“Bathed at Mechanics Bath, Queen Street. Morning went to the church of St Martin Outwich by the New Road and Shoreditch. A church has just been completed in Old Street Road. Went round to see if I should meet Mrs Skirriker, great grand-daughter of John Bunyan, but was unsuccessful. A new stone has been lately fixed against 103 Bishopsgate Street Without, corner of Spital Square, showing the City bounds A D 1846. Afternoon took walk to St Paul’s Cathedral and took down in scrapbook the Latin inscription … of Doctor Samuel Johnson as also that of Sir Christopher Wren … — Got her drawers off at last, but to no purpose. — Took walk with M Ward in evening.”
“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]
“Went to coffee shop in High Street, St Giles’s, opposite Dudley Court, to read news of the week. Wet morning. After breakfast went to the Church of St Lawrence Jewry, near Guildhall, a rather grand church, the first stone whereof was laid April 12th 1671, as stone in the church states. Dirty walking in the City. Saw a gilded coach, with ditto coachmen and footmen, in Holborn going towards the City, which I suppose to be the Lord Mayor’s with a gentleman and lady inside – the Mayor and Mayoress ‘Alderman Johnson’. After dinner took walk alone to Bunhill Fields Burial Ground to see (not the first time) the tomb of John Bunyan. While there fell into conversation with an elderly lady who came on the same errand, and from her learnt that there is now living an old lady, a descendant and the last remaining of that great man, who is also a member of a dissenting chapel in King’s Head Court, Shoreditch, one end whereof leads to the High Street, and the other to Cumberland Street, Curtain Road, and she liveth somewhere in John’s Row, Clerkenwell or St Luke’s. This same lady has had tea with her twice, and she the said descendent by name Skillicker has now in her possession a painting of him. ‘Remarks’: I must see this lady if there is a possibility and that next Sunday morning if the weather is fine, and nothing particular prevents and see if the same be true, her age is somewhere about 83 years. Returned home to tea rather lame from the pinch I received upwards of two months back from wearing stockings too large and doubled underwards. Took walk in the evening to meet Ann in Tottenham Court Road and walked together about Bloomsbury and Oxford Street.”
[Editor’s note: Nathaniel changed the surname of John Bunyan’s descendant from Skillicker to Skirricker on 22 March]