Martha Lloyd’s Household Book

Object name: Martha Lloyd’s Household Book

Object number: CHWJA:JAHB34

Category: Book

Description: A handwritten book containing recipes and remedies compiled by Martha Lloyd, a family friend of the Austens who lived with them both in Southampton and here Chawton.

The book is a quarto notebook bound in full sheep parchment, embossed with a double-lined border on the front and back. It comprises 126 pages in four signatures. It measures 15.5cm wide x 21.1cm high x 2.6cm thick.

Recipes are written in a number of different hands, over a thirty year period. Martha is believed to have begun compiling her book around 1796, and to have continued to add to and amend it until 1830. During this time she lived with the Austen women in Southampton and then at Chawton.

Made: 1796 – 1830

Context: A household book was a common artefact in an eighteenth century kitchen, and an essential tool for a woman to manage her home. It was used to collect all sorts of domestic wisdom, from recipes for food and drink to those for medicinal remedies and household products. It might contain recipes (or ‘receipts’) that had been passed down through families or gathered from friends, or those copied from books, which were costly.

The recipes in Martha Lloyd’s household book help us to understand the types of foods that were eaten by the Austen women, from plain dishes such as Hogs puddings and Vegetable pie to fancier ones such as White Soup and To Curry after the India Manner. It also includes a recipe for Toasted Cheese, one of Jane’s favourite foods, and numerous recipes for cakes, pies and puddings which we know she also enjoyed. There are also recipes for drinks, such as Mead, Currant Wine and Ginger Beer, and for household products.

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