Manuscripts and Special Collections

William Booth’s diary, 1812

March 4th, 2011 at 08:03

Descriptions of a collection of documents with local interest to Nottingham and Lincolnshire, apparently collected by Bernard B. Granger, 1700-1943 (MS 839), have just released on the online catalogue.

One intriguing item within the collection is a diary kept by William Booth (MS 839/7/1). William Booth was born in 1768 and died in 1836, and was a farmer at Kirkby Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire. The volume is inscribed ‘Daily Occurences, 1812′, and records the daily agricultural work carried out on Booth’s farm, purchases made, trips made, and occasionally social occasions and observations on the weather. At the back are records of blacksmith’s work paid for in 1812, and sales of wheat and barley grown in 1812.

William Booth was a Baptist. An abstract of his will survives in the Portland (London) Collection, in which he gave £100 to the Kirkby Woodhouse chapel. His brother-in-law was James Smith (1764-1847), lay preacher at Broad Street Baptist Chapel in Nottingham. There are records of the Broad Street Baptist Chapel within the records of Mansfield Road Baptist Church, Nottingham.

So, what was William Booth’s life like, nearly 200 years ago? His relative John Eddison was buried. He went to Gateford near Worksop, the home of the Eddisons. His employee John did a lot of work on the farm (‘pleaching’ means to interlace or intertwine the bent down or partly cut stems and branches of young trees and brushwood so as to form a hedge). And his old horse died. Here is his record of the events of this week in 1812:

March 1. John Eddison buried at Blythe

2. John off. Inct’d [entered?] Gatef’d on foot along James Smith & his ass

3. John began to pleach between Pool Close & Little Meadow, taken off in rain & snow. Bo’t a peck of meal of G Robinson at 21d

4. John trash’g oates. Rainy day

5. Thursdy. John peaching do [ditto]. Old Horse very bad

6. John pleaching. Sold Todd 68lb hay at 5/-

7. Tho. Lees & Jo. Robinson Dress’d old Merryman [the horse] & John took the skin to Mansfield to Johnson – set off at 1/2 pas 3. It appears that the old Horse’s comp’t originated in his having eaten some Barley chaff which never got out of his Guts – so that it brought on an inflamation and a Mortification

8. [blank - probably because it was Sunday]

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