The Reverend James Woodforde (1740-1803) kept a record of his life in Norfolk at the end of the eighteenth century. His diaries were published in five volumes as the Diary of a Country Parson between 1924-31. The following entry makes gives a contemporary account of washing.
from James Woodforde, Diary of a Country Parson
(1799) June 10, Monday. We breakfasted, dined &c. again at home. Mr. Maynard called on us this Morning. To a Man of Shearingham by name Hull for six small Crabs paid him 0. 1. 0. Dinner to day, a small Leg of Mutton roasted and remarkably fine flavoured--Scotch Mutton. Mr. Custance called on us in his Evenings Walk around 7. o'clock & spent an Hour with us. Michael Andrews Wife has met with a very bad Fall and very dangerously strained her Ancle. Washing Week with us this Week. We wash every five Weeks. Our present Washerwomen are Anne Downing and Anne Richmond. Washing and Ironing generally take us four Days. The Washerwomen breakfast and dine the Monday and Tuesday, and have each one Shilling on their going away in the Evening of Tuesday. Mr. Custance brought us great News, that the French had been entirely driven out of Italy by the Austrians & vast Numbers of them had been killed and taken Prisoners in the late battles.