Agricultural notebook, Hopton Park, Shropshire

Scope and Content

This manuscript has been kept by three scribes at the same property, Hopton Park in Shropshire, for over a century. There is little evidence of overlap but there is interaction on paper, especially from the third scribe. Scribe 1 writes circa 1699-1706 (9 pages), after which there is a gap of some 45 years before scribe 2, whose tenure covers 1752-1795 (15 pages). Interspersed is scribe 3, circa 1800-1830 (13 pages). The manuscript begins with terse agricultural notes: "8 Swine sold at Ludlow fair before Christmas 1702"; "1 Bullock near to 6 years old of my own rearing yt had been feeding from aftermath 1701. killed at xmas 1702 Hide sold for 20s." And incongruously "--(?) Shakespeare Ed. Fol. 1632. Rt. Allot" (Curiously, only Allot is mentioned). Scribe 3 annotates: "worth only 2s 1823." Shortly after comes the first abrupt change in style and subject matter. Scribe 3 sketches a plan for a common-place book: "Religion ... History ... Languages ... Geology ... Ornithology ... Botany ... Classical Lit ... Nat:l History &c". This impulse towards self-improvement is short-lived, however as only a few pages are completed. Scribe 2: "Dr Eveleigh in his Sermons gives antiquity for St Pauls preaching in Britain & ---(?) St Peter having ever being been at Rome". Annotated (scribe 3): "His 8th Sermon on Natural Philos? as confirming Revelation". At the opposite end scribe 2 records several purchases from a Richard Prince who has a knack for finding stray animals, which are often later claimed e.g. "1755 April 19th. Richard Prince brought a bay mare here, an Estray." -- "Monday ye 21st. one Christofer Meak of the Parish of Pipe near Hereford came here & swore to the Mares being his property & took her away paying 4 shillings"). Prince makes further appearances e.g. [June 1758] "an estray sheep" was claimed "in a day or two by L--d Oxfords sheepherd, & taken away paying Prince 8d." Scribe 2 records what appear to be retrospective notes: "In the beginning of the year 1756 sold to Mr Knight of Bringewood at 10s. a cord ^4ft wood"; "October 27th 1791. Set the Heath pool running, ... we then took about 200 carp ... till next morning when we took rather above 400 more ... I disposed of the carp nearly as follows - Pool below orchard 247 / Island Pool in the Pigeon-house Close - 80 ..." Notes are continued by scribe 3 "1820 the Carp were in the finest order from 6 to 7lbs each".

Access Information

Open for research although at least 24 hours advance notice should be given.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Dean Cooke Rare Books Ltd.

Geographical Names