Diary of a Cotswold Parson

Publisher / date: Amberley Publishing, 2009
pages: 704
genre: diary

Amberley Publishing has to be my top favorite publisher, and this book – first in the series of The Complete Diary of a Cotswold Parson, shows the press at its best. This is a huge book! The introduction itself runs a couple hundred pages.

Francis Witts is the parson in question. I wait with great impatience for the “complete” diaries of his mother, Agnes Witts (you’ll see that book on this site soon!), and will slowly build my Witts library. It is a big undertaking: Francis’ diaries is up to Volume 8 and is still incomplete.

Volume 1, subtitled The Nomad, covers the period from 1795-1805. The “extensive introduction” should have been a book all its own. Highly recommended. And who are the Austins met late in the diaries??? More on that later!

* * *

Cotswold Life published an informative write-up on the Diaries of Agnes Witts. And I just found their entry about her son, Rev. Francis Witts.


Ellen Tollet of Betley Hall

publisher/date: Betley Local History Society, 2008
pages: 254
paperback only
genre: diary

Every researcher dreams of finding a source like the journals of Ellen Tollet. Mavis E. Smith has an abiding interesting in the Tollet family, and has presented a lovely book, with illustrations, that gives a glimpse into the lives of this family.

Ellen was 22 years-old when she began her 1835 diary; journal 2 covers some of 1836 and there are entries in a third journal for the 1840s. A “parallel” diary by Sister Georgiana, covering late-1835 to mid-1836 are also included.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the domestic lives of 19th century British women.



  • I highly recommend the Nantwich Bookshop for purchasing such harder-to-find local publications; easy website, friendly service – and they might even supply a signed copy!
  • The Telegraph‘s story on the Nantwich Bookshop
  • The Betley Local History Society‘s official website features publications and meeting schedules
  • The Chester Chronical featured a nice article on the book, and its editor Mavis E. Smith


If you’ve read this book — or want to do so — please leave a comment