This game of dice is not for devious maids.
Dicing for Maids’ Money
Dating from a 1674 legacy, two servant girls of Guildford throw a dice to win the prize of a year’s wage.
The Dicing for Maids’ Money ceremony takes place at the Council Chamber, Guildford in Surrey England.
John How left £400 in his will with instructions that two maid-servants should throw a dice for the interest on £400.
Each must be a “poor servant maid of good report”.
Any applicants for the contest been in the service of a Guilford Household for two years.
As long as it isn’t an inn, a hotel or a house of ill repute!
The maids take turns shaking the dice in a special century-old hide-covered, silver-banded dice box.
The maid who throws highest won the money.
Although the winner takes all the money, the loser gets more!
This is because in 1702 John Parsons, yet another benefactor, left £600 to be invested.
The interest is to be given each year to ‘a poor young man’ who had served a seven-year apprenticeship.
The apprentice must swear before justices that he was possessed less than £20.
With long apprenticeships since forgotten and £20 less than the price of a night out, the money goes to the loser of the Dicing for Maids’ Money.
As the amount is a few pence greater, the loser gains more!
In 1974 the winner received £11.95 and the loser £12.09.
Since there aren’t so many maids in Surrey these days, last years contestants were from Home Support Services in Guilford.
They walked away with £60 and £62.
Both go down in history.
Maids (ancient and modern) sign the trustees’ Book of Honours which has been handed down for over 320 years.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.