POH Transcripts - 1891

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Th.  Jan. 1. 1891 – Another year. I used to think I should never attain to anything like this date. The unusual cold which has prevailed during the last two months has tried me considerably. An attach of bronchitis in the severe snow of the year 1881, which took me in February, imprisoned me till nearly May, though I only allude to it on April 1, and ever since my throat has been the weak point. Add to this a slight attack of the prevailing influenza last January, as it certainly was from its lingering effects and its tendency to return on the least imprudence. A chill and a cold in the head has now become a dangerous thing. When free form this, I am a young man, and go about all my usual occupations in the house, for I have not ventured out these 6 or 8 weeks. Carving the coat of arms to support the white columns in the hollow of the new staircase, directing the getting up of the iron banister rails, and the oak hand rails, with my oak bunch of grapes at the bottom (just photographed), and other little matters of indoor work, duly interlarded with scribbling a few articles for our local periodicals, have made the time slip along pleasantly – except the shivering when not close to the fire. I have changed my ink again. This is Mr Chessalls, as in the beginning of 1887.

Fr.  Jan. 2. 1891 – Miss Soulsby, formerly here, called. Now at Oxford. Advanced in the sciences.

Tu.  Jan. 6. 1891 – Sarah Madge left. Mrs Knowles, my servant Ann Newton’s sister, came.

Th.  Jan. 8. 1891 – Hurstbourne House, near Whitchurch in Hampshire, one of the seats of the Earl of Portsmouth, burnt down. Fire discovered at about 8.30pm. Family absent. Almost everything destroyed. Several valuable paintings, among which Kneller’s portrait of Sir Isaac Newton. An incendiary is suspected. Insured in £80.000 – some say more.

M.  Jan. 19. 1891 – Wind changed to SW with slight thaw. The cold seems to have been intense all over the northern hemisphere, in America, and in Asia, as well as in Europe. Much snow in Spain, Naples and even in Algeria, Constantinople, and India. Much in England in the Eastern and Midland counties. At Honiton and Exeter, but none at Sidmouth except two or three sprinklings, which whitened the ground for a day or two each. But the temperature has been low, and the scorching north-easters almost constant. My pump has not frozen. I covered it with a thick jacket a couple of months ago.  Skating has been in vogue everywhere. Above Walton the Thames has been frozen over, and they roasted two sheep on it. In Sherborne Park the ice has been from 8 to 10 inches thick, and they have roasted an ox on it. The London  Parks covered with people, 150.000 in one day the people say. The rivers and canals have been blocked with ice for three weeks in Worcestershire. Stover Park hard frozen, and covered with company. Heligoland island frozen up all round, and communication cut off from the main land, and food scarce. Several deaths from cold in London. A woman dead on London Bridge. A man, woman, and three children found frozen to death by the road side in Cambridgeshire. The driver on his mailcart dead from cold between Canterbury and Dover, - and so on, several others mentioned in the papers.

Sat.  Jan. 18. 1891 - ?? At Okeford, N. Devon, thermometer 7 degrees, and on the grass 4 degrees. The Exe froze over at Topsham, and sportsmen shooting wild fowl on the marshes. The Duke of Bedford shot himself through the heart in London: - one of the richest men in all England, but though money is a great deal in this world, it is not everything. He had been suffering from pneumonia – had two nurses – made an excuse and evaded them – went into another room – report of pistol heard – he was found dead, with bullet wound through his heart. This occurred on Wednesday morning, Jan 14. The Registrar’s certificate says – “Bullet wound in the heart”; suicide during temporary insanity – during pneumonia. Pm” (the pm is post mortem) He was an advocate for burning the dead, and even built a cemetery at Woking; and so he has been cremated, or burnt, there. An urn containing his bones has been deposited in the family mausoleum at Chenies, in Berkshire. (Aside – this Pagan custom does not recommend itself to me.)

Mon.  Jan. 19. 1891 – The Duke of Somerset is dead. He was a younger brother of the Duke who owned Stover when I was there Aug. 1. 1884, and is succeeded by yet another brother. The Duke was buried at Maiden Bradley, in Wilts, on Saturday last the 17th. If his History of America were truthful, it might be worth something. The Earl of Devon died on the 15th at Boodle’s Club, in London, after a short illness from paralysis. He was born in 1836, and succeeded on his father’s death in 1888. In August 1864 he started for MP against Mr Coleridge (now the Lord Chief Justice) – came to Sidmouth, when I voted for him. He was a good looking young man then. He polled 1096 votes, to Coleridge’s 1070, and was returned. He retired from parliament (from debt) in 1870, when Sir John Kennaway took his place, unopposed. He did his best to ruin himself and his relatives, as I have before remarked. Only a few days ago it was said that some 6000 acres up near Moretonhampstead, have gone from the estates, having been bought by the Right Hon. W.H. Smith MP, son of a bookseller, and the papers add that it is feared that Powderham Castle and land are in danger of going too. He has been buried at Powderham, and as he turned Roman Catholic some years ago, there was a service accordingly in London before his body was brought down. If only people would only study their Bibles more, they never would take that step. On the coffin plate – 3 coffins, elm, lead and oak – is the following inscription – “Edward Baldwin, 12 Earl of Devon, Born Mar. 7. 1836, died 15 January 1891. Deus Misereatur.”

Tu.  Jan. 20. 1891 – Another ‘fool and his money’. Lord Haldon’s affairs are now in the Bankruptcy Court.

Th.  Jan. 22. 1891 – Parliament opens today. They open generally about February 4; but owing to delays in Parliament caused by the Irish Obstructionists, the confusion brought Into all sections of the Liberal party by the secret alliance at first, and the open disruption afterwards, of the Parnell and Gladstone intrigue, and the general wish of the present ministry to get two or three important measures forwarded, will account for this early opening.

Fri.  Jan. 23. 1891 – A few days ago a man brought a dagger of a shape with which I was not familiar. It is sketched in the margin. It is not old – the early Georges perhaps. On the disc A, nearly rusted out, are the words SOHO PATENT and in larger letters, OBSTANDO PROMOVES. Whole length – 11 ¾ inches. The blade is steel, and I give the section: the rest brass: the dots are small nails of white metal, stamped on the heads with 6 pellets round one. The grip is of oak. He knew nothing of its history. I bought it.

Tu.  Feb. 3. 1891 – Finished reading the first report of the commissioners, appointed to ascertain what steps can be taken in order to provide more room for internments and monuments on the Westminster Abbey precincts, as the abbey is full. Dabbling as I do in building, and in Gothic building, I have found it extremely interesting. The endeavour to fins the place for a chapel or similar adjunct, as large as the nave of the abbey if possible, and as near the abbey as possible, so as to be one with the abbey in dignity and sacredness, has been most difficult. Indeed, so far, only the evidence on 3 or 4 different schemes, proposed by the 3 or 4 different architects has been taken. The final selection remains with the commissioners. But what could have possessed the authorities of the Abbey, not very many years ago, to alienate to the authorities of Westminster Schools, a valuable portion of their land on the south of the Abbey? They want it now. The school is in the wrong place for a school. It ought to be further off.

Wed.  Feb. 4. 1891 – A valuable ms on papyrus, dealing with the history of Athens by Aristotle, recently discovered and in the British Museum, has been partly translated by Mr F. G. Kenyon. The Greek is fairly legible. There are four rolls. On the smooth front of the papyrus some accounts and memorandums of Vespasian’s time had been written, and subsequently, on the back of it, this early transcript of Aristotle. First roll 7’ 2 ½ “ long: 2nd is 5’ 5 ½:  3rd measures 3’ and 4th about the same, but is fragmentary. Date probably in the first century of our era.

Th.  Feb. 5. 1891 – So Charles Bradlaugh, MP for the shoemakers’ metropolis of Nottingham, and professed Atheist is dead. He tried to fight his way into the House of Commons [Feb 23. 1882, Feb. 12 1884] He died last Friday morning, Jan 30, aged 57 – “a consistent and conscientious atheist”! He suffered from Bright’s disease, hypertrophy of the heart, cardiac asthma, etc.

Fri.  Feb. 6. 1891 – Very ingenious! A project has lately put forward to make a ship railway or railroad from Bridgewater on the North to Seaton on the South, with a branch turning off to Weymouth. The ships with their cargoes are to be supported on bags or sacks full of water, supported and carried on railway trucks, and then go merrily on to the next port all the way across the county from North Devon to South. Will be passengers be sea sick?

Sat. March 14 1891 – A month and no record. When the severe cold mitigated on the termination of the month of January, pleasanter weather set in on the commencement of February. This has continued to the present time. This has been favourable to the farmer, and has brought comfort to every household.

Mon. March 9 1891 – I am afraid that the robin has been 20 times – more or less – every day on my window sill since last autumn, has come to some misfortune. It suddenly ceased coming one day last week, and I have seen nothing of it since.  It got extremely tame, and it would fly up and flutter against the outside of the plate glass, as if it wanted to come through into the room, and if it had not been so cold, I would have opened the window. I suppose I distributed every day nearly enough food as would have kept one person, amongst rooks, starlings, sparrows, chaffinches, etc. and one meal all day long to the robin. In the severe weather in January my carpenter caught a fine male blackbird with a yellow beak, and put it into a cage, and probably saved its life; but when better weather came, and sunshine brightened the days, and warmed the air, and we felt as if spring were upon us, and the birds were beginning to sing on the trees, it was lamentable to see that unhappy blackbird shut up in a cage, and looking through the bars at the other birds enjoying their liberty. I took my carpenter to task for his thoughtless cruelty. I asked him how he would like to be shut up in a cage the size of his parlour, and hung up a on a rail against the outside of his house? He had never thought of this. And I wound up saying – “what crime has it committed that it should be sentenced like a felon to imprisonment for life?” This shamed him – and next morning in the sunshine, he opened the cage door and gave it its freedom. Yesterday the wind got back to the North-East with a sky of lead-colour clouds, and after five weeks of beautiful bright day weather, it blew a hard snow storm from noon till dark, and after covering the ground with several inches of snow, so that nature looks more wintery than ever. Most unexpected!

Tu. March 10 1891 – Blowing hard, and the cloud of driving snow sweeping along reminds me of the winter 10 years ago [Dec 5. 1879. April 1. 1881] The snow drifts in some places are accumulating and reaching the tops of hedges, and blocking the crossings in some of the streets. The wind is most piercing and penetrates through every chink and cranny, carrying the fine snow along with it. Thus the night closes in, the gale of wind roaring in the chimneys. It has not ceased snowing for 30 hours.

We. March 11. 1891 – What sort of teas could this?

Th. March 12. 1891 – The storm has in a great degree blown itself out. The papers are full of accounts from places scattered all over the country of the damage done to property, the number of forest trees blown down, the distress to many people, the number of sheep and cattle lost in the drifts of snow, and the number of shipwrecks on the coast. A train on the railway between Okehampton and Bridestowe blocked up and buried in the snow, and the passengers kept there without food for nineteen hours. A man from Offwell near Honiton dead in the snow, and two others in Cornwall. The town of Sidmouth has suffered but little, and my abode not atall; but an Irish yew and an acuba on my lawn, first had their branches bent to the ground by the weight of snow, and then broken by the violent wind. By the way – the acuba possesses a rare quality that has often struck me: it grows and thrives close under the shade and droppings of other trees, just as well as if it were enjoying the air and sunshine in the middle of a grass plot. I know of no other shrub possessed of this peculiarity, so convenient in private grounds of limited extent.

Sat. March 14. 1891 – The papers say 1209 labourers were put on the railroad yesterday between Brent and Ivybridge to clear away the snow.

Wed. March 18. 1891 – News arrived that the English steamer Utopia left Italy for New York yesterday with a crew and Italian emigrants to the number of 880 persons. Going into Gibraltar Bay about dusk, she ran into HMS Anson, warship lying at anchor, blowing hard and sunk in 15 minutes: 569 drowned, and Captain arrested for carelessness. Prince Napoleon dies in Rome yesterday morning about 7. I saw him in Paris. He had somewhat the cheek and jaw and chin of the first Emperor his uncle; but he was held in some contempt by Frenchmen, and nick-named Plon-plon. He has left two sons, Victor and Louis, who may disturb the world at some future day.

Sun. March 22 1891 – Palm Sunday – from the palm branches displayed and cast in the way when Christ rode into Jerusalem.

Wed. March 25 1891 – Lady Day – the annunciation of the angel to the Virgin Mary.

Fri. March 27 1891 – Good Friday – the day of the crucifixion.

Sun. March 29. 1891 – The day of the Resurrection of Christ from the tomb, commonly called Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday. The fixing of Easter, as it is settled now, was not effected without much discussion which lasted for several centuries. It is a moveable feast that varies with the changes of the moon, and may occur on any day between March 22 and April 25: - the rule being, “the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the 21st of March”. Thus the 21st of March this year was yesterday (Saurday0 week: the full moon occurred on Wednesday the 25th, namely, on Lady Day: and this of course, is the first Sunday after last Wednesday, only four days ago. Easter is early this year. There is much interesting reading on these subjects in Brady’s “Analysis of the Calendar”, a copy of which I have.

Mon. March 30 1891 – Easter Monday. The great increase in the wages of the working classes seems to have done them no good. Their increased resources seem to go mostly in feasting or rioting.

Tues. March 31 1891 – A few days ago the Queen left England for a short time, and has arrived in Grasse, a small town in the South of France, about a dozen miles from Cannes. Parliament prorogued on Saturday till Monday April 6.

Wed. April 1 1891 – People are too polite now to engage in April Fool. Saw none of it.

Thurs. April 2 1891 – Captain Simcoe, R.N. of Woolford Lodge, near Honiton, was buried 3 or 4 days ago, at 64. This was a Northamptonshire family. The first in Devon was captain John Simcoe, R.N. who ob. 1759 in the expedition against Quebec. This Simcoe was General Sir J. G. Simcoe. Lake Simcoe called after him, for he was in command in Canada. His widow used to come to Sidmouth. I can recollect an old fashioned old lady riding in an old fashioned shanderydon up and down the beach. Their son was the Rev. H.A.S., ob. 1868; and his son the one now deceased.

Sat. April 4 1891 – Paid off Mrs Frost, charwoman, and Mrs Maddock of Broadhembury entered my service as cook.

Mon. April 6 1891 – Today the decennial census of Great Britain and Ireland was taken. The papers were distributed last week, and I had to fill in the particulars of all those who slept in my house last night, and today the papers were called for. I had only to return for three persons – for myself, e.g. “names”; classification, = “living on my own means,” my “age last birthday” = 80; “where born” = Winchester; [I was baptised at Heavitree.] “when born” = November 17.1810; “deaf or dumb, blind, idiot or lunatic!” = hip case, left hip, when seven years old. Also return for my servant Ann Carslake Newton, who has been with me 22 years, and Elizabeth Maddock, widow. I presume that the annexed printed return was scrutinised and properly verified before it was accepted. I have seen several cases of 100 and even more. The papers say that Lord James Douglas is summoned for making a false return. The penalty is £5.00 on conviction. It is said he has described his wife as “a cross sweep,” and “a lunatic”, and his son as “a shoeblack born in darkest Africa.” – see below, Apr 20.

Mon. April 6 1891 – At All Saints church in Sidmouth, the new incumbent, the Rev. Robert Tapson, “read himself in” yesterday – Sunday.

Friday. April 17 1891 – Called on the Stanfords at Helens, and stayed to an early tea. At dusk this evening  a bat was flying about. The air however is still very cold.

Sat. April 18 1891 – I saw the first swallow. The day was fine and bright, with a hot sun, but to my surprise, my thermometer was only 49 degrees in the shade. Last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at the (so called) Manse House of Mr &Mrs Kenneth Balfour gave an entertainment of Tableaux Vivants. Too cold to go. Porceeds of tickets for the benefit of the new Cottage Hospital, nearly finished.

Mon. April 20 1891 – It is now said that Lord J. Douglas was ill, and that his step-sons filled in the Census papers “for fun”, as described. See Ap.28.

Tues. April 21 1891 – A boy of nine, instigated by an older one, who lent him a knife, came into my lawn and cut off the tail of my “Green Dog”, as he is commonly called. Some seven years ago, more or less, I planted four young trees for four legs, and by constant trimming, pruning, and clipping with scissors, I have fashioned an animal something like a dog. I have not had much difficulty in forming the head: the greatest difficulty has been making the hind and fore quarters grow over and meet in the middle and close up the body. The young culprit has expressed so much regret, and the parents have offered so many apologies, that I am mollified, and I think I shall be able to develop a new tail from the side shoots at the stump.

Sat. April 25 1891 – Spent the evening at No 4 Coburg Terrace, with my tenants Rev. J.W and Mrs Barrow.

Tu. April 28 1891 – A summons was issued against his lordship, but it has been withdrawn on his explaining the circumstances, expressing his regret, and filling up a paper in a proper manner. I think the penalty for a false return is £5.00 – See May 6.

Th. April 30 1891 – The Queen returned today from Grasse, after a month’s absence

Fri. May 1 1891 – May Day. From the cold, dry, north-east, the wind has shifted to the south-west, with hard rain for several hours – most welcome to vegetation.

Sun. May 2 1891 – My cousin Mrs Oliver (nee Rachel H) of Benger, Herts is 85 today. Next is the Prebendary W.P.H.H. 80 and 8 months: then myself, 80 and 5 months: then my sister 79 and 8 days: and lastly the Prebendary’s younger brother Henry H 77 and 10 months. None of the Hutchinsons, at all events of my ancestors for more than 300 years, have ever lived so long.

Wed. May 6 1891 – Lord James Douglas, brother of the Marquis of Queensbury, and of Lady Florence Dixie cut his throat yesterday at the Euston Square Station Hotel, having arrived from Ireland. At the inquest P.M the verdict was – suicide whilst of unsound mind. – see back April 6.

Thurs. May 7 1891 – Archbishop of York died of the influenza. Only appointed last year. In London 37 died of it last week. Spreading in Liverpool and Birkenhead. In Sheffield last week 112 deaths. Very bad at Grantham, and increasing in Lincolnshire and neighbouring counties. At Kynock’s factory near Birmingham, out of 3000 workers, 200 are absent, mostly women. The Duke of Richmond has been attacked. The Earl of Derby, Mr Henniker-Heaton, M.P. two churches have been closed at LLanddrinolen. The Hon. Sidney Herbert is ill. Col H. G. Deedes is dead. Such is the record so far, lastly, the Prince of Wales and Mrs Gladstone have been attacked, but not severely, and too many lesser note to mention, in the army, navy, public offices, etc. It is mainly on the Eastern side of England, but seems to be spreading,

Sun. May 10 1891 – Very cold searching wind. Did not go to church.

Mon. May 11 1891 – Sudden change in the weather to warmth.

Sun. May 17 1891 –  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were hot summer days; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with equal suddenness, with a strong wind, as cold as winter. This Sunday morning, at half past 8, a shower of rain mingled with snow flakes. This morning at 5, the eldest daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales, married Aug. 20 1889 to the Duke of Fife, gave birth to a daughter. If any fatality should happen to the Prince of Wales’ boys, she would be next heir to the throne.

Th. May 21 1891 – Mr and Mrs Buttemer, and Mrs Jenkins, had afternoon teas with me.

Sun. May 31 1891 – At church this morning, when the vicar did all the duty.

Mon. June 1 1891 – The recent sale of Okehampton Castle, has recalled to my memory the circumstances of my own visit to that neglected ruin a few months ago. The death of the Rev. Sir Vyell Vyvyan has brought it into the market. At auction it was described as consisting of the Castle and ruins, together with 9 acres of ground and 13 poles. 50 years ago, Sir Richard Vyvyan had given the sum of £2000 for the property: subsequently the Earl of Devon, for £1000 obtained some sort of lien on it: and the town of Okehampton having failed to secure it as a public property, as some desired it, it was submitted to the hammer. It was started at £500, and by successive bids reached £1010, when it was knocked down to a Mr Reddaway, a farmer who has some land adjoining it. This is a descent indeed. At last the weather is warm and I have left off fires entirely, though they have been pleasant of an evening until now. Changed my bedroom for the summer.

Tu. June 9 1891 – A trial has just now ended that has caused an immense deal of talk in the country. Last September the Prince of Wales, with Lord Coventry, Sir William Gordon Cumming, and others, went down to Doncaster Races. For the few days of the Races they were entertained by Mr and Mrs Wilson and friends at Tranby Croft. On the evening of Sep. 9,10 and 11, Sir William Gordon Cumming was seen to cheat at cards, whilst they were playing a game called Baccarat, the Prince of Wales taking part in the game. In two evenings Sir W. Gordon Cumming won £225. Five people witnessed the unfair play. It got whispered about as a secret, but it was kept as most secrets are – and was soon the talk of the town, to the injury of Sir William. To try and vindicate his character, he brought an action against his five friends and entertainers for defamation of character. The Prince has been in court almost every day. Lord Coleridge the judge. Verdict for the defendants.

Wed. June 10 1891 – Thus Sir William is condemned and his character is blasted. But he has quickly consoled himself by immediately marrying Miss Florence Joesphine Garner, the daughter of a rich American.

Mon. June 15 1891 – But he has resigned and withdrawn from 2 or 3 of the leading London Clubs, and the Queen has dismissed him from the army. The newspapers have been very severe on the Prince of Wales taking part in a game – notoriously a very gambling game – in a house as a guest among strangers of not very high position, and the queen is said to be extremely angry about it.

W. June 24 1891 – Midsummer Day.

Th. June 25 1891 – Dined with Mr and Mrs Stanford at Helens. Towards evening Mrs Hunt, widow of the late vicar of Tipton St John came in. Something was said on the question, as to whether there is authority for believing that the lower animals have a future existence. Where we have pet animals that love us, we would naturally hope that they might have such an existence: and I have more than once lost pet animals whose deaths I have felt more than the deaths of some of my Christian friends. And why not? It is not what we lose, but whether we loved it, and it loved us. And if they have only this one life to live, when most of them are subjected to privation, ill treatment, neglect or downright cruelty, theirs is a hard fate indeed. This consideration ought to make us humane. I fear that the evidence furnished by the Bible, though slight, is rather against them. In Psalm 49, V. 12 and 20, the words “the beasts that perish” seem to imply unfavourably. Even dogs, the most faithful companions of man, are in at least two places very disparagingly spoken of: “Beware of dogs” occurs in Phillipians 3. V. 2; and in revelations 22 v. 15, “for without are dogs,” in company with everything that is vile and sinful. The evidence, as far as it goes, seems to be against them. In the afternoon such a dense fog came in from the sea that it was impossible to see anything 100 yards off. The pleasure steamer, from Torquay to Seaton and back during the day, had called here in the morning, and had taken a number of people on board, but in returning it was afraid to approach the land, which it could not see. What became of them I know not. New room in the Old Chancel papered today. I think of calling it “the Gothic Room”. In old fashioned houses, a century or two ago, it was the custom to call rooms by the names of colours, as we see in old inventories. It was better than “Mary’s Room”, or “Jane’s Room”, or “John’s Room”, or “William’s Room”; for if any of the occupants left, or changed their rooms, the whole series of nomenclature was thrown into confusion. The curtains or carpet should have green for their chief or prevailing colour, to justify the name: - but it is more Gothic than green.

Mon. July 6 1891 – Thunder storms in various places – Rain and hail – cold.

Mon. July 6 1891 – I thought the Americans had enough of trying to execute by electricity, such criminals as had been condemned to death, bearing in mind the attempt and great bungle they made last year, August 11, in the case of Kemmler. But they have tried again, and, just as \I then suggested, they have done it by a shock, like a flash of lightning, and have succeeded. This morning they executed four men at intervals of about an hour between each, and the telegram says death was instantaneous As a precaution, they first experimented on a horse, which they killed at one stroke!

Wed. July 8 1891 – Let No 4 Coburg Terrace to Miss M. A. Readon, unfurnished for 2, 4 or 6 years, from last Midsummer Day. We signed the lease today.

Friday. July 10 1891 – At Burial Board meeting. Tea with Mr Scrivens.

Tu. July 14 1891 – The visit of the young emperor of Germany, grandson of her Majesty, and of the empress, has been a grand and brilliant affair in all its appointments throughout.

Wed. July 15 1891 – The men French-polished the banister rail in the Old Chancel

Thurs. July 16 1891 – Sad accident at the vicarage. The cook fell down stairs, and is dead.

Fri. July 17 1891 – Dined with Mr and Mrs Stanford at Helens, and met Rev W.H. and Mrs Freer, and Miss Haden. He has met my cousins, the Vicars of Blurton and Normacot, co. Staff.

Mon. July 20 1891 – During last night thunder, lightning and rain.

Tu. Aug. 4 1891 –          ditto – ditto, a little before one, and seven in the evening.

Fri. Aug. 14 1891 – After a showery and chilly July, which has injured the hay  in some places, the weather has become warm and more settled, and our hopes are all for the harvest. Went into Exeter for some shopping. Saw the first cornfield near the junction cut. Numbers of fields almost ready for the sickle. Sultry in Exeter. |Went to the museum, and had a long chat with Mr Dallas, the curator, who shewed me several new things. Enquired if he knew where the fossil plant was which I gave to the museum before he was curator, after I had exhibited it and read a paper on it at the meeting of the Devonshire Association in 1879. Went to the Institution in the cathedral yard, and had a long talk with Mr Parfit the librarian. The about the city shopping. Left at 5.00 PM and home at the Old Chancel before 6.30.

Sat. Aug. 22 1891 – Sad weather for the harvest all week. Monday usettled by the electric state of the air: thunder on Wednesday and rain nearly all day: Thursday incessant rain after mid-day: Friday, thunder, lightning, and a violent shower between 6 & 7 PM: Saturday, dull, shower, and cold. Last Tuesday the Bishop of Exeter, Mrs and Miss Bickersteth, left for Japan, where is son is Bishop, going by way of New York, and must cross the continent, I presume, for ‘Frisco’, as the call San Francisco for short. To be away five months. Courtesies and civilities must be studied and thrown in now and again among nations as well as among individuals. France has never recovered the loss of Alsace and Lorraine in 1870, when Germany beat her so terribly, and she has been burning to revenge herself ever since by another war. Germany knows this; and mistrustful of Russia on the other side of her, she has formed an alliance with Austria and Italy. France, on the other hand, has recently been courting an alliance with Russia, and has for some time been manifesting strong feelings against England, jealous of the firm footing and influence which we now have in Egypt. The French fleet has recently visited Kronstadt, and has been feted and entertained; and the English ministry, with a desire to remove all causes of discontent, and especially to remove the undisguised jealousy of the French at our recent handsome entertainment of the German Emperor, though the opportunity favourable for inviting the French fleet to visit England on their way back to France. This invitation was at once accepted. The fleet arrived a few days ago at Spithead, and will remain till next Wednesday. The English fleet is anchored near them. Yesterday (Friday) the queen visited them from Osborne, and 27 ships saluted her with 21 guns each, which lasted four minutes. The noise must have been indescribable. Feasts and ball on shore followed.

Tu. Sep. 1. 1891 – We have had the wettest August for 20 years – or the wettest ever known. The harvest is kept back – the corn not cut – and the sportsmen cannot get at the partridges.

Wed. Sep. 2. 1891 – Up in the chestnut tree for an hour sawing and chopping off the redundant branches. Not bad for 80.

Th. Sep. 3. 1891 – The Wellington Monument, on the Blackdown Hills is to be repaired. On 7 August 1851 a friend drove me to it from Uffculm, and I was astonished to find that it was triangular in plan. It is 120 feet high, with a staircase to the top inside. It had been struck by lightning, and was unsafe, so the door was locked.

Sun. Sep. 13. 1891 – After 8 0r 10 days of beautiful hot sunshine, during which time all the corn in the neighbourhood has been got in, some thunder not far off has again disturbed the elements. Rain whilst at church.

Tu. Sep. 15 1891 – Athletic sports in the Fort Field. The race with 8 or 9 bicycles very pretty. Hundreds of people in from the country.

Fri. Sep. 18. 1891 – Painters are now engaged painting the walls of the hollow of the staircase at the Old Chancel. It runs up 27 feet high. I have decided on light lavender gray as the colour, and the first or priming coat is a solution of shellac in spirit or naptha. I have tried two or three things, and think this the best.

Sun. Sep. 20. 1891 - Thanks-giving service for the harvest. The church was profusely decorated with fruit and flowers. I never saw so gaudy a display. And the choir boys and men marched in procession to their places singing a hymn, though up to all sorts of mischief during the week.

Tu. Sep. 22. 1891 – Exhibition of local works of art. Sent my little model of No 4 Coburg Terrace and the Old Chancel – scale 10 feet to an inch. Whoever has my houses ought to have this model, and my ms book about the Old Chancel.

Tu. Sep. 29. 1891 – Michaelmas Day. Though we have had one of the most rainy, chilly and unsummery of summers that I can recall to my memory, and though it has been rather cold to the hands and feet, sitting reading and writing during the evening, I resolved not to have a fire until Michaelmas day, so I had one from tea till bed time, because I like to do great deeds on great days, and I went to bed with warm feet.

Tu. Oct. 6. 1891 – Gale of wind last night from the east, veering south, violent rain, and it has rained nearly all day. River Sid rushing down. Two fishermen brought one of those curious things commonly called ‘Portugese man-of-war to the door to show me, which they had found on the beach, cast up by the rough sea. I remember seeing another one here many years ago. This was in a bowl of water. The bladder was about six inches long, and fully extended. A number of veins and arteries of a pink or crimson colour ramified about it. The shapeless body underneath, like a piece of raw meat, was of a purple colour. The unusually large seal has been caught down the coast. The Portugese Man-of-war above I have sketched form memory only. The colour of the bladder is too yellow. It was like an ordinary bladder in colour. An American gentleman, a Mr Edward L.Pierre, of Milton, near Boston, Massachusetts, called, and we had a long conversation on events historical connected with America, and especially the revolutionary period. He was well acquainted with my recent publication, the ‘Diary and Letters’ of Governor Hutchinson – claims to be connected with the family from Hannah H. (see p.467, Vol. 2) who m. John Ruck, whose d. Hannah M. Theophilus Lillie, and so on down from him. He thinks his house at Milton is on part of the country estate confiscated from the Governor. The country has been taken by surprise at hearing of the almost sudden death of the great Irish leader Mr Parnell. He got a chill on Friday, and died at Brighton today. It will throw Irish politicians into great perplexity.

Th. Oct. 8. 1891 – The new, or nearly all new, organ in Exeter Cathedral publicly played today. Loosemore’s was made in 1665. In 1874 great alterations were made to it, at the cost of £1500. It had 3 manuals and 37 stops. Some of the large tin pipes, 15 inches in diameter and 30 feet long were cut. John Pinney, sub-organist, gave me a piece of the metal, which I have. The new organ is to cost £3,500. The old case and two diapasons are retained, and some say no more. It has 4 manuals and 69 stops. The great pipes are in the south transept, 100 feet from the organ. The length of the piping is 4 miles. And Mr W. H. Smith, Mr P, First Lord of the treasury, Leader of the House and Warden of the Cinque Ports, also died on the 6th. A bookseller who made a great fortune – he raised himself to an honourable position by industry and integrity.

Mon. Oct. 12. 1891 – The hollow of my staircase, finished painting, four coats, today. We hear that the Knowle Hotel, with 20-0.35 acres of land, which was put up to auction on the 6th – was bought in again. No – Kenneth Balfour, who has lost money on it, has bought it for £10,000. Several parties of friends to afternoon tea lately – no room to give names.

Fri. Oct. 23. 1891 – Thunder, lightning, rain last night, and rain nearly all day. The boisterous rainy weather has been most unusual. Sir Herbert Maxwell writes that the Red Grouse, Tetrao Scoticus, is found in no part of the world except in the wild moors of Scotland.

Mon. Nov. 2 1891 – Yesterday morning, Sunday, a fire broke out in the upper rooms of Sandringham House, Norfolk, the property of the Prince of Wales. The cause doubtful. The Prince with Lord and Lady Brooke at Easton Lodge Dunmow, the Princess on the Continent. The roof and upper rooms destroyed, the damage about £10,000. It is said the house is insured in £59,000 and the contents at £68,400.

Tu. Nov.3. 1891 – The papers say that the gunboat Plucky, commanded by Lieut. Freemantle, outside the Breakwater, Plymouth, last Friday, Nov 2 [?] put two shot, one after the other, through two smacks or large boats, anchored, with two men in each, fishing. The boats were sunk. Three of the men jumped overboard and were saved, but one was either killed by the shot or drowned, and went down. A great stir made about it. And, as touching Sandringham, the papers further say, that about 30 years ago, the Prince bought the estate of some 7000 acres of the Hon. Spencer Cowper fro £220,000, and ten years afterwards, rebuilt the house.

Sun. Nov.15. 1891 – Total eclipse of the moon. It began at 10.35, and ended at 2.3 AM tomorrow. The sky loaded with heavy clouds, and I only got a brief sight of it when the dist was nearly covered with the shadow.

Tu. Nov.17. 1891 – I am 81. Well as I feel, but for the weak point, I cannot in common reason expect to be spared much longer. Indeed, my recent building operations at the Old Chancel, to do some necessary work long needed, was only an effort to try and “put my house in order”, preparatory to leaving it altogether. Two or three years ago I had my shroud made, and it is in a drawer in one of my bedrooms, which was an anticipatory move in the same direction.

Wed. Nov.18. 1891 – A typhoid epidemic has shown itself in several places, and the Prince of Wales’s second son has caught it.

Th. Nov.19. 1891 – The widow of Mr W. H. Smith (Oct 8) has been created Viscountess Hameldon, in the county of Buckingham, with remainder to her son. Last Tuesday 17 were married Mr Edward Fursdon to Miss Rose Trelawney of Trelawne. A union of two old county families.

Fri. Dec. 4. 1891 – The Prince of Wales’s eldest son Albert Victor, created Duke of Clarence and Avondale, has made an offer to his cousin, Princess Adelaide Mary of Teck. Her mother is sister to the Duke of Cambridge. The unfortunate Emperor of Brazil, so recently turned out of his kingdom (see Nov. 21 1889) has died in Paris on this Saturday, Dec 5, soon following his wife. His daughter, the  Countess D’Eu, is his heir.

Tu. Dec.8 . 1891 – Dreadful earthquake in Japan. Nagoya and other towns quite destroyed, and thousands of people killed and maimed. The Bishop has been to Nagoya, but moved on to Osaka, and so escaped it. He is expected back in Exeter by New Year’s Day, - See Dec 31.

Tu. Dec.15. 1891 – The Queen has given her consent to her grandson’s marriage.

Wed. Dec. 16. 1891 – Finished and sent off fair copy of Index to Vol. 23 of Trans. Dev. Assoc.

Sat. Dec. 19. 1891 – Some 30 or 40 years ago – my how time goes! I made a woollen cloth case for my flute, and worked the annexed coat of arms, which I sowed [sic] upon it. Latterly, I have given up my music, and the flute case having lain about in the damp, got moth eaten. I cut off the the arms, and threw the case into the fire.

Mon. Dec. 21. 1891 – Shortest day. Beautiful clear sky, but hard frost. At half past eight by the parish church clock, (which professes to be set to Greenwich time), the disk of the sun began to appear above the ridge of the house as in the annexed sketch. I was in the Oak Room of the Old Chancel looking south eastward over the churchyard, soon to have breakfast. The Sexton’s house, in the churchyard, in the middle of the picture, is the one with the tallest chimney, near the rising sun.

Tues. Dec. 29. 1891 – Mr Gladstone is 82 today. He has gone to Biarritz for a time, to escape the cold, having had one or two slight attacks of bronchitis lately.

Wed. Dec. 30. 1891 – The newspapers speak of the alarming outbreak of the influenza epidemic again, in most parts of England. If it visited me a second time, considering my age, and the season of the year, I might not survive it.

Thur. Dec. 31. 1891 – Last day of 1891. Finished carving a subject of an oak branch with leaves and acorns, for part of the Gothic chimney piece in the new room upstairs; and so goes out another chilly and ungenial year. The Bishop of Exeter returned from Japan yesterday. – See back Aug 22.

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In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson (2010-2013) has been delivered by the East Devon AONB Partnership on behalf of and with the financial support of Defra, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (Your Heritage) and the Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen Trust Fund.

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