The Journal of John Bargus Yonge

A view of the garden at Puslinch in Victorian times

A Victorian Diary

 The extracts below are from the diary of John Bargus Yonge, the original of which is held at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office 1274/4

 John Bargus Yonge  was the first son of John Yonge and Alethea Henrietta Bargus, to reach adulthood. He was born in 1821and died in 1877. In 1848 he married Cordelia Hay, which is interesting, in the light of the references to two other ladies in the Diary.

 The diary entries are written on the right hand pages and on the left hand pages are  contained details of the temperature and wind speed and direction and barometric pressure for each day. There might be up to five days covered on a page.

Rather than punctuation marks, dashes are used for pauses in the diary. To aid comprehension, conventional punctuation is used in this transcription.

 In the original, a new month is headed with the name of that month but for clarity, in this transcription the month has also been inserted after each date

 The Diary starts on July 1842 and continues without a break up to 18th January 1843. Then from then until 20th September 1843, merely the weather details are recorded. The diary resumes on the 20th September 1843 until the 7th October 1843. The entries in this period are scrawled and are confined to brief factual references. After 7th October there are no further diary or weather entries although there are plenty of pages left in the A5 size exercise book.

The diary although only dealing with domestic trivia, gives a wonderful insight into the life of a leisured young man of an English gentry family in the middle of the 19th century.

Friday June 1st Read in the arbour all the morning, a very interesting work which goes by the name of Hookes Roman History. I then went down to the river with a fly but the day was very bright and the water clear. I only captured one trout and that by his stomach. At 5.00 I started with Anne for ride towards Plymouth in hopes of meeting my father and Mary who were to bring out John Crawley. We did not reach Plymouth or meet them. A little send came on as we started but by night all was clear and bright, we rode home by Yealmpton. Graham, Cordelia and Jane called and informed us that Edmund had small pox.

Saturday 2nd July Read all the morning, rode at 3.00 with Crawley round to Kitley, Ashcombe and Rounds Nest. James Mudge rode here, Zachery and his wife called here on their way to the north. 23 perch [27lbs].

Sunday 3rd July Rode to Newton at 10 with Crawley. A fine morning, rain about 4. Mrs Harris a daughter.

Monday 4th July Out fishing, no sport. Crawley rode to Plymouth, Colborne and Yealmpton party dined. Rain left off about 2 p.m. 26 perch [20 lbs].

Tuesday 5th July Fished all morning. Crawley, Polten, Mary and Francis drove to Cornwood. Dined at Kitley with Crawley.

Wednesday 6th July Capt Y drove Anne and Frances into to see Van Amburgh. I was ill – the rest went back to Newton by water. Arthur walked out

Thursday 7th July I rode to Kitley, Mrs Anne Crawley and Arthur walked there. Jane Colborne came back with us. I walked back with her.

Friday 8th July Total eclipse of the sun, at five in the night. All hands tried to wake me but I held out manfully. I rode into Vann, A very stupid. Saw Tawney Woolcombe, Crawley and Alethea. Drove back by way of Plympton. Frances Colborne went back to Sandhurst by steamer.

Saturday 9th July went out fishing, good sport, wetted to the shins, slept all afternoon. 16 trout.

Sunday 10th July Rode to Newton, Father went to Exeter by the mail, I walked up and saw him off.

Monday 11th July Out fishing, John Morshead and Lady Rother called, Capt, Y in the evening. 8 trout.

Tuesday 12th July John Colborne came over to breakfast. I rode to Kitley. Jane Colborne in bed with smallpox. Duke and Charles Alethea and Jane came over at 9.00 p.m.

Wednesday 13th July Out fishing, rode to Newton. Father taken ill in church. Elizabeth Colborne and Yealmpton party walked here in evening. Eight trout.

Thursday 14th July Duke and I pulled down in ye boat. Walked to Kitley. Uncle and Aunt dined. Walked to Aschombe.

Friday 15th July Went down to be weighed, I was 144. Tythes day, Mama left. Walked up to Parsons Heddon. Graham had the small pox.

Saturday 16th July Dined at Yealmpton, out fishing, let out the reservoir 5 trout

Sunday 17th July Walked to Newton and back.

Monday 18th July Rode to Plymouth, called at Kitley. Cordelia caught the small pox, home early.

Tuesday 19th July Read all the morning. Mr Bogue dined. I pulled down the river.

Wednesday 20th July I was ill with the small pox. I stayed at home, went out fishing. Hard rain on the moor and a flood, 2 trout.

Thursday 21st July Father breakfasted at Kitley. I was in bed all day. Mrs Pode spent the day. The scene drawn.

A typical entry on the left hand page for this day reads “(temp) 64 b 29-9-1, showers and cloudy. wind changed SW NW”. He states elsewhere that the thermometer was placed indoors in a northerly aspect.

Friday 22nd July Knights came, cricket and archery.

Saturday 23rd July John Colborne breakfasted. E. Hurst called. Out fishing. I rode with Alethea and Anne to call on the Hawkers. 7 trout I perch.

Sunday 24th July Walked to Newton and back.

Monday 25th July All hands went to Harford, I fished, got home at 10.00 p.m. Caught 23 trout.

Tuesday 26th July Fr Yonge and J. Crawley came to breakfast. Cavern lighted. Mudge dined, walked with Jane Mudge.

Wednesday 27th July I was ill with small pox, stayed at home, the rest went down the river.

Thursday 28th July All hands turned out picnicking, fished in the sea, no sport.

Friday 29th July I rode with Alethea to Plymouth before breakfast. Des Brisay's Holberton’s, May’s, Liddle’s dined here.

Saturday 30th July Out fishing, read all ye morning, bought some flies. Porty called. Crawley left us, hurrah!!!!! I trout

Sunday 31st July Walked to Newton and back.


Monday 1st August Harvest began. May came over and stayed all day. I shot five magpies, Hawkers drank tea. Graham and John Colborne came as two Indians

Tuesday 2nd August Out fishing, all ladies went to a picnic at Staddon Heights, Plymouth regatta, one perch one trout.

Wednesday 3rd August I was in bed again, rode in evening to Newton and drove home.

Thursday 4th August Bought a new grey horse and fishing rod. Cut the spaniels tails, one died. I worked at the arbour. Fortescue’s came.

Friday 5th August Out fishing, picnic at Kitley, pulled down the river, Philpott’s at Kitley, liked them particularly Caroline. 3 perch

Saturday 6th August Pulled downriver and took 16 wasps nests.

Sunday 7th August Walked to Newton and back.

Monday 8th August H. Roe and E. Hunt spent the day. I rode to Beechwood with Alethea. Corn carried.

Tuesday 9th August Philpotts came, we and G.E. and J.C. Colborne walked to the Rounds Nest and dined at 6.00 and went down to weigh and to sing. I conjured till 11 ½.

Wednesday 10th August Hard rain no going out. I drove to Newton. Phillpots walked to Kitley with some of the Colborne’s. Played and sang in the evening.

Thursday 11th August Duke Jane and Anne went down on the river before breakfast and took in Graham and Cordelia. Went down again to be weighed. Walked to Kitley with the Phillpots. Took a singing lesson. Spent the evening with the Mosley's and pulled home by water.

Friday 12th August Began Italian with Alethea before breakfast. Cordelia and Jane came during dinner. I rode to Kitley on Manger. Saw poor little Caroline off. Rode, [Decima] on my knee or ye horses neck.

Saturday 13th August Up at seven, and at Italian, painted. Rode to Modbury with Jane and Anne. Walked to Yealmpton with Alethea and had a long conversation about our friends.

Sunday 14th August Walked to Newton and back, very hot, pretty nearly roasted.

Monday 15th August Went out fishing in the sea with Duke and caught 33 fish, got home at 11 at night. Met Colonel Philpots, General L’Estrange and all the Kitley party. Capt. Yonge slept.

Tuesday 16th August Cordelia came to breakfast, Duke and I drove to Sandwell, Capt Yonge left us at 5 a.m. We slept at Sandwell.

Wednesday 17th August Capt Yonge drove us to Paignton. We started from Sandwell at 7 and reached Puslinch at 9 ½. The rest went to Newton by water.

Thursday 18th August Sketched before breakfast, read until two, pulled down the river with Duke and Anne., all the maidens went to the Hawkers, took five wasps nests

Friday 19th August Worked in Milance bottom then the pond begun, rain, worked all afternoon at the pond. Alethea and Jane walked to Lyneham. Emily Northcote called. The Crescent party went back to Mount Edgcombe. Mrs Mason caught a perch.

Saturday 20th August I was ill, walked to Kitley and Lyneham with Caroline and Pearl. Isabella had a fall off a horse on the way. Dined at Kitley, Caroline was there.

Sunday 21st August Hard rain, walked to and from Newton. I was a little better.

Monday 22nd August Had a letter from Walter, answered it, read till 2, worked in [Milancers]. Uncle and James Colborne came down to us. James had a spill, James left Beechwood and I came to Kitley.

Small ink sketch of a palm? tree appears here

Tuesday 23rd August All went to Plymouth but Anne, Francis and I. I read Harold the Dauntless, and I liked it. I walked down through the woods by the water; I shot a magpie and a crow.

Wednesday 24th August Duke, Anne and Jane took the boat down to Hannover Green before breakfast. Read Italian with Alethea. Went to Newton by water.

Thursday 25th August Chancellor Martin breakfasted. Went on to the Visitation. I rode to Plymouth Mr and Mrs Bogue and Mudge’s came for the day. I read all the evening.

Friday 26th August Father slept in Plymouth. I went with the [Barnes] to [Ryelands]. Went out to look for vermin, shot 2 jays, 1 magpie. The rest went sketching on the opposite side, I pulled over to them.

Saturday 27th August I rode to Bovisand with the Colborne’s to see the Phillpots off to Ceylon, poor little Caroline shed many tears, Isabella bore it better. Why did she hold my hand so long and tell me not to forget her? What meaning was contained in her last look???

Sunday 28th August Walked to and from Newton, fancy I saw John Mitchell from the hills.

Monday 29th August Lighted the Stainburghs, took 11 wasps nests, Cordelia, Graham and Jane Colborne came to breakfast.

Tuesday 30th August Duke and Charles went back to Corfe Martin, walked down through the woods with Elizabeth, Graham and Cordelia Colborne.

Wednesday 31st August Walked down to the Stainburghs, I started at 1.p.m. by the Defiance for Sandwell, dined, walked with Sarah Anne to Leigh Bridges.


Thursday 1st September Up at 3!!!, had breakfast, Sarah up, M. Burris came, hard rain and went to bed. Up and out at 8. Shot 12 brace and a hare and 2 rabbits, home by 8.00. [S. A.] sang most beautifully Katts Mavournin.

Friday 2nd September Up at 5 ½, Mr. Tucker breakfasted, Sarah up [and made team], home by 3, tired to death, shot 3 ½ brace, walked with Sarah union!!!.

Saturday 3rd September Up a6, home by 3, shot 2 ½ brace. Dined at four and I started at 6 by Northparish. Aunt and Uncle Ed walked up to see me off. Home at 9.00.

Sunday 4th September Rode to Newton and home rather sleepy all day and who did I dream of in church???

Monday 5th September Uncle Ed rode down from Sandwell. I started at 9, shot 7 brace, 6 hares. Mr. Roe lent me his dogs. Home at 8.00, found [Poctoy’s] at tea.

Tuesday 6th September Capt Harris came to shoot, we shot 10 brace. Mr Fortescue and Mr Glenross dined. Mr.G slept, poor shot.

Wednesday 7th September out shooting with Uncle Ed, shot 5 brace. I wrote to Auntie Ed and their puppy went. Mr A slept

Thursday 8th September Uncle Ed breakfasted at Kitley, went out shooting at 1 ½, shot 4 rabbits and a hare, sent Duke and Charles a basket of game to Winton.

Friday 9th September Capt. Harris cam out shooting with Uncle Ed and me. We shot 3 brace and ½. We dined at Kitley, Alethea, Jane and Mary dined at Beechwood. I heard from Auntie Ed.

Saturday 10th September Uncle Ed went after breakfast, I read all ye morning Uncle and Auntie Seaton called with Graham Colborne. I was in Mylance all evening. Mr and Miss Johns came in the evening.

Sunday 11th September Rain, rode to Newton and back. Walked to Kilnpark with Anne and Jane.

Monday 12th September Read all the morning. Rode to Yealmpton and called on the Des Brisay's. walked down to the pond.

Tuesday 13th September Called at Kitley. Uncle and Aunt Seaton, James and Jane started for Exeter. I rode and called at Wydey with Alethea, saw Miss Story, Elizabeth, Cordelia, Ed Graham, dined here, and slept, we walked to Torr.

Wednesday 14th September I walked down to [Kitley] read, dined at Beechwood, got home by 12.00, in a very downright stupid party. Jane Mudge very affected, Colonel Mudge asked me to shoot with him on Thursday, I made a rather shuffling excuse I am afraid.

Thursday 15th September Duke Yonge came to breakfast. I read, I went out shooting, Jane Mudge rode over (I suppose to see me if otherwise why did she ask for m?) and spent five or six hours. I had a letter from Captain Hamilton saying he could not come to shoot on Monday. Elizabeth and Cordelia Colborne slept here to night. Anna and Emily Mulbacks come to stay tomorrow. I hope their visit will be short for I expect [Anne Bennett] to join me for a visit here soon and I hope they will be gone before she comes. Few people do I care for.

Friday 16th September Rode with James and Anne to Cornwood, walked with the Fortescue’s down to the pond, then Johns went down the river, then Mallocks came at 9.00 Had a letter from Walter.

Saturday 17 September Read all morning. I think Mrs Ellis a very clever person and what she says is perfectly true. walked round Kitley Point. Colborne came over, walked with us.. Emily and Helen Northcote who called. Papa all day in bed. I write to Duke and Mrs Nevesa asked for leave to fish.

Sunday 18 September No service in the morning at Newton. Alethea, Emily, Anne Mallock and I walked to Yealmpton. Alethea and I walked home to dinner. We find that three of our hives had been taken.

Monday 19 September Men sent off in pursuit of the bees, no fishing. I read until 2. Emily Alethea, and Jane walked to Lyneham, with them Northcote’s. Colborne’s and I walked down through the woods with my gun. We sang in the evening.

Tuesday 20th September Brewing, letters from Charles. Elizabeth and Cordelia spent the day and slept. I dined at Mrs [R]ogers home at 1 0’clock, a pleasant gentlemen’s party. Uncle and Aunt Seaton arrived. Mrs Adams died. First fire.

Wednesday 21st September Elizabeth and Cordelia went home to breakfast. I read all morning and walked down to the woods with my gun. The other people walked to Brixton and called on Mrs Collinsplat.

Thursday 22nd September Read all morning, put up some mows in Heddon Wood for the pheasants. Picked up young Brookings half dead on the bridge.

Friday 23rd September Read, went to Mrs Adams funeral at 3.00 p.m. about 200 people. Mr and Mrs Collinsplat arrived about 6.00.

Saturday 24th September Went to Rylands Mead. Put up a mow for the pheasants in Parsons Heddon.

Sunday 25th September Rode to Newton and back, two funerals and a christening.

Monday 26th September All the party went to Kitley for the day. I heard from Charles. I read. Mr and Mrs Otenham called. I put up 3 mows for the pheasants. Conjured.

Tuesday 27th September Read. Emily and Anna Mallock left us at 12 p.m. Emily and Agnes Northcote called and walked with Alethea and me. We called on the Northcote's and Holberton's. Fortescue’s came in the evening.

Wednesday 28th September Papa and I breakfasted at Kitley, rode to Newton, read, dined at Kitley, met Graham Moore, Mudge's, Featherstone Haw, Duke Yonge’s and Capt Bond. Home at 11.00.

Thursday 29th September Read, father unwell, went out shooting at 11 a.m. shot 4 partridges, the rest went to Hannover Green with the Colborne’s and G. More. I had a bad headache all ye evening.

Friday 30th September Much better, read. Papa, Alethea and Anne went to Plymouth. Looked all the evening in ye garden.


Saturday 1st October Out shooting until 2, worked in the garden. Elizabeth, Cordelia, Jane and Graham walked here, Alethea and I walked back with them, I was unwell in the evening.

Sunday 2nd October Still unwell, rode to Newton. papa commenced the Lords supper on the first Sunday of every month. A christening and a funeral. Ad hoc tempere bere beateque vivendi zationem incindere statuo miserese domino.

Monday 3rd October Walked to [Milmay] Park with Papa. Fortescue’s called. Read, lighted the fire, Colborne’s called.

Tuesday 4th October Read about the fire, Alethea and I dined at Major Northcote’s, met Mrs I Bulstead, Col Symons [Mrs. Roger-Lanes], got home at 11 ½.

Wednesday 5th October Read, Mrs Hunts and Anthony’ called, Jane and Cordelia walked with us to Newton and Aunt Edmund came about 7 o’clock.

Thursday 6th October Out shooting at Newton Downs, Duke Yonges, Colborne, Capt Bond dined, Graham [and Chermides behind very badly, I think they were lushy.

Friday 7th October Out shooting at Boughton and Collaton, good sport, 8 pheasants, grand preparations for the wedding.

Saturday 8 October Rode into Puslinch with Uncle Edmund. Papa Alethea, James and Mary went in the carriage. Alethea and Duke married Captain Bond, six bridesmaids, forty people. A good breakfast after the wedding. At 12 p.m. Capt Bond took it as coolly as a person well could. Dined with Captain Yonge at Kitley.

Sunday 9th October Rode to Newton, Uncle and Aunt Ed went to Yealmpton.

Monday 10th October Out shooting, had James Colborne, dull. Had very bad sport, walked down to the pond with Anne.

Tuesday 11th October Out shooting at Heddon, very good sport, 11 pheasants in the nursery, walked down to the pond.

Wednesday 12th October Walked down to the pond and looked to see if pheasants all safe. Walked to Newton and back. Aunt C slept.

Thursday 13th October Uncle and Auntie Ed went to Plymouth. I walked down to the pond, started by the Mail at 7 o’clock. Colborne walked to Ashcombe with us. Lopes and Mrs Walker in the coach.

Friday 14th October breakfasted at Castle. Had £50 given me. Started at 12 by the Eclipse, arrived in Oxford at 9. Sewell made sub rector.

Saturday 15th October Called on [ea sons] wrote home, walked with Walter, wined with Walter.

Sunday 16th October Walked with Walter Prior [Chessisinden] wined with Hodge.

Monday 17th October Breakfasted with Walter, read all day, played at billiards, supped with Dick.

Tuesday 18th October Breakfasted at home in our common room, paid [Dickeson Purdue], walked with Goring. Wined with Walter and read.

Wednesday 19th October Breakfasted with Walter Cowburn came, called on him and walked with him and Walter, wined with Turner, put on Cowburn for a claim.

Thursday 20th October Breakfasted with Grant, met Hume, read with Cowburn first time, read all the evening, wined with Dick.

Friday 21st October Breakfasted with Walter, Shadwell came, read all day, wined with no one, read, [Masquerenne] came to tea.

Saturday 22nd October Breakfasted at home, went to Cowburn, read, I had work, [Colson Ainscoe] dined with us, wined with Walter.

Sunday 23rd October Wrote letters, breakfasted with Cowburn, walked with Walter, wined with Turner.

Monday 24th October Read all the afternoon, wined with the rector, asked me about Ed Colborne.

Tuesday 25th October Breakfasted with Walter and walked with Adam, wined with Dickson, had oysters in my room for Walter and Fortescue’s when they came from Whithy.

Wednesday 26th October Breakfasted with Walter and Fortescue’s, I rode with Wood, wined with Adams and Wood.

Thursday 27th October Breakfasted with Walter, read, had tea in his room.

Friday 28th October Breakfasted in Walter’s room, read all day.

Saturday 29th October Breakfasted with Chernside read, Cowburn gave us a couch at night, the Frenchman came, played at whist, talked till two.

Sunday 30th October Breakfasted with Walter, walked with him up Headington and wood. The Frenchman dined with us, wined at Walter’s, tea with Botcherby.

Monday 31st October Breakfasted at home, read, walked down to the river, wined with Adam, stayed up till 12 at whist.

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