Memorandum book of Thomas Standbridge of Water Orton

Scope and Content

The front cover of the volume is inscribed ‘Memorandum book 1861. Thomas Standbridge Junior, Water Orton’. The volume covers are green parchment with marbled end papers; clasp missing

The first page is inscribed, ‘Thomas Standbridge Junior, February 4th 1861’

The next entry reads: ‘I intend to use this book as a memorandum of the gardening operations carried out in my garden at Water Orton in the County of Warwick. The ground on which I made my garden was given to me by my kind grandfather, Thomas Aspinall, gent, who lives at Water Orton; and by the united kindness of my said grandfather, my father and my wife’s father George Turner Esq, I have been enabled to build myself a pretty Gothic cottage, the architect of which was Mr Thomas Naden Junior, of Birmingham and the builder Mr Samuel Briggs of the same place and I have every reason to be satisfied with them. The cost of my cottage when finished will be about £500. Thomas Standbridge Junior, February 5th 1861’

Pages 1-2

‘The names of fruit trees which I have planted in my garden at Water Orton and numbered respectively.’ There follows a list of 25 named varieties of pear, apple, plum and cherry trees with numbers, type (‘Pyramid’, ‘Standard’, and ‘Dwarf wall trained’) and month

Pages 2-3

Standbridge records the names of fruit trees given to him by his brother, Walter, and his father, and describes where they are planted. His fruit trees were planted immediately after the severe frost that lasted five weeks, the worst frost since 1813. He numbered the apple and pear trees with zinc labels

2 Feb: Planted 25 briars

6 Feb: Silvester planted a row of ash trees given to Standbridge by his father, and he describes where they were planted

Pages 3-4

15 Feb: Silvester planted peas and pod beans (named varieties)

25 Feb: Silvester planted a bed of parsnips. Standbridge and his wife moved into the cottage and she was pleased with it. He planted snowdrops, primroses and crocuses. On the first night at their cottage they had Standbridge’s father, parents-in-law and Mr and Mrs Richard Hill to supper

26 Feb: Silvester planted box edging from Standbridge’s father’s old residence, The Hollies. Standbridge came home on the 3.50pm train and enjoyed roast beef for supper, the first piece of meat they have cooked in their house

Pages 4-5

6 Mar: Silvester planted a pear tree and cut the hedge

7 Mar: Silvester made a herb bed and planted rhubarb

8 Mar: Standbridge sowed mustard and cress

8-14 Mar: Silvester spread two truckloads of cinders on garden walks

14 Mar: Mr and Mrs Turner were guests at dinner and Mat [Matthanah, his wife] went for a walk to Farthing Castle

Page 6

16 Mar: Silvester made an asparagus bed and sowed onions

18 and 19 Mar: Silvester planted ash and mountain ash trees to form a summer arbour, and planted violets

20 Mar: ‘Wet and nothing to do in the garden’

23 Mar: Standbridge and Silvester planted potatoes, lettuce, onions, shallots, and some ornamental shrubs (named)

Pages 6-7

1 Apr: Silvester planted peas (named variety), new sprouting broccoli and cottagers’ kale and Huke potatoes. He planted more potatoes on 8 and 9 Apr

9 Apr: Harriet Rollason visited the Standbridges

Pages 7-8

After a gap of five and a half years, the next entry is dated 21 Nov 1866: Bowcutt (described as Standbridge’s man) planted pear trees, and there follows a list of named varieties and their fruiting time

Pages 8-9

After a gap of 16 months, the next entry is 14 Feb 1868, and comprises a list of named varieties of fruit and rose trees planted by Standbridge at Orton Cottage, Water Orton

18 Feb: Purchased an orange and white setter bitch for £2.10s whose sire won two prizes at Birmingham Dog Show

Pages 9-10

19 Feb: Bowcutt washed bottles to bottle Burgundy, and Standbridge tapped his 1864 vintage Burgundy

21 Feb: Bowcutt planted peas and six standard roses on the lawn

25 Feb: Carried 14 dozen bottles to the cellar and bottled more Burgundy. They dined on the last pheasant of the season

Pages 10-11

During the course of March, he sowed German flower seeds in pots, sowed onions and carrots, he sat the hen on 13 eggs (this entry is written three times on different dates), and grafted a number of apples and plums

8 May: Standbridge bought two 14-week-old pigs at 26/- each

The remainder of the volume is blank apart from manuscript page numbering to 50

Conservation work was undertaken in Jan 2015 to reattach loose pages into the volume