[xx] = Diary page numbering.

Click the F/N button for numbered footnotes.
right: Cowes Regatta

Introduction to the 1855 journal.

Frances Somerville was a refined, likeable, Victorian Lady, who sought personal fulfilment through her family and friends. She was not a political agitator or a leader of the womans movement. Her delight came from her close family relationships and her husband Kenelm, the 17th Baron Somerville, whom she married in 1833. Kenelm's naval background is apparent throughout the diaries. He served in the American War and it is recorded that on 20th August 1814 an armed incursion proceeded up the Patuxent River, some 50 miles from Washington. Rear Admiral Cockburn led the sortie. The boats were organised in three divisions under Captain John Wainright. The second division was commanded by Rowland Money and Kenelm Somerville.

Lady Somerville's interests however more in keeping with a typical Victorian Lady of quality. The highlight of her year was without doubt the family holiday with her seven children and Kenelm. This is why she recorded these precious moments, not for posterity, but for her own recollection, almost as if she knew that such pleasures could not last. The reader can detect the excitement as the family gathers together to undertake the protracted journey from Leamington Spa to Cowes. Little is mentioned about the activities of her servants who provided porterage, meals and clearly organised much of the domestic activity. In this sense Frances Somerville led a charmed existence, socially in the upper echelon, no financial worries and free from the constraints of Victorian domestic drudgery. Her journals are perhaps the result of a wish to record those biblical seven good years.

The new railways provided the means of travel for the family and it is evident that friends and relatives all congregated at the selected resort during the season. Kenelm, being a naval man, hired a suitable steam yacht for their six-week holiday. His naval rank of Admiral meant that he directed some of their leisure time to naval and military matters while Frances concentrated on family matters. This was not her first holiday to Wight and it is apparent that she felt at home as much on the Island as in Leamington.

Two themes emerge in the 1855 journal. Firstly, the Crimea War was having a significant impact on their lives. One of her sons was enrolled in Sandhurst Military Academy while the Solent was busy with naval shipping and fortifications. This was clearly a matter for the men to deal with although she inevitably has to pick up the pieces. Secondly there was the topography of the Isle of Wight which she and her children took great joy in exploring and recording through her illustrated hand written journal and their sketching. Wight was very much a garden isle at the time; stately mansions dotted the landscape interspersed with parklands and attractive coastal features. There were indications of the early stages of growing urbanisation, fuelled by expanding mass tourism, which was eventually to swallow up much of this scenic resort of the wealthy and privileged. In spite of this the Isle of Wight was in its heyday as Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort settled into their new marine residence, the rebuilt Osborne House.

It is apparent from Lady Somerville's 1855 text that she has previously spent time in the Isle of Wight. For certain, the season in 1854 was spent in Bologne from 13 July to 6 September, the diary of which survives in a private collection. Reading the 1855 journal of Frances Somerville's holiday creates an interesting predicament. The journal raises more questions than answers about the people and places that occur in the text and this is addressed in the page footnotes, which are intended to be read alongside the journal itself. In addition however the reader has the power to see into the future. This is something that we can never convey to Lady Somerville, although she is generously sharing her personal moments and thoughts with us. This puts the reader in a god like position in that we know the seven good years will be followed by seven bad. Perhaps she had a premonition of what was to come, we on the other hand know.

Bruce Osborne 2001

July 13th 1855


[2] July 1855, 9th Monday. Left NewboldClick for Footnote detailF/N 1, at 3 for Beech hill, with Emily, Mary and Freddy, leaving Louy with Selina and Julia to meet us at Mortimer on Thursday and proceed altogether to Cowes - We had a fine day and a prosperous journey to Reading, where we met Henry HunterClick for Footnote detailF/N 2, and Mary Jane Forbes and her three girls, returning from LondonClick for Footnote detailF/N 3. At Mortimer we fell in with Sir Paul and Lady Hunter and Miss Percy and produced quite a sensation with our equipages at that small retired station. We went on in Henry's nice open carriage to Beech hill where we received a warm welcome from the two CharlottesClick for Footnote detailF/N 4, and found the place redolent of roses and in high beauty. Mary Jane dined there only.Click for Footnote detailF/N 5,

10th Breakfasted at 8 o'clock, and set [3] off at 1/2 8 in the open carriage with our two girls, Charlotte and Henry Hunter and Freddy for SandhurstClick for Footnote detailF/N 6, - A lovely drive by Heckfield Heath and over a forest country to Sandhurst past the Farnborough stationClick for Footnote detailF/N 7, and drove to old Sir George Scovell'sClick for Footnote detailF/N 8, house, where he received us in scarlet and gold very kindly and we then adjourned to the College. We met the Harfords at the door also taking their boy to be examined - As it was a long process, after looking at the Dormitories we left Kenelm to look after Freddy, and drove on to Aldershot, stopping at Blackwater to get a fresh pair of horses to take us on 6 miles to the Camp - It is rather a dreary dismal looking heath with only about 5000 Militia and Guards there now - We made for the Warwickshire Militia, [4] and saw their Mess room, which was very nice and comfortable, but their apartments were all locked up, and the officers with their Regiments drawn up on the hill to receive her Majesty, so we could not get to the speech of any of them, but left our cards for Sir Thomas Skipwith and Major Granville, and then walked on to see the arrival of the Queen - She came about 2 surrounded by horsemen, and the troops all passed in revue before her carriage each band playing as they came up - The Warwickshire really looked very soldier like, and did their officers great credit, and we felt quite proud of them!

Time would not permit us to wait while the Queen had her luncheon in a pavilion so we returned to our carriage, and drove back to Sir George Scovelle's, through a very pretty country all the way - We found that dear Freddy had passed, and got him leave till Saturday, so after luncheon he returned with us to Beech hill - The [5] two Mr Joyces/Clergyman and Etonian and the Forbes's joined our dinner party and the day was very successful altogether.

11th A decided steady rain, which kept us all in till five o'clock, when we ventured out in waterproof cloaks as far as Harriets little cottage on the common. The girls amused themselves in the morning with music, 'the Post' and all kinds of games, but we could not get to Goodrest as we had intended - Sir Paul and Lady Hunter, Miss Percy and Mr Leverson GowerClick for Footnote detailF/N 9, dined with us -

12th Lovely day again - After walking to the cottage to take leave of Mary Jane and Harriet we went to Mortimer Station to meet the family, some on foot, and some in the open carriage - In due time the Newbold detachment arrived, with letters and roses and strawberries from AstonClick for Footnote detailF/N 10, and Newbold very refreshing and charming - Louy had enjoyed her Wellesbourne picnic with the Mannings extremely - they had about 150 people Skipwiths, Caves, Granvilles etc. [6] Archery and dancing - Miss Granville and Fred. Harlold Wise and Mrs Granville and young Waller won the target - Mr Skipwith forgot his keys and did not shoot!Click for Footnote detailF/N 11, But to proceed, we got to Southampton about 1/2 5 and crossed over to Cowes, where we are comfortably settled in Cambridge HouseClick for Footnote detailF/N 12, very nice and airy and a lovely view - a great improvement on TrafalgarClick for Footnote detailF/N 13, our old quarters - I had some tea, and went early to bed.

Archery at Leamington

13th Fine day again - busy settling ourselves - went out to hire a pianoforte and buy slates, bells, and journals etc. Dined at five and strolled out towards EgyptClick for Footnote detailF/N 14. Went out in a boat - called on the Smiths at the LodgeClick for Footnote detailF/N 15, and were horrified at all the new buildings that Sir Charles FellowesClick for Footnote detailF/N 16, has ruined the place with!

14th Children all began their bathing fine day, but rather windy at sea - After luncheon we walked up to call on the Miss WardsClick for Footnote detailF/N 17, but they were gone [7] to spend the day at Ryde with Mrs BeckfordClick for Footnote detailF/N 18. However we walked thro' their garden which was quite lovely. Such luxuriant roses and pinks in the greatest abundance and variety and their lawn in such perfect order. Dined at 7 and strolled out beyond Egypt and inhaled the delicious sea breeze but it looks lowering for St Swithun tomorrow. Saw Captain. Williams, and went over the club house, which is much improved by two bay windows. I forgot to mention that we met Captain. Crispin yesterday who very civilly invited us to go over the new Royal Yacht some day - She sails about constantly, and is a very fine steamer - Mrs Geneste called and Captain Hamlyn Williams.

15th Sunday/St Swithun / Fine and calm but rather cloudy - went twice to church, which [8][9][10] is close to us - Mr GenesteClick for Footnote detailF/N 19, did all the duty in the morning, and an old man preached in the afternoon - We took a walk nearly to Gurnetts Bay - The air was charming - Strolled out again after dinner till 9 - hoped that St Swithun had spared us his tears, but I find he wept a light shower after 11 last night.

16th Alas! St Swithun keeps up his character, for we intended to have taken our first sail in the 'Amphion'Click for Footnote detailF/N 20, which Kenelm has hired for 6 weeks - but there were some horrendously heavy thunder showers, which effectively prevented our nautical projects. We went to meet Miss Baxter in the steamer and were all nearly drowned but for our waterproof cloaks - A long letter from Mrs SomervilleClick for Footnote detailF/N 21, - they are enjoying themselves thoroughly at MelmerbyClick for Footnote detailF/N 22, and have good accounts of ReginaldClick for Footnote detailF/N 23. in the Crimea - no letter from poor Freddy yet, but one from Hugh [11] who has the nettle rash at Eton. Saw some very large men of war and West India steamers pass by - Walked on the beach with Emmie after dinner.

17th Went shopping, and to see the Ripon come in from the Black Sea, and some Spanish Oxen landed. Called on Mrs GenesteClick for Footnote detailF/N 24, at old Trafalgar House - found the dining room made a drawing room and crammed full of furniture. Called also on our neighbours at Norfolk HouseClick for Footnote detailF/N 25, the Thorolds - who seem nice people but they were just going out yachting with a Mr Hawse, so we did not go in - Miss Ward called with her large dog Sambo, and asked us to dine on the 26th. Though it was a rough day, we took our first cruise in the Amphion with Emily, and liked it very much - went beyond OsborneClick for Footnote detailF/N 26, towards Ryde - home at five, and K. and I walked beyond Egypt. Cold and windy but no rain today - [12]

[13] 18th Walked towards Egypt and found Lady Caroline MorantClick for Footnote detailF/N 27, just arrived, and sat with her sometime at RosettaClick for Footnote detailF/N 28. We are very glad she is come - Frederick Lushington arrived at Lyndhurst on Sunday night unexpectedly, to the intense joy of his wife - He looks very thin and ill I hearClick for Footnote detailF/N 29. Took a cruise on the Amphion with Kenelm and Emily towards Spithead and Ryde - Very fine but rather rough in returning against the wind - In the harbour we saw the Queen embark in the Fairy at East Cowes, followed by the Elfin, and Victoria and AlbertClick for Footnote detailF/N 30, which has been cruising up and down all day - It was a very pretty site - NorrisClick for Footnote detailF/N 31, and Osborne looked beautiful. After dinner walked around by Underwood's farm and Mr Wards lodges - a lovely evening and bright moon. Two large men of war at Spithead The Neptune etc. [14]

19th A pouring morning, but it cleared a little at 12 and we walked to Rosetta and sat with Lady Caroline Morant. After luncheon we went to the Dock to look at the Ripon but did not go on board - however Selina and Julie and Miss Baxter succeeded in doing so later in the evening. Emily and I took a walk after dinner, round by Egypt. Thunder and heavy rain all evening. A letter from Julia SkipwithClick for Footnote detailF/N 32, to tell us of horrendous thunder storms in Warwickshire - and in Northumberland showers of frogs falling!

20th Fine day again - Went to call on Ldy Caroline Morant and she went out sailing with us at 1/2 past 12 round the men of war at Spithead, and up the harbour, where there are a great many large ships ready to be fitted out when wanted. It was a lovely day and we saw the Neptune and St George at Spithead and the Victory, Excellent, Illustrious etc. in harbour. A great deal of firing going on - We [15] came round close by South Sea and Gosport. Found letters from Mrs Hunter and Mrs Manning - all full of the terrific thunder storms they have had - but which we have happily escaped -- More than 100 trees blown down at Stoke and some mischief at Leamington and Shalford. On our return sat under the castle and saw a large steamer 'Queen of the South' come in from the Crimea to Portsmouth. The Queen went down in the Fairy about 6 followed by the Elfin, and she returned before 8 to the discomfature of our young ladies and their Cherrytart! We all walked in the evening round through Mr Wards grounds to the Lodge and home by the road - letters from Mrs Harries to ask us to the national archery at Shrewsbury and from Miss Kaye at Hatchford.

21st Called on Lady Caroline again and found her sitting on the beach at Egypt. After luncheon called on the Thorolds. Miss T. a petty girl but rather affected [16] Then took Louy and Mary for their first sail as it was very smooth - went as far as Osborne to sketch but Mary could not stand it and very soon gave way to her feelings! Louy bore it manfully and accomplished sketches of Osborne and Norris in spite of the laying to and the twisting about of the vessel - On our return we went in a boat to the Vine intending to go and see the 'Ripon', but we luckily met Anne who told us the Farquharsons were just gone up the town to call on us - so we had turned home and found them sitting in our drawing room with Emily, Mr and Mrs and Frank, who is just the same nice youth as ever, quite unspoiled by the Rifle brigade - he is quartered at Dublin, but hoped to go out to Malta in Sept - they still give a very delicate account of poor John Atholl - We were in hopes they would have gone to Ryde for a fortnight, but alas! they [17] return to London tomorrow, and on Tuesday to Scotland! a great disappointment. We saw them off by the steamer and came home to dinner. Walked out beyond Egypt after a lovely day. At Osborne we saw the Fairy and Elfin and a Government steamer full of Ministers for the Privy Council and the Royal children go on board the little frigate to fish with Captn. Denman, who called on us.

22nd Sunday - close feeling day and cloudy - went twice to church - all the duty done by Mr Geneste - wrote to Freddy and Lady Willoughby, and walked back with Lady Caroline to Rosetta and on to Egypt - always such charming sea air. After dinner strolled about Mr Wards neglected grounds, of which he used to be so proud / quite a lesson to human vanity! Came home by the Jessamine LodgeClick for Footnote detailF/N 33, - Letter from Miss Kaye - She is going to Ireland with Lady Anne Wilbrahem [18]

[19] 23rd Very hot and oppressive. Went to see Lady Caroline and sat with her on the beach. At one o'clock I embarked with the 3 girls and Anne on the steamer for Southampton. Went shopping and eating first and then down to the end of the Dock. 8 o'clock saw the Himalaya steamerClick for Footnote detailF/N 34. / the largest afloat / preparing to take troops and 380 horses to CrimeaClick for Footnote detailF/N 35. We thought the Quarter Master who lionized us rather fresh, and surly - and were consequently just too late for the 4.40 steamer which was just going off from the pier. So we had nothing for it but to smoke the pipe of patience, and drive to the other end of the town and explore my old haunts, execute a little more shopping, and then got down to the pier in good time for the 5.40 steamer. Very few passengers, but we took in the Duke of Rutland and Lord Granby from a boat, and put them on board their own vessel the Resolution in Cowes roads. There came on such a thick sea fog about Calshott, that we were perished, and longed for our cloaks [20]

Himalaya Launch 1853

[21] which we left at home, as it was boiling when we left Cowes - we were glad of the walk through the town to warm us. Kenelm met us at the pier, and told us that Lord and Lady Willoughby had arrived by the last steamer, without any of their luggage, and he was obliged to feed the children and servants, as there was nothing ready for them to eat poor things! Lady Caroline Morant drank tea with us, and we walked home with her.

24th Rained all night and showery this morning, but we called on Lady Willoughby in her holiday cottage and found Lady Carew and her daughter with her. She is very well pleased with her domicile, and was as kind and aimiable as ever. Went on to Lady Caroline and Egypt as usual. After luncheon we went to the Docks to see the 'Rippon' which though smaller we admired much more than the Himalaya particularly as it was shewn to us by a most intelligent charming little man / Chief officerClick for Footnote detailF/N 36, / who explained everything most satisfactorily [22] and showed us a little coin and a clock chain. Guns etc. taken at the burning of Herteh. They had taken on 3000 horses on the upper deck and not lost one! She is 2000 ton and very neatly and tastefully fitted up - after dinner we took our usual walk beyond Egypt. Stormy looking sunset - Lady Willoughby and Lady Carew called as they are going off tomorrow in the 'Beatrice' to Devonshire.

25th Lovely day again, and Kenelm and I and the 3 girls, went to Ryde by the steamer to a flower show in Sir Wm Martins grounds. Met the kind old Miss Wards and after refreshing ourselves at the confectioners and exploring the very good and improved shops and arcade we walked on up to the top of West Street to Mount West - the entrance was decorated with flags, and the grounds are very pretty and the garden gay with Verbenas and Geraniums, but it is over crowded with trees and shrubs like most of the places about here - The show of flowers was extremely pretty, Captn Beckford [23] and Miss Ward showed some of the best. We were the first arrival, so we had a good view of them - There were a good many people, but none we knew except the Wards and Beckfords, and Mr Sibthorpe - who is guardsman at Southsea with his militia, whose band played extremely well - We returned by the 5 o'clock steamer. At the end of the endless pier we met Mr and Mrs Charles Shirley - he is in a Bath chair and looking very ill, but was very amusing and pleasant, and we had a long talk over Warwickshire - Mr and Miss de Horsey came in the steamer with us, but we avoided each otherClick for Footnote detailF/N 37. Letters from Miss Granville and Miss Skipwith - satisfactory on the whole. Walked up to Lady Caroline as usual her husband is with her now.

26th Letters from Lady Cartwright still in Bavaria and wedding cards from Zoe Skene now Mrs Wm Thompson / At 1/2 11 we took a little sail, but the wind blew to fresh for Emily so we put back before we got to Yarmouth. [24] We then walked up to Mr Moore's farmClick for Footnote detailF/N 38, walked in the garden, and then back through Captain. Farrington's groundsClick for Footnote detailF/N 39, - very pretty and home by the beach - rather a long, but very pleasant walk - Louy sketched the house - Mr Morant called - We dined at the Miss Wards - met the Thorolds Mrs James Ward and Mrs Farquharson, Captain. de Horsey Col. Harvey / from Parkhurst / Mrs A'Court Holmes and Mr Saunders - We hear it rained hard all day in London!

27th Again walked with all the family up to Captn. Farrington's to sketch the house a pretty little Gable and nice. It was too boisterous to think of sailing and we could scarcely struggle against the wind - came home by the road - we had the satisfaction of a nice letter from FreddyClick for Footnote detailF/N 40, today - saying he is quite happy and comfortable at Sandhurst - plenty of amusement, and not too much work and he likes the boys in his room, no bullying.

28th Squally day, and we did not venture out sailing - walked to Lady Caroline to tell her of Mary Willes' intended marriage to Mr Mellor a Widower of 37 with 2 children, She not 19! [25] Bad day for Election Saturday at Eton. Walked to Ly. Caroline in the morning and in the afternoon to Miss Wards and back by the fields and through Northwood groundsClick for Footnote detailF/N 41. Sat under the Castle for an hour. In the evening walked beyond Egypt and by the CastleClick for Footnote detailF/N 42, quite calm and mild. Mrs and Miss Thorold calledClick for Footnote detailF/N 43, - the little VerneysClick for Footnote detailF/N 44, all came to tea with Sim and Ju.

29th Our dear Emily's birthday and a beautiful one it was - but being Sunday of course we could only celebrate it by going to church twice / Mr Geneste as usual. Walked to Egypt - Lady Caroline came in after church and we walked home with her. After dinner again to the railings beyond Egypt and then round by the Castle, where we were all struck dumb by the beauty of the rising moon on the water. It was really glorious, and we could not have bespoke any illumination half [26] so beautiful for a birthday. We could not tear ourselves away from the Castle but fetched Miss Baxter and Miss Oliver to admire it with us / I forgot to put down my walk with Mary up the shingly paths of the wood - very pretty but rather tiring.

30th Kenelm with Emily and Mary went off by the Steamer to Southampton that morning to meet dear Hugh from Eton. He is grown but looks pale with a cold. Meantime Louy and I and Miss Baxter and Sim and Ju went to East Cowes in a boat and after sketching a little, and going into the Schools came home by the ferry found Hugh and the others arrived on our return - A letter from Charlotte SomervilleClick for Footnote detailF/N 45, describing one they have received from Reginald, who is recruiting his strength most pleasantly at St George's Monastery which he describes as lovely and delightful [27]

Scenes from the Crimea - commemorated on mid 19th century roast meat plate, the central location is Varna, on the Black Sea.

but he is soon doomed to the trenches again - Sir George BrownClick for Footnote detailF/N 46, is at Leamington again - where an address has been presented to him - walked twice to Egypt met Lady Caroline each time - but our wish for a moonlight row was frustrated by a cloudy, rather rainy evening -

31st We were called at 7 today intending to breakfast at 8, and sail over to Portsmouth in hopes of seeing something of the grand launch of the large ship Duke of MarlboroughClick for Footnote detailF/N 47, but a thick heavy rain from the south west which looked likely to last obliged us to give up all thoughts of it, as had the Spider and all the other yachts - However the Queen went in The Fairy and at 12 o'clock she stoned it in spite of the continued thick weather - Unfortunately however the vessel hung and would not slip off; and there she was left in a most precarious situation, and the whole effect of the scene destroyed, which would otherwise have [28][29] been so well worth seeing - We walked to see Lady Caroline in the rain. It cleared about two, and we went out sailing and tried to get to Portsmouth to see the Queen return, but the tide was against us and we were obliged to come back - Walked after dinner, and 1/2 9 went out in a boat to see the moon rise and were amply repaid for the exertion for it came out most beautifully at 10 and quite illuminated the harbour - Sang some glees and ducks(duets?).

August 1st A fine morning - Lady Caroline came to bring me some money for the Madeira Rock she has bought. At 11.30 we went with Hugh and Em in the Amphion - a nice breeze took us down to the Needles and we even ventured a little outside to Scratchells Bay

Scratchells Bay and the Needle Rocks

but could not land at Alum Bay. The fort just built at Sconce PointClick for Footnote detailF/N 48, is particularly ugly more like a brick kiln than anything else - [30] The Needles looked very fine with black clouds behind them which soon came down in short sharp showers, but we managed to keep ourselves dry. The tide being strong against us we were a long time getting back and did not arrive until 1/2 past 6. The 'Brilliant' passed us, and anchored in the RoadsClick for Footnote detailF/N 49.

We found all the family flown to Gurnard Bay where Hugh and Emily followed them, and all came back at 8 like drowned rats, having been [31] caught in one of the heavy showers.

2nd Children bathed, walked to Egypt. Met Lady Caroline and Mr MorantClick for Footnote detailF/N 50, - After luncheon went out sailing to Ryde. Took the two Verney boys who were very fidgety but intelligent and no clots. Coming home a squall came on, and it poured torrents for a full hour - so that in spite of my waterproof cloak I was very glad to find myself at home and in dry clothing. Saw several large American ships and steamers. The Brilliant is anchored at Ryde. It cleared in the evening and we all walked beyond Egypt but it was not genial Emmy heard from Mary Willes - full of happiness in her matrimonial prospect.

3rd I felt rather chilly and uncomfortable today after my wetting yesterday so I only went to Egypt, and sat to see the them sketching - then sat under the castle, and in the evening went in a boat up the Medina - but could not get as far as Whippingham [32] owing to that most tiresome tide. Dined at the Thorolds to meet Captn Denman of the 'Victoria and Albert' He is a very agreeable nice person, as Miss Granville had told us and will show us the yacht next week - Mr Hall who was expected did not arrive to dinner. Walked home before 11 ...

4th Did not get up till 11. The girls went to look at the castle with Lady C Morant Miss Baxter Sim and Ju went to Guernet bay and to tea with the Verney children. After luncheon I walked to Miss Ward's with the girls to sketch their house, and found them sitting out on their balcony. They came out as usual very good naturally and offered us cheers and coffee which we declined. Went to Egypt at high water impassable. Came home very tired - Lady C Morant came to drink tea with us.

5th Still rather lackadaisical [33] So I did not go to Church in the morning but joined them at the Sacrament. Walked round the wood with Kenelm and Hugh and Louy; to Church afternoon dined at 5 and we all went to Gurnet bay and round by Admiral Pennington lovely evening and I was all the better instead of worse for my walk.

6th Morning early rather showery but it became a bright and beautiful day. Walked to see Lady Caroline who is in great distress that her son Willy is ordered out to the Crimea in a fortnightClick for Footnote detailF/N 51. Her son Hay came over to see her, and I am going to drink tea with her. Kenelm and Emily went out fishing but were unsuccessful. Hugh went to bathe with the Thorolds - Louy and I went out in Clarks boat. Letters from Mrs Manning Miss Skipwith Fred Granville the latter at Portsmouth. Humfry has been staying with the [34] Mannings in good spirits to Oxford and there is a grand flower show at Stoneleigh on Thursday, where we shall all will ourselves but better as it is I believe! Lord and Lady Jersey are here, and Lord Willoughby arrives today with Lady Aylesbury of course.

7th Called on Lady Caroline and Egypt. Saw a large steamer come in - rough weather. Dear Lady ErrollClick for Footnote detailF/N 52, arrived by the steamer about 3 - and we walked with her up to Rosetta, and Kenelm and I drank tea there after - Hugh went to the Thorolds. Letters from Mrs Fairfax, Miss Steward and Miss Kaye - the latter at Bangor. Southamptom regatta begun - Miss Chapman did not arrive as we hoped.

8th Lady Erroll came at 11 and spent some hours with us a heavy thunderstorm Kenelm sat with the Mills's who are at Anis's Hotel, but all the world gone to the Ryde Poultry Show - Walked back with Lady Erroll. After luncheon took a walk with Louy and Emmie to Mr Moore's [35] farm, walked in his garden and he shewed us a pretty walk through the lane and fields down to the beech - On our return found letters from Mrs Hunter and Charlotte Somerville - they have taken the Rectory at Bowness till September and go there on Monday. I omitted to mention yesterday a visit from Lovell and Francis Thursby - the former going to join his Regt. at the Cape immediately - Went into the Castle to call on or rather meet Lady Erroll and Lady Caroline - found Stephen with them and brought him home with us to dinner then took him to tea with Lady Caroline her son Willy just arrived to wish her goodbye.

9th Stephen came this morning to breakfast - and we walked to Rosetta to wish dear Lady Erroll goodbye - found Lady Caroline and Willy there looking very miserableClick for Footnote detailF/N 53. Kenelm and I and Hugh went out in the Amphion hoping to get to Southampton but of course the wind and the tide were against us and we returned. John Mills and his [36] son called and we met Mrs Mills and Cecil. Called on the Thorolds and found them at home - Went again to Egypt and after dinner walked up towards the Wind MillClick for Footnote detailF/N 54, - a great deal of new building. Letter from the Farquharsons. John walked much better, and drives out in a pony carriage.

10th At 8 o'clock this morning the whole family started in two open carriages / sort of Droschkies / for Ventnor through Newport: passed the Parkhurst barracks and PrisonClick for Footnote detailF/N 55, and on to Godshill, a very pretty hilly Village and Church beautifully secluded opposite the Appuldercombe ObeliskClick for Footnote detailF/N 56, -

Left: Appuldurcombe House and Obelisk.

Some sketched the Church while we explored the interior. There are some very handsome monuments to the Worsley family who are all buried there - After waiting an hour we went on passing by 3 sides of AppuldercombeClick for Footnote detailF/N 57, a very handsome place which Lord Yarborough has sold to a Mr Williams then on to [37] Ventnor down that winding beautiful road to the Royal Hotel with the pretty Lawn and garden and the deep clear blue sea beyond / we were all enchanted. After ordering dinner at 2 we rushed down of course to the beach, which is quite different to any other - composed of the smallest roundest stones of an Ochre colour. It was intensely hot and very laborious walking but there is a beautiful terrace walk by the side of it - So I resorted to that and when my own legs would carry me no longer I jumped on the back of a mule - which being the envy of the children they all took a turn on it, and I was drawn in a Donkey carriage up the hill, to get a view of Bonchurch, which was all we could accomplish - the others had a very hot walk down by the beach again. On my return I met Kenelm and we went to a Repository and bought some views and prints very pretty then back to our hotel to dinner. The [38][39] waiter amused us much with his hurried pompous manner, and directly became the fashionable expression - mounted a small hill to a flagstaff, to get birdseye view of Ventnor and the coast and then pursued our journey to SteephillClick for Footnote detailF/N 58, our main object. We had some difficulty at first in gaining admission but explained to the Gardener that I had unluckily mislaid the card Miss Skipwith sent me from Mrs Hamborough who was out, upon which he was very civil, and shewed us all over the ground. It is a lovely place, and quite a little Mount Edgecombe of the Island - So much wild rock etc. terraces and seaviews and every kind of evergreen growing so luxuriantly enormous Yuccas and Cork trees and an Aureeria a great forest tree - fuschias quite tender etc but sad to say it looks overgrown and neglected, and only 3 men kept, where at least 6 are required - we went in to the Poultry court, and saw two or three of Mrs Hamborough's children. The Castle is very handsome and the place a beautiful object [40][41] from various points - Our next object was a very pretty Gothic well by the road side, built by Lord Yarborough and called St Lawrence WellClick for Footnote detailF/N 59, which the girls sketched - and then up a long hill which brought us to dear little St Lawrence ChurchClick for Footnote detailF/N 60, the smallest in England. 40 feet long and so pretty and picturesque of course. That was sketched and admired and then we pursued the course of the Undercliffe with the bright blue sea on our left for five miles to Niton here we had to wait, and strolled about the Lanes - all pretty but no particular object for sketching - There were two large steamers going out - We walked on to the Village of Niton hoping the carriages would overtake us, but they were so long, we almost gave them up in despair - we amused ourselves at a little shop with buying Ginger nuts and at last to our great relief the carriages appeared, and we pursued our journey home soon getting into the same road [42]

Steephill Castle, Near Ventnor

[43] by which we had come to Newport. We did not travel more than 5 miles an hour, owing to the long and constant hills, so the sun set most gloriously and the stars came out brilliantly and we all became quiet and sleepy and cold - and the horses tired before we found ourselves at home at 1/4 to 10 very glad of our tea, and not less so of our beds - but having enjoyed our day most thoroughly and it was quite worth waiting for so perfect a one. The servants equally enjoyed their expedition in the Amphion to the Needles and Alum bay -

11th At 11 today we embarked with Miss Baxter, Louy and Selina a lovely calm day for the Westward - the breeze freshened and was against us, so we only got as far as Yarmouth where we anchored - ate our luncheon and then landed - could not get into the Church so we crossed the Ferry and walked across a sandy desert / covered with sea holly - a pretty plant quite new to us / to see [44][45] Sir Graham Hammond who lives at a very pretty place called Norton Lodge well sheltered with trees and a lawn down to the water, and beautiful peeps of the Sea and Hurst CastleClick for Footnote detailF/N 61, and a constant moving Panorama - Such a charming drawing room, some evergreens growing beautifully they were all very kind and hospitable and walked with us to the boundary of their grounds towards the Port. Sir Graham's son Captain HammondClick for Footnote detailF/N 62, and his two daughters are quite deaf. I had met them at WhitleyClick for Footnote detailF/N 63, - Lady Hammond was just gone out - We then walked on to the very ugly FortClick for Footnote detailF/N 64, just built at Sconce Point. It is large and ugly and I believe ill done but as only a most stupid young military boy shewed us over it we could gain but little information from him however it was curious to see and we toiled back over the desert again to our Ferry, where our boat met us and we embarked in the Amphion and a fair wind and tide brought us home at 6 [46][47] After dinner took our usual walk to Egypt - saw Lady Caroline and her two sons sprawling on the grass.

12th Sunday Went twice to Church. Loads of smart people there - walked out to Egypt met the Willoughbys and Carews, ThorroldsClick for Footnote detailF/N 65, etc. dined at 5 and took our evening walk beyond Egypt and up the Cliffs to Mr Moore's farm. We had a most terrible scramble down again through thistles and bogs putting out feet into holes at every step - it was getting dusk too, and we got such fits of laughing we could hardly get on but were at last thankful to find ourselves with whole bones on the beach - got home tired and hot - lovely sunset.

The East Cowes Castle - now gone.

13th Fine day, and we went at 10 to the Castle to see the yachts start - 3 took their Stations the Gloriana Claymore, and Shark but the GlorianaClick for Footnote detailF/N 66, alone started owing to the light winds, so she sailed over the course, and won Prince Albert's cup! Kenelm and the boys went out fishing and caught some [48] Whiting Trout etc. the rest to Whippingham in a boat and walked home with the little VerneysClick for Footnote detailF/N 67. Saw the Queen cross the Ferry in her carriage quite close. Walked after a late dinner to see Lady Caroline again - lovely starlight night. Letter from Harriet Somerville with an account of his flower show and Meadow ArcheryClick for Footnote detailF/N 68.

14th Lovely calm day again for the Town Regatta - just as I was going out with Louy to Lady Caroline, we met Miss Chapman coming over for the day not knowing of the gaiety - however we went on to Rosetta, and found poor Lady Caroline flown to Southampton to see her son off in the Punt for the Crimea / I am truly sorry for her. On our way back we called on Lady Willoughby and sat some time with her - After luncheon we all adjourned to the Castle to see the RegattaClick for Footnote detailF/N 69. - All the Swells soon assembled there, and Miss Chapman was much amused at watching them all and the changes that had taken place in their appearance. There were a number of boat races and Duck [49] hunts and a Goose chase, but we began to despair of the Queens appearance till about five o'clock the Fairy came in sight and anchored opposite the Club house - They did not salute her but got up some more races and chases, and the crowd of boats made the scene a very gay and pretty one - We went into the Club house, and met Captn Gooch there and Mr Calor and Mr Hughan and his pretty daughter, the Mills's etc. Came home and dined at 1/2 7 very tired -

15th Again a failure in the Regatta. We went to the Castle to see the Vessels start for the R.Y.S. cup 100 guineas - The Alarm 2140 ton and the Gloriana and Wildfire only 52 ton started - the Gloriana gave in so of course the Alarm carried off the prize without much glory - I went to see poor Lady Caroline, who was sitting crying on the beach watching for the Punt which was bearing her son off to the Crimea! Went out sailing for two hours - met the Robins's and Fanny Granville and sat with them in the Castle. The girls went to drink tea with the Genestes and I to Lady Caroline [50]

St Lawrences Well

[51] found her on the green and sat there.

16th Met the Robins's and Fanny Granville. Sat with Louy on the beach and in afternoon in the Castle. Kenelm Hugh and Emily went out fishing, but caught nothing. Kenelm dined with Captain Denman on board the Royal Yacht - a large party of 35 - They all came to the Ball, and we went at 1/2 10 - all the Grandees were there, Lord Wilton, Mr Palliot, Lord CardiganClick for Footnote detailF/N 70, and a number of other swells and officers from Parkhurst - I went with my 3 graces and they enjoyed it as much as they could expect knowing so few. Came home before 3.

17th At the Castle again at 10 to see the 4 Vessels start all under 100 ton. The Bacchante, Aurora, Lavrock and GondolaClick for Footnote detailF/N 71. The former took the lead and kept it as they passed Cowes again - but not yet decided. We sailed out to the Eastward to meet them after sitting with the Robbins. I went to drink tea with poor Lady Caroline. We saw all the steamers lying off Osborne ready to sail with the Queen tomorrow morning at 4 for Boulogne. She goes on board this evening at 7. Went to the Castle to see the fireworks at 9 lovely night but they were not so brilliant as usual. The Capricorn and Brilliant were beautifully illuminated. The Bacchante came in at 7. The Aurora very soon after - pretty race -

18th Mr Hoare came at breakfast time to arrange the Programme of our picnic but unfortunately there was a great deal of wind, and a rough sea - so we could not land at Mr Drummond's cottage at Eaglehurst as we intended. The result was, that Mr Ackers kindly invited us all to meet on board the 'Brilliant', which we did about 12 o'clock and finding it impossible to land on the other shore we sailed down to Gurnett's bay and landed in the Barge, jolly boat, Dingy and shore boat - found a nice little shady nook in a field, and made ourselves very comfortable [52] had a very good dinner, and were very merry Mr Thorold and Mr Hoare made speeches - After dinner we amused ourselves with Races, Prisoner's base etc - and the sailors played at Leap frog, Rounders etc. We then returned to the Brilliant had a Pianoforte on Deck and all danced and played at Games - then Tea and Coffee in the Cabins, and about 8 came on shore in 3 boats - Nothing could be more kind civil and agreeable than Mr and Mrs Ackers and their ship is quite a good house nearly 500 tons - Our party consisted of the Thorolds, Admr Radcliffes, ThornhillsClick for Footnote detailF/N 72, Sir E Buxton, Sir Hy Edwards, Mr Naylor, Sir Wm. Fraser, Mr Hill, John Mills etc. besides the Ackers, and a nice daughter - Mr Hoare was very merry, and exerted himself to make it all go off well, which it certainly did for we all came home much pleased with our days amusement.

19th Sunday - Went twice to Church and had a very comic sermon from a [53] Mr Shaddock Rector of Wroxley - The young men and I fear some of the young Ladies were in fits of suppressed laughter, when he said energetically quoting Dean Swift now 'Down with your Dust!' being a Charity Sermon for the repairs of the Church. I am afraid the collection did not equal his expectations from his own eloquence. Walked home with Lady Caroline dined at 5. Mrs Mills and Johnny called at 7 - and then we took a long walk, thro' Mr Wards grounds, and home by Egypt - I heard this morning from Henry Hunter of the death of poor Lord Hereford, who has been long in a hopeless state in London - poor Emma I cannot imagine how she will struggle on though life with her five children so helpless, and so dependent on him for everything! but the back is always filled to its burthen.

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1855 Journal Continued

20th Walked up early to Lady Caroline to tell her the Lushingtons were coming [54] over tomorrow for the day - Went with Lord and Ly Willoughby on board the 'Beatrice' but had some difficulty it was so very rough - found Sir Walter and Lady Carew who were very civil and sat there an hour during which to our surprise Mr Harford came to see us from Osborne / Colonel PhippsClick for Footnote detailF/N 73, and all rode back together Sir Walter steering - To his great disgust his hat blew of and he was very angry - We took Lord and Lady Willoughby to the 10 o'clock steamer as they were going home via Sandhurst. Walked with Mrs Mills and her son and went to call on the Miss Wards and round by the Windmill - then to Egypt Rather stormy and rainy - no yachts went out to day - letters from Mrs Manning Mr Skipwith and Somervilles. The Mannings to go to Boulogne and Paris today - Humberstone leaving Aston for some time, and the Somervilles very happy at Bowness Rectory and had been at a grand fete given by Baroness [55] Sternberg 50 people - We were charmed with the comfort of the Beatrice - She is fitted up with so much taste and comfort. Grand account of the Queen's reception at Bologne and Paris!

21st At 1/2 past 10 Mr Lushington came alone, as Minny was hurried off to Muddiford by the scarlet fever breaking out in Lyndhurst severely. Frederick is looking sadly thin and pale and seems very delicate but very happy. I took him to Lady Caroline, sat on the beach, and then left them - he dined with us at 2 and then we sat in the Castle, till it was time to take him to his steamer in a boat. We rode to the VineClick for Footnote detailF/N 74, with Lady Caroline shopping - heard from Fred Granville at Plymouth again - Met the Harfords again from Osborne. Edith very tall, and very much inclined to be a wit [56] They went on with Mr Hughan in the Gondola and were very sick! Hugh and the 3 girls went to drink tea with the Thorolds - met young Thornhill and played at Games.

22nd Kenelm and Hugh went to Southampton in the Amphion, a fair wind there and back. Louy and I in a boat with Ly Caroline into the Town and back to Rosetta - Henry HeadClick for Footnote detailF/N 75, came over from Sea View to luncheon where he is staying with a brother officer he looks better for Schwalbach and Steel. At 2 o'clock we drove to Carisbrooke CastleClick for Footnote detailF/N 76, - the girls sketched, and we walked through the Village of CarisbrookeClick for Footnote detailF/N 77, back to the Inn, where we met the carriage again - and drove home stopping to look at Northwood ChurchClick for Footnote detailF/N 78, which has been repaired with the usual bad taste which all the churches hereabouts exhibit. Square casement windows etc. in Gothic buildings, plaster and whitewash over stone etc. We met Edith Harford with the Phipps's at Carisbrooke, and did the honours of the Donkey and Well etc together - The Well is 280 foot deep - date about King Stephen - Miss Baxter, Sim and Ju went to see the Bomers and children at Osborne farm. [57]

Carisbrooke Castle Isle of Wight

[58][59] 23rd Went and sat under the Castle with Ly Caroline then Mary and I walked to Egypt but it was hot owing to the East wind - Most of the Elite went away today - Lady W with Lord Wilton to Heaton Park - and Lady W in the yacht to Scotland and Ireland - Jerseys to Binstead so all our fun is over, except Miss de Horseys dead set at Mr Palliot which may yet succeed - At one we walked to Miss Wards to say goodbye and to thank them for all their kindness. After luncheon took a little sail to the eastward, but it was squally, and a thunderstorm began, so we came home. Called on the Thorolds, and Genestes, P.P.C and to thank the former for their kindness to us, and to Hugh in particular - he was there again to breakfast and tea. Walked to Egypt again to call on Lady Caroline in her Cliff Cottage.

24th After packing and paying bills and a visit from Lady Caroline, Hugh and the girls and I intended to go to Ryde, but such a [60] drizzling rain set in at 12 that we were obliged to give it up and sit at home. However at 1/2 past 3 it cleared quite and we started, intending to return at 1/2 past 6 - We walked up Union St. Shopped a little, and put into the wheel of fortune - and then walked along the Strand to look at the new Esplanade they are making, and the number of new large houses built there, almost to St Clair. We met Miss Hughan and one of the officers we met at the ball - a 1/4 past 6 we reached the end of the Pier, but found to our great dismay that no steamer went to Cowes till 1/2 past 7! owing to a mistake in Bradshaw. We gnashed our teeth in dismay, as it was our last evening, the plate to be cleaned and packed up, Kenelm waiting dinner, Clarke waiting with his boat, the maids waiting for our Gowns - Lady Caroline waiting to take leave, in short it was peculiarly inconvenient but we had nothing for it but to 'Smoke the pipe of [61][62] patience on the carpet of resignation' and as a drunken soldier told us to parade the Pier till the last steamer came - which it did in due time. There were a good many people assembled for the Ball tonight for the Infirmary - Miss Wards among the number - After a rather cold damp passage, and bumping the 'Old Castle buoy' we reached Cowes Pier and found the boat waiting for us on the Pier, and Kenelm at the landing very unhappy at the mistake he had led us in to - we dined speedily and dear Lady Caroline came in the middle of it, and sat with us an hour talking our last talk, and then took leave with real regret on both sides - She is a most fascinating gentle creature, and I am grown very fond of her.

25th Up at 1/2 past 6, and at 8 went to see dear Lady Caroline, who came down to me in her dressing gown looking so nice, and we had another affecting parting. [63] The sea looked so bright and clear and it was all so beautiful this morning, I could scarcely tear myself away! Johnny Mills met us at the Pier, and 15 in number we embarked in the steamer / The Pearl / had a delightful passage to Southampton. Walked up to the Bar and back for love of the dear old Town, and then returned to the Railway Station. Started at 11.30 for Basingstoke, where we changed trains, and got on the wide gauge - at Mortimer we found the two Charlotte Hunters and Harry, who went on with us in the train to Reading, where we all assembled in a circle, and had a long gossip of an hour, which we all enjoyed. I forgot to mention that Miss Bagot accompanied us from Winchester to Basingstoke, going to the Phillimore. At Aynho Station we saw Tom Cartwright who is to meet his mother at Brussells in about a fortnightClick for Footnote detailF/N 79, - We arrived at Leamington at 6 in a shower of rain, found the Garden in high beauty, and the [64] dogs all rejoiced to see us - the house too looks comfortable, but we miss the charming sea inexpressibly. Met Mr Twisleton, and Mrs Guy Gisbourne at the stationClick for Footnote detailF/N 80, - I am afraid we shall find the Town very deserted tomorrow. No letters, or anything interesting - .

Leamington Sunday 26th Went in the morning to the Parish Church, where Mr Bowen as usual performed all the duty. In the afternoon, Selina Mary and I went to the Episcopal Chapel, but finding there was no service till 1/2 past 6 we went on to Trinity hoping to hear Mr Craig - but that too was a vain effort, as there was no possibility of getting admission so I gave it up and came home over the hill - letter from Lady Willoughby about the Birmingham Music meeting, and from Mrs Holland asking us to dinner at Wellesbourne, rather out of distance but we accepted.

27th Shopping, and paying visits to the few people now in Leamington, Musgraves Lady McKenzie etc - The two Miss Chapmans came to us, during Miss Baxters absence in Jersey and Oxford.

28th Mr Gooch came to breakfast, and to take Kenelms place as chaperone to us 4 ladies to the Birmingham Music meeting - We got excellent places and were charmed with the 'Elijah' - the Choruses were magnificent indeed. Mr Gooch took us to Mr Whiteleys where we were most hospitably entertained at luncheon. Champagne etc which he had already given to 200 people - and expected 300 on the Messiah day! We went first to Dees Hotel where we were shown into the public Coffee room, and could get nothing but smokey jellies and bad biscuits - So we walked out - met [65] Mr Egerton Bagot, walked to the N.W. Station, and met the Caves - Mr E Palliot came into our carriage, and amused us with his wild talk - Came home at 6 and Mr Gooch dined and slept - found letters from Mrs Windham and Lady Cartwright. Met Willoughbys, Dugdales, Newdigates Mrs Markham, Lady Packington etc. at the Music hall.

29th Called on Sir George Brown, the Crimean hero who is living hereClick for Footnote detailF/N 81. Dined at Colonel Pratts. Met Mrs Sparke and her daughter and the Townleys and Lady Daberly etc.

30th Emily went with the Pratts to Birmingham - charmed with the 'Messiah' - I drove to Moreville, found the Charles BracebridgesClick for Footnote detailF/N 82, just returned from ScutariClick for Footnote detailF/N 83, - She looking thin and worn but he in high beauty! Called also on Lady Carnegie, who at 92 is enjoying Barford beyond measure - they stay till the 12 Sept.

31st Louy went today to Birmingham [66] with the Pratts, to hear the Mount of Olives etc. - dined at Mr Hollands at Wellesbourne, met the Dallas's Elwes, Mr Nethercote, and the Miss Williams's - pleasant drive home by moonlight and with this month ends my journal, as our happy but quiet home routine furnishes nothing worth recording at present.

Miss Nightingale and Mr Bracebridge surveying Sebastopol from Cathcart's Heights. A drawing by Parthenopy Lady Verney. (see footnotes 82 and 83)

[FINIS] - transcribed by Bruce Osborne 2001




England - Southern

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