uncle, Clementine and Wilfred Woodcote, live by the wharf on the Thames. Wilfred Woodcote is a shipwright. Their sons are William and Colin.
Audrey is friends with Sally, the wife of Edward Faringdon, a mercer. Their children are Philip and Jenna.
Audrey employs the dyers, Roy and Kathleen Kelsey, and the fuller, Nick Fuller, in her cloth trade.
Her Cloth Shop
This picture from Giovanni Boccaccio's 15th Century book gives an idea of the spinners and weavers at work in Dame Audrey's cloth shop. She might be the well-dressed woman at the top, although as a widow, she would have to wear a wimple and veil in public.