Search The National Archives Catalogue
Get Adobe Reader

Extract from the Diary of Thomas Fenwick for 1783

Politics continued to feature in Fenwick’s life and he paid for the bell ringers to celebrate the Treaty of Versailles that ended the American War of Independence for he had long been on the American side. The sale of former Benison estates continued and contributed to payment of some of his longstanding debts. Fenwick also increased the lands he farmed in order to generate more income from the cattle trade. The rather distant relationship with his sister Jane improved and she paid at least two visits to Burrow Hall during the year. The relationship between Fenwick and James Dowker also appears to have become less strained.


1 January. Rose at 7. Wind north <west>. Very hard frost. Therm’ at ½ past 8 20. Walked 5 hours. No dinner, physicking myself. Rent day. Saw nobody. Bed ½ past 8.

2 January. Rose ½ past 8. Wind north <west>. Hard frost. Therm’ at ½ past 8 19. Drank tar water twice before dinner. At 11 ate a little hung beef. Dinner fowl boiled & broth; just tasted cold ham. Walked about & after 3 took a glass of tar water. At 4 ate 3 pears. Very hard frost. Took the juice of a lemon & some cheese. Supper meal & water. Bed 9.

3 January. Rose at 5. Wind north west. Intensely hard frost. Slept pretty well. Took a glass of warm tar water. Therm’ at 8 24. Not very hard frost. New moon between 7 & 8. Breakfast water pottage & treacle. Went over the wood bridge into & down the park by Leck beck home. Then went to Kirkby town end & back. Dinner knuckle of veal & potatoes & a little ham & hung beef. Wrote to Mr. Burges & Sowerby; inclosed to the former a £10 bank note. Ate 3 nonpareils in going to Kirkby. Between 11 & 12 wind east. At one south east & barometer greatly fallen since the morning. Bryan Townson & his wife were here, but I did not see him; she brought me half a dozen cakes. At three took a glass of warm tar water. After that ate a cake & a half & part of a scalloped shell of potatoes. The men have leading dung to the level, the parrock & the Lower Feet Lands till this day, when they led wood; but Rowland has not been here this week, being ill. N. Huggon has not been here. The day has been cloudy, no sun. Bed ½ past 9. <Letters from Clerk of Committee & Mr. Taylor.>

4 January. Rose at ¼ before 6. Wind east. <Thaw, moist & cloudy.> Took glass of warm tar water. I was very easy when I went to bed, but as soon as I laid down I had a pain at my breast which prevented my sleeping till 11. Ate half a cake. Breakfast cocoa. Sent half a guinea for J. Davis’s hunt. J.D. William, Tom, H. Leeming, Ned & Robinson are gone to hunt. I gave the three last 2s. apiece. William came home to dinner; I gave him 1s. for himself & 2s. for Tom. Dinner minced veal & roasted hare. Thomas Taylor & an old Quaker from Tatham came about a Settlement. Ate 2 nonpareils; 2 pears; some tamarinds & cheese & some cake. Very heavy rain in the evening. Killed & saved a brace [of] hares. N. Huggon brought me £1.1.6 from Mr. Waddington for wood which he bought for Mr. Parker. Bed ¼ past 9.

5 January. Sunday Rose at 6. Wind south west. Breakfast none. Rode to Burton & in going ate an apple & some bread. Got home a little after 11. Bryan Waller was here & dined on hashed fowl & goose. He came with the Yorkshire Petition. In the evening I drank with the gardener beer. Huntsman went to hunt at Hornby; I paid his bill £1.2.2½ & gave £1.1.0 to be spent at Berry’s & Hornby’s. Bed 11. The day warm & misty.

6 January. Rose at ½ past 7. Wind south west. Cloudy but fair. Wrote & sent the Petition (by Mr. Preston) to Mr. Sutcliffe. Breakfast water pottage. Dinner tripe. Note: Last night there was a distinct blue flame in the fire for an hour when the coals were nearly cindered. The leaves of oak trees cut down are fresh; whereas those of old trees are dead. Query. the reason. Mr. Preston returned at 5 & had left the Petition with Mr. Redman. Drank beer. Went to look at Mr. Preston etc play at cards. Bed 8.

7 January. Rose at 7. Wind west. Foggy. Drew a bill on Mr. Hurd for £15. Wrote to him & gave Mr. Preston the letter; the bill was payable to him. Therm’ at 10 45. Walked almost all the day. Dinner brocoli & cold mutton, but at 11 o’clock I ate 11 oysters. Slight shower between 11 & 12. Young J. D. went to fish but none rose. Gave H. Leeming 4s. to go for Burton coals. Supper bread & buttermilk. The day has been very spring like. Bed ¼ past 8.

8 January. Rose at 8. Wind south west. A tempestuous morning. Slept much. Breakfast bread & buttermilk. Walked a little. Dinner a few oysters, scallop’d cockles, a bit of flounder & savoy. In the afternoon ate some apples & tamarinds. J. D. gone to Sedbergh. Huntsman came from Hornby; Bella from her mother’s whither she went on Sunday. Very dark all day. Before 4 & 5 began to rain very heavily. Huggon yesterday & today making a pump for Hornby. Supper buttermilk, bread & cake. Bed ½ past 9. <At Hornby the huntsman hunted 5 & killed 4 hares.>

9 January. Rose at 7. Wind west. The wind extremely high in the night & morning with showers. Breakfast buttermilk, bread & cake. Men hedging. J. Leeming goes part of the way home with Nelly. N. Huggon boring pump tree. At 11 took a glass of tar water. Dinner part of a flounder, half a partridge & some turneps. It has <been fair> quite overcast & dark all the forenoon with a pretty high wind; but at 20 min. past 12 there was a violent storm of rain & wind which continued till three. Gave Mr. Richardson, schoolmaster of Wyersdale £1.1.0. Supper cold turneps & 3 poached eggs. At three took some bark. Paid for <13> rush lights to Richard Ort at 7¼d., 8s. 1d. Received of him for tallow, 2 stone & 10 lbs at 5s., 13s. 1d. Paid Batty sale cryer for Chippendale’s sale 7s. 6d. Received of him for goods bought 5s. 3d. The wind was frightfully high this evening between 8 & 9 o’clock. Bed ½ past 9.

10 January. Rose at 7. Wind a little to south of west. Wind high but fair. Breakfast (after tar water) water pottage & treacle. Thomas Dixon came. Walked with him by Lune side, back by the park over the wood bridge home. Paid Mr. Dodin for measuring land 10s. 6d. His bill was 7s. Dinner J. D. & T. Dixon with me, flounders & loin of beef. After dinner, Mr. King came. He drank a draught of ale & wine. Between 4 & 5 he went home. I walked with him to Kirkby Bridge; it rained heavily a great part of the way. I got home at ½ past 5. Supper buttermilk & bread. Huntsman went to hunt at Jonathan Briggs’s; killed a brace of hares, saved one of them. Bed ¼ past 9. <Letters from Burges & Sowerby.>

11 January. Rose at 5. Wind south west. Fair but wind high. 4s. to H. Leeming to go for Burton coals. Took tar water. Breakfast buttermilk & bread. A heavy shower between 10 & 11. Ate 3 apples & a pear. Dinner (J. D. with me) hough & hare roasted. He drank a little beer. At 3 T. Dixon came from Hornby. Hodgson from Raygill brought me a goose, I sent him 2s. 6d. for it. Paid J. Robinson 6s. Supper bread & buttermilk. H. Leeming went for coals at 8 & got home at 3. Cloudy, little wind, no rain this afternoon. Paid huntsman 3s. 10½d. Bed ½ past 8.

12 January. Sunday Rose at 5. Wind south east. Rain. Breakfast (after tar water) water pottage. Wrote to Mr. Dunn. Briggs came & gave me a bill for £185 for which I gave him a receipt for half a year’s rent due at Martinmas for farms at Claughton & Burrow. He, Mr. William Preston & J. D. dined. Dinner calf’s head hashed, tongue & turneps, goose & rice pudding. Rained about an hour in the afternoon. They drank ale, & gin & water; I water. They sup’d on oysters; I buttermilk & bread. Received a letter from <Revd> Mr. Gawthrop. Bed ¼ past 10.

13 January. Rose at 5. Wind west. Cold, snow on the hills. Mr. Preston is gone to Mr. Redman for Yorkshire Petition. Breakfast water pottage. Huntsman gone to hunt towards Parkhouse; he killed & saved 2 hares, one a young one. Dinner Messrs Townson, Preston, Dixon & Davis with me, jugged hare, giblet pie, brace & half of partridges. Beer, gin punch; I water. Philip Knipe came for advice. Agreed that some land should be let to Mattock for £50 per annum he to spend vestures on the premises & take care of fences. Mr. Preston & the gardener drank gin & water in the evening. Supper bread & buttermilk. Bed ½ past 8.

14 January. Rose at 6. Wind south west. Warm, cloudy. Huntsman, J. D. & Mr. Preston gone to hunt at Tunstal. Breakfast buttermilk & bread. Gab[rie]l Croft came about wood at Old Wennington. Talked with him about his valuation of Hornby estate, £4 per cent he rated it at – About Peace – The poor – cutting grass for hay – Briggs’s farm. He drank some ale & went away. Mr. Benison of Bentham & a young man came & dined; dinner hough, tripe, tongue & partridges. Drank beer; I water. Mr. B. complained he had had nothing for teaching R. Wilson’s grandchild; I gave him £1.1.0. They left me at ½ past one. Rains. The hounds killed & ate a hare. Note: I heard a blackbird singing. Supper bread & buttermilk. Mr. Preston & gardener drank gin & water. Showers this evening with a high wind. Bed 9.

15 January. Rose at ½ past 5. Wind west. Fair & calm. Wrote to Mr. Redman & sent Tom with the Petition. Breakfast buttermilk & 2 buns. Walked part of the way to Kirkby Lonsdale with Mr. Preston; rained before I got home. Several showers before dinner; dinner scallopt cockles & boiled rice pudding. Huntsman gone to hunt about Tunstal, saved an old hare. Fair afternoon. Supper 3 poached eggs. Mr. Preston & gardener gin & water. Rain in the evening. Bed 9.

16 January. Rose at four. Wind north. Fine. Wrote to Mr. Richardson. Mr. Hurd (with a bill for £185), Miss Turner. Breakfast water pottage. Set off (Mr. William Preston with me on Mr. Holmes’s mare) at 20 min. before 7. Got to Sedbergh at 9. Breakfast bread, cheese & milk. Set off at 12 min. before 10. Snow on the hills & the roads in some places on the east of Garsdale slippery & hard frost. Got to Askrigg at 12 min. before 2. Dinner mutton steaks & goose pie. Mr. Preston rum & water; I ale. Got the horses sharpen’d; 4 o’clock before the blacksmith had done; therefore determined to stay here all night. Supper toasted cheese. Bed 7. <Snow on the hills & front before we got to Sedbergh.>

17 January. Rose at ¼ before 6. Wind north. Frost. Set off at 10 min. past 6. Got to Halfpenny house at 23 min. before 9. Breakfast tea, toast & butter & cheese. Set off at 8 min. before 10. Got to Pearcebridge at 15 min. before one. A trifling snow shower half way from Richmond. Dinner pig’s fry & spar rib. I drank water only. Set off at 11 min. before 3, got to Moffitt’s Rose & Crown, West Auckland at 20 min. past four. Drank wine & water & ale. Supper mutton chops. Mr. Sowerby came & drank brandy & water & paid me £40. There was a mad officer there, a lieutenant of the name of Gordon. The house is comfortable. Bed 11.

18 January. Rose at ½ past 5. Wind north. Hard frost; a little snow in the night. Set off at 10 min. past 6, (the moon at full today) got to Bowes at 12 min. past 9. Breakfast cold roast beef & stew’d cheese. Set off at ½ past 11. Got to Brough at ¼ past 2. Dinner beef steaks & mutton chops. Drank ale & a pint of wine & water. Ate a minced pie. Note: Wrote to Mr. Manfield. Bed ¼ past 8. Supper toasted cheese 1s. Note: Fire in bedroom 3d.

19 January. Sunday Rose at ¼ before 6. Wind north. Hard frost & very clear & calm. Set off at 20 min. before 7. Extremely cold in going over the common from Kirkby Stephen. Got to Sedbergh at ¼ before 11. Walked a good deal on the road. Dinner slices of leg of mutton & potatoes. Mr. Preston drank ale & rum & water; I water only. Set off at ¼ before one, got home at ¼ past 3. Wind north east. The sun has shone all day. Wrote this morning at Brough to Mr. Sowerby to give me notice by the next post on which day he would be at Morpeth, & to get me three franks. Supper mashed potatoes. Gardener drank some beer. Bed ½ past 8.

20 January. Rose at 6. Wind west <east>. Frost. Breakfast water pottage. Gave Betty Garnet £1.1.0. Walked to Kirkby; thence with Mr. King to Biggens, & staid about an hour with Mr. Battersby, returned & dined at Kirkby with Mr. King on good beef steaks & fowl. Sent for Thomas Benson about his house & foot path. Afterwards Mr. Preston came: Mr. King drank wine; Mr. Benson ale; Mr. Preston rum & water: I water. Paid Mr. Holmes’s bill £2.0.7 & gave him 7s. 5d. Got home at ½ past 4. Supper cockles & a pint of beer. This morning paid huntsman’s bill 12s. 2d. Mr. Preston & the gardener drank gin & water. Bed 9.

21 January. Rose at 5. Wind east. Frost, wind pretty brisk, cloudy. Wrote to Mr. Sowerby to make no abatement unless Swan had performed his agreement – to get cash & bring it to Brough before the 8th of next month – to write to Mr. Tomlin to let him know when he would be at Morpeth – to get Mr. James’s Accounts in order to distrain. Breakfast bread & buttermilk. Began to snow with a high wind at 7 & continued but triflingly till 10. Wrote to Mr. Adams – Mr. Tomlin, Mr. Dunn; to the second to meet Sowerby at Morpeth – to Mr. Dunn to assist Sowerby in settling Mr. James’s accounts. Paid glazier £3.10.2. Dinner Mr. Preston & J.D. hough, pig’s head, & haunch of young doe killed & also a spay’d buck last Saturday. Billey, gin & water; I water. I threw a large glass down & broke it in getting a book. Supper bread & buttermilk. Mr. Preston & gardener drank gin & water. Bed ½ past 9.

22 January. Rose at 5. Wind north. Frost, calm & not cold. Romeo in the night broke a decanter & a pair of snuffers in the parlour where I left him. Breakfast milk & water pottage. Mr. Preston & I walked to Melling. John Guy went with us near to Melling. Met John Kilshaw & George Becket. Got home home at 12. Dinner calf head hashed & hare. Mr. Preston went home after a little gin & water. Began to snow at 5. Wind a little south of east. Very mild. Supper 3 eggs poached. Huntsman killed & saved a hare; so he did when I went to West Auckland. Snow at 8 gently. Bed at ditto.

23 January. Rose at 7. Wind north east. Frost, mild, snow about one & ½ inch deep. Did not sleep from one till near 5. Breakfast milk & water pottage. At 11 wind north by the fane, but by the clouds north west. Therm’ then 35. Dinner scallop’d cockles & goose & partridge pie. At 12 sun very bright. Our oats were finished threshing. Old Tom Robinson blacksmith of Whittington & his son gave over the river on horseback; left the horse loose in Scawbottom & had their click hooks in the river at the parrock. The son on seeing me ran to the horse & escaped. The old man stood at the bottom of the parrock; I drew the hook out of the river & brought it home. At noon wind a little to south of west; at ¼ before 5 Therm’ 35. Supper bread & buttermilk. I did not belch all the afternoon after my heavy dinner. Bed 8.

24 January. Rose at 5. Wind south east. Thaw, cloudy. Wrote to Mr. Sowerby to let him know if Mr. James would not shew his receipts I would take some disagreeable steps against him. Paid me nothing for a considerable time – said had money due & expected it about this time – suppose a distress necesary, but not to hint it to him – Dunn & he to take a view of the livestock & guess the value. Breakfast milk & water pottage. Wrote to Mr. King inclosing half a guinea for a poor man at Biggens. Gave 5s. to Lawson from Lancaster. Thomas Dixon came & dined; dinner, J. D. with us, venison soup, tongue & turneps & fillet of veal. Much snow melted this morning. At 8 began to rain & continued till past 9. At 2 the snow gone, wind west & fine afternoon. Mr. Preston brought a letter from Mr. Hurd. Supper bread & buttermilk. Mr. Preston & gardener drank gin & water. Bed 9.

25 January. Rose at 5. Wind south east. Cloudy, heavy rain from ½ past 6 to 8. Breakfast bread & buttermilk. Dinner, Mr. Preston & J. D. with me, leg of mutton bought yesterday fortnight, minced veal & goose pie. Mr. Preston gin & water. J. D. went to receive some rents at his father’s. Accepted a note for Wilkinson £10.10.0 payable at Whitsuntide. Received of J. Davis £287.18.0. Gardener & Mr. Preston drank gin & water. I the new kind of which was tap’d this evening. Bed 11. <Rain most of the day.>

26 January. Sunday Rose at 7. Wind a little to west of south. Breakfast broth. Paid Robinson & Ned 12s. Walked with Mr. Preston to Dodgson’s field, the hedge wants cutting, & there ought to be a new wall. Ate a pear & a golden pippin. Showers the forenoon. Turned my two mares on the level. Dinner knuckle of veal & forequarter of young doe. Bryan Townson & J. D. with me. Bryan drank gin & water. I beer & ale. Note: J. D. went to Sedbergh to continue there. Paid huntsman’s bill 15s. 6½d. Bed 8. <Received a letter from Sowerby.>

27 January. Rose at 7. Wind a little to east of south. Breakfast venison broth. <Heavy> rain in the night & showers this morning. Mr. Preston & I walked into the park, thence to Leck becks barn & Kirkby. Dined there, Mr. Moore with us, on eggs & hung beef collops & breast of veal. Drank ale & wine & water. Mr. Preston gin & water. Got home at ½ past 5. Rain part of the way. Huntsman killed a brace of hares, the hounds ate one. Bed 8.

28 January. Rose at 7. Wind west. Fine. Men leading dung into the parrock yesterday & today. Breakfast venison broth. Walked to Melling; ate an apple & a bun. Mr. Tatham came home with me & dined on broth, tripe & goose pie & duck. He drank a very little gin & water; I water. He went home at 3. I went with [him] to Lower Burrow. Note: Gave him £1.1.0 for the ringers of Tunstal & Melling to ring for the news of preliminaries of peace being signed. Mr. Preston came in the afternoon. Letter from Mr. Burges. Supper venison broth. A fine spring-like day. Bed 9. <Wrote to Sowerby about Nunn’s house.>

29 January. Rose at 3. Wind south west. A shower at 8. Breakfast venison broth. T. Dixon came. Moorby paid £7 for the mare which he bought. Mr. Parson Tatham came & dined on calf head hash & a haunch of buck venison which was the very tenderest meat that I ever tasted. I ate part of a scallop’d shell of cockles & the other two dishes. He drank gin & water; I, water. I ate some nuts & at ¼ past 3 when Mr. Tatham went home, two pears. Note: Two white violets behind the beech hedge on the level. Last year I saw two at the same place on the 27th instant & probably I might have seen them on the same day. Huntsman killed & saved a hare. Supper venison broth & bread. three or 4 hail showers with a high wind. Mr. Preston & William bottle off the Newcastle Geneva, 27 bottles & half a pint. Mr. Preston & gardener drank gin & water. Bed ¼ past 9.

30 January. Rose at ½ past 3. Wind south west. Much rain in the night with a high wind. Gave an opinion of Mr. Birdworth’s case & wrote to John Witton. Very heavy rain till 9 o’clock. The London garden seeds were brought by the Hornby post. Dinner 33 cockles, part of a very bad hare roasted & savoy cabbage. Very cloudy & high wind, but no rain since 9. Much rain from three till past 5. Received of Proctor for the hay grass of Dobson’s parrock £2.6.6. Dinner hare very bad. Ate cockles, drank porter, reprimanded girls. Bed 8. <Wrote to Burges.>

31 January. Rose at 7. Wind south west. Rain. Thomas Dixon came; I lent him Cartwright’s Barrier. J. D. went to Dent about Boundaries. Mr. Bailiff by huntsman paid for his hay grass. Gave Luke Harrison £3.3.0. Gave poor shoemaker of Bentham for Tryon 8s. Spoke to Dobson’s housekeeper & Blades. <Dinner scallop’d cockles.> I spoke [to] Whittendale & Hunter who paid for wood. Mr. King dined with me. He, Mr. Preston & gardener in the evening. Sent for a chaise for the two former. Bed 8. Heavy rain. Dinner hoffle & jug’d hare.


Richard Ort of Kirkby Lonsdale, tallow chandler.

Batty appears to have been the town cryer for Kirkby Lonsdale; it has not been possible to identify him.

Philip Knipe of Kirkby Lonsdale, currier, died aged 44 in Sep. 1791 (Kirkby Lonsdale PR).

Gabriel Croft of Claughton.

Click hook: similar in shape to a crochet hook but (in this instance) large enough to hook a fish.