In Victorian England in the 1880s, widowed undertaker Cedric Brown has seven unruly children. He is clumsy and loves his children, but since the death of his wife, has spent little time with them and cannot handle them. The children have had a series of nannies, whom they have systematically driven out by their bad behaviour. They also take great pleasure in terrorizing their cook, Mrs. Blatherwick. Besides their father, the only one the children will ever listen to is Evangeline, the family's uneducated but sweet-natured scullery maid.