Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS15/1
TitleDiary of her visits to Aston, Derbyshire, 9 Jul-1 Aug and to Nottingham 1-8 Aug 1779
Extent1 vol.
DescriptionCatherine Hutton's visit to Aston to stay with maternal relatives was made in the company of her mother and they were joined on the journey from Birmingham by her brother [Thomas]. The entries in the diary contain numerous references to her relatives: her uncle and her cousins, Sally, Fanny and Tom Cocks [sic] with whom she stayed; other cousins who visited, included Betty Clifford and her two children, Maria and Sally and another cousin Janet also arrived from Birmingham to stay. Will and Kitty Peach from Langley, an aunt and uncle, are referred to as 'a couple of awkward rustics'.

Catherine records in considerable detail her daily routines and includes information about times of rising and going to bed, her health, taking of meals, the weather, attendance at church, her hand sewing and knitting work, the many local walks she took and the letters she received and wrote. She writes vividly about the people she came into contact with and her comments are sometimes acerbic: Fanny Prior, a neighbour who came to tea, is described as `a rosy, jolly good humoured old maid'; and a couple by the name of Charles `he a cypher, she very pert and conceited, but both strong methodists and extremely righteous'. She also describes social events and outings, including a visit to Dunnington Park and a trip on the River Trent with Mr Shuttleworth [rector of Aston] and a Mr Collier, whose attentions are regularly noted throughout her stay. She received invitations to dine, for example, from Mr Shuttleworth and from the Greaves family, and she records in her diary detailed descriptions of the food consumed.

She also writes and comments about the books she reads. She was invited to borrow books from library of Mr Shuttleworth :'I laid violent hands on a volume of Scarron's works, as he is an author I have often heard of, but never read'; 'read some of Swift's letters to Stella in which there is a great deal of nonsense and some wit'

On 31 July, Mrs Hutton left for Birmingham and on 1 August, Catherine and her brother left Aston for Nottingham, where they stayed with Mr and Miss Newham. On the first evening, they went for a walk along the meadows to the Trent and she comments on the fashion for 'genteel people' to take a walk in comparison to Birmingham where 'one may walk till one is weary and not see a Christian above a journeyman draper or mantua maker'. There she visited a race course to watch horse racing and went to a playhouse to see a play: 'the performers are some tolerable, some good'.
She also comments on the various gentlemen who paid her attention. Mr Eaton, whom she had previously met on a stage coach from Leicester to Nottingham 'laid violent hands on me in the cellar, drank matrimony to me at table, promised to follow us to Matlock...' The romantic attentions of Mr Newham clearly began to pall: he 'watches me so closely that I can hardly even dress or do anything that excludes him' and on her last day they 'almost quarrelled because I would not take his arm'. At the end of the daily entries are a series of accounts relating to the period of the diary and they record itemised expenditure on goods and services ranging form transport costs to ribbon, peppermint drops and mending her shoes
Access StatusOpen
Custodial HistoryThe inside cover of this little diary bears the name of Thos Sumner, Birmingham and a note, presumably in his hand, that it is the `Diary of Miss C. Hutton, daughter of Wm Hutton - Historian of Birmingham. According to a note on the envelope in which the diary was contained, Sumner wasa descendant of the Hutton family; and on Sumner's death the diary was given to Percival Hinton, an antiquarian book and manuscript collector from Sutton


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