JOHN PECK'S DIARY

APRIL - DECEMBER 1814

April 1.    Mild morning.  Rode down Tydd Fen, on to Newton, round by Wisbech and home by 11 oclock.  Many lambs dropped, and the not much milk.

April 2.    Wisbech market; corn dull.  Wind west - stormy.  Emblems of my mind.  Saw poor ----- -----.   A man must be a villain to -----  ----- innocence.

April 3.    Walked round Parsondrove Fen with Mr. Holmes.  Wind blowing strong, to the great benefit of the fens.  Dined at home and spent the afternoon at Mr. Holmes’.

April 4.    Round Tydd Fen; the water settled about treequarters of an inch.  On to Newton; dined at Mr. Taylor’s.  Went to Mr. Redin Senrs’ sale; stock dear.  Tea at Mr. Taylor’s and home by 8 oclock.

April 5.    Very fine and warm day.  Walked round P.D.Fen in the morning; round Harrold, and rowed in Mr. Pears’ boat in the afternoon.  Read Monthly Review.

April 6.    Round Tydd Fen, Newton, on to Wisbech. Assessors warrant (?) delivered.  News arrived of the Allied Army entering Paris; the Mail  sported the White Cockade.  My dear ---  sat to Mr. Sturgeon.  What folly there is in Man, the end of all things is death.  Home by 12 oclock.

April 7.    Walked round P.D.Fen.  Fine morning; wheat rather looks better, grass grows.  Spent the day about home.  Reeve hedging the garden in.

April 8.    Rode round Tydd and Newton - Good Friday.  Home by tea. Mssrs. Herber, Andrew Jealous and Dales spent the evening at our house.  Some drunk.  Bed by 12 oclock.

April 9.    News arrived of the dethronement of Bonaparte.  Corn very dull sale; wheat 50/- to 66/-..oats £9 to £12, & barley about 14/- per coomb. Home by 11 oclock.  "Nights dark veil presents to the world  grandeur sublime, to the troubled breast distress."

 

March wind, April showers bring forth May flowers, what was to be in store for John.

May 1.     Very fine morning, wind south; glass at 30 in. Dined at home.  Rode to March to see Mr. Grounds, ill; found him better.  Had some Moral Conversation - “If I take a pistol and shoot myself, you would call me mad, and condemn the action as the worst man can be guilty of.” “Certainly I should think so.” “It would be very pardonable.  The distress and agony of a wounded mind in the momentary absence of reason might do such a thing.”“It would be wrong - very wrong.”  “I think it’s wrong, generally speaking, but some cases are pardonable, much more so, than he who knows what he’s doing will in the end deprive him of life, and yet repeatedly does the same.”  Came home round by Wisbech.  Love is an exalted passion, and refines the soul; no man is happy without feeling it, and there's no misery but what springs from it.

May 2.     About home; a Meeting at night to pass Overseer’s accounts.  Mr. Catling lost, supposed to be drownded  in  Wisbech River.

May 3.     Hot. Sold a black bullock to Wright & Co. for £36.  Blossom, mare, foaled in the night; her innards  forced out, and died in 2 hours.  The foal alive.  This is bad luck, the mare was worth £50.

May 4.     Rode to Tydd Fen.  Very wet. To Newton; finished thrashing there. To Wisbech; home by 12 oclock.

May 5.     Very cold morning; the wind in east.  Went to Wisbech and passed the Overseers accounts; dined at the White Hart & home by 10 oclock.  Very cold and rainy.

May 6.     Rain all night; a cold morning.  About home all day.  Turned very mild in the afternoon.  Read Burns’ poems, and bed by 8 oclock.

May 7.     Wisbech market; sold 16 and a half qr. of wheat to Mr. Pate at 61/- per qr.  Got my dear girl's miniature from Sturgeon, a fine performance.  Home by 11 oclock; very mild night.

May 8.     Home all day.  Very dull - some people act foolish, to overlook the good God places in their way.  But all can’t see.

May 9.     Home. Turned the last beast out to grass; carted muck to 2 acre Harrold.  Wind east by N.

May 10     Rode round Tydd Fen; found the waters abated.  On through Newton to Wisbech.   The wind east and very cold; night clear.  Home by 11.

May 11.     Sharp frost; ice at 8 oclock.  Set potatoes in 2 acre at Harrold.  Sailed in the boat in the afternoon, and read Little’s Poems at night.  Bed by 9 oclock.

May 12.     Finished setting potatoes in 2 acres.  Cold day. About home all day; Mssrs. Holmes & Dales at my house in the evening.  Bed by 10 oclock.

May 13.     Rain from the north and very cold; glass at 30.15.  Rode to Long Sutton and dined at Mr. Ream’s - the Fair - home to Newton by 11 oclock.

Well, it certainly did not look good farming weather, even a frost on the 11th.

 

June 1.     Brisk, mare, badly, rode to Newton for Mr.  Herber.  Rode round P.D.Fen.  Mr and Mrs. Osborn came to dine - the afternoon spent at home.  Robert and Mary Osborn came in the evening.  Wind cold, from the east by south.

June 2.     Small rain from the east.  At home all day, bed by 11 oclock.  Wrote to ------.

June 3.     Rode to Lynn with the O's.  Rain in the afternoon.  Saw some hundreds of poor French prisoners from Norman Cross on their way home.  How happy they seemed; poor men, they are happy once in their lives.  Home by 11 oclock.

June 4.     Dull morning.  Breakfast. Rode to Wisbech, markets dull. Wheat best price 59/- per qr., oats £8 per last.  Dined in a party at Beck’s, walked round the town, took tea; home by 8 oclock.  The evening cold and very rainy.

June 5.     Cold wind from the NE; much rain in the night.  About home all day.

June 6.     Mr. & Mrs. O. Went home.  Rode round Tydd Fen, on through Newton; dined at Mr. Taylor’s.  To Wisbech - the Association Meeting; home by 10 oclock.

June 7.     Thrashed a stack of wheat with machine.  Wind east and very cold.  No grass, the stock starving.  Corn looks very badly, and everything presenting to the farmer a ruinous prospect. The result of it only can be known by time - Hope is my motto.  JP.

June 8.     Walked round P.D. Fen.  Mr. Underwood and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Taylor dined here.  Paid Underwood half-year's rent, £40.

June 9.     Dined at home, and went to March with Mr. Holmes; found Grounds very ill. Took tea, arrived home by 11 oclock. Wind east & cold.

June 10.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton; tea, and home by 7 oclock.

June 11.     Wisbech Market.  Sold 15 qr. of wheat at 58/- per qr.  Corn very dull.  Parted with ----.  Home by 12 oclock.  Despair.

June 12.     A mild rain from the SE.  Spent the day at home.  Wrote to ---- in the evening.  In bed by 1 oclock.

June 13.     Went to Wisbech; delivered wheat.  Dined at Mr. Grounds’.  Home by 7 oclock.  Rain from SW.

June 14.     Fine day, hot.  Rode to Tydd Fen in the morning, made the tax books out in the afternoon.  Mr. & Mrs. Osborn, T.W. and Sarah Close came to our house in the evening.  Bed by 2 in the morning of the 15th.

June 15.     Thunder and lightning about 3 and 4 oclock, much rain till 7 oclock, fine morning.  Walked, and took a row in the boat.  Mr. & Mrs. O. &c started for Mr. Tomlin's party about 12 oclock.  Rain in the afternoon.  At 7 oclock, went to Wisbech to see the Illumination.  Several good and appropriate transparencies were exhibited, and detroyed by the rain which fell in torrents from 9 to 12 oclock, with thunder and lightning.  The immense concourse of people assembled to see the brilliancy of a flood of light returned home immersed in a flood of water.  The quantity of rain (THAT) fell beggars description - 14 inches on a level in 12 hours.  Home by 2 oclock on the morning of the 16th.

June 16.     Rode to Tydd Fen; the water on the lands.  Through Newton to Wisbech, a Commissioners Meeting of T. & N. Drainage. Home by 10 oclock.

June  17.     Went round the town (I.E. IN THIS CONTEXT, PARSON DROVE VILLAGE) inspecting windows.  Rode to Wisbech and delivered the tax papers. Home by 8 oclock.

June  18.     Wisbech market; corn dull sale.  Heard accounts of much damage being done by the very heavy rain on the 15th.  All the meadows in the high country are destroyed, many sheep drownded.  Old men say they never saw such a rain in their lives.   Home from Wisbech by 10 oclock.

 

July 1.     Started for Thorney Horse Fair at 8  oclock. Horses not saleable; colts from £15 to £18 each which last year made £35 to £45.  Home to P.D. to dine with Mssrs. Taylor, Smith, West &c.

July 2.     Rode round Tydd Fen, on through Newton to Wisbech.  The whole town in confusion by the stoppage of Watson's Bank.  Sold 7 last of oats at £8 per last.  Spent the day & home by 11 oclock.  The weather continuing very fine.

July 3.     A fine morning at home; walked in the evening. A delightful day.  Wrote to Mr. B(EALES), Cambridge.  Bed by 11 oclock.

July 4.     Rode to Peterboro' to get changed 2 £10 notes; (See note 1 below) the stoppage of the Wisbech Bank prevented their passing at home.  Found all right.  Dined and returned home by 6 oclock; a fine day.

July 5.     Delivered oats at Wisbech; round Tydd Fen, on through Newton to Wisbech.  Home by 11 oclock.  Fine night.

July 6.     Clipped 128 sheep at Newton.  Cow calved at night.  Hot day.  Home by 10 oclock.

July 7.     Clipped 45 ewes in Tydd Fen.  Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Wisbech.  Saw the Masons go to church - a nice procession.  Thanksgiving Day for peace; the church full.  Small rain in the evening.  Home by 10 oclock.

July 8.     Small rain in the morning.  Clipped sheep at Parson Drove.  Total sheep clipped this year ;-

                                    Old                  Hogs    Ewe     Lambs             Total (EXCLUDING LAMBS)

Parson Drove              41                    54        1          3                      96

Newton                       40                    41        46        54                    127

Tydd                            1                                  44        57                    45

Before clip day           24                                                                    24

Totals                          106                  95        91        114                  292

Sold the wool to Mr. Smith at 32/- per tod (See note 2), a bill of 2 months or discount for ready money, to weigh in a fortnight.  Fine in the evening.  Plough for burning (?), Tydd.

July 9     Went round Murrow, through T(HOLOMAS) Drove to Wisbech.  A very small market; corn dull sale.  Mild day. Wrote to M.J.  Home by 11 oclock.

 July 10.     Dull morning, small rain from the west.  Rode to Newton, dined at Mr. J. Smith's. Commonplace conversation.  Heavy rain in the afternoon; clear fine evening. Home 10 oclock.  How sweet is the calm of a summer's evening; what expansion for a philosophic mind.  How sublime is God; how great is all His works save Man - he mars the beauty of the whole Creation; without his faults, Nature would be spotless.

July 11.     Fine morning; rode round P.D.Fen.  Rode to Newton Fair.  Dined at Mr. Taylor's.  Spent a drinking afternoon; same in the evening.  Bed by 4 oclock on the 12th.

Note 1:            £10 in 1814 is worth £650 in 2017.

Note 2:            A tod is equivalent to 28lbs(12.7kg)

 

August 1.     The anniversary of the Battle of the Nile.  Poor Nelson, I honour thy memory; thou wast amongst men a god. Grand Fete in the parks at London in honour of the peace.  Rode to Newton; finished waggoning hay there.  Home to P.D. by 7 oclock.  Fine evening; bar. 29.70, th. 70 degrees.

August 2.    Rode to Newton; sowed 6 acres of the 12 (ACRE) in Newton Fen with coleseed.  Dined, and round to Wisbech.  Saw the preparations on the Hill to dine the poor in celebration of the peace.  Home by 11 . Js. - H. Pk.

August 3.     Small shower in the night; a beautiful morning, bar. 29.80, th. 70 degrees.  Rode round Tydd Fen; mowing 10 acre there.  On to Newton; dined, and went to Tydd Gote grounds, Newton Marsh.  Rain in the afternoon.  Home by 7 oclock; fine evening.

August 4.     Rode to Tydd Fen; put out a 5 foot dike round the Decoy, put out at 10d.  Rode to Wisbech to see the Grand Dinner on the Market Hill in celebration of the happy return of peace.  Upwards of 4,000 people dined together in comfortable and regular order.  In the evening, pony racing, donkey racing, girls running, boys eating hot hasty  pudding, (See note 1 below). men jumping in s August 10. Rode to Tydd Fen, a heavy shower. Dined at home.  Rode to Wisbech to offer the Rector's Agent money for the tithes - no agreement.  Home, and tea at Mr. J. Ulyat’s.  Taylor’s corn sale; bought 6 acres of wheat at £71.  Bed by 11 oclock.

August 11.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton, to Wisbech. Home to bed by 11 oclock.

August 12.     Wisbech Bullock Fair; (STOCK) sold at less money than the jobbers expected.  Sold the remaining part of the 12 acre in Newton Fen with coleseed; sowed the 6 acre in Tydd Fen with coleseed.  Home to P.D. by 7 oclock.acks, and a  many suchlike amusements in a field near the Horse Shoe Hole, which kept on till all began to be confused when the vast throng, (supposed to be more than 10,000), returned to the town to witness a brilliant display of fireworks discharged from a gallery erected in the centre of the marketplace, thus concluding one of the most eventful days ever recorded in the annals of Wisbech.  All was conducted in that regular order, and the day being the finest that could possibly be, the impression left on the minds of the spectators will not be defaced, no, "not while Memory holds a seat" in their astonished heads.  Home and in bed by 4 oclock in the morning of the 5th. (BETWEEN LAST TWO LINES: Walk rainy (?) Bank.  Nature surpasses art.

August 5.     Rode round to Newton.  Sowing coleseed in the Marsh; burning in Newton Fen.  Home by 5 oclock.  The day cloudy, with wind from the south west.  Wrote to Bm. Drain & M. Jealous.

August  6.     Wisbech market.  Finished the Marsh cole(SEED).  Called on the Tithe Valuer.  £84"10"0 set on my tithe; only 105 acre of land.  Damned the Parsons and got ----.

(PECK MUST HAVE GOT VERY DRUNK IN HIS INDIGNATION - HE MARKED THE PAGE WITH THREE LONG DASHES RATHER THAN THE USUAL ONE.)

August 7.     9 oclock; on the bed till 3.  Mr. R. West of Leverington to tea and supper.  Cloudy, and very dark at night; bed by 10 oclock. 

August 8.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton Fen, home to dinner.  Very high wind from the west all day.  A meeting at night to consult about the tithes.  Agreed to offer the Parson 10/- per acre from all grown corn & 3/6 per acre for all grass and fallows.  Bed by 10 oclock.  Brewed 2 b(ARRELS ?) ale.

August 9.     Rode round P.D.Fen in the morning; through Newton Fen to Mr. R. West to dine.  The boy Robert’s christening.  A storm of thunder and rain about 1 oclock.  Took tea and rode to Leverington to meet the parishioners there to consult about the tithes.  Expected to find gentlemen but found, with one or two exceptions, a set of wranglers. Home at P.D. by 9 oclock.  The evening, after a very windy day, very fine and calm.

August 10.     Rode to Tydd Fen; a heavy shower.  Dined at home.  Rode to Wisbech to offer the Rector's Agent money for the tithes - no agreement.  Home, and tea at Mr. J. Ulyat’s.  Taylor’s corn sale; bought 6 acres of wheat at £71.  Bed by 11 oclock.

August 11.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton, to Wisbech.  Home to bed by 11 oclock.

August 12.     Wisbech Bullock Fair; (STOCK) sold at less money than the jobbers expected.  Sold the remaining part of the 12 acre in Newton Fen with coleseed; sowed the 6 acre in Tydd Fen with coleseed.  Home to P.D. by 7 oclock.

Note 1 Hasty Pudding – Basically Oatmeal Porridge.

 

September 1.     Round with the reapers.  Cut pigs and calves.  Rode to March to Mr. Grounds’ sale; dined at Mr. Pratts.  Bought a tarpaulin for stacks or waggon, almost new, for £2"16s. Things sold very well considering the dullness of the times. The day clear and fine - rather hot, bar. up to 30.20.  Home by 10 oclock.  Dales, 6 ewes at 56/- per head, paid £16"16s.

September 2.     Rode down P.D.Fen to the reapers; dined at home.  Rode to  Tydd Fen, on to Newton; tea, and home by 7 oclock.  A fine day, wind east, bar. 30.10.  Read Southey's Poems - some good descriptive things, Frederick very fine. The evening clear and serene - I could wish all minds were in unison with it.

September 3.     Saturday.  Wind in the north, with a little scud of rain.  With the reapers in the morning, P.D.Fen; fine afternoon.  Rode to Wisbech; markets dull for all kinds of grain.  Home by 3 oclock of the 4th.

September 4.     A fine morning, glass up to 30.15.  Rode to Newton, dined at Mother’s.  Went to church in the afternoon.  Tea, and home to P.D. by 8 oclock.

September 5.     Rode down P.D.Fen to Newton.  Began to waggon oats there and cut wheat, at 14/6 per acre. The day very fine.  Home by Tydd Fen at 7 oclock.  Barometer dropped to 30 inches.

September 6.     Rode to P.D.Fen, through Tydd Fen to Newton.  Finished waggoning the 10 acre oats, 22 loads.  Happed the stacks down, and home by 7 oclock.  Barometer fell to 29.75.  A small shower of rain from the west.  Read the Monthly Review.

September 7.     Dull morning with small rain; barometer down to 29.50.  Rode to Tydd Gote, round to Newton, home.  Rain hard all the way - wet through everything.  Went to Mr. Holmes’; tea and home.  Glass rising, with the wind east of north, 29.60.  The evening very cold.

September 8.     Cold wind from the north, glass up to 29.90.  Saw in the paper that potatoes will be preserved from frost through the severest winter by simply being placed in sacks tied up and set in a garret, granary, or any dry place, although water will freeze in a tub by the side of them.  Apples or potatoes spread on the boards will be preserved by spreading a coarse cloth or sheet over them - great things springs from simple means.  Wheat in London falling in consequence of the great importations of foreign corn; the prospect for us poor farmers is bad indeed.  Rode through Tydd Fen, on to Newton, on to Mr. Stanton’s sale at St. Mary’s; stock dull sale. The day very cold.  Went to Wisbech; home by 1 oclock.

September 9.     Fine drying morning, bar. at 29.98.  Rode to P.D. Fen to the reapers, on to Tydd Fen; reaping wheat there - about 2 acres out of 15, the rest drownded.  To Newton; tea at Mr. Taylor’s.  Home by 7.  Went to a meeting at the Swan.  The evening cold and dull; the glass steady at 29.98.

September 10.     Wind N., cold and dull.  Rode down P.D.Fen to the reapers.  Bar 29.90.  Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Wisbech.  Print of Lady Jane Harley (BOUGHT ?) (See note 1) & paid Taylor blacksmith’s bill £15"19"3.  Home by 11 oclock.

September 11.     Dry morning, bar. 30.  Read Intercepted Letters to and from the French Army at Dresden; the following extract from a letter to the Baron de Taviel, Commander in Chief of the artillery of the 4th Corps;-

Date: Paris, September 29th, 1813.  Will forcibly speak that some French women are not all levity, but can feel as we do.  Few English wives could write more feeling, or seem more anxious for the safety of their husbands –(See note 2)

“My Dear Friend,

               Think seriously about retiring as soon as ever it may be possible.  You continue in the service to provide for your children, but think how unhappy they would be should they lose you; think that I have need of a little tranquillity, of which I have never yet tasted.  We shall have little, but we will learn to live upon little; poverty itself would be preferable to ease purchased by so much uneasiness and so many torments, and that ease we can only have from you.

Adieu.”

At home all day.

Note 1     Lady Jane Harley (1774 – 1824), – Countess of Oxford and Countess Mortimer, lover of Lord Byron.  John enjoyed reading Byron, that’s maybe why he bought the picture.

Note 2     Napoleonic Wars

 

October 1     Rode round Tydd Fen, through Newton to Wisbech.  The markets dull  Sold 10 qr. of wheat to Mr. Coote at 70/- per qr.  Home by 10 oclock.

October 2.     The morning very fine, bar. up to 30 inches.  Dined, and rode to Peterboro'.  Tea, and walked in the Fair place.  Bed by 12 oclock.

October 3.        Bought at the Fair:-

                        30 ash poles at 2/11                                           £4" 7" 6

                        18 8ft. posts at 2/-                                             £1"16" 0

                        10 hovel posts at 4/-                                          £2" 0" 0

                        16 trays at 2/3                                                   £1" 16"0

                        29 posts at 6d.                                                       14"6

                        4 cheeses, 91 lbs. at 8d. h'pny                            £3" 4" 5            See Note 1

                        6 scuttles at 1/1                                                      6"6

                        ditto at 1/6                                                             3"0

                        1 doz. Brooms                                                        3"9

                        1/3 of a pocket hops

                        weighed 1cwt.1qt. 11 lbs. at £10                        £4"10"0

                                                                                                £19. 1. 8.

Home from Peterboro' at 8 oclock, the evening clear and beautiful.

October 4.     Fine morning; bar. at 30.15.  Rode to Tydd Fen, through Newton to Wisbech.  Home by 12 oclock.

October 5.     Rode to Tydd Fen.  Sold Mr. J. Johnson 10c. of wheat at 40/- per c.  In the afternoon rode to Murrow Plash to see the coleseed.  Round P.D.Fen; got up 3 loads of barley.  Bar. 29.90.  Evening clear.  Read Scotch History.

October 6.     Cloudy. Rode down Tydd Fen; waggoned 7 acre oats, part of 13 acre.  Evening cold, bar.29.45.  Rain.

October 7.    Clear morning; bar. rose to 29.52.  Rode down P.D.Fen; took grey horse up to Tydd Fen. Burning twitch in the 16 acre.  On to Newton; finished thatching stacks there.  Home through Tydd Fen by 7 oclock, the evening cold and clear.

October 8.     Rode to Tydd Fen; waggoned part of 9 acre barley in the barn.  On to Wisbech market; sold 10 qr. of wheat to Mr. Coote at 70/- per qr., £35.  The day very fine, night clear and cold.

October 9.     Very sharp frost in the morning, rime and ice at  9 oclock; the day clear and bright.  Bar. up to 29.95.  At home all day; read report on the Corn Laws, and Cromer, a Poem.  Mr. Lehair and son supped at our house.

October 10.     Very sharp frost, bar. at 30.5, th. 30 degrees, ice and rime in perfection. Rode to Tydd Fen.  Began to plough the 15 acre for wheat.  Drawed 24 - 2 shear sheep and 22 ewes for coleseed.  The day very fine.

October 11.     Dull morning, glass dropped to 29.75.  Sent 46 sheep and 10 lambs to coleseed (Murrow Plash).  Rode to Wisbech; delivered wheat, home by 4 oclock.  Evening cold and dull; small rain.  Bar. 29.60.

October 12.     Making lock-house.  Rode down Tydd Fen; manured part of 16 acre for wheat.  Bar. 29.50.  Rain at night.

October 13.     Rode to the coleseed sheep.  Dined, and rode to Lynn; walked with ---.  Bed by 12 oclock.

October 14.     Rose at 6 oclock.  Walked to see the "Duke of Wellington", a West India ship, launched. Went off very well. Breakfast.  Walked with  ---, over the grave of poor John Saunders, buried on the crossways for poisoning himself.  Dined and started for home; arrived at P.D. by 8 oclock.

Note 1    Worth today     £206.80     and = £2.28/lb

 

November 1.     Rode to the coleseed sheep at Murrow. Cloudy.  Tea at Mr. Holmes’;Home by 7 oclock.

November 2.     Rode to Newton, on to Wisbech; the day very cold.  Home by 7.  Read Byron's Ode to Napoleon.

November 3.     Rode to P.D.Fen.  Sowed 2 acres at Black Dike with 6b. wheat - 11 acre P.D. Brewing.

November 4.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton.  Sowed 6c.2b. of Tydd Fen wheat, (the whole produce of 15 acre), on 10 acre Marsh. Home by tea.  Settled Taylor’s bill in the evening.

November 5.     Wisbech Market.   Corn very dull; wheat 63/-.  The day fine. Home by 8.  M. Jealous at our house.  Pyrs. (PRAYERS ?) from Syrn (SYRIAN ?) Arminians.  Bar. 29.80.

November 6.     Dined at Mr. Js. West’s; home by 7 oclock. Fine day, frosty air.

November 7.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton; dined at Mr. Holmes’ on to Wisbech.  Home by 12 oclock.  Clear night.  Bar. dropped to 29.15.

November 8.     About home in the morning; rode down P.D.Fen in the afternoon.  Sowed 6 and a half acre Sh(ORT) Drove 4c. Marsh wheat.  Mrs. W., Miss T. &c. to tea.  Day clear and fine; bar. at 29.5.  Finished brewing, in all 10 barrels of ale and 5 of s(MALL) beer; 11c. of malt at 44/- per c. & 44lb. of hops at 1/9d.h’pny per lb.

November 9.    Sowed 1c.3b. of Marsh wheat on two and a half acre at Harrold, and the last this year. Thank God for so fine a seed-time. Total sow'd in all 28c.3b. on 47 acres of land.  Dined at Mr. J. West’s, tea at home.  Cold in the evening, wind west.  Read the Review.

November 10.     Very sharp black wind frost.  Rode to Newton after dinner, called at Hundred Acre, came home.  4 boys at P.D. put in gaol for breaking fencing on 5th inst.

November 11.     Sharp frost; bar. at 30.10.  Rode to coleseed sheep at Murrow.  Home to dine; about home all the afternoon.  Paid Musson for ploughing 22 acres of land at 5/- £5"10"0.

November 12.     Rode to Wisbech Market.  Corn very dull sale.  Paid Poor’s Rate at Tydd, £4"17"1d.h’pny.  Home by 12 oclock.

November 13.     Sold pig to Baker, 50/-.  The morning very fine, wind west, bar.29.65.  Paid stack thatchers, 9 days at 5/-.  Went to Mr. Holmes’ in the evening.

November 14.     Small rain in the morning.  Rode down P.D.Fen; after dinner rode down Tydd Fen. Thrashing barley there; began to thrash with hand at P.D.  Read in the evening Dudley’s (UNCLEAR - Jap(ANESE?) Prints ?).  Night and cold; bar. at 29.60. 

November 15.     Fine dry morning, good west wind.  Rode to Wisbech.  Corn in London yesterday duller, owing to the vast importations from France, Prussia, &c., &c.  Home by 12 oclock; very dark night.

November 16.     About home mending fencing &c.  Tea at M. Dales’, stopped till the morning, 3 oclock.

November 17.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton.  Dined at Mr. Tay(LOR’S), home to tea.  Good winds; the Fen drains almost dry, 11 brick clear at Newton Tunnel.  A meeting at Mr. Goddard's to subscribe money to  make good the fencing destroyed at the Bonefire.  PECK’S USE OF THE ARCHAIC SPELLING MAY REFLECT THE LOCAL PRONUNCIATION OF HIS DAY.)

November 18.     Walked round P.D.Fen in the morning; about home in the afternoon.  Sent to Tydd Fen from Murrow coleseed 22 ewes for the 7 acre & 24 two-shears for the 8 acre; before in 8 (WERE) 11.  In all 57.  Sent to Murrow 30 lambs.  Read Boyle’s Progress.

November 19.     Rode to Wisbech market; sold 8 qr. of wheat to Mr. Coote at 54/- per qr.  Fine day.  Home by 12.

November 20.     Started for St. Ives; dined at Mr. Jealous’ and spent the day.

 

December 16.     Much wind with small rain from the SW.  Rode to Tydd Fen; a terrible storm of rain and wind. On to Newton.  The wind all day very uncommon high.  Home by 6 oclock.  Dales, Goddard & E. Morganson spent the evening at our house.

December 17.     Rode to Newton, on to Wisbech.  Corn dull; everybody seems alarmed at the consequence.  Sold 8 qr. wheat at 49/- per qr.  Auction of Mr. Jewson’s estate at the White Hart in the evening; the conclusion like most other auctions - people drunk and fools.  Home to Newton with Mr. T. by 12 oclock.  Winds N all day.

December 18.     Went to Newton church; dined at Mr. Taylor’s. Home to P.D. by 7 oclock. Much wind; the water all out of the fen.  Saw in the papers Lord Roseberry obtained £15,000 damages against Sir Harry Mildmay for Crim. Con. with Lady R.  Dear, very dear.  Todays cost, £962900.

December 19.     Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton.  Rain in the evening.  Home by 11 oclock; fine night.

December 20.     Walked down P.D.Fen in the morning, down Tydd Fen in the afternoon.  Mr. Abbott brought P. Tax papers (AND ?) Mr Goddard, & spent the eveing at our house.  Bed by 12; fine night.

December 21.     Rode to Newton, on to Tydd; gave the dole away.  Went to Mr. Goddard’s at Newton to tea and spend the evening.  Clear night and sharp frost.  Home by 12 oclock.

December 22.     Rode to Newton, on to Wisbech; the day frosty and cold.  Complete B(UNDECIPHERABLE ABBREVIATION, HEAVILY WRITTEN AND UNDERLINED.) Home by 12 oclock.

December 23.     Frost.  Rode to Tydd Fen; spreading earth round the Decoy Pit and cutting the reed.  On to Newton; home by tea.  Went to Mr. Goddard’s in the evening.

December 24.     Rode to Wisbech market.  Corn very dull sale, wheat at 17/- per coomb.  Home to Newton; frosty night.  Coomb = 4 bushels, bushel = 8 gallons

December 25.     Dined with Mother.  Went to church in the afternoon; heard a good sermon from Mr. Mair.  Evening at Mr. Taylor’s.  Frost.

December 26.     Rode to Tydd Fen, home to P.D. by tea.  Bed by 12 oclock.  Dull night; little frost.

December 27.     Dull morning with rain from the SE.  Rode to Wisbech.  Pl. C. at the Spread Eagle.  Home by 11 oclock.  Dull night.

December 28.     Ground covered with snow.  Strong wind blowing from the east; bar. at 29.10.  Snow driving and falling very heavy all day.  Read Lord Byron’s Corsair.

December 29.     Frost.  Rode to Tydd Fen, on to Newton; dined at Mr. Taylor’s.  Round the farm to Fitten End.  Bought a calf of Mr. R. West Senr. for 30/-.  (ADDED: Sold in March 1819 for £35.)  Stopped at Mr. R. West’s Junr.; played cribbage - lost.  Home to P. Drove by 11 oclock.  Small rain and thaw, wind in the south.

December 30.     Those few days which are now left in the old year ought to call to our remembrance the most serious reflections.  Alas ! Too few think of Time, only in the way of spending it, and that (I doubt) not often a bit too well.  The morning very roaky thaw.  Rode to Newton in the afternoon.  Played at cards at Smith’s; slept at Mr. Taylor’s.

December 31.     The morning clear, and a small frost.  Rode to Wisbech.  The worst market I ever saw, corn not to be sold, scarcely at any price.  I offered a sample of wheat, 17 st.4lb, neat with a dry feel, and was bid but 16s. per coomb for the same.  News of a peace with America has damped the corn more than anything in the whole year.  Wool in consequence is 60/- per tod, and a prospect of it being still higher.  In the memory of no man living the country never closed so bad a year, nor one marked with such strange events.  The end must be left to time, praying that the Hand which guides all things human and divine may protect us thro' all the troubles of the following year, as it has thro' the one which is past.

   Wishing all well; bearing no malice nor hatred to a single being, caring not for a single person in the way of  fear, yet loving all in the way of friendship, I conclude the year hoping to be forgiven all my sins (which I fear are many), praying for the salvation of all poor souls, and wholly relying on the merits of Jesus Christ, who died to save souls, and to Whose eternal bounty I commit mine. 

                                     John  Peck.

 

 

 

 

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