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For space considerations, the
version of James Fretwell's Diary that follows does not include the
editorial footnote annotations inserted in the original transcript at
some later stage. Nor, due to the frequency of references to James's
immediate family, are these relatives included in the cross referenced
table of people cited in the Diary.
I would welcome any comments or
queries relating to the Diary, and, of course any information that
might add to what is currently known about the Fretwells and
Woodhouses. I am only an email
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One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh:
but the earth abideth forever.
Eccles. i. 4.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that
which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new
thing under the sun.
Eccles. i. 9.
There is no remembrance of former things; neither will there
be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that
shall come after.
Eccles. i. 11.
For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
Eccles. vi. 12.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for
there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the
grave, whither thou goest.
Eccles. ix. 10.
The knowledge of letters is certainly one of the
greatest blessings that ever God bestowed on mortals; their uses are
innumerable; they ease our memories, by committing to writing what
would otherwise have been burdensome to retain, or else have been
totally forgot. By this means our predecessors have transmitted to us
their various exploits and transactions, and we hand them done,
together with our own, to future generations. Thus also we have
accounts of what is done in the remotest parts of the world; and they
again the same from us. Thus excellent men by their writings, in all
faculties and sciences, enjoy a sort of immortality upon earth, by
having their memories honoured by succeeding generations who never saw
their faces in the flesh.
But the greatest blessing of all that has by this
means been transmitted to us, is in the revelation of God’s will to
us in the Ho1y Scriptures; wherein is contained all that we need to
know, or to do, in this life, in order to be for ever happy in the
next. For had not the Apostles committed their doctrine to writing,
how short and uncertain an account should we have had of it; then
there would have been large room for introducing oral traditions at
And we, who live in these latter ages, have still
greater reason of thankfulness to Almighty God for the great
improvement of the use of letters, by the wonderful and almost
miraculous invention of the art of printing; which is now come to so
great perfection, and has already done so much good in the world. Not
that I am insensible, on the other hand, of the mischief done by
immoral, atheistical, and heretical books, &c. But I hope the many
great benefits of the press, in promoting of all kind of usefull
knowledge, both human and divine, do abundantly outweigh its
inconveniences; especially if we consider one of the first and
greatest services it did in promoting that great and glorious work of
Several good men have been careful to publish to
the world an account of the lives of such men who have been eminently
serviceable in their day and station, and whose lives have been
exemplarily pious; and I doubt not but much good has been done by this
means, and that many others have been thereby provoked to follow ‘em
in love and good works.
I think ‘tis something strange that now, since
writing has been for some ages so common, so few should have any
tollerable knowledge of their ancestors; their knowledge seldom
extending beyond their grandfathers. I am of opinion ‘twould have
been acceptable to their posterity to have had an account of the
families from which they were descended, altho’ they were not any
ways illustrious, but meerly to satisfie their curiosity in knowing
through whose loyns they have descended, and into what families they
have been planted and transplanted; and a few sheets of paper would
have satisfied us, as to the birth, education, profession, alliances,
places of abode, and deaths, of our forefathers, for several
generations. And tho’ the account they had given us of these things
had been very concise, yet I'm perswaded we might in several instances
have observed a wonderful and beautiful variety of Divine Providence
in overruling and disposing of their several personal and family
circumstances and concerns.
My design, therefore, in these papers, is to give a
brief account of the present circumstances of myself and my father’s
house, which is designed as a bequest to posterity; which, I need not
tell you, is at your own disposal, and now they are come to your
hands, and will be of more service to me. But if you think fit to
preserve them, and thereto annex an account of such things worthy of
note as shall happen to you, in the day of your pilgrimage, is what I
could rather wish, and had some hopes of in my first undertaking; and
by this means succeeding generations will have a more tollerable
account of what happened to or was done by us their predecessors, than
‘tis possible for ‘em to have by vulgar traditional reports, which
many young persons have take pleasure in hearing from very antient
people; and a poor slight paper, if preserved with care, will soon be
more ancient than the oldest man of the age; for all care in the
world, and all the arts in the world, cannot preserve human nature to
equal the duration of the thinnest glass or finest paper preserved
with the like care.
My present purpose is to carry on this work
according to the abilities with which God has blessed me, so long as
it shall please God to enable me; and I heartily desire that the next
relation of mine who shall put his pen to this work (if ever any do),
may be better qualified for carrying it on than I have been, and for
making such reflections and observations as may be usefull to those
who shall come after him; and may his successor as far exceed him in
all wisdom and spiritual understanding; so shall this poor piece, as
it passes from hand to hand, be the more usefull, and consequently the
I shall not be so exact in methodizing every part
as if it were designed for public view; and therefore after I have
brought it down to the close of the year 1718, shall by help of my
diary, which I then begun, enter everything according to the order of
time in which it happened.
I am conscious of my own defects, and therefore
what you find here I desire you will not communicate to any except
near and dear friends, who may perhaps bear with me, not looking so
much at the poor performance, as at my sincere endeavours of pleasing
and profiting posterity, which is and shall be the sincere desire of
your loving relation, and affectionate friend, whilst known by the
Jan. 12th I738-9
A FAMILY HISTORY
There has but little come to my
knowledge concerning my ancestors; what I have heard or known I will
faith fully relate.
My great-grandfather, who is the
first of whom I have heard any mention made, was called Richard
Fretwell an honest plain man, and (if I mistake not) he was by
profession a carpenter, living at Maltbey. He had two sons, called
James and William, but whether any more children I know not.
My grandfather was called James. He
was a plain, honest, good man, well beloved by his acquaintance,
educated a carpenter; but his chief business was buying and selling
timber. He lived at Maltbey. His wife was of an antient family called Beard. Her name was Mary; she
was a good woman, and a prudent wife. She had many children, but
several of them died young, tho’ not in infancy. One I remember,
called John, who died February 18th 1708-9 in the 26th
year of his age. There was another, called William, who (I find) dyed
the 23rd of Sept. 1700, and in the 22nd year of
his age. I have heard that my grandmother mourned very much for his
death, which, ‘twas thought, was a means of hastening her own, which
happened the first day of November following. There was more of my
grandfather’s children who dyed young, of whom I have no account.
My grandfather survived my
grandmother many years; he continued at Maltbey with his youngest son
called Richard; but, after his daughter Mary was left a widow, I think
she prevailed with him to go to live with her. He had left of all
business for many years, and lived very privately, spending his time
very innocently, and great part of it in making preparation for his
great change, which happened on Thursday, Sept 4th 1718,
betwixt 5 and 6 a clock in the morning. He was taken ill but the
morning before; but tho’ he was taken out of this world after a very
short summons, I hope he was not unprepared for it. Hereby we may see
how necessary ‘tis to be always ready, for we know not at what hour
our Lord will come to any of us in particular by death.
His eldest daughter, called
Elizabeth, was married to one John Bower, of Wickersley, a very honest man, and by
trade a carpenter, very ingenious in his profession. By him she had
two sons and one daughter; the eldest son, called John, is living; has
a wife and several children, living at Wickersley, and practicing his
father’s business, in which he is eminent, and has a fair character.
His sister, called Sarah, was a pretty young woman; she dyed many
years ago at the Rev. Mr. Holmes’s
at Hatfield. His brother was called Benjamin. He was bound (I think)
apprentice to cousin Stephen Husband,
of Tickhill, who was a tanner. He dyed about February 1718-9.
His younger daughter, called Mary,
was born Nov. 28th, 1676, and baptised the 26th
of Dec. 1676. She was married (I think) when about 19 years of age, to
one John Wasteneys, a relation, and who had been brought up with my
grandfather: a very honest man but destroyed his constitution by his
intemperance. He was not an unkind husband, but I think my aunt’s
meek and pacifick temper contributed not a little toward it, for he
was of a passionate, hot temper. They lived together about 20 years,
and had several children, of whom more hereafter. Only I shall add
here, because I shall not meet with it in my Diary, that they buried a
daughter called Sarah, many years before the death of my uncle, and
when I was at Stainton school. I forgot also to mention that they
lived at Maltbey.
His youngest son, called Richard,
was born February 26th, 1684; he also lives at Maltbey. He
married Ruth, the daughter of Mr. Matthew Purslove, late of the Grange, near Maltbey, by
whom he has several children. He is a sober, good man, and keeps an
orderly family, training up his children in the fear of the Lord. He
lives upon a, small estate of his own there, pleasantly and
healthfully situated; his chief business is buying and selling horses,
in which he is very skilful and successful; and which, notwithstanding
the general ill-repute that business lies under, he performs with an
unblemished character. And, indeed, I think he is as cautious of his
words as any man I ever knew; so that I doubt not but his word,
amongst such as know him, will go farther and have more credit than an
hundred oaths of some others will do; and then of what service are
they? ‘I have often thought that God hath in great wisdom hid from
men of false and dishonest minds the wonderful advantages of truth and
integrity, to the prosperity even of our worldly affairs; these men
are so blinded by their covetousnesss and ambition, that they cannot
look beyond a present advantage, nor forbear to seize upon it, tho’
by ways never so indirect: they cannot see so far as to the remote
consequences of a steady integrity, and the vast benefit and
advantages which it will bring a man at last. Were but this sort of
men wise and clear-sighted enough to discern this they would be honest
out of very knavery, not out of any love to honesty and virtue, but
with a crafty design to promote and advance more effectually their own
interests; and therefore the justice of the Divine Providence hath hid
this truest point of wisdom from their eyes, that bad men might not be
upon equal terms with the just and upright, and serve their own wicked
designs by honest and lawful means.’ (Thus far the great Bishop
Tillotson, in his sermon upon John i. 47, being the last he preached;
which was the 29th of July 1694).
My father, who is called James, was
his father’s eldest son (tho’ I speak of him last). He was born at
Maltbey, but he is not certain as to the time: he was about two years
younger than his sister Elizabeth, and that he was 64 years of age
about the middle of November last, which was anno 1738; and, if so, he
was born in the year 1674, but I am told the church register of so
many years standing is lost, so that I know not how I can come at the
knowledge of his age. He had his education at Laughton-le-Morthen,
under the celebrated Mr. Brummet
(or rather, as I suppose, his name might be Broomhead. After he had
learn’d so far as my grandfather thought was needful, he put him to
his own business. How long he tarried with him I know not, but after
some time he came to his uncle William Fretwell, of whom I made
mention chap. 1st, and continued with him as long as he lived; and has
since resided all his time in the same village.
William Fretwell, brother to my
grandfather, married a widdow in this little village of Thorp-in-Balne;
her name was Jennings. I
think he had only one child by her, which was a boy, and dyed young.
He bought the ground where my father built an house in the year 1696,
in which he has spent the greatest part of his time. He dyed before
his wife (viz. in the year 1695). I think my grandfather was
administrator, but he let his sister-in-law do (in great measure) what
she pleased for he was of a very easy good temper, and always expected
that she would leave what she had to him or his family, at her death;
but herein he was mistaken, for she married again to one Mr. William Rodwell, a flattering,
dissembling old fellow, who (I suppose) made his fortune by marrying
of many wives. He was a man of great policy, and much feared by his
neighbours. He outlived her many years, and, I think, married another,
which lived with him but a few weeks. His only son (now living) is
vicar of Arksey.
When his wife (who was my father’s
aunt) lay on her death-bed, my mother being with her, she said, ‘Cousin,
I have a design to leave my godson something’; and thereupon,
calling her husband, bid him to fetch her such a bond; he returns,
pretending he could not find it; whereat she was angry, saying he knew
where to find anything she had (or words to that effect); so the old
fox going again brought it to her, which she delivered to my mother,
saying, ‘Here cousin, take this, and let it be given to my godson’
(meaning myself). My mother brought it home, but, upon showing it to
my father, he perceived a flaw in it; how it was I know not, but it
was not made according to his wife’s expectation; perhaps it might
be of his own drawing, for he was often employed about such things;
and she having so good an opinion of him, and marrying him in such
hast, I’m the rather inclined to believe it was so. However, the
next day (I think) my mother visited the old woman again, and told her
of the mistake. ‘Well,’ said she, ‘if it is not right, it shall
be made right; but, however (continued she), you have an honest man
upon your hands to deal with, and never fear but he will do you
justice;’ and in a short time after she dyed. But the honest man
never would pay it, nor one farthing towards it; so I lost the only
legacy I ever had bequeathed me. He outlived his wife several years,
and was a very indifferent neighbour to my father, who was then but
young, and just entering upon the world. He died in the Levels, where
he had lived some years with his son William (a man of good character,
and well beloved), about the beginning of January 1718-9. I did not
hear that there was so great lamentation for him as was for his
predecessor William Fretwell, for whom (as we heard) was the greatest
cry that ever was remembered to have gone up Stableyard, for he was
universally beloved, and especially by his workmen, of whom he had
many, and to whom he was a kind master. But to return to my subject;
if the attendants and spectators were not over come with too much
sorrow, the preacher was not to be blamed for putting them in mind of
their loss of so good a man; for he was thought to launch out too much
by far in his commendation, is if he had been the Phoenix of the age.
We heard my father often speak of it as a piece of bare-faced flattery
as he never heard the like. The preacher was Mr. Dujon, of Doncaster, who preached his funeral
sermon the same day be was buried at Thorn. This old man had had four
wives (if not more), but was buried with none of them.
Upon the death of his uncle, my
father fell into his business of dealing in timber, which he has ever
since followed (but not so largely of late years as what he did
formerly); and when he had got his house built, thought ‘twas proper
to look out for a house-keeper, and an excellent one he got, one who
took delight in keeping at home. Her name was Mary; she was the second
daughter of John Woodhouse, late of Norton; but before I speak any
more of her, will give a brief account of some of her ancestors.
Some Account of my Mother’s Family
Her father was of an antient family
at Norton, in the parish of Campsul. He was the son of William, the
son of Roger Woodhouse, of Norton; his name was John. I’ve been told
that he had some relations at Barmby Dun, called Brewsters, with whom he was
some time when a boy, and that he went to Sandal school, which I think
was in the time of the civil wars. He lived at Norton when grown up,
and married Hannah, the daughter of . . Doughty, of Foster Houses, with whom he had a
handsome fortune, besides several good benefactions, especially by the
death of her uncle, William Doughty, who died in York Castle. He was
sent there upon account of his nonconformity, he being one of the
people called quakers. He lived on Balne Moorside, and was accounted
very rich; but, upon embracing Quakerism, grew very whimsical, to the
no small loss (I’m perswaded) of his family. I think he made him his
sole heir, tho’ he had nephews of his own, because he attended him
so constantly, and especially in that busy time of harvest. He left
him also all his household goods, which were considerable, but now out
of fashion; and therefore I’ve been told that Mrs. Moore (of whom more afterward)
sold a horse-load of brass at one time, besides smaller matters, out
of the house. Indeed, it was deck’d like a brazier’s shop; I think
I never see the like in any countryman’s house. She sold several
beds, &c., which her predecessor, my grandfather’s second wife,
would not dispose of to any, no not to her own child (I believe), but
rested her old bones upon three feather beds at the same time, as I’ve
been told. He was buried (as I've heard) in a garden nigh the castle.
The following story I had from an
old man at Norton, called George Middleton, and can say nothing in its
confirmation, but leave it to the prudence of the reader to believe or
reject as to him shall seem good.
Upon this old man being taken
prisoner, they told him he must prepare to go to York, which he did;
but desired they would favour him so far as to let him go through
Womersley, which was something out of their way. However, they
condescended to let him go thither: so being come thither, he called
of several poor men who were indebted to him, and gave them in their
securities; ‘for,’ said he, ‘there shall nobody trouble you when
I am gone.’
My grandmother bore her husband
three daughters, but dyed whilst they were very young. She was a very
good woman, and her death an inestimable loss to the family.
Hannah, who was the eldest, was born
on Sunday, June ye2nd 1672, and baptized the 28th
of the same month. Mary (who was my dear mother) was born on Tuesday,
the 30th day of March, and baptized on Saturday, the 3rd
day of April 1675. Elizabeth (the youngest daughter) was born on
Friday, the 14th of December 1677, and baptized on
Thursday, the 3rd day of January following. These were all
the children he had by his former wife. She dyed leaving them young.
Their father was very indulgent over
them, he being a sober, pious man and when after he had thoughts of a
second marriage, was very solicitous for his children. I suppose he
was in a way of concluding a marriage with one whom he after took his
leave off, upon account of some words she let drop concerning his
Afterwards he made his addresses to
one Sarah Wilcox, of
Worsborough, nigh Barnsley. She had lived many years at London with a
brother who (as I think) was a salesman, and had acquired a
considerable fortune, and who, for her good service, upon her marrying
my grandfather, believe he gave her a portion. But before they were
married, she came over to his house to see house tidings (as our
country phrase is), and, upon his asking how she liked all things, she
was so wise for herself as to answer, ‘very wel1.’ ‘But,’
continued he, ‘How do you like my children?’ ‘Oh, very well,’
said she; ‘the best of anything that I see in your house,’ or
words to that effect. But alas! she proved a very indifferent mother;
to the no small grief of their good father, and their very great loss.
By this wife he had only one child, a son called John, who was born on
Saturday the 24th of April, and baptized on Sunday the
second day of May 1686.
One thing relating to the birth of
this child, which shews something of the mother’s temper, may not
perhaps be improper to relate. When she found she was drawing near her
perilous hour, she sent for an old woman who was a midwife in the
neighbourhood, who she had pitched upon. She came and attended her
several days, but found the case too difficult for her slender skill
to surmount. The wife had a very bad time (we may believe); my
grandfather desired she would let him go for some other, who might be
more skilful, but she absolutely denyed, although she lay in such
misery; however, at length he went (or sent) for another midwife,
without her knowledge (I believe); if I mistake not, her name was Mrs.
Dearlove. When she was
come, the wife stood firmly in her obstinacy. ‘Well, Mrs.,’ said
the midwife (last come), ‘I shall not lye a hand upon you without
your consent., and that you will dismiss your midwife if she cannot
finish her work.’ Alas! The old woman was at her short wits end, the
signals of the wive's delivery went off, and nothing but ill symptoms
appeared, so that at last they prevailed with this obstinate woman to
let Mrs. Dearlove (if that was her name) take her case under hand. She
administered something to her which again brought her throws upon her,
and she was safely delivered in a little time, to the no small
pleasure (we may suppose) of my grandfather, who had now a son to
succeed him. But happy is it for poor mortals that they have not the
foresight of what is at such a distance, for ‘twould often damp the
rejoycing that is made at the birth of an heir of rank and figure, as
well as of meaner persons; for this poor child was banished, as it
were, by his mother; met with great troubles towards the very end of
his days, and spent his whole estate. There were formerly (I’ve been
told) many families of Woodhouses in Norton, who had estates there, as
may yet appear by almost any old writings relating to the lands in the
fields there, wherein they are frequently mentioned as abutting,
abounding, &c., upon them; but now not one left in the whole town.
How long my grandfather lived after
his son’s birth I know not. His will, I find, bears date the 12th
day of Septr. 1690, and I think it was made in his last illness,
therefore concludes he dyed soon after. He was a prudent, good man,
much respected by those who knew him; and I find his memory is
respected by some old persons who remember him, especially by the
poor, for his kindness to them, and his constant employing of them. He
had a handsome estate, but did not covet to enlarge it, for he was
frequently building, or enclosing ground, or something which kept him
employ'd, and many others also, and took off his money as it came in;
so that his brother Robert once told him, ‘when these lasses’
(meaning his 3 daughters) ‘want their fortunes, they may seek ‘em
in stone walls and draw-wells.’
By which last expression I suppose
he might glance at his digging of a well in a close which he had newly
inclosed, called Newhill close, lying west of Norton West Field. This
was a chargeable undertaking; I’ve several times heard this story of
it: that he agreed with a man for sinking this well, the sum agreed
for I know not, but to be sure ‘twas a considerable sum. The man
laboured hard at it for some time, till he despaired of ever
accomplishing it; for ‘tis upon an high hill, and he had a quarry of
hard lime stones to work thorough; therefore he was packing up for
leaving, when my grandfather chanced to go to see how his work
proceeded; he told him his design, for that he thought ‘twas
impossible to work thro’ the quarry. My grandfather was much set on
accomplishing it, and therefore he encouraged the man to fall on
afresh, promising him that, if he would get him water, he would give
him the horse he rode upon, above what he had contracted for, and I
suppose he was not a very mean one, for he commonly kept a good horse,
I’ve been told.
Being thus animated he falls on
couragiously, and within a day or two (but I think it was the very
next day) he got water; and excellent fine water it is; at which I
have many a time quenched my thirst, and at some times (as when nutts
are in hand upon Barnsdale, or in harvest time) there is a constant
resort of people, especially in an afternoon, to drink, and also fill
their vessels, there being no water nigh it, so that ‘tis a publick
good; we should scarce know how to prize it enough had we such a thing
here. I could never perceive that the water was either much higher or
lower in the well; I am apt to think ‘tis a sort of a current in the
He was a hearty well-wisher to the
Revolution, and I have several times heard how, being upon the jury at
the quarter sessions of the peace held at Pontefract towards the close
(I suppose) of the short reign of the late King James, and having many
questions put to ‘em by a popish justice, he gave him such bold
answers, and withall reminded him of some things which he had formerly
heard him deliver from the same bench directly opposite to his present
preachment as (tho’ we may suppose it was not very gratefull to this
time-serving magistrate, yet) highly pleas’d many persons present.
And some of them told him afterward that he need not doubt but that he
was mark’d out for a singular favour, so soon as opportunity served;
but, blessed be God, both he and many thousands more were in a little
time delivered from their fears by the happy arrival of the Prince of
After the death of my grandfather,
John Woodhouse, his widdow married one William Moore; one descended of a good family (as I’ve
been told) but in mean circumstances. This was highly displeasing to
her daughters-in-law; and the more so because she had the offers from
men in much better circumstances, and of one in particular, who, they
thought, would have contributed not a little towards their young
brother’s education, as himself freely offered. She had no child by
him, but lived many years with him; and after her death he married one
Mrs. Ruth Walker, relict of
. . Walker, of Haddlesey, and daughter of the Revd Mr.
Ralph Oates, who was many
years the rector of Smeaton, but had no child by her.
My father and mother were marryed
the eleventh day of May 1697, at Barmby-super-Dun, by the Revd.
Mr. Woodfin, minister of
Worsborough, nigh Barnsley, a pious, good man, for whom my dear mother
had a very great respect, and with whose daughters she was very
intimate. He granted licenses himself, and therefore was desired to
bring one with him when he came; but it happened that he did not bring
one. I think he had none by him; and therefore the old parson of
Barmby, whose name was Fielding,
a poor illiterate man, but by some means had got into deacon’s
orders, was very scrupulous, and for some time refus’d to permit
them to go into the church, notwithstanding they offered him any
security to indemnifye him; but all would not do, till Mr. Gregory, who was his master
(being the impropriator), hearing of it, soon gave them admittance. I
suppose the old man was offended because he was not to marry ‘em,
but by this day’s work he very much disobliged my father’s old
aunt Jane Fretwell, who had been a kind friend to the poor old parson.
I think my mother was now with Coz.
Hatfield-Woodhouse, and, as the company were going thither on the
wedding-day morning, an accident happened which might have damped all
their pleasure, and turn’d it into a day of mourning; for pressing
too many at once into the ferry-boat, she sunk under them; but by the
good Providence of God they were all preserved.
After they had got marreyed they
came to Thorp; my father had newly built this house, and it was not
quite finished when he brought my mother to it. Here she spent the
remainder of her days in a great variety of usefulness, and not a more
serviceable person ever came to Thorp in the memory of man than she
has been. I may speak it (I think) without vanity.
My father and mother had five
children, whose births were as follows:
James, born Wednesday the 22nd of Novr.
1699, half an hour past 10 at night, and baptized Decr. 5th
John, born Monday the first day of June 1702,
about half an hour past 9 in the morning, and baptized on Thursday
the 2nd day of July next following.
Mary, born on Wednesday the first day of Novr.
1704, (exact 4 years after the death of her grandmother Mary
Fretwell), about three in the afternoon, and baptized the 9th
of Novr. next following.
William, born Wednesday the 21st of
July 1708, betwixt 6 and 7 in the evening, and baptized on Tuesday
the 17th of August following.
Elizabeth, born Fryday the 27th of
July 1711, half an hour after 9 in the morning, and baptized
August 23rd next following.
Having now given an account of the
time of my birth, as also of my brothers and sisters, I proceed to
give some account of our education; and shall begin with my own, as
being the eldest.
I was a very weakly child, and my
mother a very tender, weakly women, so that for some time ‘twas not
expected that I could live; yet my mother nursed me herself (as she
did all her children), tho’ she was ill able to perform such a task.
But it pleased God to enable her to do it, and thro’ the good hand
of my God upon me I continue hitherto.
As soon as I was capable of
learning, she sent me to an old school dame, who lived at the very
next door, whose name was Theodosia Morehouse; but I suppose I did but continue here
a few days, for growing weary of my book, and my dame not correcting
me as my mother desired, she took me under her own pedagogy untill I
could read in my Bible; and thus she did afterwards by all my brothers
and sisters, tho’ she had a large family to oversee and provide for;
and I cannot but gratefully remember her pious care of my education,
when I see (as I very often do) several mothers who have not that
hurry of business upon their hands which she had, who yet will not
take the trouble of teaching their children as she did. But it was her
delightfull employ, for which she would find some proper time every
day; often making use of these words of Moses, Deut. vi. 6-7 : And
these words, which I commend thee this day, shall be in thine heart;
and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk
to them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And this
was her method of catechising.
And, as my capacity was able, she caused me to
observe what I read, so that I soon began to take some notice of
several historical passages in the Old Testament, by which I could
find where my lesson was, when I neither knew the chapter or verse
perhaps; and were this more observed by those employ'd in the teaching
of children, I’m perswaded both the teacher and learner would find
very great benefit by it.
And now, my dear mother being
desirous that I should have a little more learning than she was
capable of giving me, she went with me to Kirk-Sanda1 school, where
one Mr. Edward Ounsworth
was then master, and I suppose accounted a very good master, where, at
our entrance, being, I suppose, employ’d with some of his scholars,
[he] placed me amongst some little ones, such as myself, till he had
done with them; when calling me up to hear what I could say for
myself, he finding me better than he expected, removed me higher,
asking my mother if she had brought me an Accidence, which I think she
had; so she had the pleasure of seeing me removed out of the horn-book
class, which my master upon first sight thought most suitable for me,
with which she was not a little pleased.
I am not certain as to the time of
my first going to Sandal, but I suppose it might be in June 1704, for
I find by a letter from my uncle, John Woodhouse, bearing date April
the 11th 1705, that my master was then dead, for he writes
that he was sorry for my loss of so mild a master, of which, I
suppose, my dear mother had given him an account, for she greatly
lamented his death: but he had heard of it the day before be received
her’s so that it must have been some time in the fore going summer;
and, as I remember [to] have heard my mother say that it was on or
about the longest day, which is in June.
At my first going to Sandal, I
walked it every day, but was not able to hold it long, it being too
farr for such a child to go daily, for I was not quite 6 years of age:
and some boys who went with me, being much older, hurried me too fast,
and sometimes left me behind, so that I came home weeping; therefore,
after a short time, my father boarded me at Sandall, with one Mary Stanniforth, a widdow
woman, who took good care of me, and I usually came home every
Saturday; with her I continued so long as she lived.
After the death of Mr. Ounsworth came Mr. Thomas Mawhood, son of John Mawhood,
of Skellow, to be the master of this school, and was boarded in the
same house with me. I think I left the school immediately after the
death of my good old nurse. My brother John was with me some time
before I left Sandall.
I think it was about the beginning
of February 1708-9 that my brother John and I were sent to Stoney
Stainton, where we were under the care of an old acquaintance of my
father’s, the Revd Mr. Sam. Creswick. He was a very good school-master, and
I think grounded his scholars in their grammar rules the best that I
ever knew any one, only he was too severe, tho’ I was never whip’t
at school by any of my masters. Here we continued till about the
beginning of February 1712-3 as I compute, and I had made an entrance
into Greek. Here we were boarded with John Perkin, who married one Margaret Holmes, a near relation of my
father’s, and who had been formerly servant to him. She was a clean,
homely woman, and had a large family, which she ordered frugally and
The next school we were sent to was
Doncaster free school, the Revd Mr. Edmund Withers was then the master.
He is a good scholar, but was not so diligent as he should have been,
so that the school declined very much of late years, and he was either
desired, or obliged, to give it up some time ago. I think I was but
one year here, viz. untill January the 30th, 1713-4. We
were boarded at Doncaster with one Mrs. Jarret, a widdow woman, then living next door
save one to the Angel inn in Doncaster, and had for many years before
kept a public-house at the Sun, in the market-place there where my
father had inned many years. But after I left Doncaster, my brother
John was remov'd to Mr. Jos. Bayley's,
who married Eliza, the daughter of Mr. Wm. Rodwell, of whom I spoke. How long he continued
I do not remember.
And now, my father thinking that I had got as much
of the learned languages as would be of any service to a tradesman,
indeed more than I have retained, thought it time to set me to learn
something which more immediately related to the qualifying of me for
business: therefore he sent me to Pontefract, to learn to write and
accompt which I did with one Joshua Marsden, a quaker by profession, but a very
ingenious man. He was not constantly in the school himself, having an
apprentice called Mark Burleigh,
who attended the school, and was a good penman: he also kept a
I had learn'd some little to write
before, but nothing of accounts that I remember. Here it was that I
got what learning I have of that kind. I went through most of the
rules of vulgar arithmetick, and decimal fractions, with some little
of practical geometry. I went to Pontefract February ye 8th
1713-4, according to my computation (which I believe is right), and
came from there April 16th, 1716. I was boarded with John Lapidge, a mercer.
Having now acquired so much learning
as was thought necessary for me, and indeed as could be expected for
one of my degree, my parents next care was to put me to some trade or
business by which I might get an honest living in the world; but being
disappointed in the choice of one or two whom they had pitched upon as
a master for me, at last concluded to take me to my father’s
business. This I’ve oft lamented, for I think they did not duly
consider which way my genius tended.
Being now taken home from school, my
father began to put me to business, for the better understanding of
which he thought proper for me to be acquainted with the working part;
and, to that end, I was put to rive laths and hew wood, for a little
time, with my father’s workmen, who had always the benefit of what
little work I could do, for instructing me.
The first place (as I remember) that
I went to work at was in a spring wood nigh Stubs-Walding, called Bird
Spring, which my father bought of James Yarburgh, esq., of Heslington, nigh York. Here I
was instructed by Joshua Linley
(who is at this present working for us) in riving laths and tree
nails, &c. I think it was the 26th day of July, 1715,
that I made my first entrance, and was boarded with my uncle, Michael
Woodhouse, at Stubs-Walding. After this I went to Edlington, with
Joshua Lindey, to work in the wood there, and was boarded with Mr.
John Wasteneys. I also wrought with him in Burghwallis wood. This, I
think, was in the year following, viz. 1716. Here, I think, my brother
John went with me, and we came home every night.
In the year 1717 my father had a
bargain of wood at Womersley, in partnership with Mr. Matthew Northall and Mr. Ibbotson, which they had
bought of Tobiah Harvey,
esq., in a wood called Broad-oak Spring; here I was great part of the
summer amongst the workmen, and kept the accounts belonging to this
wood. I was boarded now with my uncle Woodhouse at Stubs.
I think my uncle John Woodhouse, who resided at
London, made us a visit this summer; and I suppose it was agreed
betwixt my parents and him that I should go and spend the following
winter with him, which I accordingly did.
I set out for London on Monday,
November the eleventh, 1717, early in the morning, and called at John Schofield's of Sandal,
where was one Mr. William Woodcock,
his wife’s brother, who came from Hatfield, and had his company to
London. We breakfasted at Bawtry, where I had an opportunity of seeing
some of our relations from Maltbey, it being the fair-day William Ward went with us as far as the
Eel-pye house, but my father to Newark, and tarried all night with us.
I think we lodged at the Rain-Deer, and parted early in the morning;
my dear father returning homeward, and I and my fellow-traveller
pursuing our journey; and that night we slept at Stamford, I think at
the Sun, being the York carriers inn; and the night following at the
post-house in Caxton; and on Thursday night we lodged at Mr. Thomas Rainor’s, at the Black Bull
inn at Ware, who was brother to our (then) neighbour James Rainor of
Thorpe. Here I met with a letter from my uncle to Mr. Rainor,
wherein he wrote that he was to have met me at his house, but being
term time he could not get out of town; so desired that I would make
the best of my way to his lodgeing, which I did the next morning,
where I was courteously received. We were five days upon this journey,
so that we did not over hurry ourselves. My uncle lodged at one Mr. Reed’s, in St. Christopher’s
Churchyard, in Threadneedle Street, behind the Royal Exchange. We
continued here for some time, and then removed to one Mr. Marshall’s,
an apothecary in the Poultry, opposite the Counter, untill my uncle
got an house in Grocer’s Alley, the first (as I remember) on the
left hand going into the Alley out of the Poultry. Here I was when I
begun my Diary, which I have ever since continued, and out of which I
design to extract what is most remarkable in my further prosecution of
I begun my diary on Monday, the 18th
day of December, 1718, being then in London, with my uncle John
Woodhouse, one of the attorneys of the Sheriff's Court, who had but
lately begun to keep house, and at that time my aunt H[annah]
Woodhouse, of Stubs, was with us; she coming to see her second son
William Woodhouse, who was an apprentice to one Mr. Godwin, an upholsterer; he was
a sober youth, and very likely to have been a very good workman, if it
had pleased God to have spared him; but he dyed before the expiration
of his apprenticeship.
I was at this time, and had been for
six weeks or more, lame of a knee, but now begun to amend. I was under
the care of one Mr. Stanton,
a surgeon: the occasion of it (as I thought) was a cold got by sitting
up late (and sometimes sleeping) for my uncle’s coming in, before he
kept house, or had a servant. It proved a white swelling, but had no
sore; and, blessed be God, in a short time after I recovered the use
and strength of it. My dear mother was under very great concern for me
whilst I was lame, and, tho’ very weakly herself; would gladly have
come to London to me, but I endeavoured to give her what satisfaction
I could by letters, untill I was thoroughly well.
Saturday, Decr. 20th, 1718
I was at the feast of the clerks of the Sheriff’s Court, which was
held at the Horn tavern, Doctor’s Commons. I suppose it is an annual
custom with them. Mr. Mellish
and Mr. Perkins, clerks to
Mr. Tims, were stewards at
this time, 1 think.
Monday, Decr. 22nd, 1718
My uncle took one John Silvester,
c1erk. He was son to one Mr. Silvester, living in Walbrook; he had 100
guineas with him.
Monday, Jan. 19th, 1718-9
My aunt Woodhouse set out from London, in the Wakefield coach, for
Thursday, March 5th, 1718-9
Yesterday my uncle had a letter from my father,
and hears aunt Bower is dead, and was buried last Monday
seven-night (as I remember).
Thursday, May 14th, 1719
My uncle Hill, of Fishlock, and his son John, arrived in London.
Monday, May 18th
My two uncles having been out of town, as they return'd in the evening
uncle Woodhouse had the misfortune to put out his right shoulder, by
his horse falling. I went for Mr. Stanton (my surgeon), who put it in its place.
Wednesday, May 27th
Uncle Hill left London.
Wednesday, June the 24th
I set out of London for Yorkshire, and got to my unc1e Fretwell’s,
at Maltbey, late on Fryday night; and the next day I got to Thorp;
when several neighbours came to see me.
Fryday, July ye 17th, 1719
I went with my dear mother to uncle Shaw’s funeral. He was an alderman of
Doncaster, and his wife was (I think) sister to my father’s mother.
Monday, July the 27th, 1719
I went with uncle Fretwell to Buxton Bath. We tarried till Fryday, the
31st, and calling at cousin Oxley ’s at Sheffield they obliged me to tarry
all night; and in the morning my horse was not to be found, which
hindered me a long time; after I was taken with an ague fit, and was
very ill; but in the evening I came to Maltby, tho’ I was very ill
when I mounted. I was cold and not very well when I bathed on Thursday
night before. I got home on Sunday evening, and had a bad night;
continued ill all day on Monday, and was delirious. The night
following I got some rest (blessed be God); my dear mother sate up
with me till betwixt 3 and 4 a clock. The next day, being Tuesday, the
4th of June, I was something better; at night took a vomit,
but was very sick after it; had some sick fits for several days after.
Several of the family was taken ill about ye same time.
Monday, September 21st, 1719
Being now pretty well recovered, and having seen all my relations,
this day set out for London, in company with Mrs. Middleton and Richard Rainor. We got to Ware on
Wednesday night, where we left Richard Rainor at his uncle’s, and
got to London about three a clock the next day.
My dear mother was exceedingly troubled at our parting, as she had
been very much concerned for me indeed all the time I was at London,
especially during the time of my lameness. She went to prayer with me
before I set out for my journey, and I doubt not but her prayers
followed me to the end of it. My father, William Ward, and John Young, and Mrs. Middleton’s brother, Mr. Lanc[elot] Routh,
came with us to Bawtry.
Sunday, October 5th, 1719
Cousin John Hill left London; and at Ware he was to meet with Richard Rainor, who was returning into
the country, which I think he did. Coz. Hill had been with one Mr. Goldsmith, a cheesemonger in
Thames Street, but did not choose to tarry with him.
Monday, October ye 19th, 1719
I received a letter from my father, with the sorrowful account of my
mother’s having been very ill, as also brother John; and that
brother William had a tertian ague; and of the death of several
neighbours since I was in the country.
Monday, November 2nd, 1719
I heard that Mr. Wilcox was
dead, I think the day before. He was my uncle’s first master, of
whom I shall have occasion to speak hereafter.
Monday, Decr. 14th, 1719
I was a witness to mortgage deeds of my uncle’s estate at Norton to
esq. of Campsall, for 500 pounds.
Sunday, February, ye 14th, 1719
In the afternoon, my uncle went to hear cousin Joseph Woodhouse’s
funeral sermon, and I followed him. It was preached at a little
meeting-house, a little beyond St. Julie’s church, in an alley, on
the other side of the way. Text was Prov. xiv. 32, But the
righteous hath hope in his death. He made a very good sermon; and
toward the close he said that of late funeral sermons had been much
abus’d, and such enconiums and flatteries put upon the dead as were
not becoming; but begged leave to speak a word or two of his own
knowledge concerning the deceased friend. One thing he commended him
for was his great patience under his late great loss by fire; for his
reading in his family, and causing his servants to read the holy
Scriptures, upon the Lord’s Day especially, and calling upon his
family to join with him in prayer; for his charity to poor ministers
of several denominations, and towards the cloathing poor children; and
to all in general.
I think he said he ordered at his death something to be given to
the poor ministers. I think he also said that several projects for the
public good were gone with him. And that he was always desirous to
learn divine things. There was a collection, which I think was for the
I do not know very well how nearly he was related to us, but I
believe he was a nigh relation. I think his father went out of this
part of the country, and was a leather-dresser, by which he had
acquired a very good estate; but for some time before his death (which
happened when I was in the country the summer before) was unfit for
business, by reason of the palsy; and (as I remember) was informed
that, upon turning over his business to his son, he was to pay him
three hundred pounds per annum during life. I heard of cousin Joseph
Woodhouse’s death the 4th of February 1719. I have been
at his house several times. He lived in Horsley-down, Southwark.
At my first coming to London, my father only proposed for me to
tarry the following winter with my uncle; but, meeting with some
disappointments (as I suppose) in the way of business, was very much
concerned upon my account, and after several letters had past amongst
us ‘twas resolved for me to tarry with my uncle in the quality of a
clerk; and he was pleased to tell my father that he preferred me
without any premium before another with a sum of money. I had no great
inclination to it, but found my father had rather a desire for me to
stay at London, tho’ he left me entirely to my own choice in that as
well as in what business I could like to follow; but I thought myself
too old to serve an apprenticeship for seven years. My uncle was not
unkind to me, but I begun now to fear that I should not be so
thoroughly instructed in my business as I could wish; and I feared
that my uncle made no great improvement in the world, which made me
uneasie. I acquainted my parents with it, and, after some time,
concluded for me to leave him, which very much displeased my uncle.
Monday, February 29th, 1719
I set forward for Yorkshire in the Mansfield waggon, which came only
to Nottingham, and thither they sent horses to bring the passengers to
Mansfield, where we arrived on Saturday.
Sunday, March 6th
Brother John came to meet me, and we came to Maltbey that night, and
home the day following.
Saturday, August the 20th, 1720
I went to Tickhil, to the funeral of aunt Campsal (who was grandmother
by the mother’s side to cousin Eliz. Robinson) sister, as I take it, to my
Thursday, August 25th, 1720
My uncle John Woodhouse came to Thorp, and the next day I went with
him to Rushamore, to shew him the way. His business at that time in
the country was about selling his estate, which was no small trouble
to my dear mother. She spoke to him with greater freedom than was
pleasing to him, which he resented for some time. Whilst he was in the
country he had the misfortune to put out his shoulder by a fall, and
was ill for some time. He did not sell his estate during his stay
here; my father had treated with him for it, but could not agree.
Saturday, Decr. 3rd, 1720
We received a letter from him (which I did not expect), wherein he
accepted of my father’s proposals, which was to take 1,000 pounds
for his estate, and to abate 401. for the five years of William
Moore's lease, which were
Monday, July 17th, 1721
We received a letter from uncle John Woodhouse, wherein he acquainted
us that he entered into the state of matrimony the 6th of
the preceding month. I am altogether unacquainted with the person whom
he married, but supposes her to be one to whom he had made his
addresses for some time before I left London. I think she was a
widdow, and lived at Hackney; and (if I mistake not) he had been a
lover of her’s before her marriage.
Tuesday, July 25th 1721
We received (by way of Stubs) the sorrowful news of my dear cousin
William Woodhouse’s death, and that he was to be interred the night
before (being ye 24th of June). Sorrowfull news indeed; and
what made it still more so was that we expected to have seen him in
the country at that very time; perhaps he had designed to have set out
for London the very day on which he was buryed, and they had made
preparations for the reception of so great a stranger, and so welcome
a guest, at his father’s house; but his Heavenly Father had
otherwise determined, and, I hope, received him into those blessed
mansions of light and glory in his heavenly Father’s house, which,
being duly considered, was infinitely more to his advantage than any
satisfaction he could have enjoyed in a few days spent in carnal mirth
amongst his relations here; and therefore we have great reason to
submit to the wise dispensations of Providence.
Monday, July 31st, 1721
Was my uncle Michael Woodhouse buryed. He survived his son exactly one
Wednesday, August 9th, 1721
I went to Snayth, to load a keel, whereof Richard Dowson went master; but before they had done,
was taken ill, so that I was forced to leave them, and came to Mr.
Lanc[elot] Routh’s at Pollington; when, growing worse, they sent
Tho[mas] Jenkinson for my
dear mother, who came that night, and brother John with her, but I did
not know her. In the morning my mother came down staires, and left me,
when immediately I got up and followed her down, but was suprized to
see her, and now I knew her, and was so much better as to ride home.
My mother would have had Mr. Wheatley,
of Pontefract, apothecary, sent for, but Mrs. Routh perswaded her to
the contrary, being of opinion that I could not live untill such time
as he could get thither; but having obtained mercy, I continue
hitherto. On the Fryday night following I was exceeding ill, so that
Mr. Wheatley was sent for, and came to me on Saturday morning, the 12th
of August, and by God's blessing upon his endeavours, after some time
I recovered. My brother John had the ague very ill about this time;
indeed it was very common; both my father and brother and self having
been troubled very ill with it the fore going winter, as I was also
the spring following.
Tuesday, August 21st, 1722
Was laid the foundation of the brew-house at Thorp, which was reared
the 20th of September following.
Sunday, September 30th, 1722
My brother John and sister Mary went to Stockwith, to see the ceremony
of the consecration of the new chappel, built there pursuant to the
will of the late Mr. William Hungtington, ship-wright, whose body was removed
from their parish church of Mysterton and laid in his own chappel, the
The same day, viz. Sunday, September 30th 1722, was
Elizabeth Woodhouse, daughter of cousin John Woodhouse, of Norton
(whose father, Robert Woodhouse, was brother to my grandfather John
Woodhouse), married to Mr. William Godfrey, of Hook; a man of good estate.
Saturday, October 6th, 1722
Came cousin Elizabeth Husband,
of Tickhill, to Thorp, who told us that her daughter Mary (who was
their only child) was married, the 16th of September
foregoing, to one Thomas Robinson,
but without her parent’s knowledge, much 1ess with their consent;
but, since it could not be undone, they took him to them, and
instructed him in her father’s business, who was a tanner; and he
proves a very good husband. I suppose she was not quite 17 years of
age when she was married.
Monday, April 1st, 1723
My brother William went to Doncaster, to Mr. Henry Abbey chandler and grocer, to see how he liked
that business; and his indentures were executed on Thursday the 9th
of May, but was bound for seven years; but, by a particular agreement,
was to be at liberty at Martinmas 1729.
Saturday, June 4th, 1723
Unc1e Hill shewed me a letter from uncle Woodhouse to aunt Hill,
wherein he acquainted her that he was become the father of a son.
Saturday, March 16th, 1723-4
I accompanied to the grave the corpse of my dear cousin, John
Wasteneys, of Maltbey, who died in the 26th year of his
age. A very sober, hopefull young man, a great comfort to his poor
mother, and a father to the younger children (as it were). He was
justly lamented by his friends and acquaintance, and especially by my
dear brother, who shortly after was summoned to follow him.
Sunday, June 7th, 1724
In the morning my father and mother, brother John, sister Mary, and
myself, went to Barmby Dun; but coming there heard that there would be
no service, so all went on to Sandal, where Mr. Holmes preached from Proverbs xxvii. 1: Boast
not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring
forth. A very suitable discourse at any time, but I have since
thought that it was very remarkably so at that time, for then was the
text eminently verified.
My father and mother dined that day at John Schofield’s of Sandal, but we came home; and I
went in the afternoon to Barmby to meet ‘em, when Mr. Lisle preached from Matthew xvi.
I think my poor brother laid down as soon be got in from church (in
the forenoon, or at noon rather); however, in the afternoon he had a
very sore fitt of the ague; had a bad night, and so continued the next
Tuesday, June 9th, 1724
I went to Rotherham about some business, and, as I came home in the
evening, called of brother William, at Doncaster, who came home with
me. At our entering into the town, my brother, seeing a neighbour,
asked her how she did. I think she answered, ‘I'm sorry for your
loss.’ This surpriz’d me. Asking her what was the matter, I think
she answered, ‘Nay, nothing.’ ‘Then,’ said I, ‘how doth
Jonny do?’ She answered, ‘Well.’ I now understood her meaning,
for I found my dear brother dead; but I hope all was well with him.
When I went from home, in the morning, we hoped he was something
better. He dyed about half an hour past two a clock in the afternoon.
He was a dutiful son, a loving brother, and a good neighbour; a
sober, serious youth; took delight in husbandry and graseing; and for
his yeares had good judgement in it; was just entered into the 23rd
year of his age.
His corps were carryed into the church of Barmby Dun, the 10th,
at night, and was interred the day following, being Thursday, June 11th,
1724, near unto William Fretwell, my father’s uncle; being before
the south door, or porch door, in the churchyard. The bearers were
cousin John Bower (who
lately had done the same for cousin John Wasteneys), cousin William
Wasteneys, cousin John Hill, coz. Robert Atkinson, cousin Tho[mas] Oughtibridge, cousin . . Doughty, cousin John
Woodhouse, of Stubs, and Joseph Foster.
This was the first breach made in our family; nay, what is something
more remarkable, the first time that death entered into this house,
which was built in the year 1696. We all sorrowed very much, as we had
great reason; but especially my dear mother; she mourned for him
several years, if not all the remainder of her days. I’m afraid it
broke in too much upon all her other enjoyments.
Monday, October 26th, 1724
My father was at the funeral of cousin John Woodhouse, of the Cross
house, in Norton; the Revd Mr. Tho[mas] Cleworth preaching on the
occasion, from Psalm xxxix. 5: Behold, Thou hast made my days as an
hand-breadth, and mine age is as nothing before Thee: verily every man
at his best state is alltogether vanity. Selah.
He told them, altho’ he used not to characterize people, yet if
he said not thus much he did not do him justice, viz. ‘That he was
an honest, peaceable man; a constant attender upon the Word preached,
and also in the offering up of his evening sacrifice;’ all which I
believe was true. He met with some troubles in his marriage state; so
that he did not live so happily as some in much lower circumstances
Tuesday, October 19th, 1725
Uncle Richard Fretwell had a daughter baptised to the name of Ruth.
Wednesday, May 11th, 1726
I brought sister Mary with me to Norton (where I had been going and
coming some days) to begin house-keeping, in the house which my father
had purchased of my uncle, John Woodhouse. I observe it was the same
day on which my father was married.
Thursday, June 9th, 1726
My aunt Hill came to Norton, and told me that my uncle, John
Woodhouse, was buried on Monday in Whitsun-week, which I find was May
30th, 1726. I had heard of his death a few days before. He
was but just entred into the 41st year of his age.
I have given an account of his birth, as above, and, for his
education and future course of life, what little know of it, shall
give it room in this place. I think he was sometime a scholar to Mr.
Edward Robinson, at
Campsal, who for several years towards the close of his time taught
school at Rossington. I remember him very well; my dear mother
respected him, and gave him a general invitation to Thorp feast every
year, so long as he and she lived; and I think he never was wanting on
the Sunday; sometimes we had few or no guests besides him. Afterwards
(I suppose it was that) he was sent to Worsborough, nigh Barnsley.
His mother was not very kind to him, tho’ her only son, so that I
suppose he had a desire to leave her; and some have thought that she
feared, if he had been brought up to country business, that in a few
years he would be for removing her out of his house. But, whatever was
the reason, he was sent to London, to one Mr. Wilcocks (his mother’s nephew– I think his
Christian name was George), an attorney. When this was I cannot find
out the precise time, but by a letter now before me, dated December 16th,
1704, I find he was there at that time, and continued with him untill
the 3rd of October, 1706, when he wrote, ‘this day I and
Mr. Wilcocks parted;’ and I suppose that he went to cousin Joseph
Woodhouse’s for he writes (8br 8, 1706) ‘direct for me
at Mr. Joseph Woodhouse’s, near Horsley down, Southwark.’ Both
these letters was to desire my father to send him a small supply of
money, which I suppose he did; for I find that he returned him thanks
for it, in a letter dated November 5th, 1706, and further
says that he pitched upon another master, one Mr. Mead, an attorney in Walbrook, and that Mr.
Wilcocks had been with this gentleman to give him a character, and
offered him security for his fidelity, which he thought a great turn
of affairs, because they had differed so ill; the occasion whereof
will best appear from a letter of his bearing date 10ber 12th,
1706 (but is imperfect) :
‘LOVING BROTHER, —This comes to acquaint you that I have recd.
yours, for which I return you many thanks, as well as for other
civilities and at the same time I received one from father, which is
much to my satisfaction, for he acquaints me that Mr. Wilcocks doth not accuse
me with any neglect, nor any other crime, but rather seems to wonder
at my leaving him, not seeming to know any reason; but excuses it,
and tells them that, when he asked me my reason, I told him it were
better for so near relations to be at a greater distance, and, the
better to gild this pill, proffers to assist my father with what
money he shall have occasion for, and to do me any kindness, if I
will but be so free as to let him know it. So my father hath order'd
me to receive 301., upon his account, of Mr. Wilcocks, which
I hope will be sufficient to settle me with my other master, and to
bring me a journey into Yorkshire before I want any further
assistance; so all apprehension of those difficulties is fled from
me that I once was supprest under, and I hope I have got have got a
master that will be much to my satisfaction; and the greatest
difficulties I now lye under is to repay these civilities that
relations hath served me with; for cousin Woodhouse and his son, at
whose house I was, treated me with brother-like kindness, and both
cousin Morrise and her
husband was glad to serve me, and was ashamed at Mr. Wilcocks’
treatment. And now, having more leisure, I have made bold to
enlarge, and set out the particular kindnesses that Mr. Wilcocks
hath shown me. First, I being to pay him 201. that was due at
Michaelmas last, he would not deliver me my articles till it was
paid; having but 10l. I was forced to borrow ten more, so went to
pay him; but first then I desired him to accept of my note for the
whole, and then for part, which he excepted against with a course.
But, at the last, I offering to tender the money, he proffered to
accept of my note for the whole, and to lend me any other sum upon
the same security, and asked me what I intended to do. I told him,
serve another master, and acquainted him who I had thoughts to
serve, and that I expected he would come to him for a character of
me, and desired him to do me justice; so he went to my new master
and gave me a very good character (which I hope he had no other
occasion to do), and proferred him to be security for my honesty,
which he then seemed to require, being altogether a stranger to me;
and immediately meeting me, told me what he had done, and desired me
not to trouble any other friend. So I returned him thanks and
promised him I would not. So, going to my master, agreed with him
upon terms, and was to go to him 9ber the sixth; so, on
the fifth, I acquainted Mr. Wilcocks with what I had done, and that
I would write that night to father and mother, so he desired me to
let them know what he had done for me (which I did). But, he seeing
my master again that hour told him he would not be concerned for me,
and that I was––(I can’t express). So (as before appointed),
going to my master’s, asked me what disagreement I had had with
Mr. Wilcocks since he see me; so I acquainted him what he desired me
to do the day before, which he much wondred at; but, I seeing as if
I had no hopes of staying with him, he desired me to stay, and set
me about business. But, the first opportunity, I slip’d out, to
hunt the deceitful fox, and found him in Exchange alley (so I am not
debarr'd from all country exercise), where I did not spare with my
tongue, and could scarce forbear using my hands, but, while we were
at high words, my master jumped upon us, and, knowing the case, told
Mr. Wilcocks he wondered that a gentleman would behave himself so
ungenteelly as to shrink from his word &c. So I hope his
incivilitys have been serviceable to me, for my late master never
required any further security. I frequently see Mr. Wilcocks, but we
never speak; but when I went to him about 30l. I believe this last
incivilitie arose because I would not accept of the money he profer’d
to lend me, or for fear I should accept thereof (whether I cannot
judge), but the old verse, Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula
cautum, was my caution to beware at my own, and, indeed, so seemed
to slight his proffer’d kindness; but finding it to be for my own
convenience, I let him accept of my note for 10l., and paid him ten,
so return'd the other ten to cousin Jos. Woodhouse, of whom I
borrowed it . . Woodhouse to go to Mr. Wilcocks that he might make
some objections against . . but he . . through his generous temper,
but told him withal he wondered that I did not shame to ask cousin .
. Woodhouse any favours, for he affirmed to him that I had behaved
myself so abruptly in leaving him, that neither he nor father nor
mother, nor never a brother I had would . . me, &c. But I let
him know his mistake, and told him he might blush to affirm such a .
. this is but some of the uncivilitys I have been treated with, I am
to serve my other master . . easier terms than I did Mr. Wilcocks,
having 20s. a term, which I should have had of Mr. Wilcocks . . had
not, and what I made my excuse to leave him for . . This is most of
what at . . remember. . beg your patience in perusing so tedious a
thing, and begs of you to let sister see . . and my sister . . at
By another letter of his, bearing date December 24th,
1706, to his father-in-law, which accidenta1ly is come to my hand,
finds he had some difficulties to get the money of Mr. Wilcocks which his father
had ordered him. I shall transcribe his own words.
‘Sir.- On Fryday last I received the 30l. of Mr. Wilcocks, and
gave him a receipt for the same, and a note to you, to satisfy you
that I had received which, he said, he would underwrite, and send to
you. I took up my note that I had given him for ten pounds in part
of that thirty, but was forced to borrow four pounds to make up the
money that I have paid to my master, which I did on Saturday last,
and executed my articles. I waited several times on Mr. Wilcocks
before he would let me have the money, or appoint any time when he
would, but seemed very much to huff at me; but on Wednesday last I
went to him, and told him it would not be of any service to me
unless he would let me have it before my master was going out of
town; therefore desired him to give me a positive answer, which he
then did, and appointed Friday, but I believe the reason that he was
so for delaying me till the furthest time you appointed was because
money was out of his hand, which I knew, therefore was willing to
take up my note, altho’ he profferr’d me to forego it, and let
me have thirty pounds. When I received the money he freely promised
me any services, which I shall be as willing to accept of; and to
repay according to my capacity . . ’
And, in another letter to his father, bearing date the 13th
of May, 1708, he writes that now the time beginning to draw to a
period in which he must hope to betake himself to the world, he
acquaints him with his design of selling Robert Lathom’s house, &c., which (I think) was
purchased by his aunt Alice Woodhouse.
In another of his letters to my father, dated November 15th,
1712, he writes, ‘Since my mother’s death I received a line from
brother Hill to acquaint me that I must expect no greater legacy than
my sisters, which I understand is nothing; not so much as a small
token of remembrance.’ He orders to direct for him at Mr. Bolton’s, by the Poultry
By another to my father, bearing date March 17th, 1712,
he writes that his father Moore
wrote to him the night before, to know his resolution about continuing
him tennant, but find they came to no agreement by writing, so that
his father went to London, the spring following, to treat with him;
and on this occasion he writes thus :
London, May 19th, 1713
LOVING BROTHER,—After my thanks to my sister for her kind epistle,
I am to acquaint you that the gentleman she advised of was got to
town some days before her’s came to hand. After some frivolous
pretences for his coming to town, I was told some part of his
message was to me, to know if I would continue him tenant. I told
him I did not except against him, provided we could come to terms,
and hoped, as he had made his fortune out of my estate, he would
give me 51. per annum extraordinary. To encourage him to be a little
generous, I told him I had thoughts of matrimony, and as I was not
endowed with such bright parts as several others, nor other personal
recommendations, I must endeavour to make my estate look with all
advantages, in hopes to advance a 100l. in a wife’s fortune. I
received a great many fair promises of his kindness, and to be made
a child at his death. I let him know that I had already been amused
by such promises, and suffered myself to be injured. I, in soft
words, showed him in what and how I was prevented from righting
myself, which I am apt to think made him sensible of a little guilt.
We had several other conferences, but, according to our usual
method, nothing could be concluded till he was for going. I invited
him, couz. R., Mr. Wilcocks
&c., to my lodgings overnight; and about 12 a clock, when all
other company left us, we begun to renew our treaty. After some soft
words we came to high ones, but neither would work upon me, for I
insisted upon my full demands. I can’t tell you what civilities
past betwixt us, except only desiring him to comply with my demands,
or to say no more about it, or to go home, for that I would not
suffer any discord in my lodgings that time a night. I shall not
trouble you with any more at present; it [is] possible you may have
had the whole detail of the story from couz. R. The next day he
complyed to my whole demands.’
And concludes that he hoped to be at Thorp the first or second week
in July. And, in his postscript, writes :
‘I told my father that I was very much troubled to hear that my
mother was no ways desirous to see me in her sickness, nor any ways
endeavoured to leave me so much as a ring, to remember; and being
conscious to myself that I always had rendred my duty to her, I was
apt to believe that he had eradecated me out of her favour by sly
and indirect insinuations, which made me not pay him that respect I
He came into the country this summer, and executed a lease to his
father, which bears date the 12th day of August, 1713, for
the term of 12 years, to commence the 2nd day of February
the next ensuing, at the yearly rent of thirty-two pounds.
My uncle was admitted an attorney of the sherriff’s court,
January 14th, 1717-8. I find in one of my letters to my
father and mother that I wrote, that he gave about eleven hundred
pounds for it; but, by one of his to my dear mother, I find he writes
that it had cost him very near twelve hundred pounds, in which sum I
suppose he included the charge of his freedom, which he was obliged to
take, upon his purchasing his place; and also to give a treat to the
other gentlemen belonging to the court. He bought it (I think) of the
lord mayor and sherriffs, it being a dead man’s place, by which I
suppose he came to it at an easier rate than if he had bought it of
one of the attorneys of the court. I heard that he sold it for a great
deal more, but dyed before he had surrendered, so that that money was
entirely lost to his family.
I think a little after his admission into the sherriff’s court,
he was admitted an attorney of the court of King’s Bench.
He writes, December 22nd, 1720, that he must never
expect the use of his arm which he hurt when in the country; nor I
believe never did get quite well of it. He complains of it in several
other letters. December 29th, 1724 he writes that he had
lost 2 infant babes; and I find, by a letter of Mr. J. Wilcocks to William Moore, that he left a wife and
one child, which he believed wou1d not live. I think it is since dead.
I have, with an awfull sort of pleasure, transcribed so much of my
dear uncle’s letters, but does not expect they will be read with an
equal pleasure; for, in a little time there will arise another
generation, who knew not Joseph.
He was, as to his person pretty tall and proper, of a comely
complexion, and an excellent good temper; of a good character and
great fidelity to his clyents. I could never observe that he ever
abused them, but sometimes that he was rather too dilatory in his
proceedings, I thought. He did himself harm, I am afraid, by drinking
too freely towards the latter end of his time.
March 19th, 1726-7
I heard of the death of my aunt Eliz[abeth] Hill. I think she dyed the
day before. She was the youngest of my grandfather’s (Woodhouse’s)
children, by his first wife, and married one Thomas Hill, junr, of
Fishlock, by whom he had several children.
In the beginning of May 1727 brother William was taken with the
small-pox, but had them favourably. Towards the latter end of the same
month sister Eliz[abeth] had ‘em, and that very severely; but,
thanks be to God, they both got well over them.
In the night, betwixt the 12th and 13th of
October, 1727, dyed Alice Woodhouse, relict of Robert Woodhouse, of
Norton, (who was my grandfather’s only brother); I think she was
upwards of eighty years of age, and had lived very privately many
years. I suppose she was married very young, but made a good wife, and
an excellent country housewife. She had several children, but only one
survived her; had been many years a widdow, and greatly improved the
estate. She was buried at Campsal, on Sunday the 15th of
Mr. Cleworth preached
on the occasion, from Acts xx. 32: And now, brethren, I
commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to
build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are
I think she made choice of these words herself.
Monday, January ye first, 1727-8
Early in the morning, dyed my aunt Hannah Woodhouse, of Stubs. She was
the eldest of grandfather Woodhouse’s children, and married one
Michael Woodhouse, of Stubs Walden, who, tho’ of the same name yet
no relation (that I know of). She had three sons by him, but lived
very unhappily. He was an extravagant man, and very much given to
excessive drinking, by which he impaired his estate.
June 9th, 1728
Cousin Stephen Husband, of
Tickhill, way buryed.
Fryday, February 28th, 1728-9
After dinner, I rode out upon a young mare, which I had but lately
broke, and had not given her any exercise for some time, so that she
was saucy. However, she carried me pretty well untill I had got a
little beyond Sheep-coat laythe, when my coat skirt (I thought)
affrighted her, and caused her to give a sudden and unexpected start,
whereby I lost my stirrup. She turn’d to the right hand to
Pontefract road, and soon dismounted me, dragging me by the right foot
(I think by the bridle), for many yards, untill my spurr broke, which
was of brass, and then she left me. I think she struck at me several
times, but, thro’ the good providence of Almighty God, she never
reached me. I was very stiff for some time; but, thanks to my
Protector, I recovered in a very short time. This was a signal
deliverance, which I pray God I never forget as long as I live; and
was followed by another to my dear sister shortly after.
Monday May 26th, 1729
My sister Mary going from Norton to Thorp, and had a boy rode before
her, and going down the hill at Campsall the mare either fell, or
threw ‘em down, by which she was very much hurt, and was taken up
for dead (I suppose), and carried into Joseph Bailey’s house, where, when I came, found one
of Mr. Frank’s sisters
with her, and a great many others. I got her let blood, and by care
she recovered it in a short time, blessed be God.
Tuesday, June 24th, 1729
I laid the first stone of the pigeon chamber at Norton; and it was
reared the 1st of September following.
I enclosed a little bitt of land in the West Field, by annexing it to
the north end of Newhil close.
April 10th, 1730
Dyed William Moore, of
Norton, and was buried the 12th of April, in the chancel at
Smeaton. It was his wife’s doing that he was carried thither; her
first husband, I suppose, being buried there, and her father’s
family. Mr. Cleworth
preached his funeral sermon, at Campsal, April 19th, 1730,
from John vi. 40.
April 28th, 1730
Cousin Elizabeth Wasteneys was married, at Maltbey, to one John Johnson, of Maltbey; and as
soon as they were married came (with uncle and aunt Fretwell) to my
house at Norton, and tarried untill May 1st following.
I enclosed a small piece of land in the East Field of Norton, in that
part called the Upper field, adjoyning to my own closes at
Monday, November 1st, 1731
Dyed, uncle John Bower, of
Wickersley, and was buried on Wednesday following. He was a very
honest man, of great simplicity, and well beloved. He had been in a
lingering condition some time, occasioned by a fall from, or with, a
scaffold, at the Duke of Kingstone’s,
as I remember.
Saturday, May 27th, 1732
My dear mother going to visit a neighbour in the town, who was very
ill, as she alighted upon the side or edge of a stone trough, her foot
slip’d, and by the fall she was very much hurt, so that a
bone-setter was sent for. When he was come, he said there was no bone
broke or displaced, but that the muscle of the thigh was extremely
extended. She made use of crutches for some time, and had a sore
illness, during which she was under the care of Dr. Eyre and Mr. Malin; but it pleased God to restore her at this
time; but I think never to be so well as she was before.
Friday, November 17th, 1732
I was at the funeral of cousin Elizabeth Atkinson senior, of Hatfield Woodhouse.
I enclosed a piece of land in the South Field of Norton, upon the
Cliff. It adjoyns to the highway which leads towards Sheep-coats.
Tuesday, May 15th, 1733
My sister Mary was married to Thomas Routh, of Pontefract, a grocer.
He was the son of Mr. John Routh, who sometime lived at Balne hall,
but last at Snayth hall, and was steward to James Yarburgh, esq., of
Heslington, nigh York, for his estate about Balne. A man of good
character, so far as I know.
He had made his addresses to my sister some years before; but my
father and mother did not approve of it. Afterwards, going to London,
we thought they had broke of all manner of conversation, but I suppose
they kept up correspondence by letters, unknown to me; tho’ at that
time she was at Norton with me; and, continuing his visits after he
came down from London, my father and mother did give their consents to
it, but were far from being pleased with it,. as I think we all were
much dissatisfied about it. However, he makes a very good husband; he
is very sober and frugal, and diligent in his business, so that
(blessed be God) they live comfortably. They were marryed at Campsal,
by the revd. and pious Mr. Thomas Cleworth. After the ceremony was over, went down
to Thorp, to dine. She went to Pontefract the 29th of May
Wednesday, August 8th, 1733
In the South Field of Norton was a stack of barley burnt to ashes by
the lightning. I was going to lead some corn from off the lands next
adjoining to it; but fearing the shower, which we saw coming, would
over-take us before we could get home, we returned, else had been very
nigh near the place where this happened, and might have perished
there. Oh! what reason have I daily to praise my powerful Protector,
Whose watchful eye of providence is my daily defence against all the
innumerable dangers I am exposed unto!
Tuesday, January 22nd, 1733-4
Was my sister Routh brought to bed of a son, who was baptized
immediately by the name of James; it lived untill the Thursday
following, and then dyed.
Wednesday, February 20th, 1733-4
Dyed Lydia, the relict of John Woodhouse, late of Norton, of whom read
[in the] foregoing.
Saturday, April 13th, 1734
Dyed Reuben Woodhouse, of Norton. He was the last of his father’s
children, viz. Robert Woodhouse's, of Norton, brother to my
grandfather. He was possessed of a plentiful fortune, and, as he never
married, so dying intestate, his 2 neeces, Mrs. Eliz[abeth] Godfrey and Mrs. Alice Hill,
were his heires. He was bound apprentice to one Mr. Deacon of Barnsley, a mercer
and grocer, and I suppose served his time, but never set up for
himself. He was some time servant to one Mrs. Langley at Rotherham; and before that (if I
mistake not) to a gentleman at Derby, who was a large trader. But
after he traded for himself he resided at York, and imployed himself
chiefly in the butter trade, in which, I believe, he was very
successfull. He was a man of good natural parts, but an humourist; a
lover of good men, but allowed himself too great liberties towards the
end of his days; for having little or no business for some years
before he dyed, he lived very intemperately, so that it was a matter
of admiration to many that he held it out so long. What age he was I
cannot tell, but I think he was older than my uncle J[ohn] Woodhouse,
so that I suppose he might be near fifty. He was (when sober)
excellent company, and took delight in poetry. He used often to speak
of his master (Mr. Deacon) with great respect, and of the prudent and
pious economy of his family (he was a dissenter); and, I suppose from
Mr. Woodhouse’s abode so long in his family it was that he always
had a respect for, and an inclination, to the dissenters. Indeed, he
had no small share of religious knowledge, and I’ve heard that, in
his youth, he was a very sober, hopeful youth, But, alas! he did not
hold out to the end suitable to such promising beginnings. May his
stumbling be a caution to me, least I fall; but may I faithfully
endeavour to keep up my watch, that so my last days may be my best
days, and I may daily grow up in a meetness to be a partaker of the
inheritance of the saints in light. Amen.
Cousin Reuben Woodhouse, after he left off business, came to his
mother at Norton, and a great trouble he was to the good old woman.
She had buried all her children except him, and I believe could have
been glad to have buried him too. Of all her children only one lived
to marry, called John.
Wednesday, March 12th, 1734-5
I heard that sister Routh was brought to bed of a son, which was
baptized soon after, and called John. They had the christening (as it’s
called), the 8th of April, 1735. This child lived the
longest of any they have yet had. He dyed the 7th of June
May 8th, 1735
I had a sale at Norton, of the greatest part of my goods, designing to
leave that place, being weary of living with servants only, since my
sister had left me.
Thursday, July 10th, 1735
I was at a christening at cousin Robert Atkinson’s, of Hatfield Woodhouse; the child
was called Elizabeth, after his mother.
About the 23rd of September, 1735, we had a bad accident
happened, which might have proved of very ill consequence, but,
blessed be God, Who of His infinite mercy prevented it. The case was
this: about a fortnight before, Richard Wharam had brought us from Hull a young mastiff
whelp (very young), which, as we after found, was mad. It first bit
me, upon which I whip’t it, and turned it out of doors. After, it
bit my sister Elizabeth; and, as we were putting it out again, it met
a chicken and bit it; and immediately went to one of the maids, called
Dorothy France, and bit her.
Still we did not suspect the cause, but thought it to be only its
sullen temper, so we gave it to Joseph Hydes, of Wilsick, who seemed pleased with it;
but growing worse, and biting at everything that came in its way, we
now feared it was mad. It got to Trumflet, and bit several things
there, as it had done both here and at Wilsick; but (thanks be to God)
it did no harm (that I heard of), only a dog which it bit at Joseph
Hydes’, belonging to a butcher, and a little bitch of Richard Wright’s which went mad, and
another whelp which was bit by R.W.’s little bitch, was all the
damage which was done, that I remember; the whelp dyed in a few days
after. We, who were bit, got let blood, and took proper antidotes,
which, by the blessing of God, proved effectual; so that we have great
reason to say with the royal Psalmist, O give thanks unto the Lord for
he is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.
Saturday, November 8th, 1735
I planted a young orchard at Norton, in a place called the Wainhouse
garth; the trees were of my own raising.
Sunday, June 20th, 1736
It pleased God to remove from me the greatest temporal blessing that I
ever enjoyed (I think), by the death of my dear mother. She was always
of a weakly constitution, and for many years had laboured under great
infirmities, which rendred life a burden to her. She was sensible to
the last, and the morning of the day she dyed sister Routh told me she
said, ’This is the Sabbath day; oh that it might be my Sabbath of,
rest!’ And some days before, she said to her, ‘If you have seen
anything in me worthy your imitation, I desire, that you would follow
it; if anything amiss, that you would avoid it.’ And, we should be
wretchedly stupid if we could see nothing in her conduct which was
commendable, and worthy of our imitation; for I see very few who come
up to her, whether we eye her in the relation of a wife, of a mother,
or a neighbour.
She was a faithful, loving wife; a true help-meet to her husband;
and to whom (by her prudent carriage) she was highly endeared; a
prudent counsellor, and a true comforter; for, when my father was
troubled at the ill success of his affairs, or any great loss, of
which he had several very great ones in his time (considering his
circumstances), yet she always seemed to bear them with a calm and
easie temper, endeavouring to encourage him to bear them with
patience, and to make a spiritua1 use of them. This I’ve often
admired at, because she was too apt to be fretfull about trifling
matters, which was her greatest infirmity, and the worst that her
greatest enemies (if any such there be) can say of her.
She was a prudent manager of her family affairs, and a true pattern
of a good housewife; and as such was esteemed by all who knew her; as
great an enemy to idleness (which is an enemy to all that is good) as
most I ever see, for she was rarely to be seen without her hands at
work about her lawful business (except when she was about her more
needful and pleasant work of reading or praying). She had a numerous
family for many years, for which she provided in a most decent,
If we look upon her in the character of a mother, we have reason to
bless God for her, being such a mother as few children are blessed
with (in comparison); I have before given an account of her care in
teaching us to read, &c. I shall only add that the foundation of
everything in us that is good is chiefly owing (under God) to her
pious care and maternal instruction, which was seconded by her praying
with and for us, and which (I hope) we shall still be reaping the
fruits of, now that she is gone.
In the quality of a neighbour, I should be glad to see one, in this
neighbourhood, coming up to her measure of usefulness. She was
beneficent to all in her power; reproving those who deserved it, and
encouraging whatsoever was praiseworthy. She abhorred flattery and
dissimulation, and never used it towards her superiors; but, if
obliged to speak, would give ‘em her thoughts very freely.
As she had opportunity, would instruct the boys who went in the
keels sometimes; some of whom, she has, told me, has since come to
her, and return’d her thanks (I think). Being grown men, she did not
know them, but they told her they were such and such boys who went
with Richard Dowson,
She was very seviceable to many, by her advice and assistance in
times of sickness; and for surgery, she had, for many years, much time
imployed that way, in which (by God’s blessing) she was very
successful; never denying her assistance so long as she was able to do
anything; and many times, when very unfit, she would direct them what
to do for themselves, and sometimes order my sister what to do for
them; and this she did, not only to neighbours, but to strangers, for
which she had several times very ungrateful returns from them, on
which account she would say, ‘I don’t do this out of respect to
them, but because it is my duty.’ The poor have a great loss of her,
upon this account; what they have upon other accounts I am not able to
determine; for tho’ some instances of her charity could not be hid,
yet I have reason to believe that she did more than was ever publicly
She departed this life about five a clock in the evening of the
aforesaid day, and was buried the 22nd of June, in the same
grave with my dear brother John, according to her own desire.
She was the last of her father’s house, who, tho’ she had
laboured under several infirmities for many years, was entered upon
the 62nd year of her age.
Monday, April 11th, 1737
I was at the funeral of my 1ate good neighbour, John Pinder, of Norton. I see him
the Tuesday before, and he was not very well. He told me he designed
to go to Pontefract, after Easter, to his relations there, to stay
awhile; but I suppose he went the Saturday following, not finding
himself worse than usual. In the evening he went up two pairs of
stairs to his lodging, and as soon as he could reach the bed, tumbled
down upon it, and dyed immediately. He was brought to Campsal. Mr. Cleworth preached his
funeral sermon from Ps. xxxix. 4. He gave him a good character,
which he well deserved. He was a taylor, the son of a taylor, both
accounted very honest men. They wrought for a groat a day, which small
wage, by frugal management, they improved untill they had got two or
three little houses, which I suppose he has left to a young girl,
daughter to a Benjamin Howlegate,
of Pontefract; but what little land he had be has left to charitable
uses. As to his person, he was very crooked and little, but possessed
a very virtuous mind; loved retiredness, and good sociable company
sometimes. He feared God above many. I had much pleasure in his
society, for the short time I was acquainted with him.
Tuesday, June 25th, 1737
Came a messenger from Pontefract, to acquaint us that sister Routh was
brought to bed of a son. This, I think, was called John, but lived but
a few days.
Tuesday, May 23rd, 1738 (or about that time)
Was my cousin Ann Wasteneys marryed to James Wood of Campsal; who, after they were married,
went to live at Armley, nigh Leeds, where he kept a shop of
linen-drapery and groceries; but, not liking the place, they removed
to South Kirkby, where they now live. She is sober, modest woman, and
I hope they live very comfortably.
Monday, June 16th, 1738
Dyed coz. Eliz[abeth] Johnson
whose death was a very great trouble to poor cousin Nancy, mentioned
above, and also to her good mother, who followed shortly after.
Wednesday, July 26th, 1738
My dear aunt Wasteneys died. She was a pious, good Christian, of a
very meek spirit, and universally beloved.
August 17th, 1738
I heard of the death of cousin William Godfrey who dyed, I think, the foregoing week.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 1738-9
My sister was delivered of a daughter, which was called Mary. This
child she was advised to nurse out, which she did with a good nurse,
who lived under the same roof; but she also dyed, the 7th
of September, 1739; so that they were now childless, altho’ they
have had four children.
Monday, January 29th, 1738-9
Having been out of order for some time, my father sent for Mr. Malin, of Doncaster, to me, who
ordered me something; but after advised to send for Dr. Eyre which he did. ‘Twas
February 3rd that he came to me. He ordered me something,
which did me good as to my health, but was troubled with a stitch in
my left breast, which he could noways remove. This continued until
February 28th, when I perceived the place, where my
greatest trouble was, begun to rise in a small white place about the
compass of a crown piece; it was upon my breast-bone, and not where
the stitch first begun. On Saturday, March 3rd, I
adventured to Doncaster (but was very weary), to let the doctor see
it, who ordered me a plaister, to encourage it to break; and the next
time I went recommended me to a surgeon, to whom I went March 10th.
The surgeon’s name is Mr. John Hewardine he was very ill himself, at that time.
Here I continued until the last day of March, when I came home; and
went to let him see my breast again April 5th; but he would
have me come and stay at Doncaster again; so I went again, Saturday,
April 7th, 1740, with that design, but was sent for home,
Wednesday, April 11th following, upon the sad account of my
poor father’s being taken ill (as, God willing, shall hereafter be
taken notice of), and was now forced to go almost daily to Doncaster,
for some time. I think it was ye 21st of March
that he applyed a caustick to it, and after lanced it; and again the
25th of June, 1740, I had it laid open further After he had
thus long had it in hand I could perceive very little amends to it
untill this last cutting, after which it mended finely. 1 begun to be
angry with him, for I really thought that he trifled with me. I think
he dismissed me about Lammas. I was reduced to a very low condition;
few, I believe, thought that I should recover it. The doctor
apprehended that I was going into a consumption; but, after my breast
swelled, he said it could do me great service; and some time after
told my brother, before Doctor Wintringham, how dangerous my case was, but that
it took the right way at last. And I doubt not but that the great God
of nature assisted her in her operation for my recovery, which was my
chief help in this dangerous case, for it defyed all the art the
physician could use for my relief. Oh! may a grateful remembrance of
this great mercy (amongst many others) always possess my heart, and
may I endeavour in some measure to render again according to the
benefit done unto me!
I was at Doncaster with my father, on Saturday, the 16th
of December, 1738. We came home within evening, and both got cold (I
think). I had an ague for some time after, but went a journey the week
following, tho’ very unfit, and continued after a lingering manner
till January 29th, as I mentioned before; after which I
never stirred out of doors until February 23rd, and then
only into the court.
Tuesday, February ye 20th, 1738-9
Dyed Mrs. Ruth Moore, relict
of William Moore, late of Norton. She was a very good neighbour, and,
to her ability, charitable to her poor neighbours, who have a great
loss of her. She was interred with her two husbands, at Smeaton, the
22nd of February 1738.
Tuesday, April 10th, 1739
At night (or at least before he arose in the morning), my father had
his hearing taken from him; when, seeing my brother and sister weeping
for him, he feared that I had been dead, which made him very uneasie;
and it was some time before they could convince him that he had lost
his hearing, but thought the fault was in them, who could not answer
The next day, viz. April 11th, my brother came for me,
who was then at Doncaster. I came home with him, and when my father
see me, he was something easier; we got him to understand a word or
two once or twice, but the day following he was worse: his memory and
his speech seemed to fail him very much, so that I feared it would
prove to be the palsie. I went for Doctor Eyre, who ordered him to be let blood, to which
he very willingly consented, when I had given him to under-stand what
we was going to do, by writing and shewing him the lance, &c. The
next day came Doctor Eyre, but could give us no encouragement as to
his case; he said it was a paralitick disorder which had seized his
brain and nerves. However, he ordered some strong physick, to give him
a shock, as he said, but it did not answer its intent. He would have
ordered him a vomit, but we feared that we could not get him to drink
after it to work it off. But sister Routh coming on Saturday, ye
14th of April, told us that her neighbour, Mrs. Skipton, who was a woman that
was very serviceable in her neighbourhood, let the physicians laugh at
old women and their medicines as long as they please, yet she did a
great deal of good, sometimes beyond their expectations, and often (I’m
afraid) contrary to their wishes: she, I say, advised us to give him a
vomit, and prescribed the doze for him (which she said, if he would
drink freely after it, would be a likely means to do him good; and, if
not, ‘twould do him no harm. The next day, I went again to Doctor
Eyre, and told him of it, which he agreed to, but did not order him
the same, but I think it was ten grains of vinū benediolum, which
was wrought of with camomile tea: this he took very well, and (blessed
be God) it did him much good; his hearing was in some measure
restored, I think in an instant, for, soon after, he heard a voice,
and asked what it was (which I think was the bellowing of a bull). The
same evening, at family prayers, I kneeled very nigh him, and,
speaking very loud, he heard what I said, and we perceived very often
apprehended the sense of it, which put him into such transports of joy
as I think I never see in any one before; so that he could not contain
himself, but, during the time of worship, would often give his assent
to what was spoken, with great zeal, and an audible voice, but not so
as to disturb us in it; and this he spoke of for several days after,
with such expressions of joy and thankfulness as was very affecting.
He continued taking such things as the doctor ordered for some
time, but to little good purpose; and, a few days after, was taken
with the gout (which he had some times before), but had it favourably.
The doctor encouraged it, for he said it was the best thing that could
have happened to him. He got so well as to be able to ride to
Doncaster with me, the 15th of May, but the doctor was not
at home; and again, the 19th, but lost his labour; but, the
22d, going again, found him at home, who seemed surprised
to see my father so well recovered as he was, tho’ very bad.
Saturday, July 23rd
Dr. Eyre told me he expected
Dr. Wintringham, of
York, would be at Mr. Fountayne’s,
of Melton, the next day, and that he would have us send over to know
if was come; and, if so, would have my father go over to him; for he
advised us before to go to him, and we had designed it so soon as we
thought we could get him thither. My brother went next morning and
found the doctor there, who told him that he designed to leave that
place the next morning, and therefore desired my father would go to
him in the afternoon. Accordingly, my brother hasted home, and after
dinner took my father with him to Melton, where they found both the
doctors, who consulted what to order him, but could give no hopes of
his recovery. Dr. Wintringham apprehended it to have been an
apoplectick which had seized him. We thought what they ordered him did
him some small service; however, he grew something better, blessed be
Tuesday, August 21st, 1739
I got a milk ass and a foal, and drunk the milk some time, which I
hope has done me good. She has another foal, and I drunk the milk
Thursday, September 20th, 1739
My sister Elizabeth was married to Michael Woodhouse of Stubs, but who
lives now at Womersley, the youngest son of Michael Woodhouse, late of
Stubs-Walden, by Hannah his wife, who was my mother’s sister; he is
by trade a tanner. Sister had been at Pontefract for some time, and we
expected she would be married before she got home, but did not know
the time; they were married at Womersley. Brother and sister Routh was
with them; and, after the ceremony performed, they all came to Thorp.
Poor sister Routh got a fall, in a bad place, as she came, and was in
great danger; but, blessed be God, she was not much hurt.
He had made his addresses to her before the death of my mother, but
she would not give an ear to it; neither did my father approve of it,
or indeed any of the family, or of her friends; but she now thought
herself at her own disposal, and I wish she may have no reason to
repent of what she has done. I believe she thought that my brother and
I opposed it merely out of self-interest; but I think we have since
convinced her of the contrary, by giving her more than we were obliged
to, and, indeed, as much or more than my father designed her (I
believe) if she had married more to his satisfaction: and I pray that
a blessing may go along with it.
Monday, ye 22nd of October, 1739
Having been from home about some business, at my return found poor
father very ill, much after the manner that he was when first seized
with this trouble; but it pleased God to grant him relief at this time
also; he was some time before he was so well as before this relapse.
Fryday, December 7th, 1739
My sister Routh was brought to bed of a son, which is called Thomas.
Tuesday, January 29th, 1739-40
This night I thought my father had another return of his distemper,
but he could not give any account of it; however, he was much worse
again than he was before.
Monday, April 21st, 1740
My poor father had another relapse, as before.
Wednesday, November 26th, 1740
Dyed cousin Richard Atkinson,
senior, of Hatfield. I think he was in the 84th year of his
age. Had been blind several yeares, but enjoyed all his other senses
to the last, I believe.
Wednesday, December the 10th 1740
In the morning, between two and three a clock, hearing somebody shout,
I stept out of bed; and no sooner put my foot down upon the floor but
perceived what was the matter, for I was got into water 4 or 5 inches
deep (I think) at least, and continued rising so fast, that when I
went to fetch my father out of bed (whom I carried up stairs on my
back), the water touched my bed cords, and so continued rising till it
run over the threshold, which is between the kitchen and back kitchen.
About noon began to fall; and the night following it froze very hard,
and so continued for some time, till the roads were very good, that
several people went to the coal-pits. The ice and snow was drove upon
heaps upon the Marsh, and froze together, so that they appeared like
so many mountains. It did abundance of damage; we had a great deal of
wood swum away, but found several heaps froze together, and left in
other places; but, when the frost broke, another flood followed, and
took all away.
Some people say that they remember two such great floods before this:
but I don’t remember that I have ever seen any come near it. I have
heard my father and mother speak of a great flood, soon after they
were marryed, which might perhaps be in the year 97, which exceeded
this by about nine inches, so nigh as we can compute, by the relation
we have of it, and how far it extended. This flood did not tarry long,
but left the land covered with ice untill Christmas. Such a winter
scene did I never see before; for some days, when the water began to
fall, the ice kept cracking day and night, like unto guns discharged
at a distance. The frost was so severe that it destroyed a great many
herbs in most gardens; the sage and rosemary especially (I think) was
Sunday, August 2nd, 1741
Was sister Woodhouse brought to bed of a daughter and a son; and, when
baptized, called Elizabeth and Michael.
Tuesday, February 10th, 1740-41
I planted a young orchard at Norton, in a place which I now use as a
nursery adjoyning to the house, late cousin John Woodhouse's, and
going on to the Smithy lane.
August 2nd, being the Lord’s Day, 1741
Sister Woodhouse was brought to bed of two children, who were baptized
by the names of Michael and Elizabeth; the boy is since dead. He was
buryed March 23rd following.
And on (or about) the 30th of August, 1742, she was
delivered of another daughter, baptized soon after by the name of
Saturday, June 25th, 1743
My brother, William Fretwell, going to York, bought of Dr. Clifton Wintringham his estate at
Thorp, which my father had had in rent for several years. It had been
in the Wintringham’s family many yearse. His grandfather, William
Wintringham, an old gentleman, lived upon it in my time. So lands
change their owners, and places their inhabitants.
Tuesday, January 11th, 1742-3 (sic)
I first heard that sister Routh was brought to bed of a daughter the
week preceding. I went to visit her the day following, and found her
very ill, as she had been for some time before the birth of this
child; her case was look’d upon as very dangerous; but, thro’
mercy of God, she continues hitherto a living monument of sparing
mercy. This child is called Mary.
February 5th, 1743-4, being the Lord’s Day
About four of the clock in the morning, my dear father obtained a
release from all those troubles which he had laboured under for so
many years. His death seemed to be only a cessation of breathing,
without the least groan or struggle. He had been very bad for some
time before he dyed. I wish I may never see anyone in his
He was buryed on Tuesday, the 7th, in the same grave
with his uncle, William Fretwell, before the porch door of the parish
church of Barnby. As to his age, I am not certain; but I think he was
entered upon his 70th year.
Saturday, February the 2nd, 1745-6
I was at the funeral of cousin Elizabeth Atkinson, of Hatfield-Woodhouse. She dyed at
Thorn, at the house of her sister Middlebrook, and was brought to Hatfield, and
buryed with her ancestors, in the church there. She was an old maid,
and had been some years afflicted with the rheumatism. She was of
innocent temper, and always carryed very respectfully to her
relations. She was some time with me when I lived at Norton.
Wednesday, the 6th of February, 1745-6
Brother Routh had a daughter born, who was baptized by the name of
May 5th, being the Lord’s Day, 1745
Cousin Elizabeth Fretwell, eldest daughter of my uncle, Richard
Fretwell, of Maltbey, was marryed to one Thomas Foulston, of Bawtrey, a grocer and chandler; but
they now live at Stockwith.
Tuesday, June 4th, 1745
I heard that sister Woodhouse lay in of a daughter ; she is called
Hannah. Brother Woodhouse has now three daughters, called by the same
names as my grandfather Woodhouse’s were, the order only inverted,
viz. Elizabeth, Mary, and Hannah.
The 16th April 
Will long shine in the British annals for the compleat victory gained
this year, 1746, upon Wednesday, the 16th of April, over
that desperate crew of rebels (who, the winter before, had penetrated
almost into the heart of the kingdom) at Culloden, in Scotland.
Posterity, it is probable, will very much wonder when they are told of
it; but our troops were all in Flanders, so that we were all in a
manner defenceless. And the first engagement his majesty’s troops
had with the rebels was at Preston Pans, September 21, 1745, which is
about 7 miles east of Edinburgh; and, being imprudently managed, the
rebels obtained the victory, which was no small, encouragement to
them, and caused their numbers to increase. John Cope was the unhappy commander this day. But the
glory of extinguishing this unnatural rebellion was reserved for his
royal highness, William, duke of Cumberland, commander at the battle
of Culloden, which put a final period to the rebellion; of which I
shall say no more, but leave it to historians who are better qualified
to write the history of those times than I am. We were under terrible
apprehensions in this part of country. I suppose our fathers never saw
the like here, in their time, and may our posterity never see it.
Wednesday, August 27th, 1746
Dyed, after a very long and tedious illness, my dear uncle Richard
Fretwell, of Maltbey, the last of all my grandfather Fretwell’s
children. He was a plain, honest man, and a serious, good Christian.
He had a large family, which was prudently governed, and I hope his
posterity will be blessed.
Soon after, followed his nephew, and my loving kinsman, William
Wasteneys, of Maltbey. He was a tanner, and a very honest, good man.
He left a numerous family, and most of them very young; only one boy,
which was one of the youngest.
He had not great fortunes to give ‘em; but I hope He who is the
Father of the fatherless will take care of them. He was laid in the
same grave with his pious mother, on Tuesday, October ye 28th,
Tuesday, November 11th, 1746
My brother William Fretwell marryed Elisabeth, the daughter of William
Smith, of Doncaster, by
Dorothy his second wife, who was daughter of . . Mitchel, of Doncaster (he has only another
child, a daughter, whom he had by his first wife). They were marryed
at St. Peter’s in York.
The same day, and at the same place, was his partner, Mr. Richard Crawshaw, of Haddlesey,
marryed. Two unsuitable matches–but I’ll say no more.
In the night, betwixt Sunday the 6th, and Monday the 7th
of September (or rather early on Monday morning, as I think), my
brother William Fretwell had a son born, who was baptized by the name
November 15th, 1747
1 heard that my sister Woodhouse was brought to bed of a daughter. She
was baptized, Tuesday, December the 29th, by the name of
February ye 7th, 1747-8
Being the Lord’s Day, I went to the funeral of aunt Hill, of
Hatfield, who was my uncle’s second wife. About the beginning of
July, this summer, 1748, dyed the reverend and pious Mr. Sandford, of Pontefract,
where he had laboured in the gospel many years. He was a very serious,
good man, and of a very inoffensive conversation; so that he was
esteemed by most of his neighbours of every denomination. I never
heard (to my remembrance) any one speak disrespectfully of him. He was
succeeded (in a young minister, Mr. Benjamin Clegg, son to Dr. Clegg, of Chappel-le-Firth, in
Derbyshire; but he left them the summer following, and they have now
one Mr. John Coppock, a
Fryday, June ye 10th, 1748
My brother Fretwell had a daughter born. She was baptized by the name
of Mary. ‘Twas the least infant (I think) that ever I saw. She dyed
July ye 31st following.
Saturday, December 3rd, 1748
I went to Pontefract, to take up my winter quarters.
Saturday, February the 25th, 1748-9
The peace with France was proclaimed at Pontefract.
Saturday, March 18th, 1748-9
I left Pontefract, and returned to my old lodgings at John Herrott’s at Thorp.
Tuesday, April the 25th, 1749
Was a day of public thanks-giving for peace.
Monday, May 1st, 1749
My brother William Fretwell had a daughter born. She was baptized by
the name of Mary, but she dyed the 20th of the same month,
and was buryed the 22nd day following.
Thursday, May ye 11th, 1749
A very melancholy accident in the neighbourhood. One Samuel Kettle, who was born at Thorp,
whose ancestors had been possessed of a cottage there for several
generations. I think his mother showed me a writing dated in the reign
of K. Henry VIII., which, as I remember, was the time when the Kettles
first purchased it, and they have lived there ever since the oldest
man living can remember, until the death of Robert Kettle, father of
this Samuel, whom I very well remember, as also his father, who was
called William Kettle, and whose will I made when I was but young; I
think ‘twas the first will I ever made; he was a taylor, as was his
father William before him, who lived to a great age; whether he was
living in my time or no I do not know; however, I do not remember him,
and it is something remarkable that, this small freehold (for I don’t
find it was ever larger) should remain for so many years in the Kettle’s
family untill this Samuel Kettle sold it not long before he made his
tragical end, which I am about to relate.
This Samuel Kettle was bound apprentice to Richard Shillito, of Campsal,
wheelwright; had served his time, and was now marryed, and lived at
Sutton, and at this time wrought under Michael Berry, of Askeron. He was sent to Trumphlet to
fell some wood for Richard Frank,
esq.; he took an opportunity in the absence of some men who left him
but a very short time, to get a rope with which the gate was tyed, and
therewith hanged himself in the top of a tree which was fallen (as I
remember). His feet, I was told, was not above a quarter of a yard
from the ground; and I think the rope (they said) was not tyed to the
bough, but only wrapped round it. He was buried in the lane leading
from widow Murfin's to
Trumphlet. What was the occasion of his doing this rash action I never
heard, to my remembrance.
Monday, the 14th of August, MDCCXLIX
Was laid the first stone of the school house at Thorp; and it was
reared the 5th of October following.
Thursday, October the 12th, 1749
I removed my lodgings from J. Herrot’s
of Thorp, to Benjamin Holgate’s,
tallow-chandler, in the market place in Pontefract. I liked my land
lord at Thorp very well, but the situation I thought unpleasant in
winter time; and some other things now rendered Thorp more unpleasant
to me than it had formerly been.
Monday, April 2nd, 1750
Dyed my dear kinsman, John Woodhouse, of Stubs-Walden. He was about
six months younger than myself, but had been disabled for business for
several years, being very lame (I suppose it was a paralytick
disorder). I have been told that his grandfather was much after the
same manner for some time before his death.
Fryday, July 13th, 1750
Mr. Lucas, of North-Elmshall,
going to visit his son at Pontefract, as he was entering into his
yard, some boys met him who were flying a paper kite. Both himself and
horse got entangled in the string, much affrighted the horse (being
young), so that he run away with him, and either threw him off, or
himself endeavouring to get off, he fell upon the pavement, which
fractured his scull, and he dyed in a very little time. It is of the
Lord’s mercies that such accidents do not happen more frequently. I
suppose Mr. Lucas might think the danger of his riding this young
horse (if he apprehended any danger in it) was over, for this time,
when he was got to his son’s door; but we are never out of dangers,
nor is it possible for us to escape them, if our great Protector leave
us to ourselves. Oh what need have we to beg the protection of Divine
Providence over us, both before we go out, and when we come in.
Monday, September the 10th, 1750
I went with my sister Routh to Kirkby, to see cousin Woods; and, not long after we
were set out, came a messenger. from Thorp, to acquaint me that my
friend John Herrot was very
ill; but they did not send after me, and therefore, as I did not come
home before night, so I could not go to Thorp that night, but I went
early the next morning. When I got thither I found Dr. Eyre there; so sate down in the
kitchen. But the maid coming down stairs and seeing me, she acquainted
her master with my being there, who immediately sent for me, and, upon
my entering the room, he accosted me thus: ‘My dear friend, you are
come to see me dye.’ When I came to his bed-side, he said, ‘Give
me a kiss,’ which I did; and then desired me to seek out his will
(which himself had made about five years before), which I did, and
made some small alteration by a codicil according to his directions.
He told me that when he first received the sentence of death in
himself, it was a shock to him: ‘but now,’ added he, ‘I am very
well contented to dye.’ And so he appeared (I was told) all the time
of his illness; saying, if it was God’s pleasure, he would rather
choose to dye than to live in so much misery.
He was in a pious, devout frame of mind, and seemed to be noways
discomposed, but to enjoy his reason to the last; and I think was
frequently putting up pious ejaculations, &c.; and I remember his
repeating these words: ‘I know whom I have believed, and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him
against that day.’
He was very sensible of his near approaching change, and said to
me: ‘Lay your hand upon my body and feel; one string breaks after
another–now I grow very weak very fast.’
And when I was making the codicil to his will, he said, ‘Pray
make hast, for my sight begins to fail me;’ and a little after noon
he very quiet1y resign'd up his soul into the hands of his merciful
Creator; and I doubt not is now entered into the joy of his Lord.
And on Thursday following he was interred with his ancestors in the
parish church of Barnby-upon-Dun, nigh unto the reading-desk.
He was of a very happy, even temper, very just in his dealings,
and, I believe, a sincere good Christian, far exceeding any of his
family that I ever knew.
Saturday, December 1st, 1750
I heard that my brother William Fretwell had purchased the common land
which Burghwallis sold
for the sum of 6501., lying in Balne moore (alias Rushamore),
Black-Carr green, and Dormer green. It proved a dear bargain, what
with the charge of enclosing and expenses about draining, &c. He
has built a good house upon Rushamore, and it seems now to be a
pleasant summer habitation.
Monday, May 13th, 1750
Going to Thorp, my brother was gone to the funeral of Roger Portington, esq., lord of
the manor of Barnby-upon-Dun; a very honest gentleman, and a good
neighbour, but I think sometimes a little disordered in his head;
especially if he got ever so little liquor.
My sister Fretwell lay in at this time, but the child was dead. It
was a girl.
Saturday, September 28th, 1751
My sister Woodhouse was brought to bed of a son, who on the Lord’s
day following (being September 29th) was baptized by the
name of William, after his uncle, and my dear kinsman, who dyed at
Tuesday, November the 26th, 1751
Was interred Bryan Cooke,
esq., of Owston, and recorder of Doncaster. I think he was but about a
year older than myself. We were school fellows at Doncaster. He was
never marryed; and had only brother living, called Anthony, to whom
his estate descended. He was not marryed at that time; but after some
time marryed a daughter of Mr. Eyre,
January 28th, 1752
My dear friend, Mr. John Kiplin,
narrowly escaped drowning, not far from his own house. He was riding
upon a high causey, which was overflown with water, and his horse
slipt down off the causey; and tho’ several people saw him, yet they
could make him no help. But his Almighty Deliverer, who is ever
present with us, saved him from this great danger; blessed be His holy
Monday, May the 11th, 1752
My brother William Fretwell brought his son James to brother Routh’s,
and left him there, for me to teach him, &c.
Thursday, September 14th, 1752
The New-Stile took place in England, which has been used about 170
years in many parts of Europe.
Tuesday, September the 19th, 1752
I went to Norton, and bought of Robert Pindar a little close called Stepping-Stone Ing,
and a beast-gate (or two, I don’t now remember which) in Orms Ing;
the purchase was 651. 1s.; and I lett it to him for 40 shillings a
year. This is the only purchase I ever made, or perhaps ever shall
Wednesday, November the 1st, 1752
I went to Wakefield, to the opening of the new chappel, which is a
beautiful place. Mr. Walker,
of Leeds, preached an excellent sermon from John iv. 23, 24, which is
published, but I think not at length, as it was preached.
Monday, November 6th, 1752
My nephew, James Fretwell, was very ill. On the 8th we called in Mr. Crew, who took it to be the
small-pox; and before noon some pustles appeared. I wrote to William Smith, at Doncaster, desiring
him to acquaint my brother; and on the 10th my brother and
sister Fretwell both came. My brother went home the next day, but
sister tarryed with us. And on the 12th brother came again,
and brought his nurse to look after him. And now the small-pox seem’d
to come on better than they fram’d to do at first; and on the 15th
begun to decline; when he recovered finely, so that his nurse left him
on the 22nd, and his mother on the 27th. He was
very full of the small-pox, and Mr. Crewe apprehended him to be in
danger; but, blessed be God, he got safe through them.
Fryday, January the 5th, 1753
This day it pleased Almighty God, the father of mercies, to deliver my
dear sister M[ary] Routh from all her troubles, which she had so
patiently born for several years. And I think that I have good grounds
to hope that she is now enjoying those pleasures, at God’s right
hand which will endure for evermore.
She was, from her childhood, of a sober, religious temper, strictly
conscientious thro’ the whole course of her life, and very
compassionate both to the souls and bodies of others; so charitable in
her opinion of others, that she would always put the best construction
upon their words or actions that they would bear; and where she could
not excuse them she would heartily pity them. She behaved so
inoffensively to everyone, that I do not remember that she had ever
the least quarrel or shyness either with her relations or neighbours;
so that it might be truly said of her that she did to her utmost
observe the Apostle’s injunction of living peaceably with all men.
And, as a consequence of her benevolence, she was universally
respected by all that knew her, and her memory will be blessed.
She left only three children living, i.e. one son and three
daughters; but she had several others before these which are now
living, which all dyed in infancy, for I believe she seldom or never
went her full time with any of them before this boy.
Her children had an irrepareable loss in the death of their dear
mother; I mean as to instruction in religious principles, in which she
was constant and diligent, by catechising and instilling good things
into their tender minds according as their capacities would receive
them; but, as to the other parts of education, this want was in great
measure supplyed by the care of their aunt Mrs. Mary Routh, who has a
sincere respect for the children, and treats them with great care and
I remember to have heard that Mr. Robert Wintringham (who now lives at Selby), being at
that time apprentice to my brother Routh, should say to somebody that
he believed his mistress had nothing to do but to dye, and I do hope
she was not unprepared.
Her disorder, which she had had for several years, was an asthma,
which terminated in a dropsy; as my dear mother’s had done before
her. She was entered upon the 49th year of her age, and was
buryed in the church-yard of All Saints, or the old parish church of
Pontefract, on the south side of the church, not far from the porch
Thursday, February the 15th, 1753
Some soldiers went from Pontefract to Doncaster. I suppose the waters
were out so that they were forced to get a boat to carry them into
town. The current being strong the boat was overset, and I think three
soldiers were drowned, together with the waterman, who was called
Richard Dowson, who had
been brought up under his father Richard Dowson in several keels of my
father’s. They were both very honest men; the father was servant to
my father many years, ever since I can remember and until the time of
Thursday, July 12th, 1753
We received a letter from brother, who was then at London, wherein he
wrote he agreed with his landlady Mrs. Bateman for the purchase the house wherein he
lives, for the sum of nine hundred and fifty pounds.
November the 11th, 1753
Being the Lord’s day, was the first lecture sermon in the afternoon
at Pontefract church, which was given by one Mr. Fothergil, a non-juring
clergyman, whose wife dying but a little before this time (for he had
been dead many years) the lands he left for this use did now [go] to
the corporation (I think). The sermons have been ever since continued
once a fortnight. The minister’s name is Drake, vicar of Womersley.
Tuesday, January the 29th, 1754
Brother Woodhouse had a daughter baptized by the name of Peggy; she
was born December the. . 1752.
April 30th, 1754
This day I heard of the death of the reverend and pious Mr. Thomas Cleworth, minister of
Campsal. I was told that he was at church on Fryday the 19th
of April, and that he dyed the Monday following. He had been minister
of that church upwards of 62 years; and finding himself not able to
undergo the duties of his function, he got a young clergyman, one Mr. Mailin (son of Mr. Mailin of
Doncaster) to be his assistant. He came but a very short time before
Mr. Cleworth’s death, I think the same month, and succeeds him in
the said church.
Mr. Cleworth was universally respected by all that knew him, and
that deservedly; for those that honour God He will honour, 1 Sam. ii.
30. He was a grave, sober, pious man, but not at all morose or
cynical; but of a cheerful temper, and innocently pleasant in
conversation. He was very diligent in performing the duties of his
function, both in public and private, without distinction of persons,
to rich or poor. Very charitably, even to a considerable part of his
small income; and what he did not give away his lifetime he bequeathed
to the poor at his death, for, except a few small legacies, he ordered
what he had to be sold and divided betwixt the poor of the parish of
Campsal, and of the parish of Hatfield, where he was born. He. lived
and dyed unmarryed, and had no near relations (I believe). His mother
and sister lived with him some time, and both dyed at his house. His
mother had been marryed after the death of his father, but was left a
widow the second time; and I do believe that he wholly maintained both
his mother and sister, and behaved to them with the greatest respect.
It will be somewhat difficult, I am persuaded, for his successor to
maintain that honour and respect amongst his parishioners which Mr.
Cleworth maintained for so many years. But ‘tis a pleasure to me to
hear that Mr. Mailin gives good content to his parishioners. May he
continue so to do; and to be a blessing to the flock over which he is
1755, June the . . .
Brother Fretwell had a son born, who was baptized July 7th
by the name of William Smith,
after his grandfather.
Fryday, February the 6th, 1756
Was a public fast, on account of the late earthquakes in Portuga1
(whereby the city of Lisbon was destroyed on the first of November),
and in many other places in Europe, Africa, and America.
Tuesday, 24th of February, 1756
Dyed my old friend and neighbour William Hudson, of Norton, who had formerly been my
servant. He has left a charitable donation to the poor there.
Saturday, May the 8th, 1756
The markets for horned cattle at Pontefract were opened, which had not
been permitted for several years, on account of the distemper which
had so long raged amongst them; but, now abating in those parts, leave
was obtained the last sessions at Pontefract for permitting the
markets to be kept there as usual. The distemper continued many years,
and many were very great sufferers; but (which I thought somewhat
strange) notwithstanding so many dyed yet beef was not dear. One
reason, I suppose, might be that many people sold off their stock,
least the distemper should take them off. All medicines were
ineffectual (so far as I could learn), and there were such orders
about removing or selling them, &c., as was very troublesome to
observe. But, blessed be God, who in His great goodness has spared us
any, yea so many, of our cattle, as may by His blessing encrease and
multiply and supply our wants.
Thursday, May the 13th, 1756
My brother, William Fretwell, came for his son James to take him home
from Pontefract. He had been with me since May 1752, which was four
years (wanting some few days); but tho’ I took great pains in
teaching him, be did not improve so fast [as] I could have wished; and
I was in hopes that he would have improved more in a school amongst
other boys, so his father put him to one Mr. Bowzer, a very good school-master in Doncaster.
But he made but small proficiency under him. I had brought [him] to
read in his bible, and he never got any further.
Saturday, May 29th, 1756
The declaration of war against France was proclaimed at Pontefract.
Saturday, November ye 13th
Dyed, my dear kinsman James Fretwell of Maltbey, the eldest son of my
late uncle Richard Fretwell. He was a sober, grave young man; a
dutiful son to his mother in her widowhood, and a kind brother to his
brothers and sisters. He was left in strait circumstances, but was
very frugal, and exceedingly industrious. I think he pressed but too
hard upon his constitution, which was not of the strongest. He was
buried nigh his father on the north. side of the church, in the
churchyard, the 16th of November. He was thirty-seven years
of age in the month of September last.
Wednesday, December the 8th, 1756
It pleased God to deprive me of a very kind friend, whose society had
been very agreeable to me ever since I had the happiness of being
acquainted with him, viz. Mr. John Kiplin, of Ackworth. He had lingered a long
time; his disorder was supposed to be the stone in his kidneys. He
bore his troubles with great patience and submission to the will of
God. He was a grave, sober man, and a serious, good Christian;
universally belov’d in his neighbourhood, in which he was very
useful, being of a benevolent spirit. He was buried nigh unto his
father, &c., in the church-yard of Badsworth. He was 70 years of
age, and left a widow behind him, but never had any child. He was
buryed the 8th of December, but dyed on the Lord’s day
morning, December the 6th. 1 have made a mistake on the
foregoing page, when I said he dyed the 8th of December.
Fryday, February 11th, 1757
Was kept a national fast.
Fryday, February 17th, 1758
Was kept a national fast.
Saturday, February 18th, 1758
I gave to my brother, William Fretwell, twenty pounds towards
purchasing a small annuity for the school at Thorp. They have ten
pounds, which was left to the poor by Joseph Foster, late of Thorp, and ten pounds left by my
late friend Mr. John Herrott,
which they told me they would put to mine, for the use before
mentioned; but I was afterwards told they had only got a mortgage for
it. I am afraid the school will not be so serviceable as I could wish,
for, before this, I paid a small sum for teaching some children to
read, but the parents took ‘em away before they could read.
On the 27th of August, 1758
Being the Lord’s day, after the general thanksgiving, was an
occasional one for the delivering up of the French fortress of
Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, to his majestie’s forces: I think it was
on the 26th of July last. Indeed, we had the greatest
reason for thanksgiving to Almighty God for the wonderful success of
his majestie's arms, which will shine in the British annals, and be a
glory to the close of the reign of our good old king, who may truly be
stiled the father his people.
Saturday, January the 14th, 1759
I heard the melancholy news of the death of Tho[mas] Robinson, the eldest son of
cousin Tho[mas] Robinson, of Tickhil, who a few days before had
drowned himself in the river Wharf. He had been brought [up] a tanner
with his father, but chose to enter into the excise, and had been a
supernumerary for some time, and was greatly respected by the
collector, commonly coming with him to this town (Pontefract) to their
sittings; and I was told that the collector who was here this day
could scarce mention his name without tears. Indeed, he has the
character of a very grave and good man, and who is very humane to his
What was the occasion of this rash and wicked act I could never
learn for certain; but that it was done wilfully appeared by several
circumstances. An officer of the excise told me that he was delirious,
which is the most favourable construction that can be put upon it.
This melancholy accident was a very great trouble and affliction to
his tender parents. I pray God, Who comforts those who are cast down,
to support them under this trial of their patience, and to give them
an happy issue out of all their afflictions.
Fryday, February the 16th, 1759
Was kept a national fast.
Tuesday, March the 20th, 1759
I took (or hyred) a little house in the Horse-fair in Pontefract, of
one Thomas Thorp, designing
to remove thither, and keep house myself; for tho’ I had no reason
to complain of any bad usage as to myself where I was, yet I had no
small uneasiness upon other accounts, and which I despaired to see
Wednesday, August 8th, 1759
A melancholy accident happened at Pontefract. Captain Francis Pierson, taking down a gun, it
happened to go off, and kill one of his children, a pretty girl; and
that before the face of her mother. Her head, as I remember, was
shivered to pieces.
Saturday, September 29th, 1759
My niece Mary Woodhouse came to be my housekeeper. It was at her own
desire, as I understood; and her mother desired I would take her, and
see what I could do with her. So I agreed, very well knowing that they
was weary of her at home, for she is of a very disagreeable temper.
Thursday, October 18th, 1759
Mr. William Shillito
acquainted me that Mr. Wadsworth,
of Sheffield, dyed about fortnight before, and that one of his sons
was buryed with him. I was sorry to hear this news, for he was a fine
preacher, and highly esteemed at Sheffield by others, as well as his
own constant hearers. He was most dearly beloved by his good old uncle
Mr. Kiplin; and, had he
been now living, it would have been a great tryal to him. But I hope
they are now united in the blessed society above.
Thursday, October 18th, 1759
Was rejoicings upon hearing the news of the reduction of Quebeck by
his majesty's forces.
Fryday, October 19th, 1759
My brother and sister Woodhouse brought their son William, and left
him with me to teach and take care of him.
Lord’s day, November 4th 1759
This day, both at morning and evening service, after the general
thanksgiving, was an occasional one for our successes in the present
Thursday, November the 29th, 1759
Was appointed a day of public thanksgiving for the signal success of
his majesty's arms both by sea and land; particularly by the defeat of
the French army in Canada, and the taking of Quebec, the capital of
the French in America ; and for the plentiful harvest, which was at
this time so seasonable.
Fryday, November the 30th, 1759
My brother brought his son James hither, to go to the writing school.
Lord’s day, December 23rd, 1759
This day was used, both at morning and evening service, an occasional
thanksgiving on account of a late victory over the French at sea.
Fryday, March the 14th, 1769
Was kept a national fast.
Wednesday, May 28th, 1760
Mary, the wife of Benjamin Rowley,
of Smeaton, fell down dead, as she was walking betwixt Stubs and
Monday, July the 7th, 1760
I walked to Doncaster, being summoned to attend the commissioners who
sate there about enclosing the commons belonging to Ouston. My
brother, William Fretwell, met me there, and brought a horse for me to
ride on to Thorp, it being their feast, so I went with him. I had not
been at a feast there for many years, nor did I think I should ever
have been there at that time any more. He had a son baptized that day
by the name of John.
Tuesday, July the 15th
I attended the commissioners again at Doncaster, when we were
dismissed, and the house, for which I went to be an evidence, was not
allow'd a right of common. I believe it to be a manifest injustice;
and the landlord (Mr. Pullein)
has taken advice upon it, and is told that if he rebuild he may
recover his right. The house was at Dormer green.
Lord’s day, October 26th
We heard (at Pontefract) of the death of our good old king, George the
second; I think he dyed the day before, in the morning, after a long
reign of 33 years.
Monday, November the 3rd
King George the third was proclaimed at Pontefract.
Thursday, November 20th
My niece Mary Woodhouse (who was my housekeeper) was married, at
Pontefract, to one William Webster,
a tanner in Pontefract, who was about twice her age, as near as I can
learn, she being 18 years and about 9 months old.
Wednesday, 31st December
I heard of the death of the Rev. Mr. Aldred, of Wakefield, who had been many years
pastor to the dissenting congregation there, and has left a good name
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