Tuesday 8th September 2009 by C. Freeman
History student Lauren Butler volunteered to work at Boughton House over the summer and transcribed accounts from over 200 years ago. As well as guiding tourists and helping out in the gift shop and tea-room, Lauren scrutinised an accounts book for interesting statistics to transfer to computer records.
After her two weeks' voluntary work Lauren was employed as a guide, telling visitors about the house's fascinating history. Boughton was bought by the Montagu family in 1528. It was extended and remodelled by Ralph Montagu, the English ambassador to the court of Louis XIV. He was so impressed by the grandeur of Versailles that he wanted to replicate some of its French features in the English landscape.
Lauren said: 'William III came to visit the house for a day. It was fashionable to build houses based around the calendar, so it has seven staircases and 52 chimneys. I picked up a lot of facts when I was shepherding guests on the guided tours. I was the youngest guide there and got more confidence because I had to talk to a wide range of people.'
'I also had to go through the accounts book of Lady Elizabeth, the wife of the third Duke of Buccleuch, which detailed her spending from 1802 to 1805. I noted down every time she gave money to charity, music or the arts and then type it all up on the computer and convert the old money to today's equivalent. It was really interesting because she would spend the modern equivalent of £200 on a hair grip or something. She was a little bit extravagant but she was very generous as well and gave a lot of money to charity.'