The Ford Motor Company was established in America at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it revolutionised the motor industry.
The book opens in 1956; the model of the Ford is not made clear – it is possibly the Model T or the later Model A, but it is certainly vintage given comments later in the book:
Harry Smith ..... said to me, 'Your car would be the vintage Ford up there on Thornley Bush Hill, sir?' (p. 183)
The English West Country encompasses the counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
From 519AD, the Saxons ruled the Kingdom of Wessex, reaching as far as Berkshire and Surrey; the name of Wessex is still in popular use today.
The profession of butler requires reliability, conscientiousness and a strict adherence to a code of conduct. Following training, a butler would be expected to run a household and know everything there is to know about its management and staffing.
During the Second World War (1939-1945), Britain was repeatedly bombed by German planes. The West Country suffered a significant share of the bombing, being close to the south coast and less well protected by RAF squadrons. Ports and industrial centres were the main targets, although bombers that couldn't locate their target would often drop their payload on any village or town that presented itself.
Afternoon tea is a particularly English custom and often involves tea, cake, pastries, and elegantly cut sandwiches, minus crusts of course. Everything stops for tea ...
Generations ago, painted pictures and signs outside shops and public houses (pubs) were visual signposts to help illiterate people find their way around a town. The Ploughman's Arms would have had a picture of a ploughman, the "arms" originally referring to the heraldic coat of arms of the local titled landowner. The pub sign tradition exists to this day, although illustrated shop signs are not as common.
The tower and spire of Salisbury Cathedral constitute the highest medieval stone structure in Britain, at 404 feet. Recent research suggests that massive hurricane damage in 1362 led to wooden renovations having to be made to the interior of the spire.
The original cathedral was built at Old Sarum between 1075-1092; work on the current cathedral began in 1220. Although the main cathedral was completed within 100 years, building works continued over the centuries, concluding with the completion of Wren Hall in 1720.