Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Raffald, Elizabeth
RAFFALD, ELIZABETH (1733–1781), cook and author, daughter of Joshua Whitaker, was born at Doncaster in 1733, and baptised on 8 July in that year. After receiving a fair education, she passed about fifteen years—from 1748 to 1763—in the service of several families as housekeeper, her last employer being Lady Elizabeth Warburton, of Arley Hall, Cheshire. She married John Raffald, head gardener at Arley, on 3 March 1763, at Great Budworth, Cheshire. The couple settled at Manchester, and during the next eighteen years Mrs. Raffald had sixteen daughters. At first she kept a confectioner's shop; then took the Bull's Head Inn, Market Place, and, at a later period, the King's Head, Salford. She was a woman of much shrewdness, tact, and strength of will, and had, with other accomplishments, a good knowledge of French. She gave lessons to young ladies in cookery and domestic economy, opened what was probably the first registry office for servants in Manchester, and assisted in the continuance of ‘Harrop's Manchester Mercury,’ and in starting ‘Prescott's Journal,’ another local newspaper. In 1769 she published her ‘Experienced English Housekeeper, for the Use and Ease of Ladies, Housekeepers, Cooks, &c., wrote purely from Practice … consisting of near 800 original Receipts;’ of this work thirteen genuine editions (from 1769 to 1806), and at least twenty-three pirated or spurious editions, appeared. R. Baldwin, the London publisher, is reported to have paid Mrs. Raffald 1,400l. for the copyright in 1773. Her portrait, from a painting by P. McMorland, first came out in the eighth edition, 1782. The portraits in the spurious editions are untrustworthy. In 1772 she compiled and published the first ‘Directory of Manchester and Salford.’ A second edition followed in 1773, and a third in 1781. She also wrote a book on midwifery, under the guidance of Charles White [q. v.], the surgeon, but she did not live to print it. It is believed to have been sold in London by her husband, but if published it bore some other name. She died suddenly on 19 April 1781, and was buried at Stockport parish church, where many of her husband's ancestors were interred. Raffald, who was an able botanist and florist, but of improvident and irregular habits, died in December 1809, aged 85, and was buried at Sacred Trinity Chapel, Salford.