Saturday, 1 December 2012

Anne Weatherill's diary: Guisborough 1863

This is the diary of Anne Weatherill of Guisborough, written when she was 22 years old.

It was written in a small notebook, measuring six inches by four inches and records her activities between January and September 1863.

She began the little diary soon after returning from a visit to London.

Back at home in Guisborough, she records attending impromptu dances and invitation balls, she visits Redcar and stays with friends in Stockton and Carlton-in-Cleveland.  She takes part in a choir festival and lends a hand in local festivities.  A constant feature through the months is her response to the changing seasons and the beauty of the countryside.    

Anne lived in Northgate in Guisborough with her family: her father Thomas, a prosperous brewer, landowner and businessman, her mother Margaret, her 20 year old sister Kate, and her brothers William and Herbert, aged 18 and 14.

Downstreet – going west along the High Street – her Uncle William and Aunt Ann Weatherill lived in Westgate with their younger children.  The children were cousins to Anne twice over, as their fathers were brothers (Thomas and William Weatherill) and their mothers were sisters (Margaret and Ann Jackson).

William Weatherill
Uncle William Weatherill was a solicitor, holding many public appointments in the area.  He was a keen member of the local Volunteer Corps.  By 1863 his older children had already left home.

George, aged 29, was married to Emma Wilson, a doctor's daughter.  Margaret Elizabeth, now 27, had been married for seven years.  At the age of 20 she married a 37 year old doctor, John Richardson, a notable local surgeon who had been Mayor of Middlesbrough in 1858.  They had three small children and lived at 25 Sussex Street, Middlesbrough.  Her sister Anne Louise was 26 and already two years a widow; her late husband was the Revd Henry Clarke of Guisborough.  Anne Louise had married Mr Clarke a few years after his first wife's death; her stepson Henry was only five years her junior.

Next in age to Anne Louise there had been a brother, William, but he had died in 1852 aged 13, while a "Blue Coat Boy", away at school at Christ's Hospital.  Of the younger children, Helen was the same age as her cousin Anne, Emma was 20, Clara was 18 and John Charles was 16.

Anne's Aunt Lizzy – Miss Elizabeth Weatherill – lived in Guisborough too; she was the postmistress of the town.  Her Aunt Todd also lived in Guisborough.  Another of the Jackson sisters, Elizabeth Todd was the widow of the late Revd Thomas Todd, who died in 1860 while Rector of Kildale.  Elizabeth and her seven daughters returned to Guisborough, where she and three of her daughters took up teaching.

The remaining Weatherill brother, Robert Corney Weatherill, was a widower farming 140 acres at Stockton, where he was also District Auditor for the Poor Law.  He had three daughters and two sons.

A recent acquaintance of the family was a young solicitor, John Richard Stubbs; he was often to be met with at the Richardsons' house in Sussex Street.  He had come north from Boroughbridge in 1861 and on 1st January 1863 went into partnership with an older solicitor, John Brewster, at 28 Bridge Street, Middlesbrough.

The year began with parties.  Priory Hall, behind the Cock Inn, was a large assembly room and the chief venue for Guisborough's social events.  The Hall and the Cock Inn were owned by Anne's father.

[I have supplied full names in place of initials where available, and further explanatory comments in square brackets.  Many of the notes are the work of the late Miss Grace Dixon, to whom I am much indebted.  I have revised this article and altered some of the readings; this post consequently differs slightly from the article on]

January 1st
The workpeople had their Christmas party in the Priory Hall

January 3rd
Went to a party at Aunt Todds 
Kate Weatherill
January 4th
I spent the evening down street [at her uncle Weatherill's]

January 6th
A large party at the Parsonage

January 10th
Took tea with Anne Louise.  The Harpleys and Mr M & Mrs Wilson were there

January 12th
Had our first lesson from the Choir Master

January 16th
Kate came home from Carlton where she has been for the last ten days
Herbert & Aunt Lizzy
January 19th
Herbert went to school [we don't know where] – a wintry windy day – took tea at the Bakers

January 20th
The first snow has fallen this winter; the wind last night in the North was terrible.  The sailors expected a storm tomorrow – but it has come today
January 28th
Went to Stockton to get our dresses for the Middlesbrough ball
January 29th
Had a little practice dance in the Priory Hall

January 30th
Very warm for the time of year.  The roads almost like summer
 [Anne's invitation to the Ball survives:

Ball at Middlesbrough
February 5th 1863


J Richardson, Esqr
H Cochrane, Esqr
R Gillan, Esqr
L McEwan, Esqr
T Backhouse, Esqr
E Grove, Esqr
R Lloyd, Esqr
J G Swan, Esqr
C Bolckow, Esqr
J R Stubbs, Esqr
Jas J Hopkins, Esqr

The Committee request the honor of Miss A Weatherill's Company at the Assembly Rooms, Watson's Hotel, Middesbrough, on Thursday, February 5th 1863
Dancing to commence at 9 o'Clock

Jas J Hopkins
J R Stubbs    
Hon Secs

The favor of an answer is requested

'honor' and 'favor' may surprise us – but this was the spelling used]
Dr John Richardson

February 3rd
Margaret was up – nothing talked of but the Middlesbro ball – I stayed and had tea down street where there was quite a large party in the evening.  Messrs Wilson, Morgan, Roberts, T & C Clarke.  We sang catches and glees, played bagatelle & had a very pleasant evening.

February 4th
We had a great storm of thunder & hail in the evening.
February 5th
The day of the Middlesbro ball.  We four girls all went by the early train – the most glorious fun.  Mr Cochrane dined with us that day and took tea with us the next.  H.C came unexpectedly.  It was a jolly time

[John Stubbs' diary records, "We mustered about 50 had supper at 12 & stayed till 5.  We had a very jolly ball indeed out of 24 dances I only missed two".  The Ball invitation shows that he was a member of the Ball Committee, as was Dr John Richardson]

February 10th
Went to the Loys party [presumably William Loy, doctor in Great Ayton, whose daughter Mary (Polly) was then 19].  The most delightful party since I left London – I stayed & the next day Polly, Lou & I had the greatest fun helping to put by the things.  A most lovely day

February 11th
Another beautiful day – with a most seasonable frost – Mrs Loy, Polly, Louise & I drove to hear the Christy Minstrels.  We had such a pleasant drive.

[The Cleveland Christy Minstrels were popular local performers.]

February 12th
The fine weather continues.  Had a little dance in the evening

February 13th
Drove to Stokesley in the afternoon, spent the evening with Mrs T Loy [Thomas Loy was a doctor in Stokesley]

February 15th
Still most beautiful weather.  Drove to Stokesley in the afternoon, took tea with Mrs Graham.  Two Miss Burrels are staying with her, very nice girls.  They are going out to their brother in New Zealand in the course of a month or so.  We danced in the Hall, & they taught me two new dances, the Highland Polka, & God Save the Queen

February 16th
Seem to have almost lived in Goodchilds the last day or two, everyone here is having their likeness taken.  The boys came from S to see about theirs and stayed the day with us.  Rained in the afternoon, the first interruption of the beautiful weather since I came 

[Goodchilds of Bath Street was the local photographers]

February 17th
Finished Aurora Floyd [popular and sensational novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, pub 1863].  A horrid book though not without a little redeeming talent in it

February 18th
Polly came home with me.  Mr M and Mr R in the house

February 26th
Emma & Aunt took tea with us.  Johnnie, R & Will in the evening

February 27th
A most glorious walk to Park Wood, Polly rode my pony.  Her papa and mama came for her in the afternoon.  Mr M gave us quite a comic concert which appeared greatly to amuse Mr Loy

[Park Wood or the Park is the woodland on the edge of the hill overlooking Guisborough to the north-west.  It had been mediaeval parkland.]

Anne's diary for March 4th

March 4th
A spring day such as only comes once in several years.  We drove to Skelton starting about ten a.m. and from there walked to Saltburn.  The woods were most lovely, some of the banks were covered with primroses and the mercury and saxifrage were out by the beck.  The rooks are beginning to build.  Papa showed us the Jackdaw cliff of which we have heard so much.  Saltburn will soon be a fashionable watering place – they are making rapid progress with the buildings which have a beautiful effect seen in emerging from the wood with blue blue sea for background.

[Anne's father had been born at Marske, where his father farmed at Hob Hill.  The rocky steep valley side by Marske Mill weir on the Skelton beck was called the Jackdaw Cliff.  The valley was later bridged here by the railway viaduct.]

March 7th
Still beautiful weather.  Clear, bright & slightly frosty.  Herbert came home last night and we all went to Wilton this afternoon.  Roberts went with us & kept us laughing all the way.  Our object was to procure ferns for Mrs Clapham – and we got some most beautiful.  Papa & I drove home together & congratulated ourselves on the beautiful weather.  The Princess Alexandra enters London today

March 8th
The beautiful weather seems to be broken up, this morning we woke to find a covering of snow.  Mr Tyreman preached this evening, capital sermon

March 9th
South E Wind with wet

March 10th
The Princess Alexandra's wedding day.  I don't know why it should be more hers than the Prince of Wales', only being a woman one feels more sympathy with her – A stormy day with continuing showers of sleet, nevertheless the town contrived to be gay with processions, games & races of all descriptions.  About 800 children walked in procession and sang an appropriate Anthem at the cross, after that had tea in the Priory Hall.  I enjoyed helping with the tea, & afterwards took a tray at the tea provided for the teachers.  We all went to the old Bank & had tea there, Aunt, Uncle, ER, John Charles & Anne Louise had tea with us, and after tea the boys let off fireworks, etc which were great fun.  Altogether a very pleasing day.  I forgot to put down a very important event –  Herbert came home on Friday, March 6th and stays till tomorrow.

March 11th
Stormy day.  Herbert left

March 17th
The weather has been the same for the last week – stormy with more or less snow daily, Wind N.E

March 18th
Finer, wind East

March 19th
West wind in the morning, turned round to the East

March 20th
Fine bright day, very cold.  North wind

March 21st
A very beautiful appearance of the Aurora Borealis.  The stars so clear & bright.  Yesterday the boys got quantities of violets in the Park Wood    Today has been a lovely day

[There are records of brilliant appearances of the Northern Lights in this district in the 19th century.  Miss Grace Dixon could remember another such appearance in the autumn of 1951.]

Helen Weatherill
March 22nd
A beautiful day.  Wind west
March 23rd
A glorious spring day.  We went to fish for things for Helen's aquarium, and certainly were successful – spent the evening at Aunt's

Margaret Elizabeth Weatherill
March 29th
I have neglected my diary for some time, but will endeavour to recollect some of the principal events during the interval.  The weather has been very fine and dry but not warm.  The east winds have prevailed much less than usual.  My birthday gifts on the second of April were a very pretty gold necklet, "The Lady of Garaye" [poem by the Hon. Mrs Norton], a charm service & scent.  We had no party.  Roberts came to supper

April 7th
The girls down street & Margaret Elizabeth spent the evening with us.  Mr Bowen & Roberts came in & sang some comic songs

[Dr Tony Nicholson informs me that the Revd Bowen was an accomplished musician/composer, who wrote a Te Deum and a carol that were firm favourites with Victorian churchgoers]

April 8th
Mamma went to Stockton to see Uncle Robert

April 12th
Margaret Elizabeth, Anne Louise & Aunt took tea with us

April 14th        
Mamma went to Stockton again.  Uncle very ill.

April 20th
Poor Uncle Robert died

April 24th        
Uncle was buried.  The day promised to be very fine but turned out stormy.  Many attended the funeral.  My cousins from Stockton & Jasper Barugh spent the day with us.

[Robert Corney Weatherill was buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas', Guisborough.  He was 57 years old.]

Henry Savile Clarke
April 25th
Herbert came home
April 26th
Spent the evening at Aunts.  Margaret Elizabeth & Mr [John] Richardson came to spend Sunday 26th.  Mr B., Uncle & Henry Clarke came up in the evening of Sunday

[Henry Savile Clarke was the son of Anne Louise's late husband by his first marriage]

April 27th
A practice with Mr Collins

April 28th
The Fair day.  Bitterly cold & stormy.  A thunder shower in the afternoon.  Mrs Thomas & the children took tea with us

April 29th
Bitterly cold, the wind N.E. Showers of hail.  Saw the first swallow.  Anne Louise took tea with us.  Mr M came in in the evening

April 30th
Still cold, wind N.E.  Spent the evening at Anne Louise's
Anne Louise Weatherill
May 1st
Quite a change.  Warm & genial.  All took tea at Aunts being John Charles' birthday.  Played at Croquet till after eight p.m.  Spent a pleasant evening

May 2nd
Positively hot.  Walked to the Park with Herbert and Mama, got hawthorn nearly out.  The woods begin to look green and the oaks are coming out

May 9th
Beautiful & [illegible] weather till this date but rather droughty.  Today lovely, quite summer like.  Herbert brought two little friends to visit him.  Went in the afternoon to play croquet down street, found Mr & Mrs Loy and Polly had arrived during my absence.  A large unexpected party to tea

May 11th
The rook shooting at Danby, and a break-up of the fine weather.  Aunt, Mamma, Helen and I drove together.  The rain commenced when we had got little better than half way to Danby and presently poured down never to cease the whole day.  It happened to be Castleton Fair & the girls enjoyed driving through the town exceedingly.  We all seemed to enjoy the day notwithstanding the wet.  The drive home was very wild
Thomas & Margaret (Papa & Mamma)
 May 13th
Showers, which will greatly benefit the grass.  Papa says we shall probably never live to see such another spring.  He never remembers one so genial with so little East wind

The day of the visitation [of the Archdeacon].  The Kirkleatham choir came and joined ours so the singing was good.  We sat in the chancel and had no organ. In the afternoon I came to Stockton

[At this time the organ was in the west gallery of the church, with the choir presumably sitting close by]

Whit Monday Miss Hunter, Annie W, Mrs W, Jane & myself went to Hartlepool and Seaton.  Walked by the sands to Seaton and had tea there.  Altogether a very pleasant day.  Had great fun in the morning watching a circus in which Tom King figured

Thursday Went to old Mrs Gibson's party.  The weather was bitterly intensely cold with East wind from the day I came till Whit Monday when it became warmer.  Came to Jane on the Friday.  Margaret Elizabeth and Anne Louise were taking tea here
June 1st
Went to see the 'Southerner' and L.F. spent the evening with us
June 2nd
Went to Middlesbrough in the boat.  Mr F. Reed took tea with us

[The Middlesbrough-Stockton boat was a regular way of travel between the towns]

June 3rd
The trial trip of the 'Southerner'.  Went in the boat to Middlesbrough with G.S. and little Herbert Bigland [aged 4, son of Isaac Bigland, iron broker of Stockton]

June 4th
Took tea with the Reeds & had a very pleasant evening

June 5th
Took tea with Mrs Wilson etc and enjoyed watching the people going to the circus

June 6th
A pouring wet day

Friday 19th
Went to the theatre to see Miss Lucette & was delighted with her performance.  Took tea at Mr Biglands last Monday

June 22nd
Returned home.  Mr H drove Jane, Mary, Little Jimmie and myself.  The day was tolerably fine, the drive very pleasant

June 23rd
A glorious day.  Mamma, Papa, Herbert and I walked towards the Park after tea.  Everything seemed so fresh and pure, surely the country must have a purifying influence on those who live in it, and large towns must present much greater temptations and fewer good opposing influences to their inhabitants

Saturday July 4th
We have had lovely weather since I came home.  Papa has got his seed hay and is going down to Redcar for a week

Monday July 6th            
Kate and I joined Papa and Mamma and Herbert at Redcar.  We drove down in the afternoon with Anne Louise who went to seek for lodgings.  She had some difficulty in obtaining them, as the place was so full.
Kate & Mamma
 July 7th           
Anne Louise came down.  Had a game of Croquet on the sands

July 8th           
The grand Volunteer Review day.  Corps after Corps with their respective bands poured into the town making quite an excitement.  The day intensely hot and brilliant.  Saw a number of Stokesley people among them.  T.L., R.N., Anne Louise went off in a boat with us.  It was cooler on the water.   
In the afternoon went to see the Review on the sands; our Corps were drafted off to supply deficiencies in other Corps.  Thought the Review rather stupid as I do not understand the movements.  Mr Morgan [vicar of Guisborough] and Anne Louise took tea with us.  Was too tired at night to accompany Kate and Anne Louise to the promenade concert.

[The Volunteers were the successors to the Militia.  Between 1846 and 1859 a French invasion scare prompted the formation of bands of Volunteers across the country; the movement was enormously popular amongst the burgeoning middle classes.  The Volunteers were later transformed into the Territorials.  In Guisborough a branch was sponsored by Thomas Chaloner in 1861 and the town developed a company of Volunteer artillery.  Herbert and William Weatherill were both members, and Margaret Elizabeth’s son William Richardson was later to be Hon. Colonel.]

July 9th
Went to the promenade concert in the evening

July 13th
Returned home.  Found the town quite deserted all down street & the Todds away.  Fine warm weather the evenings, so that you would like to stay out basking in the soft air and listening to the still sounds of darkness.  Drove down to Redcar on the 16th.  A great deal colder.  So cold about this time that the hands of the haymakers were numbed in the fields.

Wednesday 22nd
They returned from Scotland

Friday July 31st
Lucy came.  The day clearing we drove onto the moor in the morning

Saturday 1 August
Drove on the moor.  Another lovely day.  We did so enjoy the beauty of the moors and sea

Tuesday August 11th           
All went down to Redcar to the meeting of the choirs, and had a most pleasant day on the whole, though it was spent chiefly in Church for we went to the practice at twelve and did not leave till about two, when we went to dinner; at three back again to Church, and the service continued till after five.  The musical part went off very well on the whole, very well, that is there were no mistakes, which is a good deal considering there were three hundred comparatively untrained singers.

Friday August 14th
Mr Morgan's picnic.  Mr Atkinson opened a tumulus in the moor near Tidkinhoe [Tidkinhow] and found two urns, the date at least one thousand five hundred years before Christ

[Canon Atkinson of Danby, natural scientist and archaeologist, was much engaged on the Skelton and Guisborough moors that summer]

Friday August 21st
The school feast.  A really happy day.  We drove to Hutton in the morning.  The day was warm but sunless, very pleasant for being in the open air.  How the children did enjoy the tea, and after when you thought it impossible for them to stir how they did enjoy the games.  We had spent the evening at the Parsonage and closed a very pleasant day by playing chareds [charades?] till eleven o'clock

Saturday August 22nd
Took tea down street.  E. Blanchard there

August 23rd
Lucy left, drove to Redcar with her.  Feel quite a bord without her

August 29th
The two previous days have been more or less wet but today is fine so the corn will not suffer I hope.  Papa's was down the beginning of the week.  Walked to Tockets Lythe.  Read Willis Cruise in the Mediterranean ['Summer Cruise in the Mediterranean' by Nathaniel Parker Willis].  It is interesting, the ground of his travels is so famous, but his descriptions are poor, and his comparisons instead of raising you up, bring the sublime down to the commonplace.

[In September, Anne's parents went to Matlock, and Anne spent a little while visiting Mr & Mrs Hart at Carlton.  Her sister Kate had been to stay there at the beginning of the year.  Robert and Cecilia Hart may have been related to Anne's mother.  The 1871 Census shows them farming at Faceby Grange.]

September 1st
Had a walk in the evening with Papa, Mamma, W and Roberts to Airy Hill in search of mushrooms.  This walk and one we had on Saturday eve: seem to have stamped themselves on my memory, so much more strongly and pleasingly than many other so called days of pleasure, the first on account of the beauty of the scene – the purple moor, dark woods, the rising moon throwing a vernal hue over the grass fields seeming to slope from the soft grey blue sky.  The latter because a solitary seat above the peaceful valley raised my mind above the struggles and cares of daily life & enabled me to look closely around me, recall the past & anticipate the future.  How much more one lives in such moments than in the exciting turmoil of every day life & more especially than in the bewildering whirl of so-called fast life
September 3rd
Papa & Mamma went to Matlock

September 4th
Continued wet weather, though intermittently so.  I drove to Carlton, found Polly Loy had preceded me.  Mr H will go into Norfolk tomorrow on account of Mrs Hubbard's illness

Sunday September 6th
A finer day – walked to Faceby church in the afternoon but were dismissed with half a sermon.  Mrs & Polly Loy drove on

September 7th
A finer day.  The corn will get led and quite time.  Walked in the morning.  E. Nightingale [Ellen, aged 22, whose brother Richard farmed at Faceby Lodge] & S.L. took tea with us

September 8th
Mr H came home late most unexpectedly

September 9th
Took tea at Faceby

September 10th
Walked up Carlton Bank in the afternoon, a beautiful day.  The sun threw a mist in the west and N.W but it softened rather than obscured the landscape.  The heather was in full bloom.  Altogether the finest view I have ever seen, though I will not say my favourite.  Helen [Ellen] Nightingale pioneered us up the hill, & R came in the evening, cards etc

Walked on the Faceby Road with Mrs Hart in the morning & in the afternoon went to see a new farm house Mr H has planned.  The house is delightfully situated commanding a view of the Carlton Hills with Roseberry to the East.  Polly and I both feel sorry that this will probably be our last visit to Carlton, and that it may be a long time before we have the pleasure of visiting Mrs Hart again.

Here the diary ends

Clara Weatherill
The diary captures a happy year for the Weatherill families in Guisborough.  It was not to last.

Only a few months later, in January 1864, an enjoyable party in Middlesbrough ended in tragedy when Anne's cousin Clara accidentally set her dress alight with a candle on her return to her sister's house in Sussex Street.

She was "dreadfully burnt and very ill", John Stubbs wrote sadly in his diary.  She died a fortnight later.

Anne died the following year, on 6 November 1866 – family tradition has it that she died of tuberculosis. 

During the 1870s hardly a year went by without a death in the Weatherill families.

Herbert Weatherill

George Weatherill, Anne's cousin, died in 1872, his father William in 1873.

Dr John Richardson died in 1874.

Anne's brother Herbert died in 1875 – he was 27 years old.  

Anne's father Thomas and his sister Elizabeth died in 1876.

Her brother William died in 1877 aged 32, leaving a widow and two small children.

William Weatherill jnr & Tom

The 1880s were to prove little better.

In 1880 there were three deaths – Anne's aunt Ann, her daughter Emma and her granddaughter Annie Richardson, who had married Alfred Cochrane.

Anne's widowed cousin Anne Louise, whose first husband was the Revd Henry Clarke, married a leather merchant called William Hodgson in 1871 and was widowed again less than ten years later; she died in 1882.

In 1884 Anne's sister Kate, who had married the solicitor Arthur Buchannan ten years earlier, died aged 42 leaving three children under the age of ten. 

By 1885 only Margaret Elizabeth Richardson, Helen Clarke and John Charles Weatherill remained of the twelve cousins – and John Charles was in some way disgraced, possibly bankrupt.

That year, Margaret Elizabeth married her cousin Kate's widower, Arthur Buchannan.  She was some twelve years older than he, and took care of him as his health declined.  He died in 1895.

In 1894 Margaret Elizabeth's son William Richardson, a solicitor who was in partnership with his stepfather Arthur, married his second cousin (and stepsister) Averil Buchannan.  In 1898 Averil's sister Margaret Isobel married a young Middlesbrough solicitor – Thomas Duncan Henlock Stubbs, the son of John Richard Stubbs.

Note added 13 November 2015

Anne's diary is now at the North Yorkshire County Record Office.

I have recently obtained her death certificate, which shows that she died of
"Phthisis [tuberculosis] 9 months – Abscess of Lungs 3 months – Diarrhoea 12 hours”  
So the poor girl's last months and hours were obviously very distressing.

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