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]

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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 13th September 1846

“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.”

Sunday 30th August 1846

Bathed in Serpentine in evening. Went to St Martin’s Ludgate. After service, while looking at the tablets, an old gentleman beckoned to me and said ‘This is not a time to be gaping about the church, we are going to receive the sacrament’. It is also worthy of remark that the sermon preached today at St Martin Ludgate was from the same text as that preached at St Martin’s-in-the-Fields last Sunday, viz Hebrews ch 13 v 8. After went to St Paul’s Cathedral, but was too late to see the choir, but, however, saw some of the monuments which were certainly very handsome, though forsooth modern. Through Gough Square and Johnson’s Court, Dr Johnson’s residence, twice today. — Had Ann up as usual in evening, afterwards — took walk through Westminster as far as the Broadway; returned home by quarter past 9 o’clock.”

Sunday 23rd August 1846

“Rose half past 5 o’clock and went to Mechanics Bath, Little Queen Street, Holborn. Met Jack Rees in Great Queen Street as I was coming out. After breakfast continued copying the ancestors and members of family of James Wood, the rich banker of Gloucester, who died in 1836, and through whom there has been such difficulty in disposing the property.  Went to church, St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, the handsomest church of modern architecture that I have yet been to, but it is deficient of those embellishments, tablets, of which there is none at all.  Home the whole afternoon copying Wood’s ancestors. Mother very bad, unable to rise from bed.  M Ward’s hands full.  After had — Ann up in room as …; — before 8 o’clock took walk with Ann through the Strand and Fleet Street, Gough Square and Johnson’s Court where Dr Johnson composed his English Dictionary. Returned home by Holborn and New Oxford Street.”


[Editor’s note: James Wood, banker of Gloucester (1756-1836), was well known for his miserliness. After his death, his estate of £900,000 was mainly expended in legal arguments over his will.]

Friday 14th August 1846

“Succeeded at last in getting ‘Johnson’s Dictionary’ 1786 at Mitchell bookseller, corner Wells and Charles Street, after having tried about 50 shops unsuccessfully.  … condition first rate, bound in russet leather … imitation of the same.”