James Caldwell Diaries & Letters

It was back in November 2022, after listening to the Anne Lister Research Summit presentation of “Mariana, Marriage & (No) Money,” by Shantel Smith, that I learned of Lawton- and Belcombe-related comments among the CALDWELL family diaries (there are letters too). Specifically, the number of “sightings” of Mariana Lawton and visits by the Lawtons or to Lawton Hall.

Two websites have items relating to JAMES CALDWELL (1759-1838) and his daughter ANNE MARSH CALDWELL (1791-1874). The family home, Linley Wood, was in TALKE, Staffordshire.

Another family in Staffordshire quickly sprang to mind: the Tollets of Betley Hall. I love the books edited by Mavis E. Smith (the last edited with her husband Peter Smith):

Sure enough, the Caldwells letters and diaries have LOTS of mentions of the Tollets of Betley Hall! See, for instance, this page of Caldwell diary entries, which covers the 1830s-era of the Tollet journal and letters books. Search [control-f] for Tollet.

James Caldwell’s diary – for 1816 – also mentions “Miss Lister,” who – of course, is Anne Lister of Shibden Hall. The visit took place a month after Mariana’s marriage to Charles Lawton; in company with Mariana (Mrs. C. Lawton) was “Miss Lister” and “Miss Belcombe” (“Nantz” Belcombe, Mariana’s eldest unmarried sister).

Another familiar familial name is Wedgwood – yes, the famous pottery family. Great friends with the Tollets and the Caldwells.

The main page of LINKS to the voluminous Caldwell material, and very useful to bookmark, is: jjhc.info/caldwellnotes

  • Read the strong biography of James Caldwell, with accompanying photographs of family & items, to understand the man behind the James Caldwell diaries (covering, especially, the 1790s through to his death in 1838)

Only now am I lookimg through the material. It makes for exciting reading, just to see the DAILY goings-on of a “landed” gentry family.

Caldwell material also is posted on Michael Heath-Caldwell’s site. More about the second site, later. And I still need to look at the daughters’ diaries and the family letters. So much material, generously posted online. Volunteer opportunities available, in helping to transcribe!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s