Sunday 27th September 1846

Breakfasted and started quarter before 8 o’clock for Bromley in Kent, through Lewisham and that way. Arrived there half past 11 and looked about the town and afterwards the churchyard, and took down a few inscriptions most remarkable. Had dinner at the ‘Rose and Crown’, and sallied back to burial ground and fortunately met with the sexton, who let me in the church and very obligingly turned up some of the matting to show me the flat stone with the inscription on Dr Johnson’s wife, composed by himself (which sight I should have lost but for the civility of the sexton, a circumstance I should have much regretted). Met with an inhabitant of Bromley who showed me several things, viz the College for Clergyman’s Widows, which we went over, and the Bishop of Rochester’s Palace.  Left Bromley few minutes before 5 o’clock and arrived home half past eight. Met Mr Weaver near Bromley in a cart (from whom I learnt that Mr Bond will shortly leave his premises, the railway company requiring the ground for the enlargement of the terminus).”


[Editor’s note: No entry on 28 September]

Sunday 20th September 1846

“Started half past 7 o’clock for Edgware, where I arrived at half past ten. First place went to – Whitchurch – strolled about the burial ground an hour, taking down sundry inscriptions from tombstones into scrapbook. Went in the church during sermon, and afterwards was shown over the church by the clerk.  It is most beautifully decorated with painted walls and ceiling, all scriptural pieces. Then he showed me the Duke of Chandos’s family vault, over which is the marble monument of the Duke and his two wives, with sundry other branches of the family, and underneath is the coffins (48 in number) of the Brydges Chandos family (upwards 90 years) which is now extinct. The vault has been built 130 years and is sound as when first built. The most curious of all is a coffin with two bodies in it – a mother and daughter as I was told – the size whereof was tremendous, in appearance more resembling a coal barge than a coffin. It is elm, covered with black velvet, and finished with brass furniture; inscription on lozenge brass plate was dated 1761. The oldest date I saw was that of a child died 1704. This job cost me 6d, but I was highly gratified.  Dined at ‘The Old Boot’, Edgware (bread and beef). Afterwards went in burial ground of Edgware Church and then in the church, took down inscriptions from two brasses, 1599 and 1632, then back again to Whitchurch and viewed the same over as I did in the morning, more lengthened, and with this addition – I saw the public vault which was piled with coffins thickly and irregularly. Picked a few blackberries and afterwards made for home sharply, where I arrived shortly before 8 o’clock, having walked about 25 miles. Left Edgware just before 5 o’clock. ‘Remark’: Poor old Granny Shepherd this day is the same age as Dr Samuel Johnson was when he died, viz 75 years 3 months 6 days.  Had cup of tea at coffee shop, Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street, to read Dispatch.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 21 or 22 September]

Sunday 6th September 1846

“Started quarter before 8 o’clock for Hendon by Primrose Hill and Hampstead. Had lift in carriage box above a mile beyond Hampstead Heath by offer of the coachman. Got to Hendon Church half past 10 o’clock. Picked and ate a quantity of blackberries in the lanes there, and took down some inscriptions from the tablets and tombs within and without the church. Interfered with by a policeman for not keeping the footpath and annoying the congregation by walking about the grounds. Dined at the ‘Greyhound’ Public House close to burial ground. Commenced cutting my initials and date on burial ground gate, but only completed ‘N B 1’ when I was interrupted by the sight of two policemen approaching, upon which I made off, leaving my job unfinished. Left Hendon Church about half past three and dawdled away an hour eating blackberries, when I made for home at a smartish pace, arriving thither soon after six, walking four miles per hour. — I tried to paw up Ann but she evaded me somehow, but I saw her comfortably seated in Tottenham Court Chapel where I let her remain unmolested, for which I am not sorry. — Very warm, distant thunder throughout the afternoon accompanied with a few large drops of rain. Had tea in coffee shop in Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street.”

Sunday 16th August 1846

“Rose quarter past six. Went and bathed in Serpentine. Breakfasted and to St Margaret’s Church.  Stopped but a short time, took down Mr Emery Hill’s inscription, and then went to Christ Church, Westminster, and took down a few inscriptions in burial ground, the most remarkable of which is ‘Margaret Patten 136 years of age’, and also inscriptions on almshouses in York Street. Home to dinner and afterwards to St Margaret’s Church again, and took down some more inscriptions in scrapbook before and after service, which I stopped, making third visit to this church successively. After tea — had Ann up but to very little purpose. I saw more of her cabinet than I ever did. — At home reading remainder of the day.”

Sunday 21st June 1846

“Rose at 7 o’clock, head aching, but not violently. Breakfasted and went to coffee shop in Dean Street, opposite Little Dean Street. Afraid to venture far, so went to Salem Chapel, Meards Court Soho, with old Granny Shepard – Mr J Stephens minister. After dinner strolled into St Anne Soho Burial Ground. One funeral stopped an hour. At home till 6 o’clock looking over maps. — Expected Ann to pay me a visit, but was disappointed. —  Afterwards took walk through Camden Town and returned by Pancras and the New Road. Met an old acquaintance by name Bill Worley, and the Revd Arnold White, formerly a minister of Tottenham Court Chapel. Mich and another fellow workman of Uncle John Shepard came to see him and afterwards wanted to see my curiosities, but made it too late. — Very much to the gratification of old Granny Shepard, who was mightily displeased at the thoughts of it. — “

Sunday 22nd March 1846

“Mr Liston, the celebrated comedian died this day (Sunday). He was born August 1775 and was therefore entered his 71st year.

Rose at half past 6 o’clock, went to Rice’s Coffee Shop, corner of Compton Street and Broad Street, St Giles’s, filled principally by flash boys and their wenches. Read some of the news of the week. After breakfast went to a chapel in King’s Head Court, Shoreditch more to see Mrs Skirricker, the great-granddaughter of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, and was successful thus far for she was there before I and sat in a square box close to the pulpit while I sat behind her in a free seat. After service the minister spoke and said to me, are you in want of anyone, to which I answered and said not particular, only I was noticing that old lady there. Yes he said, she in between 80 and 90 years of age.  I asked him whether it was she I sought. He said, yes, and asked me whether I would join them, I pleading in excuse the distance, when he said I could dine with them if I chose.  Well that passed off and I thought the old lady was perhaps going to dine with them, so I waited about, but she soon came out and I followed behind along Cumberland Street and Curtain Road, Worship Street and along Bunhilll Row by the burial ground, across Old Street to the turnpike gate where she took an omnibus which I ran after and followed at a rapid pace to the Angel Islington, whence it stopped to put down and take up passengers, which I was very glad of for I had well nigh lost my wind. It then proceeded through Islington past the church where it put her down, I keeping up to it all the way, not a little punished for to get breath; whence I followed her down a street to the Liverpool Road when she turned down a place with gates at the end of the street and went in a house of modern structure with stuccoed front, situate No1 Barnsbury Park, Islington, opposite Laycock’s Dairy, when I saw her no more, but proceeded homewards amid a shower of rain. Coming along Store Street, a little girl laying hold of my hand and asked me to carry her across the roadway, after which I saw a funeral at Cuxons the butcher, Tottenham Court Road, which I think is his eldest daughter. James Reid of Goode Street was undertaker, and John Goodwin one of the hearse pages. I met there a young woman who accosted me and whom I knew not till she made herself known. She turned out to be a cousin of Mary Cook who walked with me to the end of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, where I parted with her and went home to my dinner, which was nearly cold, and stopped at home all the afternoon and had tea with poor old Granny Shepard. After which, I accompanied her to Soho Chapel door and then went on for a walk to Islington, but rain coming, I turned back and went in coffee shop, corner of Pancras Lane, Tottenham Court Road, after which I took walk with Ann round the houses. A description of the above mentioned Mrs Skirricker: in height rather better than five feet, when young no doubt taller, rather inclined to corpulency, with broad fresh coloured face and full features somewhat resembling those of her great-grandfather John Bunyan, and for her age firm on her feet, though a heavy walker owing to her bulk; her dress the real old English costume with dark velvet bonnet, very large and of antique shape, black silk sown with ditto, cloak and ruff round her neck, altogether … the appearance of a thorough gentlewoman being … of … .”


[Editor’s note:  Nathaniel had added a note about the death of John Liston, the comic actor, on February 22nd, but Liston actually died on March 22nd .  The burial took place on March 30th.]

[Editor’s note: No entries on 23, 24 or 25 March]