A redaction of Charlotte Smith's well-known The Old Manor House (1793), Rayland Hall focuses on the secret cross-class romance of an impoverished young gentleman, who hopes to inherit the estate featured in the title, and a lovely but lowly quasi-servant, who is virtually imprisoned in its confines. Ranging widely across the social spectrum and crossing over into the America of the revolutionary wars, the tale downplays the usual "thrills and chills" associated with Gothic chapbooks to give unusual attention to everyday life and the serving classes, redefining Gothic themes and motifs in social and psychological terms. A significant entrant into the field of chapbooks, Rayland Hall modifies the standard assumptions both about the genre and about chapbook readers as a segment of the reading public in the early nineteenth century.