Tuesday January 15th 1856Breakfast was after a little bit of studying or opening the post at the office. Dinner was the main meal of the day – whenever it took place – but here in rural Yorkshire it was generally in the middle of the day or the early afternoon. Tea was in the early evening, supper later on. Dinner, tea and supper – all were opportunities for parties and gatherings in this gregarious, sociable world.
Went to the Office Mrs Workman Mr Robert W Mr Henlock & Mrs dined with us at 2 o’clock I left the Office at 2 returned at 4 Went to the Doctors [Sedgwicks’] in the Evening Danced had supper & enjoyed ourselves extremely A Family party Leonard’s birthday
Mr Robert Crawshaw Workman farmed at Arksey, near Doncaster. The Workmans were connections of the Henlocks, John's mother's family – Margaret Henlock married William Workman. Mr and Mrs Henlock were John’s uncle and aunt from Great Ouseburn.
Tuesday January 22nd 1856No wonder John felt tired – he had been up till 4 o’clock in the morning waiting for the cow to calve. Jane was his elder sister, who would soon marry young Mr Capes of her uncle Hirst’s office. Dora was his cousin Dorothy Hirst, who died unmarried aged fifty-one. She led a quiet life of useful works to the community and her family and is commemorated by a stained glass window in Boroughbridge church. Ann Stubbs was one of the London relations.
Went to office. Retd to Breakfast felt rather tired. At Noon walked with Jane up the Topcliffe Road Had tea with Aunt Hirst went to a small party to supper at Aunt Bells. had my fortune told by her. Got home about ½ past eleven. Uncle Hirst & Dora came home from London & Ann Stubbs came with them
The social conventions were strict:
Tuesday March 4th 1856On the other hand, young men were very well placed to profit from the open hospitality of the day – on one occasion John managed to have two dinners:
Went to Office At Noon Joe & I walked up Kirby Hill way by the fields we saw Secker of Knaresbro gallopping a mare in a field At Night Capes & I walked up thro Aldbro I then went & had tea with him & read Miss Calder Aunt Bell & Dora were having tea at our house it was thought rather rude my going out to tea
Thursday March 6th 1856Gudgeon was Uncle William Henlock’s gamekeeper – John also mentions going shooting with Gudgeon and his son Tomy. Dr John Crosby often invited his friends to dinner:
Went to Office At Noon I went & sat with Henry Carass After dinner read a little in the life of Condé At ½ past three Uncle Hirst let me off I walked to Ouseburn and had dinner Uncle Williams as they had been coursing We then had tea after tea a rubber at wist two table Uncle Henlock, Crosby, Len Sedgwick & I sat at one table. Gudgeon, Uncle Pick, Capes & Joe at the other Gudgeon & I walked togr to Marton Lane I then walked on & the riders overtook me at the 2nd milestone I walked to Heaton House then Capes walked & I rode – We got home at 12 o’clock
Monday March 10th 1856Tea and supper were often followed by cards, games, singing or dancing:
Went to office. At Noon Joe & I went up the River for a walk Howells great dog followed us Crosby had a dinner party to day Joe & Len Sedgwick went, Capes & Aunt Bell. Jane was going but she had such a bad cold At Night I went up to the Doctors & sat to ask them if they had anything they wanted doing in York
Wednesday April 30th 1856Charlotte Farmery kept the Fox and Hounds at Langthorpe. The Smiths farmed at Humburton and were related to the Stubbs’ relations, the Morleys of Effingham in Surrey. Heaton Edwin Clark farmed at Heaton Hall.
Went to Office At Noon went to Hy Carass’ Went also with Joe to Charlotte Farmerys to ask her to let them anchor the boat of her field end. At Night had the Smiths of Burton & Jane Eliza Morley from Effingham to tea the Sedgwicks, S. Hirst, Ruth Stott, Steele Capes H.E.Clark & Jacob Smith had a jolly dance J.E.Morley & I had a first rate polka broke up about ½past twelve Sophy stayed all night
The tea party was typical of its mix of family and neighbours. There are the Smiths, who farmed at Humburton and were connected to the Stubbs through the Morleys. John mentions elsewhere James Morley of Baldersby and his sister Annie – here he dances with their eighteen-year-old cousin Jane Eliza, whose father John had moved his family to Effingham in Surrey. Often present were Ruth Stott and her sister Charlotte, the middle-aged daughters of the late Hugh Stott of the Crown. Heaton Edwin Clark was one of the Clarks of Ellenthorp – referred to by John in 1860 as “The Heaton House Clarks, The Lodge Clarks and the Hall Clarks”. After the death in 1854 of Edwin Clark of Ellenthorp Hall, whose wife was Mary Stott, Ruth’s sister, his brother Heaton had moved from the Lodge to the Hall. Heaton Edwin (possibly Heaton’s nephew) moved from Heaton House to the Lodge and his brother Charles, who had been working as a druggist and chemist in Dudley, took up farming and moved to Heaton House with his wife Amelia Hicks and children Marian and Charley. The young academic Edwin Charles Clark was the son of Edwin and Mary Stott. The “Clarkes of Minskip” were also friends of the Stubbs family – John mentions going to tea there in the Stotts’ phaeton in 1859 and having “a good dance”. Later in the year he asked Mr Christopher Clarke if he had a ferret to sell “but he had not. His brother from Huddersfield was there”.
With the fine weather, parties on the river could begin:
Monday May 12th 1856Miss Christiana Jepson was Dr Crosby’s niece. She worked as a lady’s maid before her marriage to a local farmer. Visitors were, then as now, a good excuse to take a day’s holiday and go on an outing:
Went to office Was at the Office till 1 Went back directly after dinner At Night went to tea at Aunt Bells Miss Jepson from Ouseburn & a Miss Johnson from Easingwold who was staying at Crosbys Sophy H[irst] Jane Stubbs, Joe, Capes & I we went & rowed up as far as Slaters then came back went to the Church Joe & I went home with Miss Jepson & Miss Johnson I sat behind with the latter it was jolly we walked home. Miss J is rather a nice girl rather good looking &c &c
Thursday June 5th 1856Anyone with visitors invited guests around to entertain them:
Went to Office at Noon. Read Blackstone At Night Mr Capes & I had a row as far as the Lock I then went to Sedgwicks to meet the Hirst party & Capes we went on to the top of the tower of the church had singing & talking I enjoyed the eveng very much. Got home about ten. Dora was very frightened on the top of the tower she seemed quite nervous.
Friday June 6th 1856
Went to Office Did the Mail. At 9 o’clock Sophy Miss Dixon & I drove to Studley Fletcher drove Dora & Mary Stubbs the Sedgwicks were there we had a splendid day in every possible way the party were exceedingly agreable R[ichard] Hirst was there. We dined in the pavilion about ½ past 3 had a ramble after dinner we had some singing also. Got home about 7 Sophy drove some part of the way & Miss Dixon some part & I drove the rest. We all had tea at Uncle Hirsts had a game at ball Dora struck the ball into Miss Dixon’s face she cried poor thing.
Friday May 16th 1856Joe’s sisters and cousins seem to have been in the choir – he often walked them to the church to the practice.
Went to Office At Noon read Blackstone Cleaned my Gun At Night went to tea to Uncle Hirsts to meet Miss Walburns & Miss Kyme & Miss Eliza Kyme who were stay.g with the Walburn’s [at Norton le Clay?] We walked to the Devils Arrows we went to Church to practise came home had some singing Joe Steele & I walked home with them we stayed a quarter of an hour got home ¼ to twelve
On occasion the visitors were not so welcome. The widowed Mrs Powell, a friend of his mother’s, kept a girls’ school:
Monday May 19th 1856
Went to Office. At Noon read Blackstone At Night I went & had tea with Capes From there I went to the Newsroom read part of Palmer’s trial Also a little of the Quarterly Reivew & the lead.g Article in the Times Left at ¼ to 9 went home I then went on to Uncle Hirsts for a short time. Mrs Powell’s young ladies were at our house at tea. I missed them which was a good job