The Story of My Life

By Arnold Goodliffe

The Transcribed Typescript

The typed manuscript, a transcript of Arnold's original hand-written account was given, by chance, to Elizabeth Higgins of Market Harborough who has deposited a copy at the Leicester Records Office, Wigston. Elizabeth is a descendent of another Arnold Goodliffe, who was the son of our Arnold's brother (the name Arnold being taken from a maternal ancestor).

For many years the typescript was all we had, and many people have been fascinated by the wealth of information it contains. The whereabouts of the original, in Arnold's handwriting remained unknown.

However, in late 2006 the original hand-written memoir was located by Elizabeth, and it too has been deposited in the Leicester Records Office. A scanned version of the original is available on this website.

This page contains a transcription of the typescript.

I have tried to keep the transcription as close to the original as possible especially spellings even though they are wrong (they were made by the typist, not Arnold). A few words have been expanded to what they should have been had the original typewriter not typed 2 letters on top of each other. A few letters have suffered in the repeated copying and cannot be deciphered.

Now that the original has been located it is clear that the transcriber added (and omitted) quite a few lines.

Images of the typescript in PDF format can be viewed here. (Note this file is quite large and may take some time to download 1.6Mb)

Or my indexed transcription in printable PDF format is here.

Or read on:

A Family History - the Transcribed Version

By Arnold Goodliffe


The original manuscript is without index or headings. I have added headings to this version, and created a hyper-linked index

Arnold's family Arnold's siblings Arnold's early life Marriage, business and family
Introduction Elizabeth Arnold Meeting Anna Speed
Goodliffe Ancestors Thomas Schooling Own Business
Grandfather Ann Birds and Game Marriage
Grandmother John Invitation to Nottingham Developing the Business and the Family
Lambley Lodge James Life in Smithy Row Son Thomas to Australia
Maternal Ancestors William Funeral of Lord Byron Political Interludes
Father - Thomas Goodliffe Mary Elections of 1826 Move to The Park
Mother - Mary Arnold Daniel Trade in 1825 Marriage of Sarah and Frederick
Sarah Self Improvement Holidays with Thomas Cook


The writing of the story of my life together with a few historical particulars of my family and ancestors has found interest and amusement for me during some of the days I have been laid aside by varied ailments from active duties.

My son Thomas, knowing I had a weakness about old family matters bought and brought me a book to scribble a few particulars in about my ancestors and what he pleased to call "THE STORY OF MY LIFE".

I have had it in my mind for some time to collect some few instances of our ancestors; I missed the opportunity of doing it as well as I might have done by deferring till so late in my life and especially by not obtaining much more information than I did from my dear mother, who was able to supply me with many little bits of interesting family history beyond what I have hereafter recorded; to her I am indebted chiefly for these earlier ones.

Most intelligent social families like to know something of their ancestors whether there are a few drops of blue blood flowing in their veins, others whether the endowments of intellect were manifested or were successful men of business, others whether their ancestors were distinguished for oral and spiritual quantities which being the "Noblest works of God".

As to the first "blue blood" it was so remote that if any it was dried up long ago.

As to the second, well, we think there were members who gave evidence according to the opportunities they had of considerable intellectual powers.

With reference to the last quality "moral and spiritual characteristics" as we shall find in this sketch there were those whose aim and endeavour it was to adorn Christian Discipleship.

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Goodliffe Ancestors

The branch of the Goodliffes to which I belong have resided at Lamley Lodge nr Belton in the little county of Rutland (the inhabitants of the whole County scarcely number 20,000) for about 200 years.


My Grandfather, Thomas Goodliffe, was a noted Yoeman of the old type, stout and sturdy, a vigorous muscular man.  Tales were told of him and his great strength of limb; he and old Tom Boyer were both remarkable for bodily strength; stories of their great physical strength were talked about long after their death.

My Grandfather was a strong willed man, bordering in obstinacy to wit, when the Belton field was enclosed, altho' the Commissioners offered him a good road down to the public Road (which would have saved his fields and been sufficiently near) he demanded a new direct Road, and obstinately refused the one offered, so he lost a good Road, had to make one down his own field, which, besides being further led into a bit of bad road as any in the Country, which to the present day I fear has lead to much annoyance, cursing and swearing.

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Like many a tall man, he married a little woman - Anna Curtis of Harringworth; she was a descendant of a somewhat celebrated Stephen Curtis, of Harringworth, remarkable in his day for his non-conformity and sufferings for them.  I feel constrained to turn aside to notice some few instances respecting Stephen Curtis handed down for a few hundred years.  He was a small farmer and Shepherd, living at the time when laws were enacted against Schismatics in the times of Charles's what was called "the five miles act" was the occasion of dreadful persecutions.

Stephen was three times in prison in Lincoln jail for reading the Scriptures to his neighbours and exhorting them to become the Disciples of Christ.  About the time of the Commonwealth there were in several villages in Rutland and Northamptonshire many small Churches of what is now call Old General Baptist several members resided at Harringworth. Stephen being the leader was persecuted in an old Magazine on account of his persecutions is given and his interviews with the village parson who was the Magistrate sending him to prison, he said "Stephen you have never been to College, why do you pretend to teach the people? You have never been taught logic, how can you teach others?"  Stephen said he had been taught of Christ, and his was the best College, and as to logic, if the person would tell hum what he meant by it he perhaps should know something about it.  "Well Stephen, logic is the art of reasoning, one part of logic consists in drawing inferences, for instance, you will persist in holding meetings and breaking the law, I have told you that you are stupid, now an ass is stupid and you are an ass."   "Oh" said Stephen "if that is logic I can understand that; it is said the devil is black, the parson is black, he must be a devil!!!!"

About the time Stephen was imprisoned in Lincoln jail for holding meetings that jail was so full of persecuted Dissenters that they had to be sent to Nottingham County jail.  It is recorded that from the Restoration 1660 to 1687 more than 5000 persons died in prison for conscience sake, such was the persecuting spirit of the ages.

Daniel Curtis, the Son of Stephen and I believe father of my Grandmother was a man of considerable intellectual culture as envinced by his Latin books and other learned works I have seen.  He was acquainted with Isaac Newton, through Wm. Whiston, the translator of Josephus and other learned works; Whiston worshipped frequently at Morcott when the well known Wm' Stranger, M.D. of Harringworth was minister at Morcott.  Daniel Curtis was one of a literary circle including Whiston, Stranger and a few others.

My grandmother, Anna Curtis, can trace through her family to the time of the Commonwealth, connection with the Baptists, at the time of her marriage she was a member of a little Baptist Church at Morcott, and after her marriage lived at Lambley Lodge, nearly 7 miles away from Morcott; she went as often as she could to worship there and amidst much opposition was a thorough non-conformist.

My Mother left the following testimony of her that she was a Christian of high principle, intelligent, kind, a very superior woman.  She died when she was 60 years of age.


I shall digress somewhat from the personal to the house in a few paragraphs.

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Lambley Lodge

Old Lambley Lodge originally was a foresters home, Lingfield forrest being one of the famous hunting grounds of the aristocracy of ages since abounding in woods spinneys and first rate covers for game, and it is still a favourite field for the Belton hunt.

The house was enlarged in my Grandfathers and Fathers time and patched up from time to time.  It has no architectural beauty a long building with a little eternal or internal comfort, the 7 upper as well as lower rooms having no passages, the yards, garden and farm buildings all being of the old type, cheap, small and inconvenient; they were only required for the home farm which was about 30 acres of grazing land.  The site was or might have been proper shelter and arrangements as fine as need be; standing south on a gradually sloping hill, the pretty village of Belton lying out in full view with a woodland landscape beyond.  Then on the south each the extensive view stretching away to Rockingham; on the south west the rich pasture land on the each part of Leicestershire.  Yes! Old Lambley with all they want of and fewness of comforts to me they pure bracing air, thy pleasant open views and many memories of loved ones sheltered under thy partly thatched roof are rich tender and blessed.

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Maternal Ancestors

Having sketched a few particulars of my paternal ancestors I turn to my Maternal side and I regret not having a more thorough and far reaching account, especially on the Arnold side; the one I should now prize more than any;  I have no [items] on my Grandfather's (John Arnold) side that goes back beyond him that can be relied on;  From conversation with my Mother I gathered that her father was a native of Leicester, of a highly respectable family whose brothers, one of whom was a celebrated Doctor of Lunacy!!! at Leicester, and another an M.D. at Stamford.  I gathered also that her Father, John Arnold, became a Baptist at Friar Lane, of which John Arnold was an important member.  I gathered also an account of his becoming a Dissenter and especially a Baptist.  The Arnold family gave him the cold shoulder.  He became acquainted with Elizabeth Sapcote, the daughter of a venerable member of the old Morcott Church, a man honourably mentioned for his many excellencies, a farmer living at a village near to Morcott.

John Arnold and Elizabeth Sapcote were married and went to Barrowden about the year 1770.  He established a considerable vinegar works, they tell a story that nearly a dozen of a party had a dinner in one of his large vats; he was a man of considerable means, education and ability; he was elected Deacon of the Morcott Church and was a very efficient Assistant Minister; he opened a place of worship upon his premises, and which he strictly supplied until he was afflicted in the year 1812.  He died in 1815.

My Grandmother Arnold was as I have said a daughter of a farmer and old member at Morcott.  She was one of the old Puritan stock of the first water, she was a tall commanding woman, born to lead, with a large measure in her composition; when I went to see her if it was a cold day there was always a sip of elder-berry wine and a slice of cake, with sundry admonitions to be careful not to make any dirt, a most necessary warning no doubt in my case.  She was great in cordials and remedies, in fact the village doctoress; when she walked out with her tall silver tasselled stk in her old age, the country obeisance and courtesy were accorded to her and accepted.

Soon after her husband's death she had the vinegar store made suitable and fitted up for a Sunday School, and Service, and though 70 years of age took the superintendence of it herself. It became quite a success.

About the year 1817 she set to work vigorously to get a Chapel built.  The room she fitted up becoming too small for the Congregation and Scholars;  She gave £50 and collected considerable sums towards the object, and as long as she was able, did all she could to help establish the cause;  she attained the venerable age of 82 and was honoured and respected living and peaceful in death.

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Father - Thomas Goodliffe

Having given a brief sketch of the Grandparents on each side I will try to give some little information about my parents and large families;

My Father, Thomas Goodliffe, the eldest son of the aforesaid Thomas and Annie Goodliffe was born at Lambley Lodge Nov 13th 1756.

He inherited a physical constitution more of the maternal than paternal – delicate and feeble;  I understand that from childhood he was timid but remarkable for truthfulness!!! When quite a child on one occasion when the servants were committing an act of dishonesty which he saw and which was pretty certain to be found out they tried to frighten him to make him tell a lie; they let him down in a bucket in the well till he would promise them he would say they did not do it; it so frightened him it was a long time before he got over it.  He was of a kind gentle disposition, not like his father, a strong willed man, but very conscientious, a loving son to his Mother whom he so much in many ways resembled.  He often accompanied his Mother when on Sunday she went to worship at Morcott; she rode pillion behind him, the fashion amongst farmers in those days.  The roads were so bad in the cross-country that no gig or light conveyance could travel; when my Father and Mother were married at Barrowden my Mother rode behind my Father on his old Bonny on a pillion.

They were both members of the Baptist Church before they were married in 1791; my Father in his 37th year, my Mother in her 23rd.  He was considered a good judge of stock, being especially fond of sheep.  He was remarkable in those days of jolly farmers, who generally came home what was called “market merry” and a many quite seas over, for his sobriety; he could never be induced to drink more than his moderate quantum – that was long before the days of total abstinence.

My recollections of him were only as a feeble looking old man suffering severely from asthmatic etc.; which had a depressing influence on his spirits.

He was chosen a Deacon at Morcott, and was very regular in his attendance, and conscientious in the discharge of his duties; at one time the cause became so low that it would have been given up but for his steady attendance and encouragement to persevere to the few friends who attended.  He was an eary riser, often in summer time up with the lark.  I often rode behind him on the old favourite mare through the woods from one field to another shepherding.  I saw the squirrels dancing about from tree to tree, chasing each other; birds of many different voices, the sweet nightingale, the thrilling warbling thrush the cooing wood pigeon and others. my Father did not seem to have the power to distinguish the different songs of birds, he would often commence a stave of a favourite hymn and nod off on the old nag and let her pick her own way; those were happy days to me, enjoying the sweet songs of these songsters in the forest woods, poor old man, his quiet nature did not fit him with the needed firmness required for a farmer, and so he did not succeed very well, but I am thankful my parents were able to owe no man anything.  After he was 60 he was unable frequently to attend to business, and was rather fearful, but he trusted to the opinion and decision of his wife and son Thomas, as long as the latter lived.  My Father and Mother drove to Nottingham in a little pony cart to our surprise in 1828.  They spent a few days with my brother William on Smithy Row.  My Father died in 1830 in the 73rd  year of his age.

My Mother wrote that he thanked God for every day mercies and though his natural timidity and feebleness caused him often to have gouts, as to his safety for the higher life hereafter, just when he was expiring and entering the Spirit land in his last struggle he said "I will lay me down composed and pray and trust the Lord will help me through the trying hour."  My Mother says in a note to me "I bless the Lord for this helping him to trust in his dying hour."

I arrived from Nottingham a few hours before he died, just in time for him to put out his hand and say a few kind words to me.   He set us a good example of truthfulness and kindness; he left almost everything as to our education and management to my Mother, who had been a kind and affectionate wife to him for 36 years.

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Mother - Mary Arnold

My Mother as I have said was the eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth Arnold of Barrowden, was born about the year 1771.  Her parents sent her to a school at Leicester, she was liberally educated for the times, she gave promise of some literary ability.  I saw and read some blank verse when in her young days she determined to write a novel.  When her mind became impressed with religious truth she laid aside what she had written and devoted herself to sacred poetry, and the writings of Robinson, Hannah Moore and the Scriptures; she joined the Church at Morcott in about her 20th year, and about the same time as my Father, who was 15 years older; the difference in their ages was thought too considerable and although their in many respects great differences the Christian character of each enabled them to live honourable and useful lives.

For the accommodation of the newly married couple and adjunct was built to the old house.  My Mother had some trials to endure in her early married life; her education, experience and training had not fitted her for some of the occupations of a farmer's wife in those days.  I have heard her say the sisters-in-law were rather down upon her because she could not milk; she told me she tried hard to learn but could not, and they said she would not learn, but by her intelligent, kind, practical mind she soon grew to be respected by them.  She found in her mother-in-law an intelligent Christian friend and advisor; she was firm in her religious views without narrow bigotry and enjoyed the company of intelligent Christian people, of what ever denomination they might be.

Altho' she had a large family, (12 children) 2 buried in infancy, and men and women servants to train and manage she found time for reading and regular devotion, which she kept up to the close of her life.  In her mid-life and best days her conversational powers were above the average, her early advantages and well stored mind enabled her upon religious and social and to some extent political questions to enter into conversation with zest.  A young intelligent independent Minister, who often came to preach at the Lodge, week nights, saw a Baptist Magazine on the table and to his surprise found she was a Baptist.  This lead to a very warm discussion on the subject; neither being convinced, they sensibly decided to drop the controversy and * as good or better friends that ever.  Altho' she came of a good Puritan stock on her Mother's side, she believed in children and young people having recreation; 70 or 80 years since the chief amusement in religious families were blindman's buff, Bagatelle and Dominoes.

Being the youngest son, my recollections of my Mother were after she attained middle life; her mind was vigorous, experience matured her management of her children, farm and domestic servants firm.  A motherly tenderness and intense anxiety for her children's spiritual welfare was constantly manifest.  At times her feeble constitution was over taxed by worry and fatigue of providing for and the management of 12 to 15 in the house, besides the chief anxiety to meet the financial difficulties, which pressed heavily on my parents, and in consequence of my father's ill health and incapacity for the business pressed very heavily on her; for years she had the serious trial in fear lest they should not be able to honourably pay their way.  Thank God! The result was better that their fears, but it was only accomplished by most rigid care and economy.

After my Father’s death she went to life in a little house in her native village of Barrowden, when with my youngest sister Sarah for several years she was very useful, often writing kind, thoughtful and earnest letters to her children and friends, taking also a deep interest in and according to her means and strength aiding the struggling Church there, often finding a home for Ministers and Students when supplying; she devoted for some years much of her time to visiting the sick and poor.

When her daughter married James Andrews and went to live at Morcott, she went to live with them, and subsequently at the cottage opposite; she came to Nottingham to visit us in her 78th year;  I after earnest request persuaded her to let Mr. James, a rising artist, paint her portrait, which he did to the great satisfaction of all my brothers and sisters, for whom I had a capital photo from it by the elder Cox.  Poor dear she was very feeble at the time, and said she felt sorry I should spend so much, but at the last consented to please her youngest son.  She was not able to come and see us again, but I felt it my duty and pleasure as often as I could to run over to see her and seek to promote her comfort in her feebleness and declining days.  She had for years occasionally dotted down events which were interesting in domestic life and Spiritual history, hoping they might be useful to her and her children, she gave me the papers and my son Thomas copied them out, about 160 pages.  They gave evidence of her early Spiritual life, her many trials and struggles to attain a higher, purer Christian life, and especially her earnest desire and prayers for the salvation of all her children.

That old faithful picture of thee my Mother, has oft times been a gentle reprover, sometimes words of encouragement as I sat and looked at it seemed to come to me saying "Arnold, my son, be not unduly anxious about things of this life, one thing is needful"  The child who has such a mother has one of the greatest earthly blessings, proving to him a guiding star through life and often calling by her example and loving teaching the attainment of a higher and purer life.  She lived to the ripe old age of 86, leaving behind her a character endeared and enshrined in the memory of her children and friends, who knew her in the full vigour and maturity of mind.  She died April 29th 1855, was buried in the Chapel yard at Barrowden.  Her youngest son had a neat monument erected to her memory in the Chapel.

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Arnold's Siblings

I will now give you a brief account of my brothers and sisters.


My eldest sister Elizabeth was born in 1793.  She was rather small in stature, and of delicate health, of a sweet gentle disposition, very much resembling her Grandmother Goodliffe.  She went to live at her Grandmother Arnold's, she unfortunately married Samuel Richmond, who became a sat inebriate and after a short life of pain and relief on account of her husband's bad habits and violent conduct and unkind treatment, she died before she was 40, leaving 5 sons and 1 daughter, most of whom died in middle life.  I spent some little time about my 10th year in order that I might get a little schooling and saw the sad efforts of drunkenness; it had such an influence upon my mind that I resolved with God's help I never would get drunk,  I am thankful to have been enabled to keep my resolution; I have been an abstainer for nearly 56 years.

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Thomas, my eldest brother, born 1795 was a very active intelligent youth, very useful in business and devoted to his Mother; on account of my father's feebleness he very early in life took chief management of the farm, and by his energy, judgement etc., he was successful in his business transactions.

In the Spring in 1816 after extra farm work he felt he needed a change, so decided to visit an Aunt at Kings Lynn, our Mother's sister who married a Mr. Marshall, one of the largest Gardeners and Nurserymen in the eastern counties.  On a Sunday morning in May 1816 just before his intended departure he was seized with sudden sickness.  My Mother used the common remedies for a bilious attack and sent off for the family Doctor, who lived 4 miles away, but by the time he arrived it was too late, so violent had the sickness been he sank in about 20 hours.  I was then about 9 years old and well remember the panic caused by his death in the family.  The village and Uppingham market where his business ability and conduct had won respect; He was engaged to be married to a Miss Elizabeth Goodliffe a distant relation, a daughter of one of the larger farmers of Belton.  Her brother John called at the Lodge just after he had passed away, they were like David and Jonathan choice friends, his grief as well as his sisters was very intense.  I shall never forget the emotion and sympathy manifested at the funeral, almost the entire village turned out to meet the funeral procession as it came along the road from the Lodge to the Church-yard.  It was a touching scene; the sudden death of a fine intelligent genial young man, the eldest, the hope and stay of a feeble father and a devoted mother, who together with 9 brothers and sisters besides other dear friends formed a procession almost all the villagers falling in.   The service in the Church yard was solemn and touching, conducted by the Rector Reverend J. Graham; It was the first time I had heard "Earth to earth dust to dust etc''."  It appeared so dreadful.  At the grave they sung Steel's appropriate hymn "When blooming youth is snatched away"  The sad event cast a gloom over the whole Lodge family and resulted in a sad change in the management of business affairs resulting I think in a great change in the future of the position of most of the family.

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Ann the third child was born 1796; she has just passed away in her 90th year.  When a young girl she was active and strong a good type of a stirring daughter of a farmer with a bit of spirit and temper, able to drive and ride.

When I was born she was reported to say "What, another little black-haired boy come" for there were six already; and I was told on one occasion when my nasty cross temper as a babe they put me in to the cradle but could not rock me to sleep or quieten me, she rocked away with such a vengeance as to pitch me out on the plaster floor, my dear mother came to the rescue; the incident remained as a joke between us to the day of her death.  The words of the old proverb were verified in her case "The course of true love never runs smooth"  A few hasty words divided those who might have been equally yoked.  It gave a tinge of sadness and tended to increase a hereditary tendency to morbid melancholy which as she grew older became more developed.

Several years after she married an excellent man John Culpin by whom she had one son and 3 daughters; 2 of whom lived with us for years and were esteemed by us for their goodness and usefulness and from the day of my poor sister's long affliction till her death were kind and beautiful.

Two little babes a brother and sister died in their infancy before I was born, the bigoted Belton parson would not bury them because my parents were Baptists so they were buried at Morcott.

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John the next was born 1798, he had gifts for learning but unfortunately troubled with an uncomfortable suspicious selfish temper which developed into much the same tendencies as my poor sister Ann.

(Original paragraph about John)

John my eldest brother was born in 1798, he was gifted for learning, went to Boarding School at Kirton Linsey, was very intelligent and fond of reading, but on account of a weakly constitution he was brought up more the Gentleman, was fond of a good horse and hunting occasionally.  He married when about 30 years of age Elizabeth Stokes.  She was a good wife and very energetic strong and industrious. They had 6 sons and 3 daughters, all living at the present time 1898.  The eldest son John Thomas thought be could do better in America and went there about 35 years ago and is still in business there.  

(Paragraph added 1898; this was after Arnold Goodliffe's death)

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James my next brother in his young days was a general favourite as a jolly good-heated fellow, ready to do a good turn to anyone, often to the injury of himself; he did not gain any prize for quickness and correctness in learning, he liked to work and play better than books; he was unfortunate in being put apprentice to a drunken master Samuel Richmond, he never learned his trade but learned some bad habits which were a sore trial to his family.  His want of success in after life was owing to habits acquired in this situation; to the last he was generally good natured and cheerful and by the kindness of an excellent son in his old age he was most bright and comfortable.  He died 1868 in his 68 yr.

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William was born 1801 the opposite temperament and tendencies to his brother James, more reserved and cautious; owing to the distance to any school he, like the others, had very little education.  He was apprenticed to Mr Hart Grocer of Uppingham, he faithfully discharged his duties and secured the respect of his master.  After he left he had 2 or 3 short engagements, the last at Mr. Smiths, Cheese Factory, Leicester.

One of those singular little circumstances occurred which result in great changes; important events in life often from small causes Spring.  The Rev. J. Green of Uppingham, a friend of my mothers, had engaged in 1823 to preach at Friar Lane, Leicester the school sermons, a Mr. Gamble a lay-minister went to supply at Uppingham.  They met on the high way between Uppingham and Leicester, then looked earnestly at each other, and after they had passed turned and looked again, then stopped. Mr. Gamble said "If I am not mistaken you are Mr. Green"  "Yes I am, and you are going to supply for me”  Mr. Gamble asked if there were any Baptist friends on the way.  "Oh yes, Mr Goodliffe of Lambley Lodge, and if you will call he will be pleased to see you and get you to preach for them”  He called, and in a conversion with my Mother found she had a son recently gone to Leicester.  She got him to take a little parcel for him, he saw William and told him of a widow lady who wanted an assistant; he said jokingly "You may manage the business and the widow too”  He took the situation in May and married the widow in October 1823.  He came to Nottingham and became a member of Stoney St.,  Mrs Major was a member there.  In Aug., 1823 he wrote to the Lodge for Daniel or I to spend a fortnight with him, Mrs Major was going to London.  I soon found which way the wind blew, the mistress was so kind to the young man and though she nearly 20 years older, by her prim rather junior dress and appearance so won over the rather green young man that she soon lead him to the hymnal Altar.  They kept the honeymoon at the Old Lodge, they met James and Anna; all three couples had just been married; it made the Old Lodge quite gay and set the Villagers staring to see three bridegrooms and their brides and friends promenade the Village.  The happiest days come to an end, and Saturday found him back at the cheese shop, but one could see there would have to be a fight as to who should (to use an old fashioned phrase) wear the breeches.  He soon unfortunately found that married life did not bring him that fair modicum of joy and satisfaction he had a right to expect.  His wife had unfortunately an ill-regulated temper, she was mean, proud, weak, jealous and exacting.  Her young husband's eyes were gradually opened to his position, but he was wanting in firmness to deal with such a character, so for some time domestic bliss was sadly wanting, and during the near 30 years of married life, poor fellow, brief were the hours of connubial joy; he continued in the provision trade till 1830, he built some cottages Beeston, a machine-shop and two or three lace machines, but was not very successful; his attention was directed to the lay ministry amongst the village churches (Baptist) he received a call to the Church at Kirton Linsey about 1840, after a few years he removed to Chesterfield, and afterwards to Rothley, when and at Sileby for several years he was the Minister of those village Churches with fairly general acceptance; he was a descendant of an old Puritan stock and firm in teaching the old theology; with all his failings I can bear testimony to his thorough truthfulness, and uprightness of character and considering the severe discipline through which he had to pass provocative of that which tended to want of geniality and good nature, he improved with advancing years, giving evidence of sincerity in the important work in which he was engaged.  He dies rather suddenly, he left me his principle executor, he left a just will which was a pleasure to carry out; after 30 years of close and intimate knowledge of and brotherly connection with him, I feel there was much that was good and as to his failings I desire, knowing and feeling my own to be charitable towards him.

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Mary my beloved sister is next on the list, was born in 1803.  She was endowed with a mind intelligent quick at learning and highly sensitive, enshrined in a body interesting but feeble and consumptive, she early manifested a devout gentle spirit in sympathy with the teachings of Christ.  My Mother perceiving the tendency of her mind to intellectual pursuits did what her circumstances would admit to cherish his aspirations, giving her the advantage of a good training to fit her to be an educator of others.  She was by her intelligence and sympathy for the young well adapted for the important work, she had a few boarders at the Lodge, but the unsuitableness of the house prevented it becoming an increasing school; so by invitation and arrangement she came to Nottingham in 1824 to rooms in her brother William's house, but owing to an utter dissimilarity of mental, social and general characteristics of mind existing between her and William's wife the enterprise resulted in utter failure and misery to my sister Mary.  I well remember  her crying out in the agony of her heart "Oh Arnold, our brother William will never know the true love and tenderness of a true woman's heart".  She gathered no number of scholars and soon decided to leave and took a little new house in Denman St. Radford where she was gathering a nice school, but alas her severe trials and disappointments acting upon her feeble constitution soon prevented her being able to continue her school, although my youngest sister Sarah came to assist her; she soon had to give up and my brother Daniel fetched her home to die.  We two brothers owe much to her tender loving keeping, and example etc., for years I went to look at the little house in Denman St., where a true and loving sister often spoke words of wisdom, caution and kindness to me; her influence tended to promote intelligent devout piety in me and younger members of the family, and indeed with all she came in contact.  She died filled with the joyful hope of a blessed resurrection to eternal life in the 22nd year of her age; a loving child, a tender sister and devout Christian.

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Daniel, the brother nearest of age to me, was my boon companion and we have always been loving brothers, playmates, school-mates many a pleasant walk have we had to the village school, his arm over my shoulder and mine round his waist.  We went into partnership in little business transactions before we were 14 with a vision of improving our finances, which were low, and likely to be; it helped to form business habits and thrift which were very useful in after life.  Daniel and my sister Mary went to a mixed school conducted by a Mr. Greton at Billesdon, which had its influence in many ways on his after life; he met with and benefited by the companionships he then formed; his sister Mary and a Miss Atkin being his chief companions.  They helped to polish him up somewhat.  Owing to our fathers he early life had to discharge important duties in business as buyer and seller of stock and other farm operations; he was 19 when I left the Lodge and we divided up our savings; he was a cheerful hard working young fellow with a pretty strong notion of putting the best face on things, giving early indications of the habits of smartness and order, which a rough and ready fellow like me thought bordered at times on the excess.  One of the greatest trials was the unhappy temper and actions of his elder brother John who though unfit for the management of the farm was jealous and opposed to him and his management.  Daniel did not forget his early school friendships, he told me a little story of his young manhood days, on one occasion business taking him into the neighbourhood where his school lady friends lived he decided to call.  She had gone to a party, he found his way there; mischievous cupid set his heart a fluttering about his pet-fellow scholar; he was introduced to the Company, the room was full of lively young people; the bashful young grazier attracted the attention of the fun loving youngsters.  They marched out of the room, planned their bit of mischief, came in and pinioned him, rubbing his face with a brass ladle the remedy for bashfulness.  It was a cure the first dressing, he jumped and saluted them all round and soon won his spurs with the lively farmer's daughter.  In a while at a convenient season his Mary and he joined interests, and spend together a few most happy and loving years.  I suppose they were the two elements of characters in each fitting them for each other, her intelligence, good taste, in their simple household arrangements, their general adaptability to each other in all the leading affairs of life tended to promote to their happiness.  They exercised the utmost prudence having limited means; two babes, a son and a daughter, more born unto them, when alas the loving wife and mother was called away.  Time, the healer of many wounded hearts led him to look out for a wife to discharge the duties of that important relationship and be a mother to his children.  He looked with other eyes than those of his school days and found one differing in many characteristics; no man can expect two angels to fall to his lot; but for more than 40 years they passed along the journey of life and in some respects as well as could be expected by two strong willed people who both like their own way.  Every day experience or observation confirms the fact that step-mothers frequently fail to win the love of their step-children from a want of sympathy they rule by authority rather than lead by love.  Daniel, after his second marriage, took a house at Barley-thorpe and some land in the neighbourhood.  In some matters to please the lady appearing in the style of the Gentlemen farmer more than his means warranted, and unfortunately lost a considerable number of cattle by one of the first out-breaks of foot and mouth disease.  A second out-break and heavy loss disheartened him so that he gave up the land and went to live at Oakham, during which time as Deacon at the Church at Barrowden and Morcott he rendered good service he and his wife travelling the near 6 miles most Sundays.  They again removed to St. Ives where for many years they resided near their excellent and loving daughter who married a distant relative – Mr. Loams [Loomes].  He was again left a widower after living more than 40 years with his last wife.  In his little cottage he enjoyed himself visiting reading and comforting as far as he was able his poor and aged neighbours; he is now with his son-in-law and daughter Jackson, in the commencement of this year 1887 his 82nd year, cheerful and happy ready and waiting for the call to enter the many mansions. Next on the list was the writer of these little family sketches, but as my youngest sister has passed away I choose to break the link and give a brief account of her before entering upon a record of some events of my life.

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Sarah was born at the Old Lodge November 1809, being the 12th child born to my parents, at the time of her birth was one of great anxiety to my parents, both being feeble and out of health, the weather was severe, the times bad, my father nearly lost the use of his right hand, holding the lantern for poor old Dr Bell, who came in the dark miserable November night 4 miles to usher the stranger into this changeful world.  There was in my sister a tinge of the sober element of life, occasioned probably by circumstances preceding her birth, manifest even in her childhood.  In her early days she was a timid weakly child, devoted to her parents and family and especially her brother Arnold who was nearest her in age, and this love and sympathy continued lifelong between us.  After out father's death she and mother removed to Barrowden, where with her little business and carefulness they were enabled to live in comfort.  She took interest in instructing the young and sort to help forward the good cause in connection with the General Baptist Church.  Rather late in life than many she married a Mr James Andrews, who commenced business as a tailor and general dealer at Morcott, she continued to care for our aged mother who removed with them, she earned the gratitude of her brothers and sisters for her kindness and attention to her.  In her life she was diligent in business, very conscientious and particular; there was a little of the old Puritan principles developed in her, rather more than was agreeable to merry and fun loving natures;  her husband's lively cheerful temperament sometimes exercised her patience, but his good nature and many good qualities and devotedness to her and our aged mother secured her esteem, although she could not always carry out St Paul's injunctions to Christian wives see that ye reverence your husbands etc.  By great care and prudence they secured sufficient to maintain them in their old age, and to aid the Church.  She had arranged in her 73rd year to come and spend a little time with us July 1885.  The day she was to come she was taken ill.  Annie Morris, with whom she was to have come, brought us word of her sudden and dangerous illness.  I started immediately I heard, and arrived just in time to clasp her hand, and hear her last calm words before she fell asleep in Jesus July 22nd 1885.  At her funeral were two aged brothers, her husband and a large number of nephews and nieces and friends who mourned her loss, giving evidence of their attachment to her and in appreciation of her excellent character.

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I shall now, in order to satisfy the desire of my eldest son, try to give a brief outline of the few leading incidents of my life.  They are very common place and scarce worth recording, if they afford interest or amusement I shall be re-paid; it has furnished me and an occupation when I was unable to leave my room, and engaged my hand and thoughts when otherwise I should have been restless.  I have not kept a diary, therefore many incidents have been forgotten. 

I was born at Lambley Lodge May 23rd 1807.  I was the 11th child and 7th son!!! From report a little black-haired dark-complexioned thing, jokingly said to have taken a tinge from the Lynn sailors.  My Mother had been on a visit to her sister in that town, and was struck with the sun-burnt dark appearance of the Sons of the Ocean, that was just before my birth, whether a joke or not I was dubbed "B* Georgie" and answered well to the name.  There were few incidents of interest in the first 10 years of my life. 


As soon as I was able I was sent to Old Dame Fowkes' school in Belton.  The 1st Standard was imperfectly taught.  The Primitive battledore the alphabet and words of the most simple character were printed on card-board the old English style of pronouncing was taught.  I had often to stand on the stool for being in mischief, and have a tall brown paper cap on my head; nevertheless Old Dame Fowkes was not a bad sort.  She tried to teach us truthfulness and good manners.  We had always an obeisance in coming and going with a "Sara Marm" which means "Your servant madam".  When we were good we got a bulls eye.  The great difficulty my parents found to obtain a fair education for their children was the long distance to any school.  My next visit to school was to Peterboro' to lodge with an uncle and went to a Mr. Thorpe's school for 6 months.  He was a good teacher and a good disciplinarian, he believed in using the rod, I made progress whilst there, but was taken away too soon on account of the bad times in 1818.  I attended with my good Aunt all the Wesleyan meetings and became a rather hopeful Disciple with the Class.  My real good Aunt was a member.  I wrote letters home inspiring hope in my good mother's mind that I might grow to be useful in the world. 

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Birds and Game

After I left my chief vocation for a while was to scare birds.  I was allowed the use of the old firelick, a piece of fire arms that adorned the old beam in the house place, and which had been in use for many years.  I may record a remarkable preservation of my life.  I was only allowed powder to make a flash, but having no shot I picked up some very small pebbles and loaded my gun ready for a shot.  Some boys I was talking with got hold of it pointing it direct at my chest and pulled the trigger.  Fortunately it did not go off.  A few minutes after I shot at some birds.  It went off tearing off boughs showing the deadly power of the shot.  About the same time I had another escape.  I was riding and carrying a load on my arm, when the girth broke, the saddle slipped over the side of my horse, my foot caught in the stirrup and I was dragged across the field, my head going bump over the ground.  When a little boy I went up a ladder on to the roof of the barn, and my mother found me walking on the steep roof trying to get some find house leeks.  I grew rather fond of my gun, one cold snowy day being in the barn with my gun a covey of partridges lighted near.  I let fly and two tippled over.  I soon bagged them and mother made them with some pigeons into a pie.  My Mother fearing my breach of the game laws might get to the ears of the squire.  I believe the Primitive hunting tendency was rather strong upon me, old dog Captain and I often caught and brought home a pussy.  I felt whatever the laws justice taught me that the game found on my father's land we were more entitled to it than anyone else, several of our fields were injured by an excess of game, I have seen in a field near Laundwood nearly 50 rabbits besides other game.  In the Spring of 1818 my father gave me a sickly lamb if I would rear it.  I did and in due time it became a mother.  For 2 years it had couples! Two of which went to London market and made 49/- each.  By the time I went to Nottingham I had saved £15.  My Mother regretted the little opportunity I had for education, made arrangements in 1820 for me to go to the Reverent E. Creaton's School as a boarder.  There were about half a dozen lads, the instructions was fair but three of his pupils were immoral bad fellows.  The advantages gained in elementary knowledge were far outweighed by the bad example and wicket habits of my school-mates; it was a bitter six months to me and the most injurious in my life, breaking down good habits, inducing a spirit of disobedience to the great grief of my dear Mother, and culminating in a bad act one morning.  I had got into trouble and could not stay in at Family Prayers, but while they were in at their devotions I tied the kitchen door so they could not get out except through the kitchen window.  My Mother, though gentle and tender, was when roused a firm disciplinarian.  I was cut off from the regular meals to bread and water in the kitchen.  I braved it for a while, one morning when alone she took me by the hand, led me into the parlour, talked kindly and tenderly to me, she touched the better side of my nature.  We knelt down together, she poured forth in earnest words a prayer to God for my forgiveness.  We wept together embraced and became reconciled.  The Father in Heaven, the Mother on earth forgave the disobedient Son.  He became and was ever afterwards on of her most devoted Children, never intentionally causing her sorrow; this occurred when I was about 14 often a critical time to a boy of strong passions.  After this a general change took place in me behaviour and character.  Like many boys I was not fond of work.  I found it difficult to buckle to, but gradually got to like farm work, and to use a country phrase "Took to the Collar" and grew fond of farming, and during the last 2 years threw in my energies to the varied work to be done. 

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Invitation to Nottingham

Early in May 1823 a letter from William at Nottingham was received, asking for one of us to go to Notty for a fortnight Daniel, being elder, was required at home, so it was decided that I must go.  I was quite averse to it, I disliked the thought of being a Counter-jumper.  I had got to like a farm boy's life.  Daniel and I went to Leicester, took some sheep to sell, after we had sold them I went to the Stag & Pheasant Hotel, mounted Old Thomas Pettifore's old coach for Nottingham, and soon felt interested, it being the first time I had ridden behind a four-in-hand.  We rattled away, changing at Loughboro' and Bunney.  The lights of Nottingham, its Castle and fine Old Church, came in view as we descended old Ruddington Hill.  The old Trent spanning the broadest river I had seen was interesting to me.  The steep Hollow Stone Hill, old narrow Bridlesmith Gate lit up with gas, and still narrower High St., with a strong beam across on which swung an immense painted Blackimores head, underneath which our old Coachman drove to the White Lion, Clumber St., where we arrived about 8.30.

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Life in Smithy Row

To me the memorable Saturday, August 23rd 1823.  My Brother William met me at the coach.  We soon reached Smithy Row, at that time a row of the lowest class of Butchers stall's stood.  They were a rowing noisy lot.  Mrs Major kept a small provision shop, being half the shop now occupied by Jackson, the Tobaacconist, the other part was being occupied by "drunken butcher Frearson".  His family occupied one part of the House, Mrs. Major's 3 rooms at the back facing Dunkirk Shambles, the kitchen coal place, pantry open W.C. all under-ground, were used by both families!! The sanitary condition was such as would not be allowed to exist now, what with the immoral state of drunken butchers part of the house and the unsanitary condition of the lower rooms, it was a strange contrast to my old Lodge life.  Frearson soon drank himself into a terrible state of D T's.  His death was awful.  When I had been a fortnight a letter came from Mrs. Major.  She was staying another week in London; I had become somewhat reconciled to the change and agreed to stray; when she came back from London she was all smiles and affability telling us about some of the lions, Madam Tussord's, The Zoological Gardens, The grang parks etc. Under the influence of Cupid the widow was all gladness and smiles.  I got an invitation to stay the wedding and honeymoon over.  I began to like the life and bustle of the Town and considered that having two brothers at home when one would have been better I made an arrangement myself to stay for 3 years.

I felt somewhat put on my metals to be left in charge of the business for a week whilst they went to the Old Lodge for the honeymoon; old "Snuffy Mother Davies" was house-keeper, and old Philip Bailey the Grandfather of the Author of Festus came to advise and take a little supervision occasionally, a very pleasant cheery jocular old Gentlemen he was.  A man came in abruptly one evening.  He ask "Are you the brother of the young man who married Mrs Major?" "Yes I am her Cousin" "Tell him I am sorry for him poor fellow, I lived with her in her first husband's time, he must get a good ash-plant and once a week let her have it, if he means to keep master".  Of course, it shocked my sense of propriety, as a mode of treatment for such an aimable, smiling young woman.  I lived soon to see the other side of the picture - one little specimen;- Not long after the honey-moon a Dressmaker came to make up some apparel for her, we were sitting down to an early breakfast, the old lady was in her tantrums, her young husband courteously helped the choicest morsals to the damsel, who I believe was her cousin; the jealous old vixen in a rage flung a cup of hot coffee at him, because he helped the young Dressmaker first, the devil in him was aroused, she had to cut and run and lock herself up in her room, finding she had over-shot the mark.  My brother Will, like many a hen-pecked husband got used to it, though he never could like it, managed to pull through better than one could expect.  When I had been there about a year the premises were enlarged, and increased.

I was errand boy, porter, warehouseman, waiter etc., etc., etc., and pretty hard worked from 17 to 19.  I was a stout sturdy fellow, carrying weights, we had only a wheel-barrow for heavy goods, the Road and Streets in 1823 to 1830 were badly paved and lighted.  One day I was about 19 a bag of salt over 2 cwt was wanted in a hurry in Parliament St., I got it into my back to carry up Black Boy Yard, my foot slipped, the weight was too much.  I feel injuring my hip and back.  I had to be carried home blistered and bled, the effect of the folly remains till this day in a feeble back and rheumatic hip.  I am now suffering whilst writing this down, the incident was a warning against rashness and headstrong actions.

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Funeral of Lord Byron

One of the most striking events of 1824 was the funeral of the poet Lord Byron, the procession came down Smithy Row and through the Market Place; the remarkable and long Cavalcade of carriages and horsemen was a sight I had never seen before or since.  The mournful courtege wended its way to Hucknall where remains were deposited in a vault, a very unpretentious monument was erected, Visitors from all parts of the world came to inspect the resting place of the gifted poet.


For a short time bobbin lace and bobbin making were flourishing in Nottingham, everyone who had a little money rushed into it. I was asked to learn to work a machine.  I had not enough enterprise, the good trade did not last long, so perhaps I lost nothing by sticking to the dirty provisions trade.


In 1824 I entered heartily into the work of Sunday School teaching at Stoney Street Baptist Chapel, where for some years a capital School had existed.  I became acquainted with some young men who endeavoured a according to the opportunities they had to improve themselves and it had a beneficial influence on me;  as opportunity came I read with some avidity the current literature Milton, Young, Addison's Essays, Johnson's and such works as fell in my way, but having to open the shop at 7 a.m. and keep open till 10 p.m. did not allow time for much reading, afternoons being slack when I could I availed myself of the opportunity.

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Elections of 1826

The first General election I had seen occurred in 1826 when Birch and Rawcliffe were Candidates (Liberals).  It was noted for the fun, mischief and triumph.  It lasted 11 days.  Each party had a number of "Lambs" and they would mob and if they could try to steal a vote.  The Radicals Spencered, The Tories Ducked, I saw coal tails flying up like kites in the Market Place over a struggle for a vote, and anon a poor fellow would be taken to the Exchange pump.  A load of out-town voters would come driving to the only polling place, there were many burgesses who had gone to France working in the lace trade, these were fetched over to vote and a grand shout there would be when they came rattling in by Coach.  The Liberals won; after the victory splendid ornamental chairs were bought to the Exchange, the members were chaired round the Market Place carried on the shoulders of "Yellow Lambs" accompanied by crowds of their supporters, cheering and shouting until their throats were sore. 

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Trade in 1825

1825 to 1827 - trade being bad my brother took a stall in the Market Place where on Saturday I figured to weight cheese and bacon.  I did a nice little trade, and got a few friends amongst butter-sellers by sundry little civilities.  One substantial farmers daughter invited me to spend the Sunday afternoon with her and her Mother, but my native modesty, or some other cause prevented me accepting the invitation.

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Self Improvement

A small shut up shop in Bridlesmith Gate being to let my brother took it; the amount of business done was small during the next two or three years, I had the best opportunity for improvement I have had at any period.  The artisans library was started in Bridlesmith Gate.  I was the 9th member.  There was a good selection of books and classes etc., Edwin Patchitt, Edmond Hart and Benjamin Hawkridge and other young men and lads were members.  Some of us used to do a bit of the Oratorical business; my weakness was to attempt too many subjects and be thorough in none.  Old E. Hart used to call as he went by to interest me in astronomy.  Then, several young fellows formed a Mutual Improvement Socy., for discussion at the Schoolroom.  One evening the subject was "Gravitation" One of the members was seeking to enlighten us as to its laws, why bodies fell to earth, and to illustrate his theory threw up some snuffers asking why they descended again, just as they came bang on the table the old Deacon came in enquiring what the disturbance was about.  When he learned, his zeal for the Lord's House (Old Vestry) quite upset him and caused him to forbid the use of the Vestry for such purposes, several left the Chapel and became men of some note in after life.  One John Hallam invited us to a nice little summer house in the Park to meet at 7 o'clock, this was of a more theological character, from that little Company a member became a Church Clergyman, another a Baptist Minister, another an Independent Minister and one a Superintendent. 

About this time 1827 to 1829 was my busiest and happiest days in Religious and Social work.  I had been a member at Stoney St., Baptist Church some time, it was in its most prosperous days, young men and some of the leaders would be at the early meetings for Prayer at 7 a.m. on Sundays, School at 9, Service, then tract distributing 12 to 1 o'clock, School in the afternoon, then Service, then Prayer meeting 8 to 9 p.m. and all this after keeping open shops on the Saturday until 12 o'clock; the Congregations were large, we young men had to bring forms in for strangers; every other Sunday we went by twos to Ruddington, Carlton and other Villages to help to start Sunday Schools, all of which are still existing and prosperous.

Some young men members at Stoney St., started a Cricket Club to play for exercise in the mornings, from 5 to 7 on the Meadows.  On one occasion I was batting, the aforesaid old Deacon taking his early morning walk came by book in hand; I in my off hand way said I would give him a catch; it either touched his dignity or his Puritanism or both, for he called on me and told me how sorry he was to see me spending my time in that manner.  He had thought to recommend me to become a Student at the new College, opened at Loughboro' for the General Baptist Ministry, but he could not; he did not like young Christians having anything to do with games, so the Ministry lost a shining light, and one more poor fellow was saved from entering a calling he was unfitted for.

(1826 to 1830) About this time the questions of Slavery and Parliamentary reform and other political questions were being zealous debated.  George Thompson the eloquent Orator, Daniel O'Connor on Repeal, Whittle Harvey on questions general, Denman and Brougham on Defence of Queen Caroline and Reform generally amongst Politicians and Statesmen, are all Dr. Raffle's, Dr. Newton and Dr. Binney amongst Preachers were men whose eloquence when I occasionally heard them charmed me and tended to strengthen my views, as a liberal in Politics and a Believer in Religion.

I heard Dr. Raffles at the opening of Friar Lane Chapel 1828. His fine presence, his splendid voice and intellectual powers were a sensation to me, his text John 111.32. "If I be lifted up will draw all men to me" was I thought the finest Sermon and most striking in delivery I had ever heard, I wrote out a lengthy outline for which a Yorkshire farmer and Wesleyan Local Preacher gave me 2/6.  The first and last bit of Literature I made money by.  Some time after I heard several of a course of Lectures delivered in that Chapel by the Rev. James Gilbert in defence of Christianity, and to meet the objections to and denials of its truth by Carlisle, a popular infidel lecturer; they were able deeply interesting and popular, to me very satisfactory.

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Meeting Anna Speed

An event happened in October 1826 which had very much to do with an influence my after life; the teachers and friends of Sunday School were holding a tea-making, it being the Goose Fair Holidays, being busy I went late, the old Superintendent met me coming in, he said "On my young friend I went you to see two young lady friends of mine home, they live a good distance off".  Before I could reply a fellow teacher said "He has only just come, he shan's go, to send him away is too bad" I was just budding into a young man with a fair share of vanity and gallantry.  I said "I will with pleasure Mr Hutchinson" the ladies heard my friend's objection and said blushingly "Oh, we are not afraid"  "Ladies" I said "if you will allow me I shall have great pleasure in accompanying you".  So away we went to the top of Sherwood St., Mansfield Road being then nearly vacant of Houses.  I had seen the Ladies at Chapel and did not even know their names.  They were the Misses Anna and Eliza Speed.  I found that they like myself had been brought up in the country and had not been long in Nottingham.  I thought them intelligent girls.  During the next 12 months I met Miss Anna the elder who was a very punctual teacher and a member of the Church, we had occasional conversations on the work teaching and the topics of the day.  I found it pleasant to walk and talk about Youngs Milton's and Cowper's poetry etc., etc., etc., and by the next Goose Fair we had insensibly got into that stage of feeling peculiar to that age, which after the usual little quarrels of lovers, ended in our married Oct 2nd 1830.

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Own Business

At the latter end of 1820 arrangements were entered into for me to take over the little business in Bridlesmith Gate, which I had managed for nearly 3 years; I had saved about £50 although I had £15 two years before and £20 two.  My Mother wishing me to remain in Nottingham added £5 as I had an offer of £25 per annum to go to Leeds.  Then I had £50 which fell to my share from my father.  I managed to make a start in a small way, deciding to try for about a year what the result would be before I set up house-keeping.  I took stock September 1830 and found I made £1 per week profit.  I had used the most rigid economy to accomplish even that small sum, I bargained with the old Lady to board and lodge me for 7/- per week I wanted her to put in 3 weeks for 20/- but I could not move her. 


She seemed quite anxious for me to do well, only she did not approve of my marrying a girl without some property.  When I named to my brother William I should like him to be best man he declined, I believe lest he should get into trouble with his old Lady, so we arranged with two friends who had come out of Lincolnshire to Goose Fair, William Wilcocx a son of a very old friend of the family and a Lady who came with him; we had a good and early breakfast at Anna's Mothers in Glasshouse St., Oct 2nd, (Sunday), we met at St. Mary's Church at 9 o'clock, when Mr. Wilkins performed the ceremony.  In my hurry I had omitted to put any money in my pockets, and to the confusion of all could not pay the fees.  Old Parnham the Clerk, being a Customer, said he would call and get a bit of cheese and make it all right.  We went straight to our Sunday School classes, but snug as we had kept it it was all over the Chapel before the day was over.  My young wife and I received many congratulations from friends and especially from Old Daddy Hutchinson, who was very tender in his exhortations, and good wishes for our happiness.  I had taken the shop and house opposite, now called "the Old Arm Chair" kept by an old maiden lady who was about to marry ; she was not quite ready to give up her premises, but let me 2 rooms until she gave up the whole.  To those two rooms we wended our way on Sunday night.  I had to be up early on Monday morning to go into the Fair to buy cheese with my brother William.  I left my young wife with little Edmund Walston in charge of the shop.  I was with my brother William on Smithy Row when my brother Daniel came stealthily behind me and gave me a real eve offering on my behind part.  There, says he, take that you shabby fellow, for not letting me know; I had been annoyed that William objected to go to Church with us and decided to make no fuss or Wedding party at all by the wish of my Bride elect.

The same evening, however, as my brother Daniel was here William and his old lady came on to our supper with him; at supper my young wife was timid, having at our table Mrs. William Goodliffe who had told me I must not expect to have nice puddings and pies if I married such an inexperienced girl, but when the apple pie was cut and tasted.  My brother William was quite gushing in his praise of the excellence of it.  "Yes" I said "it is the first she has made me" I was not a little proud and my wife was pleased and encouraged; we spent a very pleasant evening and the young wife and brother-in-law soon became good friends.

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Developing the Business and the Family

I am afraid I was over anxious about getting a living and paying my way and I was careful almost to meanness.  Trade and business was very bad, requiring great economy, I arranged with a good rich old farmer Mr. Holland the Landlord, to put me in a new front shop, and excavate a cellar;  When it was done the old Gentleman was astonished that I dare have such large panes of glass he was very kind and encouraged us to try and do well.  I pushed out in to the herring trade which was done entirely by the Grocers and Provision dealers in those days 1830 to 1850.  I went to Hull and Yarmouth and extended the trade, we sold some Saturdays about 100 packages; about the later end of 1831 William gave up the business.  I got some of his customers and extended out business; one little incident I may relate showing how we worked:- William Walston and I took to old William Balls at Hyson Green after 9 p.m. a bag of salt, 2 cheese and other articles and to old Fallowells several articles in a higher hand cart; Wollaton St., then Back Lane, was very badly paved, and we did not get home until after 11 p.m. it was hard lines but we meant by God's help to pay our way.

On Saturday October 16th 1831 out first born {Thomas died 1880] entered the stage of life, it was accompanied with great anxiety, little old Dr. Jarman order the greatest care, quiet and attention to be paid to the young Mother, she was very feeble and her head was awful bad, then the baby had a fit, I ran off for the Dr. under the impression that he was dying, but was glad to find evidence of life when I got back.  He soon recovered and the Mother also.  She objected to set up a cradle, did not believe in rocking babies so she made him a bed in the clothes basket.

We began to cure bacon and dried it in the living hanging round the walls, one morning the babe was asleep in the basket on a chair, the mother was behind the counter, she hears the baby squall and a big noise as of a fall, she hastened to the rescue, in her way was a high office stool and a tin 8 to 10 inches high on it.  She walked right over both without knocking them down.  I was in the shop and saw it done, a wonderful evidence of the power of maternal love, I fetched her to look at her achievement, it seemed almost incredible to us both.

A great political event about this time was agitating the country, the question of Parliamentary Reform, the Abolition of the rotten boroughs and the enfranchisement of the large towns.  Bill after Bill had been thrown out of the Lords and Commons, 22 Tories had petitioned against the passing of the Bill.  The Duke of Newcastle, the owner of 7 rotten Boroughs, Nottingham Park and Castle etc., was very unpopular through his obstinacy, declaring he would do as he liked with his own.  Crowds used to meet in the Market place to hear the papers read,  William Eyre, an Auctioneer, used to mount the Exchange pump and with a clear strong voice read Russells Brougham Denmans Hunts and other speeches to the hundreds assembled, the papers were brought by the London and Leeds Express Coach, crowds would run to the Trent Bridge to meet the Coaches that brought the morning papers.  When at last the Lords had thrown out the Bill, after the Commons had passed it, the excitement was at fever heat, a large meeting was held in the Market Place, addressed by Orators who denounced the Lords and the Tories.  The crowd became excited, rushed off to Jack Muster's, Colwick Hall who was one of the 22, singing and shouting and setting fire to the Hall.  The mob came rushing and shouting up Bridlesmith Gate away to the castle.  They soon broke open the old doors, rushed up the steps, broke into and fired the Castle.  The sad conflagration and damage to the tapestry was to be regretted, the damage was assessed at £22,000 which fell on a small part of the County, the Gateway being blocked they broke through the wall, rushed up the old steps and through Standard Hill to Mr. Lowe's Beeston Mill (another of the 22).  The riots were a sad disgrace to the town and were used by the Tories to dishonour the Whiggs, I saw the conflagration from the opposite side at the top of Houndsgate. 

The first Good Friday I was in business I went to Derby taking what bit of money I could spare intending to buy Cheese, when I got there all the Warehouses were closed, I made out where Thomas Goodwin, the head warehouseman lived, called on him, he had a bit of salt about him, after he had listened to my story he said "Come on I have a bit of a dairy that will suit you" He showed it to me and I bought it.  My money held out to pay for it, Old B. Barnes brought it the next day.  It was just the thing and very useful and gave me confidence.

In May 1833 a daughter was announced, a little dark piece of humanity, my eldest daughter, Mary Ann (afterwards wife of Mr. William Eaton and mother of 8 fine grandchildren).

For some time no particular events occurred, we found our business increasing, returns had doubled by 1835.  We began to feel our feet and by great care and perseverance were able to pay our way and save a little.  Whilst diligent in business we did not neglect other duties.  I was able and enjoyed Sunday School work, and various other social duties, political and benevolent object.  In May 1835 another addition to our family, Ellen.  I shall never forget the sad, distressed look of the dear feeble Mother when trying to give the babe its natural food, she found a defect in the roof of its mouth, which prevented it from swallowing and it was nearly choaked, then came the proof of the Mother's wonderful care and untiring effect to rear the little sufferer, which, aided by medical skill, she accomplished, and which when the child grew up she was amply rewarded by the love devotion and energy to promote her parents and family's comfort and good.

I was Treasurer to the nice little new General Baptist Church at Hucknall, and was able to render some little assistance even though times were bad.  Poor stockingers were only earning 8/- to 10/- per week, porters 12/- per week.

In April 1836 Pickering was born, being the 4th in less than 5 years.  The strain upon the Mother was heavy, her energy was taxed to the uttermost.  It was a time of anxiety, 2 unable to walk and no perambulators in those days.

In March 1837 a sad calamity happened, a messenger came running in to say that our dear kind Mother Speed's house was on fire and she was badly burned.  I ran, found it to be true, but old Barnes at first hindered me from entering, pretending there were already too many in.  I had her brought to our house.  We had only the press bed in the sitting room, Dr. Davison wrapped her in cotton wool and did all he could, but after suffering most acutely she dies March 16th 1837.  She had besides my wife the eldest daughter, 4 children, 3 of whom were young; it the house we then lived in there were but 2 bed rooms and an attic, we were 7 in family; the three youngest lived for some time with us, looking back to that time, we marvel how we managed it, it was indeed a season of sore trial.

During the next 2 or 3 years trade was bad, our progress was slow.  In 1840 our stock-taking for the first time reached 4 figure as the result of 10 years trading, for which we were thankful.

March 2nd 1839 our youngest daughter Sarah was born, it was a critical time for both Mother and babe, the Mother's strength had been over-taxed, she was so feeble that Dr. Higginbottom told me the greatest care and attention to prevent a collapse.  She frightened Ann Richards and me delirious, partly induced by old Wm. Shaw's shouting when delivering cheese.  The Dr was most diligent in his attentions and also the nurse, but she was some time before she rallied.  I thank our Heavenly Father that her life was spared.  Our business and family increased, but our premises did not for some time; I was looking out for larger, but was too fearful of expense or I might have bought or taken premises that would have been central and cheap.  This was a busy period of my life, I attempted too much and some things I was not qualified for being urged on by injudicious friends;  besides Sunday School teaching etc., I was elected Deacon and urged to go out into the country villages to take Services for which I feel I have been the gift or thorough devotion.  The one defect of my life has been want of thoroughness, I have sometimes been surprised that I have succeeded as well as I have; It has been partly owing to the good influence my wife has exercised.  In consequence of what we both considered to be a most unchristian action we both decided to leave Stoney St. and worship at Broad Street, where I was pressed to become a Teacher and afterwards Superintendent, which office I held for more than 20 years, and I was also President and Treasurer for many years of the Prayer and Alms Socy.,  In 1843 we took and entered upon the premises now occupied by my son.  We did the best retail business after opening, we steadily increased from 1840 to 1850 from £1087 to £3331 and from 1851 to 1861 from £3829 to over £5000.

In 1839 we bought a garden, we built a summer-house in 1846 we bought "Taffy" both were a source of health and enjoyment, except when the said Taffy came to his knees, or in his mischief turned the wagon over.  In the garden the Mother had some of her happiest hours, cultivating flowers and vegetables.  At this time I devoted a good deal of time to various social and religious work, I was Treasurer for Hucknall New Church, Ruddington School and Lenton.

On the 30th July 1842 out son Fred was born, whose steady uniform life has been a source of comfort to us.  Nurse and General Servant good Ann Richards deserves honourable mention, who nursed the Mother and babe with the steady devotion worthy of praise; our good nieces Sarah and Mary Culpin also, who together for about 10 years of our most anxious period in life were invaluable.  William Walston was a hard working fun loving lad, William Aldridge came when he was not quite 12, he was under nurse etc., to go with the little ones to the garden, he was with us for about 8 years, an honest lad.

October 9th 1844, another daughter Harriet Eliza, a beautiful infant was added to the flock, a sweet dear child living only about 3 1/2 years, a delicate flower gently fading; the first of the family to pass away.  It was to each of us a severe stroke, we have been comforted by the though that of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thomas from his 12th to his 20th year was very useful in book-keeping, travelling for orders, he opened the Derbyshire journey and generally took Lincoln and Newark journey.  When the American trade first opened we pushed out into it somewhere.

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Son Thomas to Australia

In 1850 Thomas was often unwell, I told him to go and consult Dr Gill, and if he advised him to go to Australia to do so, he went, and when he came back said "Father I am going to Australia" I felt stunned but so it came to pass; he went to Melbourne and came back in less than 2 years; he had heard I was lame through an accident, he found I was better and had a full team for business, so he got married and returned and remained about 9 years.  Owing to excessive heat his health had given away, business at Melbourne was bad and his success was not so good as he hoped it would be.

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Political Interludes

During the years from 1850 to 1860 I was a busy radical politician, battles at St. Peter's Church against Church Rates; an ardent supporter of Joe Sturge; occasionally doing a bit of spouting at meetings for Reform; I was elected Chairman of the Completed Suffrage Assn, John Hutchinson being Secretary; In 1857 I was elected to the Town Council, had a tussel with Bashaw.  William Felkin was twice Mayor.  I was Vice-Chairman of the Sanitary Committee for 3 years.  I was complemented on my punctuality and attention to the duties of the office by the worthy William Enfield, Town Clerk.  I gave great offence to the betting men who wanted to establish Spring Races, and spend £300 out of the Rates on the course.  For that and two or three other votes I was voted out by 30 and I felt afterwards I was a coward for not fighting it out, I was an abstainer at that time of briefing and treating, it worked against me, I felt more happy to be out than win by corrupt and unlawful means.

I was elected a Guardian for St. Peter's parish for the first time for nearly 10 years as a Liberal.  I was on the Board 6 or 7 times and took great interest as Chairman of the School Committee for the welfare of the poor children.  I sought and got a great deal of information about the separation of the Children from the adult paupers.  I gave great offence to the old Whigg party by taking the chair and pitching into the said Whiggs for showing the cold shoulder to Lord Amberley.  It was a fine meeting, after the treatment I had experienced from the wire-pullers at the Municipal election, I took less interest in Whigg politics, voting only for the Liberals.

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Move to The Park

Returning to domestic and business matters in and about 1856 to 1859 Sarah and other members of the family being very unwell, Dr Higginbottom said very emphatically, "which do you like best, your children or your money, because if you want your family to be in better health and live they must live out in better air" so I selected a site and built in the Park 1859.

I also took a lease for 21 years on our business premises and effected extensive alterations, costing nearly £1000, it was a great improvement but might have been better.  Thomas returned from Australia in 1851, and in due course because a Partner in the business; which I think we carried on with fair success and comfort; he and his family resided at Bridlesmith Gate and I and my family at the Park.  The house was convenient and commodius having fine views from Belvoir in the east, to the Charnwood on the South West.  The garden for the wife, the avery of birds to the daughters were delights.  We spent 12 enjoyable years  having much enjoyment from the company of visitors and friends, of the former Mr. Matthews and Mr. Salisbury etc., of the latter George Charlton, J. Pollard, Henry Mallett, Edwin Patchitt etc., many a cheerful sing we enjoyed with young friends of our childrens.  Occasionally entertaining men of note, as Baptist Nowell Lord, Samuel Morley, Edward Beales, Carvel Williams etc.

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Marriage of Sarah and Frederick

One of the events of interest was the wedding of our youngest daughter Sarah to William Froggatt and Frederick Arnold to Miss Eliza Swaine; two large rooms were thrown open; William Taylor Confectioner provided the breakfast.  The company consisted of, besides the immediate Wedding party, Alderman and Mrs Swaine, Mr and Mrs. Bennett, Mr Latchmore, Mr and Mrs. William Clark, Mr. Froggatt and the members of our family.  The weddings were at Derby Road Chapel.  A happy day was spent, many good wishes were expressed for the happiness of the young couples.

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Holidays with Thomas Cook

I have omitted giving in due course the very many enjoyable sea-side excursions and visits to other places from time to time we had, for with one or two exceptions we both went.  One of the first was to the Isle of Wight in March 1855.  We spent most of the time at Ryde and Ventnor, when at the latter place one beautiful morning, it was so mild I fell asleep, my head resting on the wife, I slept two or three hours and woke up a new man, stayed a few days and came home like a giant refreshed with new wine.

Another excursion was with Mr. Thos. Cook to Wales the Menai Bridge and Bangor, it was the year when the tubular grand railway bridge was built.  We walked over both to our enjoyment.  Another excursion with Cook as our Conductor was to Ireland the year after the famine, we were struck with the grandeur of Dublin, the grand buildings and fine streets, the Post Office and other  public buildings are very handsome, we went to Glassbevin, saw Daniel O'Connor's tomb, the beautiful Phoenix Park the Dublin Exhibitions and many beautiful objects.  We rode from Dublin to Cork by rail, we saw a number of old Castles and the said evidence of the effects of the famine were visible throughout the journey.  Cork is a busy place, we rose early and went off to Blarney Castle, mounted the tower where the Blarney Stone was pointed out to us, whereof if we kissed it we should be endowed with special gifts of discoursing.  We found the stone two or three courses from the top, the kissing performance could only be achieved by the operator being held by the heels while he leaned over to secure the benefit; having doubts of our power to receive the gift we declined the ceremony.  Leaving Cork we took cars to Bantry Bay which delighted us with its scenery; from Bantray we were driven on to the Kerry mountains, we saw but little of the lakes but enough to show how beautiful they are.  We spent Sunday at Killarney.

Another trip was to Scotland Aug 20th to 30th 1867 the first year after the American war.  J.M. Cook was our conductor, our first run was to Edinburgh, we went to the Carlton Hills, were charmed with the fine buildings and views, we saw Scott's monument, Burns' grave, Grass market, the place where many martyrs suffered; the lofty houses on flats were a new sight to us; we then hied away to Glasgow, saw the Grand Square and Monuments it being more of a Commercial City we did not stay long.  We then took steamer up the beautiful canals through wonderous bright clear water, splendid scenery rising loch after loch.  We visited most of the places of historical interest and spend Sunday at Oban where the wife worshipped by the sea and mountains when I came to her after hearing a distinguished Scotch Divine, I found her in raptures over the most glorious sunset she had ever seen in her life.  Next morning we sailed away to Staffa and Iona, the scenery was grand, we landed at Staffa, crossed the little island to Fingals Cave, we scambled down and entered the cave which was lofty, beautifully ornamented with stalacites.  When the sun shines and the rush and dash of the waves it must be grand, the Company sang a stave of the old hundred; we hastened away to Iona, noted for its ancient ecclesiastical buildings and as the home of the Missionarys to the islands in this part.  After rambling about the island and glancing at its ruins we returned to the steamer, the Company stayed to dine at the Hotel we preferred a quiet walk when tired the wife rested, I determined to climb the mountains.  I started a little before 3, I walked for 2 hours, still the point at which I aimed was in the distance, I found the finest mosses and here and there rare grasses, the solitude and silence were sublime and solemn, never have I experienced anything like it, I came to the lake , the view from the highest point was very extensive, 7 or 8 mountains being in view; I despaired of reaching the summit but saw a point higher I wished to gain but when I walked half an hour I was no nearer so delusive is mountain climbing.  I turned, the shadows of the evening were upon me; I went off at a swinging pace and looked our for points I has noticed in ascending as guides, but soon walked up to the thighs in to a gulley.  I scrambled out, hied back and tried to find the same way down as I came up, after several plunges I saw in the distance the starting point; the Company from the Hotel and the wife waiting for me.  There was a search party who voice had echoed amongst the hills, I answered the shout and was soon beside the faithful wife to receive several lectures for my rash venture-someness.  Many pleasant little incidents occurred in our visit to Scotland and were endeared in my memory.

After our Thomas returned from Melbourne we took yearly trips, going three or four times to the Isle of Man.  The last visit was most interesting, we left home Sep 2nd 1884 accompanied by our own daughter and grand-daughter, Froggatts; went by Liverpool, we spent the afternoon at Pickerings and were pleased with his nice house gardens and greenhouse, took a ride to the docks and over to Birkenhead.  Next morning off to Douglas to Port Erin. We found it a pleasant healthy resort sheltered on the North west by the Bradda Hill, east by the headland and beach, south by the sloping Hills to the Calf of Man.  The sands were limited, the rocks and caves were sheltered from heat and wind; we rambled to Port St. Mary Flistwick Bay, Bradda Head, had several pleasant sails, did a bit of fishing and spent a very pleasant fortnight.  At Peel we inspected the ruins of the Old Castle, an officer told us that the Buildings at one time combined the Ecclesiastical the Military and the Governmental.  The tradition is that St. Patrick was the first to teach Chastity in the Island.

Peel is noted for fish, rocks and scenery, we saw the pretty Glen Hellen.

Four of our most interesting sea-side visits have been to Tenby, South Wales.  The distance is a great draw back, the bay is pleasant, the old Castle Hill with it's ruins, Monuments, Musuem is very attractive, then the fort on St. Catherine's **** accessible at low water; Caldy Island, South of Tenby, one mile distance is a pretty place, and a capital break-water.  There are few places so attractive as Tenby; the sail sound Caldy Island to Pembroke and Milford is also very interesting, yes, we very much enjoyed out visits to Tenby, the town and its inhabitants have a homely character, the Sunday Services, earnest and helpful.

The other sea-side we visited for shorter periods have been Scarborough but it was too bustling and fashionable for our taste we when to Filey, then Bridlington, the latter three times afforded as much enjoyment; twice we went to Redcar and Saltburn.

Many years since we went to Llandudno, enjoyed the walk round the great Orme's head and the beauties of the surrounding neighbourhood.  At another time Rhyl was visited. Another season we spent a short time at Llanfairfechan, quiet and pleasant, making tours to Bangor, and we took a tour towards Snowden by Carnavon.

The chief journey of my life was to Rome.  We saw several of the most celebrated Cities of Italy and were accompanied by Mr. Cook.  I left home March 25th 1878 and joined a party of 40 persons.  I was away a month, but having fully written my impressions of the journey it is unnecessary to refer to it further than to say the time spent was too short to see the wonderful places and objects.

If I am spared another winter I may have more to add to this.

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Last updated: 10/04/2016