WHAT IS IT? Throughout the collection there are examples of the experience women had with their money: namely that the men in their lives controlled their access to, and use of, their money and seriously limited the women’s control of their own finances.
WHAT ARE THE SOURCES? This was a sporadic element to the minute book but there are interesting examples like the entries that describe the conditions women had to accept to gain access to their money, such as the money only being paid out to them “under legal advice”. Also, the Deed of Appointment by Charles Pascoe Grenfell in favour of his daughter Maria Georgiana Grenfell expressly leaves his daughter "one equal fourth part" of £10,000 and no more when he dies. The marriage settlement of William Grenfell and Mrs Frances Dorlase and the post-nuptial settlement by Thomas Frances Leyshon and wife Eleanor Du Pre Leyshon, all depict the control the male trustees had over the women’s finances.
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING? The extent that sexism is shown in the records. There is plenty to learn about the society and times of the 1800s from these sources. They provide fascinating examples of the limitations placed on women in the later 1800s and could, for example, be a useful source to use in the study of women's financial position in this period. They could also provide details for anyone interested in researching a case study on the Grenfells as a rich family, to see where and how they spent their money and how they organised their personal and business finances.