Memoranda and expenses book of Rev. Seth Ellis Stevenson, rector and headmaster ofRetford, Nottinghamshire, 1760-1777

Scope and Content

Seth Stevenson meticulously recorded his expenses and activities in this account book, coveringthe period 1760-1777. Gardening achievements, climate, visits and professional activities arerecorded in sections headed 'Memoranda' while columns of 'Household Expenses' record what he spenton food, drink, coal, clothing and servants. Although the volume lacks the subjective and personalcomments that private diaries often contain, a vivid picture of the life of this radical cleric cannevertheless be formed from his accounts and memoranda.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Rev. Seth Ellis Stevenson was the son of Helen Ellis and the Rev. Henry Stevenson (fl1708-1748), the headmaster of East Retford Grammar School (now King Edward VI School) from 1708until his death. Seth Stevenson was educated at Peterhouse and in 1748 succeeded his father asheadmaster of the school. He was ordained deacon in the same year and became a priest in 1751, andrector of the church at Treswell, Nottinghamshire. Stevenson was a keen gardener and supplementedhis income through horticultural enterprises. He was involved in the development of the ChesterfieldCanal, frequented the local branch of John Wilkes' Free and Independent Club and was the secretaryof a circulating library. He remained headmaster of the school until his death on 17 July 1793.


The volume is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make any published use of the volume must be sought in advance inwriting from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email The Department willtry to assist in identifying copyright owners but this is often difficult and responsibility forcopyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishing to publish.


Custodial History

The volume was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Library from E.W. Williams.

Related Material

  • Wigan Library: Diary of Rev. Seth Ellis Stevenson's Diary, 1752-1755.


  • A history of King Edward VI Grammar School Retford, A. D. Grounds, 1970, R. Martin and Co(Worksop)