April 1st 1784
Perthshire servant wagesBetween 1770 and 1790 the price of food rose sharply, appreciably more than the cost of farm servant’s wages, but this did not prevent the Minister of Kilspindie, in the Carse of Gowrie from commenting sourly, “Servants wages in this country have risen to a most alarming height. The men servants, with their enormous fees, are disobliging, perverse and obstinate, refusing to work more than six hours in the forenoon and four in the afternoon. They have no idea of submitting to any little economical employment at a winter fireside.”
The reality of the ‘enormous fees’ are shown in the income and expenditure of a day labourer with
a wife and family of seven children living near Auchterarder. In addition to his rented house he was also
able to rent an acre of ground on which he kept a cow and grew potatoes, barley and oats.
The milk, butter and cheese produced by the cow was used by the family but in addition a 28lb cheese was bought in as itemised in the expenses account.
At least there was some two shillings left over for the New Year.