Saturday January 1st 1853John Richard Stubbs was fourteen years old when he made his first entry in his new diary. He lived beside the River Ure in Boroughbridge, opposite the Crown, once a famous posting house. His home was called the Bridge Foot, where his family had lived, kept their warehouse and run their business since his grandfather’s day – wine merchants, grocers and tea dealers since 1790.
Stayed at home in the morning & helped to clip the pony & had a ride in the evening on the pony
Monday January 3rd 1853John’s eldest brother Joseph, now aged nearly twenty-four, would take over the firm. He had learned his trade from his father and in London and was back at home working in the business. Eighteen-year-old Thomas was away, apprenticed to a Master Vintner. John was destined for the law.
Rode the pony to Knaresboro to the Sessions dined at the Royal Oak & rode back at night & went to Uncle Hirst’s to supper
His parents had taken him to a phrenologist when he was a little boy. The celebrated Edward T Craig, radical journalist, early socialist and public health campaigner, was a keen advocate of phrenology and toured Britain giving talks and readings. The chart on which he recorded his results for John’s parents shows that John’s most developed faculty was Caution. Perhaps his parents were swayed by this early form of career advice – at any rate, at some point they decided that their youngest son should be articled to his father’s brother-in-law, the solicitor William Hirst of Boroughbridge.
Wednesday January 5th 1853John’s mother was Mary Henlock, born in Great Ouseburn where her father’s forebears had been yeomen for generations. John walked there frequently and always called on Mr John Crosby, the doctor. A generous and hospitable man, he had been left a childless widower early in life and was always glad to entertain his nephews, nieces and the children of his friends.
In the morning walked to Ouseburn in the afternoon went to call on Mr Crosby & stayed tea there & returned to Aunt Picks
Thursday January 6th 1853John’s aunt Ann Henlock had married William Pick, a well-to-do farmer in Great Ouseburn. They had no children and John was Ann’s godson – he was very fond of her.
Had the steam threshing machine at Uncle Picks got wet through with going to see the sheep & we had a party to tea
Saturday January 8th 1853John’s uncle William Henlock had run the family farm since he was a young man, after his father’s death in 1829. He and his wife, like the Picks, were childless. William was married to Ellen Thornber of Settle, the daughter of James Thornber, manufacturer at Runley Bridge. The Henlocks had many family connections in the Settle area, as John’s grandmother Jane Redmayne was from Austwick.
Went to call on Aunt Henlock went to Dunsforth to move some sheep & walked home in the evening to B.B.
Friday January 14th 1853Uncle William Hirst had been deeply involved in local politics for many years. His family network stretched across Yorkshire, his father being one of the seven sons of Godfrey Hirst, landlord of the Golden Lion in Northallerton, and he had come to Boroughbridge as a very young man possibly because of a connection with Thomas Dew. Dew, a businessman and property owner of the town, was related to Richard Scruton, steward of Aldborough and Boroughbridge for the Duke of Newcastle under Lyme. William Hirst took over as steward and acted as general agent for the 4th Duke. He and Thomas Dew were active in the bitter battle for parliamentary patronage fought between the Duke and the Lawson family of Boroughbridge in the years before the Reform Act of 1832.
A polling day concerning rates in the evening had a riot & the poll was postponed Pybus was kicked out turned out
Saturday January 15th 1853John grew up in an intricate network of kinship and friendship. The Stubbs family had lived in the Forest of Knaresborough since records began – it was only in the middle of the 18th century that John’s great-grandfather had moved to Ripley. The Henlocks had farmed in Great Ouseburn for hundreds of years. The Redmaynes had lived in Settle for generations. The most enterprising men of the family had left their homes for York or London over the centuries, but kept the connection with their roots in Yorkshire. John’s parents’ circle was one of friends linked by kinship, long association, ties of marriage and business connections.
In the morning it was wet went & sat at Uncle Hirsts in the afternoon rode to Dishforth stayed tea & rode home by moonlight
The Dishforth connection was with Mr Mark Barroby, first cousin once removed to John’s father. A prosperous bachelor farmer, he lived with his spinster sister. Their brother Christopher and his wife Catty Poole farmed at Baldersby. Their children Frank and Fanny were some years younger than John. It was when staying at Baldersby that John mentions meeting Charles Nicholson “who was at Waterloo” and a “Mr and Mrs Outhwaite of London”.
Sunday January 23rd 1853John’s mother Mary was a faithful and devout member of the Church of England. The family attended services three times on Sundays, generally going twice to Boroughbridge and once to the parish church at Aldborough.
Went twice to church at BB & 1 to Aldboro Mr Jno Owen preached I think
The new church at Boroughbridge had been opened only the previous summer. Many years later, Mary’s family provided the church with a new choir vestry in her memory. It was dedicated in 1892 by Canon Robert Owen – the handwritten note of his address that day shows the depth of Mary’s love for the church:
The consistent lover of our Church in whose memory our new choir vestry has been dedicated, was, throughout my long residence in this parish, one of my most steadfast and consistent friends … The choir vestry was erected as a Memorial to the Mother, because the members of her family well knew how strong was her attachment to, and delight in, the holy services within these walls. For the erection of our little church she, and the members of her family, jealously laboured and liberally contributed – and, as I believe, herself sought to be a living stone in the Temple of the Lord ….
Monday January 24th 1853Lizzy and Alice were John’s younger sisters, then aged eight and six – it seems that the three walked home together in the snow.
Stayed at home in the morning snowed fast in afternoon went to Ouseburn to fetch Alice and Lizzy
Naturally John’s family had many friends in Ouseburn – apart from Mary’s brother William Henlock and her sister Mrs Ann Pick, their circle included the Picks of Grassgills, the Picks of Marton Moor, Robert Rheeder, “Old Pick”, Mr and Mrs and the Misses Howe, and the families of the Revd Atkinson of Great Ouseburn and the Revd Lascelles of Little Ouseburn.
Tuesday January 25th 1853The following morning Uncle Hirst took John to Starbeck station. He took the train to Settle, arriving at about five in the evening after a wait of two and a quarter hours at Leeds.
Packed for school & went to Mrs M L Smiths to teadance till half past one came home & went to bed
He was a pupil at the Free Grammar School at Giggleswick, lodging with other boys in the house of his Aunt Mary Ann Stubbs. She was the widow of his father’s brother William, a Knaresborough solicitor who had died young leaving his wife with little money and six children. After his death she moved to Settle and she and her sister Isabella made their home in The Terrace. Isabella ran an Academy (presumably for young ladies) and the sisters took in half a dozen grammar school boys as lodgers. By 1853 two of Mrs Stubbs’ children had died in their teens and her son William, future Bishop of Oxford and eminent constitutional historian, had become vicar of Navestock in Essex. Not far away was John’s Aunt Redmayne, his mother’s sister Jane. She and her husband Thomas, his daughter by his first marriage and their two son and daughter, lived at Taitlands near Stainforth.
So John was very much at home in Settle. He may have been fairly new to the school, where he finished his education, as although his marks overall placed him securely in the top half of the class, he seems to have been new to Virgil, gaining only five marks while two of the others scored fifty-eight. He recorded the classes' marks on a piece of paper tucked into his 1853 diary. It shows that the subjects studied included geography, history and mathematics, but the concentration was on Latin and the Classics. The boys were divided into two classes, John being in Second Class, and it seems that they did not always attend a full day's school, as John frequently notes going “twice”:
Wednesday February 2nd 1853"The Doctor" was the headmaster, the Revd George Ash Butterton. The mathematical master was John Langhorne:
Went to school twice & got into the Doctor’s end went to a lecture on metals & had supper for 1st time at school
Monday February 7th 1853John kept an account of his expenses in his diary, noting in January that his journey to school had cost eight shillings and ninepence and that he paid Dr Butterton four shillings. The February accounts include sixpence for the lecture on metals, one shilling for a purse, twopence on Taffycocoa, two purchases of Gingerbread at a penny, and twopence for Oranges. In December he placed an order for paper, quill pens and Ovid with John Wildman, the printer and bookseller, which suggests that he was returning for at least one more term. He paid five shillings and fivepence to Thomas Armistead, probably the shoemaker.
Went twice to school said our first lesson & then was with Mr Langhorne for rest of day
On weekends and half holidays he could visit family – call in to see how his great aunt (“Old Aunt”) Mrs Mary Redmayne at Town Head was faring, or have tea in Church Street with “Mrs Robert” (Ann Redmayne, the widow of his great uncle Robert). A greater treat was to go to Stainforth to visit his Redmayne cousins at Taitlands.
On February 12th 1853 “there was a good deal of snow” providing fun for several days. He recorded “a good slide”, “a slide on the river” and:
Monday February 14th 1853When May brought better weather the boys took to bathing in the river – in early June a party of them must have been having fun at Stainforth Foss as he recorded that “D Tomlinson jumped off the Foss”. In September his uncle Redmayne gave him a day's shooting (the note in his diary is underlined with satisfaction: “shot 3 head of game”). Now nearly fifteen, John was becoming more independent and he went to his uncle's one evening without telling his aunt:
Went to school in the morning had holiday in the afternoon & went to slide below the railway bridge
Friday September 30th 1853At Giggleswick John finished his education – in 1855 at the age of fifteen he went to work as a clerk for his uncle William Hirst. The Hirsts lived nearby in Horse Fair. Mrs Elizabeth Hirst was John’s father’s younger sister. Their eldest daughter Jane was by 1853 a young widow living in London while her sisters Dorothy and Mary, aged nearly 26 and 19, were living at home – they never married. Richard, the only son, was seven years older than John. His greatest friend amongst his Hirst cousins was the youngest, Sophy, who was a year older than he and a lively companion.
School In the evening walked with T Bramley to Taitlands on the sly Mrs Stubbs & Co knew not
Living at home, he was able to make himself useful by helping with the business accounts:
Saturday March 1st 1856Father was Thomas Stubbs, born at the Bridge Foot in 1796. He had been running the business for many years. His father (also Thomas) died in 1838, the year of John’s birth, at the age of seventy seven.
Went to Office At Noon was about home & at H[enr]y Carass’ At Night Joe & I were busy with Fathers books
The connection between Henlocks in Great Ouseburn & Redmaynes in the Settle area:
John Henlock (1769-1829), yeoman of Great Ouseburn, married Jane Redmayne, daughter of Richard Redmayne, yeoman of Austwick, while his sister Mary Henlock (John's "Old Aunt") married Giles Redmayne of Settle.
John Henlock & Mary Redmayne had 8 children, born between 1803 and 1815:
Mary, who married Thomas Stubbs
William, who married Ellen Thornber of Settle
Isabella, remained unmarried
George died aged 20
Jane, married Thomas Redmayne of Taitlands, Stainforth
Ann, married William Pick of Great Ouseburn
John Giles Henlock & Richard Redmayne Henlock, emigrated to New Zealand in their twenties