Diary of Philippa Brooksbank

A little account of my happy life when I was in my 21st year,” is how Philippa Clitherow (born in 1760) introduces herself.

This fully-transcribed diary recounts Philippa’s introduction to Mr. Brooksbank while on a September visit to BRIGHTON, “a very gay public sea bathing place”. Her future husband, Benjamin Brooksbank, she describes as “a very lively, agreeable Young Man.”

In the opening paragraph, alongside meeting Mr. Brooksbank, Philippa’s sister Jane “greatly admired by Mr. Baker”, marries “three months after the first meeting”. Philippa links her sister’s marriage to her own sadness: “never having seen Mr. Brooksbank since we returned from Brighton, thought he had quite forgotten me; really was sick at heart.”

And yet… the next 1781 entry tells us that Mr. Brooksbank did not leave young Philippa dangling for long: “His first visit to Boston House was in two days after the wedding.” Poor Philippa! Her father being out, Mr. Brooksbank “was not let in”. But he called again; and even stayed to dinner.

Colonel Clitheroe_RomneyJames Clitherow (by Romney, 1784)
Philippa’s “Brother”

Come the first entry under 1782, Philippa tells readers, “On the 27th February, I was married to Dear Mr. Brooksbank. It was a very quiet wedding.”

This delightful family diary was transcribed in October 2006 by Kerry Brooksbank. The file is all text, which left me wishing for some images – of people, places, or at the very least the dear diary which cover FIFTY years, the last entry being in August 1832.

Boston ManorBoston Manor, near London
Philippa Clitherow’s family home …

State drawing room_Boston Manor
… a Grade I listed Jacobean manor house

Luckily, there is MUCH online about the family and their homes, especially Boston House.

In between these dates of 1781 and 1832 comes much family history – the birth of children, of course, which brings in some interesting tidbits be it attendance at Cambridge or voyages to India. Mentions are made of places as divergent as Cape Town and Ireland. One son becomes a clergyman.

The years go by quickly, with intermittent entries for really important occurrences – like the Hunt Ball or a family christening. In all the diary covers about 79 typed pages. But it packs a wallop within those pages: Assizes; child-rearing; travel; social calls.

Stamp Brooksbank_Geo EngleheartPhilippa’s son, Stamp Brooksbank

Her diary, of course, helps to put her family together. The Brentford High Street Project, featuring a website on “The Clitherow Family of Boston Manor“, helps to put siblings, aunts & uncles perfectly into context.

Philippa’s family included:

  • Ann (b. 1760) m. William Salkeld
  • Jane (b. 1761) m. Peter William Baker
  • Mary (b. 1764)
  • James (b. 1766) m. Jane Snow
  • Martha (b. 1768) m. Lord William Seymour
  • Sarah (b. 1769) m. Rev. E. Bullock

The family was well connected. Mary Clitherow’s letters, which tell of King William IV and Queen Adelaide (part 2; part 3), were published in 1902. Mary’s husband was the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford. Their sister, Mrs. Baker – whose marriage is mentioned in the diary, was painted by Gainsborough:

Jane Clitheroe BakerMrs. Baker by Gainsborough

Daughter Philippa Brooksbank married Guiseppi Pecchio – known to Ugo Foscolo, who knew Lord and Lady Compton (AKA: Spencer Compton and Margaret Douglas Maclean Clephane).

[Spencer Compton, 2nd Marquess of Northampton, was Emma Austen Leigh’s cousin and Emma is one of my Two Teens in the Time of Austen]

Some useful Clitherow / Brooksbank LINKS:

Note some spelling differences – Clitheroe or Clitherow; Phillipa or Philippa.

 

Diary of Mary Hardy, 1773-1809

mary hardy
Publisher / date: Burnham Press, 2013
pages: xxiv + 581
Hardcover
genre: diary

I’ve waited many months, since first seeing notice of this series of diaries covering the years 1773-1809 (there are four diary volumes; a fifth volume of entries not included in the foursome has also been published). Mary Hardy was an “average” Georgian-era woman, living in Norfolk, and writing about her daily life. The books were just released at the end of April, 2013. I took the chance and ordered the set of four from Amazon.uk (Amazon in the US thinks the books “out of print” — which is typically the case when books are released in the US or Canada…).

Editor Margaret Bird has researched the diaries for 25 years, and the level of her accomplishment comes out in these beautiful books. Each of the four is a hefty 500-plus pages, but the books are easy to handle — and lovely to read. Notes line the outer side of each page, making reference that much easier. They are copiously illustrated – with contemporary drawings, maps, portraits, and current photographs.

Two websites have been set up for the series:

the other volumes are,

  • 1781-1793: Beer Supply, Water Power and a Death (vol. 2)
  • 1793-1797: Farms, Maltings and Brewery (vol. 3)
  • 1797-1809: Shipwreck and Meeting House (vol. 4)
  • The Remaining Diary of Mary Hardy: entries 1781-1809 (168 pages)

hardy diariesI’ve posted a short (little over a minute) preview where you get to see volume one of The Diary of Mary Hardy on YouTube.

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My other YouTube videos are based on my research into the lives of Emma Austen Leigh (aka Emma Smith, 1801-1876) and Lady Smith (aka Mary Gosling, 1800-1842). I hope to add to my “readings” of letters and diary entries, so do check out my Smith & Gosling YouTube channel. Although Mary Hardy does not mention the family (although brief mention IS made of the de Greys of Norfolk, the family of Mary Gosling’s stepmother, Charlotte de Grey), Charles Smith (of Suttons) gained his fortune mainly through a distillery business, so reading about the Hardy brewery business is of great interest.

Upcoming on my channel will be other video-peeks at books you’ll see here on Regency Reads.

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UPDATE: See TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN for my “conversation” with Mary Hardy’s editor, Margaret Bird.

A Working Bibliography: Regency era England

It dawned on me today, as I reading the intro to the book The Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney (more later on that excellent source) that I’ve TONS of books to share with readers listed in the bibliography to Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

I’ve been researching Mary Gosling (left) and Emma Smith (right) — also known as Lady Smith and her sister-in-law Emma Austen Leigh, for five years now. The bibliography may be a bit out of date (ie, I’ve MORE to add), but there you will find some online books as well as books you’ll discover in used bookstores or in the library.

Books range from Jane Austen — Emma after all married Jane’s nephew, James Edward Austen — to James Woodforde, the Country Parson. Scroll down till you get to SECONDARY (PUBLISHED) SOURCES.

**I’m always LOOKING for such bibliographic lists — can never have enough books! Always at least one hidden gem… Email me (smithandgosling [at] gmail [dot] com) if you’ve come across some useful finds. Keep in mind, I’m looking for “scholarly” primary editions, good biographies, and travel- or art-related items => no fiction please.

Diary of a Cotswold Parson

Publisher / date: Amberley Publishing, 2009
pages: 704
Hardcover
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!

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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.