Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Wages


This page gathers together various bits of information I have managed to acquire about wages in the 18th century. Wages did vary over time and place and so should be regarded only as approximate.

Annual Wages for Female Servants

PositionAnnual Wage
Head Woman (of female servants)£20
Personal Maid£8
House Maid£6
Laundry Maid£5-6

Annual Wages for Male Servants

PositionAnnual Wage
French Chef£60
Butler£57 10s
Confectioner£52 10s
Head Coachman£12-26
Assistant Head Coachman£9-10
Post-chaise drivers£6-20
Head Gardener£30
Assistant Gardener£4

*Footmen in the first half of the century might expect to make considerably more than their salary from tips or vails. By the end of the 1760's this practice had largely died out. In 1765 a footman's job was advertised for £17 but noting that the vails were small.

Changing wages throughout the century

The table represents notional annual wage for someone working full-time throughout the year. This was not necessarily the same as the actual wage, particularly for agricultural and general labourers whose employment depended on the time of year or available work.

Labourers and other Menials
Agricultural Labourers£18£17£17£21£30
General Labourers£19£20£21£23£25
Messengers and Porters (exc. govt.)£31£34£34 £34£58
Police, Guards, Watchmen£13£26£26£48£47
Government Employees
Government low-wage£22£29£29£46£47
Government high-wage£63£84£79£105£134
Skilled Workers
Skilled in Shipbuilding£36£37£39£45£51
Skilled in Engineering£41£42£44£51£58
Skilled in Building Trades£29£29£31£36£41
Skilled in Textiles£34£34£36£42£48
Skilled in Printing Trades£43£44£46£54£67
Professionals, Clergymen and Teachers
Solicitors and Barristers£113£178£231£242£165
Clerks (exc. govt.)£44£68£64£102£135
Surgeons, Medical Officers£52£57£62£88£175
Engineers, Surveyors£131£122£138£170£190

Teachers should perhaps have been included with the Menials. Teaching was not a high status profession in the 18th century.

Sourced from here (rounded to the nearest pound), citing Williamson 1982 The Structure of Pay in Britain, 1710- Research in Economic History, 7

Wages in 1825

The following annual wages would be paid at the household establishment of a Country Gentleman with an income of around 16,000 - 18,000 pounds per annum.

Female Teacher30
Head Nurse20
Second Ditto10
Upper House-Maid15
Under House-Maid14
Upper Laundry-Maid14
Under Ditto10
Second Ditto7
Still-Room Maid9
A French Man-Cook80
Under Ditto20
Groom - His Liveries and a Gratuity
Lady's Groom12
Nursery - Room Boy , Clothes and a gratuity
Head Game - Keeper 70 Guineas a year, and 13s per Week for Board - Wages ; -a Cottage and Firing
Under Ditto, one Guinea per Week
Gardener 40 Guineas a year, and 13s per Week for Board - Wages ; a House and Firing
Assistant Ditto, 12s per Week

When the family was not in residence, servants would receive a Board Wage of 10s. per week for women and 12s. per week for men.

Source: Samuel and Sarah Adams, The Complete Servant: Being A Practical Guide To The Peculiar Duties And Business Of All Descriptions Of Servants, 1825

Other occupations

PositionAnnual Wage
Ship's Boy£2 10s
First Commissioner to the Admiralty£3,000
First Lord of the Treasury£4,000

Pottery Manufacture

PositionWeekly WageYearly Retainer
Skilled Labour (turning,throwing)7s - 9s£1 10s - £2 2s
Less Skilled Labour (slipmaking,grinding)-
Women's Labour2s1s
Boy Labour10d - 2s 8d0d - 1s
Girl's Labour1s - 2s0d - 1s

Wages paid by John Whieldon 1750-1760. The ranges varied over time - I have included the full lowest to highest across the period.