London provides the focus of the present study not simply through record availability (although this is important), but because it was the acknowledged centre of domestic service in Britain in the period under study. 1 The demographic and spatial expansion of the metropolis involved migration-fuelled population growth that nearly trebled the number of London’s residents over the seventeenth century from some 200,000 in 1600 to over 550,000 by the beginning of the eighteenth century, and which resulted in a female majority at least from 1695. By then, London’s population constituted some 11 per cent of England and Wales’s total, with the next largest town, Norwich, only housing approximately 30,000 people: it is true that urban Britain would expand over the eighteenth century, but in 1700 London’s pre-eminence was indisputable. 2