Ann Wickham's Day Book


By Jennifer Ayto

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Ann Wickham was born on 9 September 1804 at Tewin, the eighth child of John and Sarah Carrington and grand-daughter of John Carrington of Bramfield whose diary covering the period 1798 to 1810 was edited by W. Branch Johnson and published as The Carrington Diary.  Her grandfather recorded her christening. “Friday 16th [November 1804] To Tewin afternoon, to son Johns Daughter Anns Christning (sic) They had a Good [word omitted] and so had I after & plenty of good punch and Curant (sic) wine, Staid supper & 2 Companys at Cards, Broke up at 1 Clock with God Save the King with three Cheers, Gave Nurs (sic) Ambrose 1sh & Grant ye Maid 1sh, Mr Dean Godfather, Mrs Webb Mrs Rowley Godmrs, Webb, Rowley old, Rowley young, Pridmore & wife, Otway, & Clay &c. &c. their (sic)”.

Ann was married in May 1825 to Edward Wickham, a Norfolk brewer some eleven years older than she and they settled in Hertford. Edward was recorded in the 1851 census as a brewer, employing one man and a farmer, employing 4 men.  Ann died on 15 February 1873; Edward died on 12 May 1880. The Day book makes reference to their oldest son, William, born in 1830, who settled as a brewer at Ware and her daughter, Rosanna, christened at St Andrew’s church, Hertford on 18 January 1836. Rosanna was to marry Henry Ekins, enumerated in 1881 as a builder, employing 33 men and 4 boys.  The Ekins web-site shows George, Rosanna’s father-in-law and founder of the firm. It was Rosanna who was credited with having made “an orderly and reasonable accurate transcript” of John Carrington’s diary.  (See W. Branch Johnson, Memorandums for the Carrington diaries, Phillimore, 1973).

It was a younger son, Edward, who kept the Wickens family brewery in Hertford going.  He was advertising at the end of the century, with no doubt some pride, that the Mill Bridge Brewery was a Family Brewer, established in 1828.  (See Hertfordshire Mercury, 13 April 1897).  His daughter, Hilda, deposited the “Carrington diary” at the Hertford County Record Office in 1943.  This was followed by other family papers.   Ann Wickham’s Day Book is not a diary but a record of events recorded from time to time.  It runs for just a few years from January 1852 up to February 1857.  It is hoped that these extracts show Ann’s affection for children, her pride in her son, her involvement in the family business of malting and brewing, pleasure in outings and interest in local gossip.

31 January 1854

Malt is very dear and hops still very dear  – a bad time for the Maltsters and Brewers as the barleys when bought so dear

13 February 1854

William went home he came up to fetch a horse of Mr Ekins as he had sold poor Kitty he came on Thursday but there was such a heavy fall of snow that he could not return home till Tuesday as the roads there quite blocked up

23 February 1856

Poor little May taken worse and continued to get worse until Thursday 28th when it pleased God to release her from her sufferings for which we are all grateful as she was much afflicted.

28 February 1856

I went to London Mrs Norman went with me  I went to the Court of Chancery about the Railway money being transferred to my husband   The Hon Sir R Kindersley Vice Chancellor on the chair (A Very Nice Gentleman)   Called on Mrs Balling then we went to tea with Mrs Tyier  Mrs Norman’s mama  Came home by the 9 train  sup[p]ed with Mrs Norman  When I get  home there was a letter to say poor little May was dead She is buried at Swavesey.

29 February 1852

Poor Mrs Garner’s son hung himself in the Barn he was quite dead when found by his father who while cutting him fell and Broke three of his own ribs.

1 March 1852

Went to Ware drank tea with Uncle Long rec’d a further order for Williamm for 10 quarters of Malt at the same price as before

4 April 1853

Mrs Norman confined with a daughter Poor Edward John [her son] went for the first time to the Blue coat School

4 May 1853

Mrs Norman’s Baby was christened I stood proxy for Mrs H Norman it is named Charlotte

20 May 1854

A ten shilling Duty put upon the Malt to meet the Expenses of the War

24 May 1852

Went to St Albans was taken ill with a violent Bilious attack Could not return till Thursday

3 June 1852

William [her older son] is 22 to Day I am much better just getting about again

12 June 1854

Hannah Watson left us to be married to a man named Brett  She had lived with me rather more than Eight years and was a very faithfull Servant

18 June 1854

Paid Mrs Rapley for May up to the first of June for the lodgings and salt money  Also for two dresses

3 July 1854

Paid Mrs Rapley the salt money for June 17s 9d Paid for lodgings, 16s 8d

14 August 1855

The Hon Wm Cowper re-elected Member of Parliament for Hertford having taken another office (Secretary of the Board of Health)

19 August 1852

Myself and Mr and Mrs Wilds went to Swavesey and left on Saturday for Lowestoft on Tuesday to Yarmouth on Thursday to Norwich we took Rosanna with us and left her behind we returned on Saturday Myself after having spent a most pleasant holiday

12 September 1855

Mr Wickham and I went with Mr and Mrs Ginn to Seven Oaks  Stayed till Saturday Month(?) and then went to Hastings  Returned on Monday  Went by an Excursion train to the Crystal Palace  Teaed with Mr and Mrs Pukiss and then home

30 October 1855

Mr Wickham returned home this is the first season of William [her son] making his own malt (it is Capital good malt)

3 October 1856

My Brother John Carrington died Oct 3 1856 aged 64 years buried at Chipperfield in the county of Hertford where he had lived for nearly 30 years

5 October 1855

The soldiers left they have been here 9 months

21 October 1852

Went to the Soiree a Very Large attendance 640 there on the first day

9 November 1854

Sydney came to stay a week with us he was a good boy

9 November 1856

Mrs Raphley was composed and on the Sunday about 3 in the morning her husband was found drowned it was Sunday on the Saturday and he was obliged to be on duty all day some think he walked in his sleep and fell into the river he was drowned by the Folly bridge  George Hide was taken up on suspicion of pushing him into the river  he was acquitted but it is still thought by a good many that he did  A collection is being made for his widow and her family

20 November 1855

We came to live in this house March 31st 1837 next March twelve months we shall have been here 20 years

23 November 1854

Dear little Sydney has been to spend another week with us

24 November 1852

Left St Ives for Swavesey and stayed there till the Wednesday following December 1st when I returned home such a flood there has not been the like for 29 years it was aweful to see the waters out a very great deal of damage done and the Farmers Cannet Saw there wheat field after field all under water and the Hedges and all in some places the Railway was stopped between Swavesey and St Ives and in many other places also

1 December 1852

Came home from Swavesey Miss Longmore married the beginning of Nov is a going to India on 20 of December

2 December 1856

I went to the theatricals at Mrs Lupino’s to see the School for Scandal performance

20 December 1853

Rose came from Swavesey Susan confined with a boy A dull Christmas not able to receive company nor go out ill with bad sore throat and rhumatics

This page was added on 22/02/2011.

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