Thursday, 19 February 2009

A Long Journey Home

Went to see the Concious Lovers 2/6
Paid Carriage of my Box to Retford 3/4

The Conscious Lovers is a play by Sir Richard Steele, first performed in the 1720s. It is of a type of comedy which is distinct from "Restoration Comedy" in that it dwells on feelings rather than bawdy action.

It seems really odd that he should travel over Christmas and without any comment at all, however there are lots of things to say about the journey and the route. However, here is the first plate of Hogarth's Harlot's Progress which shows the wagon she arrived in London on. It seems likely that Thomas's transport to Mansfield would have very similar.

18 December
Left Mr Byard and Gave his maid 2/6
19 December
Went to Mr Halls to Lye with him for three nights and spent their in Takeing leave of all my Friends 6s
21 December
Paid Mrs Landers for Shaveing Eight Months and it is in full of all Demand 14s
Gave her Boy a Shilling 1s
Bout Gingerbread & plum Cake 12d
A Bottle of Wine to Drink on the Road 20d
A French Roll 3d, Butter 7d
Spent at the Inn with Mr Hall before I sett off a Hott pot 12d
Paid to go In the waggon to Mansfield 12s
21 December
Spent at St Alborns 2s2d

There are several pubs still in existence in St Albans where Thomas's wagon may have stopped. I have no way of knowing which one he visited, But he cannot have failed to notice the Abbey.

22 December
Spend at Hooborn 2s4d

There seem to be two candidates for this location Houghton Regis and Husborne Crawley. I think it is Husborne Crawley but I need to look at maps from the right date

23 December
Spent at Northampton 2s6d

Northampton has been comprehensively redeveloped and Thomas wouldn't recognise much of what remains - This would be a good place for a rant about over-enthusiastic town planners but this isn't that sort of blog. This engraving is dated 1770 and most of what you can see would have been there when Thomas visited. The "modern" church in the centre of the picture was completed in 1701 with the addition of a portico to the seventeenth century church.

24 December
Bricksworth 2s

This must be Brixworth, though it is a bit close to Northampton. Most of the stops seem to be around 20 mile intervals and that is only 7.
Brixworth has a magnificent Saxon church which is larger and more magnificent than almost any other church of such age in England. Here, by kind permission of greentool2002, is a picture of the church today.

Perhaps the drainpipes are new but everything else looks much as it would have done when Thomas was there.

25 December
Bradmoor 2s2d

Bradmore is in Nottinghamshire.

The village was destroyed by fire in 1705 leaving perhaps one stone house and the church spire.
The church was not rebuilt but the village was.
This photograph, reproduced here by kind permission of ben-s (click the picture to visit his Flickr photostream), shows the 14th century spire.

26 December
Spent at Nottingham & Manfield 4s6d

Here is a panorama of Nottingham. I knew in my head that towns and cities were smaller but each time I see an 18th century picture of a place that I know, I am astonished.

I can't find anything suitable of Mansfield to show you. This is partly because I've never been there which makes knowing what to google rather difficult. I'll keep trying, but I'd appreciate any suggestions.

27 December
Walked from Mansfield to Retford & Spent 1s6d

That's around 19 miles and it is quite remote in places, even today.

There is still more to be added to this post!

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