This year I'm looking at some of the entries in the "The Diary of a Country Parson". This was a diary kept by an English clergyman, James Woodforde (1740-1803). Woodforde lived in Somerset and Norfolk, and kept a diary for 45 years recording all kind of ordinary incidents which paint a picture of the routines and concerns of what Ian Hislop terms "the middling folk" of 18th century rural England.
A few notes on the text:
The Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned was Frederick Cornwallis (1713 - 1783), who bore the distinction of being the only Archbishop of Canterbury to have a twin brother (Edward Cornwallis). Wikipedia notes:
As archbishop, his sociability and geniality made him popular. He was a consistent supporter of the administration of Lord North, and led efforts in support of dispossessed Anglican clergy in the American colonies during the American Revolution. On the whole, Cornwallis has generally been judged as a competent administrator, but an uninspiring leader of the eighteenth century church - a typical product of eighteenth century latitudinarianism, whose lack of zeal paved the way for the differing responses of both the Evangelicals and the Oxford Movement in the early 19th century.
In "Writings of Canterbury Cathedral Clergy, 1700-1800", Stanford Lehmberg notes that:
Frederick Cornwallis, archbishop from 1768 until his death in 1783, was the seventh son of Charles, fourth Lord Cornwallis. The fact that his twin brother Edward became a general illustrates the fact that younger sons of the aristocracy often found careers in the church or the military establishment. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he was a fellow of Christ's College, dean of Windsor, and prebendary of Lincoln before advancing to the episcopate. He was named bishop of Lichfield and Coventry in 1749 and dean of St. Paul's in 1766. Soon after Secker's death he was appointed archbishop of Canterbury. It was said that no one was more beloved at Cambridge; Hasted, the contemporary historian of Kent, wrote that "he gives great satisfaction to everybody [at Canterbury]; his affability and courteous behaviour are much taken notice of, as very different from his predecessors."
His publications consisted almost entirely of sermons preached before he became archbishop on the occasions that were generally graced by senior clergy; the commemoration of Charles I's martyrdom before the House of Lords, 1751; the annual sermon for the president and governors of London hospital, 1752; the anniversary sermon for the SPG in 1756; and the address at the annual meeting of children educated in charity schools, 1762. (Lehmberg, 2004)
The violent storm of 1787 is also mentioned in John Wesley's journals:
Sat.11.-We went on board the Queen, a small sloop, and sailed eight or nine leagues with a tolerable wind. But it then grew foul, and blew a storm, so that we were all glad to put in at Yarmouth harbour. About six Dr. Coke preached in the market-house to a quiet and tolerably attentive congregation. The storm continuing, at eight in the morning
August - The Diary of a Country Parson
AUG. 2. . . . Mr. and Mrs. Custance got into their new House for the first time to sleep there. But Mrs. Custance was taken ill before she got there. Supposed to be in labour.
AUG. 6. . . . Nancy took a walk this morning to Mr. Custance's new House and there stayed and dined and spent the afternoon there. I walked in the afternoon there and drank Tea, and about 8 walked back to our House with Nancy. Begun shearing Wheat today. Harvest very forward. Gave Mrs. Davie a very genteel steel Cork Screw this afternoon. Gave Nancy some Muslin to make a shawl.
AUG. 18. . . . Mr. du Quesne returned home Wednesday last. The Arch Bishop of Canterbury and his Lady Mrs. Cornwallis are come also to Mr. Townshends at Honingham.
AUG. 21. . . . Nancy and myself dined and spent the afternoon at Mr. Jn. Custance's at the New Hall with him and Mrs. Custance. They sent their Coach after us and carried us back home in it. We had for dinner Ham and 2 Fowls boiled, some young Beans, Veal Collops and hash Mutton for the first course. A rost Duck, baked Puddings, Apple Tart etc. second. They behaved very civil and very friendly to us. Mrs. Custance gave Nancy a Pearl necklace and Pearl Chain to hang from the Necklace, a Pr of Pearl Earrings and another Pr of Ear-rings. Mrs. Custance is exceedingly kind to my Niece indeed. We returned home about 8 o'clock in the evening. After spending a very agreeable day.
AUG. 22. . . . I took a ride to du Quesnes this morning, stayed with him about an Hour, found him rather low still, and fretting himself about being so tyed by the leg, in dancing backward and forward to Townshends with his great Company. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Lady are there etc. The Archbishop and Lady go from Townshends Saturday next. Du Quesne is then determined to visit his Neighbours, tho' Townshend be ever so much affronted at it. . .
AUG. 7. . . . Robert Shoard who married Farmer Corps Daughter and since the Farmer died, has continued my Estate at Ansford, called on me this Morning and paid me a Years Rent due Lady Day last past the Sum of 35. 0. 0. I paid him out of it for Poor Rates and Church 1. 12. 2 ½. I paid him also for a new Gate 0. 7. 0. I gave Robert a Receipt on stampt Paper, and to let him with his Mother Law continue on the Estate. Poor Farmer Corp died just before we came down. He had over-heated himself it was said and was imprudent to drink cold Water after it. Brother John and Wife and Js Clarke spent the Aft: with us. Js Clarke supped and spent the Evening also with us.
AUG. 10. . . . Nancy and self very busy this morning in making the Charter having some Company to dine with us -- But unfortunately the Cellar Door being left open whilst it was put in there to cool, one of the Greyhounds (by name Jigg) got in and eat the whole, with a Cold Tongue &c. Sister Pounsett and Nancy mortally vexed at it. Js Clarke and Wife and Jenny Ashford dined and spent the Afternoon with us -- We had for Dinner some Maccarel, boiled Beef, a Couple of Ducks rosted, a brace of Pigeons rosted and a Barberry Tart. Mrs. Pounsett Senr dined and spent the Afternoon with us.
AUG. 10. . . . About 10'clock this Morning there was a most violent Tempest -- very much Lightning and the most vivid, strong and quick I think I ever saw before -- Not so much Thunder but very loud what there was -- The Rain was some time before it came but then it was very heavy, the Rain did not last long. We were much alarmed, the Maids came downstairs crying and shrieking at 10'clock. I got up immediately and thinking when I went up Stairs to bed last Night that there was likelihood of a Tempest being so hot, I had lighted my little Lamp, and only laid down on my Bed with most of my Cloathes on and was just dozing when I heard the Maids all of a sudden shrieking at my Door. We lighted some Candles. Nancy had one in her Room, they were much frightned. It continued incessantly lightning from before 1 till 4 this Morning -- then it abated and then I went to bed and slept comfortably till 9 o'clock.
Thank God Almighty, for preserving us all safe from so violent a Tempest. May all others escape as well. It was most dreadful to behold the Lightning. Mr. Massingham, Dr. Thornes Apprentice, just called here in the Evening to enquire after Betsy Davy &c.
AUG. 11. . . . My Parlour and Study Chimnies finished this Day and I thank God safe and well. I gave the Men to drink on the Occasion 0. 1. 0. A great deal mentioned on the Papers concerning the dreadful Tempest on Friday Morn' last, but thanks be to the Lord, but very little damage done or any Lives lost. May all other Parts escape as well.
AUG. 12. . . . I read Prayers and Preached this Aft. at Weston C. Mr. and Mrs. Custance at Church this Afternoon they returned from Yarmouth last Friday. The Cossey Singers at Weston Church this Afternoon. I likewise christned two Children this Aft: at Church
AUG. 28. . . . My Greyhounds being both very full of fleas and almost raw on their backs, I put some Oil of Turpentine on them, which soon made many of them retire and also killed many more. . .
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