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Sabine Winn


Click play above to hear all about Sabine's life and legacy.

Podcast written and narrated by Serena Dyer, Warwick University.

Sabine Louise Winn (nee d'Hervart), 1734 -1798

Sabine Winn was the Swiss wife of Sir Rowland Winn of Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. Born into a prominent Huguenot banking family, Sabine found adjustment to life as an English aristocrat difficult. Regularly left alone in Yorkshire by her politically ambitious (though unsuccessful) husband, she was left isolated. Troubled by suspicious neighbours, unruly servants and rebellious children, she often referred to Nostell as her prison. However it is how she combatted this isolation and loneliness that make Sabine fascinating. She compiled a culinary and medical recipe book, corresponded with tradespeople, and experimented with new crafts. The records that she left of these activities provide a unique window into the life of a woman trying to make a home for herself in a foreign country.

Sabine’s life remains obscure, and her unconventionality has often been disregarded as eccentricity. However I believe this does her a disservice. The extensive documentary record left by Sabine contains a thorough record of her consumption habits, the problems of overseeing a large country house, her interest in home medicine, and her relationship with her husband, children and servants. This record of her life holds great potential for research by historians of national identity, consumption, the country house, gender and medicine.

Further Reading:

Julie Day, Elite Women's Household Management: Yorkshire, 1680-1810 (London: VDB, 2008).

Christopher Todd, 'A Swiss Milady in Yorkshire: Sabine Winn of Nostell Priory,' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 77 (2005), 205-224.

Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England (London: Yale, 1998).