Charlotte Bridgeman's Journals

February 1846 - January 1857

Lady Charlotte Bridgeman's journals

Transcribed by Marianne van Dael - van Zelm Zwern

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Selected period: December 1854

Weston   1854, December 2

Mr. Wrottesley went away & Lady Suffield. We are all better with the desire to do something for the poor soldiers in the Crimea & hearing that Lord Wilton, Lord Ellesmere & some others are fitting out a yacht with warm clothing & other comforts, which is to start in a fortnight, we have all frantically begun knitting muffetees & comforters, have written to ask several people to do the same & Lady B. has been buying flannel for the schools to make up & stockings to be knitted. In the afternoon we went to Blymhill, Selina & I in the ponycarriage & Lucy, Alice & the boys riding. We also called on some of the farmer's & tried to interest their womankind to contribute too. Some have promised us some trifles. Newport hunting at Chillington.

Weston   1854, December 3

Sunday. George came after afternoon church.

Hawkestone   1854, December 4

George went away. We drove Alice to Broseley where she remains while we are at Hawkstone. We all separated for the Hawkstone coming of age gaieties. Papa, Lady B., Lucy & Letty went to Acton Reynald for it & I went with the Newports to Hawkstone. The party here are, Lord & Lady Vane, Lord & Lady Cosmo Russell, Lady Powis, Lucy & Harriet Herbert & Lord Powis, Mr. & Lady Sarah Cholmondeley, 2 Miss Hills (Colonel Frederic Hill's daughters), Colonel Forester, Mrs. Lloyd & Mr. Sydney. I think that is all. Lord & Lady Dartmouth were to have come, but were prevented by wooping cough.

Hawkestone   1854, December 5

The day. Were down to prayers at 9, breakfast directly after & off at 10 to make a tour of villages, to see decorations & receive addresses &c. Lord Hill & his two sons, Newport & some other gentlemen riding headed our procession. Lady Hill, Lady Vane, Selina & Lady Powis were next in a barouche & 4, then the 2 Herberts, Lord Cosmo Russell & I in another barouche & 4 with Lord Powis & Mr. Sydney on the box & Lord Vane's drag followed with all the other ladies & gentlemen except Lady Cosmo who remained at home. The first place we stopped at was at Weston under Red Castle, where the arches, flags &c &c were beautiful & Mr. John Hill read an address to which Mr.Hill & Lord Hill both replied in short but pretty speeches & we proceeded to Wem, where the carriages from Acton Reynald fell in with our procession & the trium- phal arches, flags, bells, addresses, replies & cheers went on as before, on a larger scale. From there we preceeded to Lea Bridge where the same ceremonies were gone through (& the Acton Reynald carriages went home) & to various other places, our posters keeping up grandly with Lady Hill's greys & Lord Hill's hand gallop, till within 2 places, when we came to grief in a lane where the drag could not pass us, a trace having broke. Lady Hill waited for us till it was mended, but did not see that as we started off it broke again & before we could start again the greys were out of sight & as no one in either carriage knew either where we were going, or if we had, which was the way to it, we naturally went wrong. Nobody heeded my remonstrances when we passed a lane which only I had seen the greys turn up, so we went on & on for a mile or two till the Wrekin looked very near & then a man in the road was asked where we were going & told us straight to Wellington! So as it was useless to think of joining the others again, we agreed to make the best of our way back home, in hopes of finding they had not quick finished luncheon & started on their further peregrinations without us. We were not so very long home after them as we had fortunately taken the quickest way, though we had lost considerable time in turning round, which was impossible without taking the leaders off both carriages & even then a service of danger, as the road was very narrow & had deep ditches on both sides. We enjoyed our drive immensely, all the demonstrations were so pretty & so touching & so much good feeling shown (and Lord Hill fully merits any amount of esteem & affection & loyalty from everybody round him, I felt almost as if it was doing to some one belonging to me). The day was showery, but it always cleared at the right moments. Lord Cosmo kept us all in fits of laughing with his riddles & stories & though we arrived home rather cold & very hungry we were quite ready to start again directly after. Mrs. Somerset & Mrs. Clement Hill were at luncheon & went part of our perabulations with us after. The party was somewhat altered. Selina, Lady Vane, Lucy Herbert, Lord Cosmo, Mr. Cholmondeley & Captain Forester gave in. Lady Cosmo joined us & our carriage con- tained only Harriet, the 2 Miss Hills & myself. We did not visit so many places in the afternoon. Prees was the prettiest & at another place there was a stop while Rowland Hill turned the first..(?) for the site of a new church. We got home at 5 very tired. We had been out from 10 till 5 with only 1/2 an hour's interval & gone 35 miles. Lord Forester came. The ball was a beautiful sight, it was held in an immense tent beautifully decorated, which opened out after saloon & there was another tent for supper equally large, that could contain 500 sitting. Everything went off beautifully & the only one drawback was the cold in the dancing tent, but it was no wonder for it was such a cold blustering night & the wind blow through & through everything. It was so windy too last night that the horse tent was blown to bits, but one could only think how fortunate it had not happened tonight when all the horses would have being in it. I went to bed soon after 3, but I believe the last guests did not depart till 1/2 past 5. We had had a very pretty speech from Lord Powis at dinner, proposing Rowland Hill's health & 2 others at supper.

Hawkestone   1854, December 6

The hounds met here & we spent a great part of the morning watching them. Saw the Illustrated London News drawing for it. I was so dreadfully tired I could do nothing but spent the interval between luncheon & dinner on my bed reading Heartscase. Selina drove to Hodnet with Lady Powis but did not see Mary who is staying there. The Tenant's ball, which was most amusing & kept up with very great spirit. The ball & supper went on as the night before. More pretty speaking & the warmth of the cheers, when Lord Hill's praises were sounded quite went to one's heart. The dancing tent was not quite so pleasant after super & we retired about 1. Some of the party from Acton Reynald, Hodnet & Mossfield came to it.

Hawkestone   1854, December 7

I missed a great deal by having one of my violent sick headaches today. Everybody came from the houses round to see 400 labourers be regaled with dinner, as many schoolchildren with tea (these I saw arrive in very pretty procession from my window, with flags, banners & devices of their own work). And afterwards the labourers wives had tea & there were so many of them it was generally(?) thought each labourer must have had two wives! This over there were some beautiful fireworks, which I saw from my window & I never saw more lovely ones in my life. Several people came to see me in my room, but I was too unwell to enjoy everything.

Weston   1854, December 8

We came home. Very sorry it was all over. Most of the party left too, but some remain till tomorrow & there was to be a servants ball there tonight. The party from Acton Reynald also came back today & Alice Anson. George looked in for a few minutes but would not stay to dinner. Mr. Wilson Patten en two daughters came & Mr. Lucyth Owen.

Weston   1854, December 9

Mr. Wrottesley, Mr. Cotes, Mr. Holyoake & Mr. Richard Brooke came early to shoot & all staid to dine except Mr. Cotes. Mr. Lucyth Owen went away. Selina & I lunched in a trice & drove to Newport station to meet Georgey who came home for the Xmas holidays today. He is enchanted that he will spend a week of them here, poor boy & I can't help thinking of the dear old times when Xmas was a merry Xmas always & seemed to begin & end with the happy time of brothers holidays. We met the shooters at the Lodge Farm & George who also dined here & took Mr. Wrottesley back to Blymhill to spend Sunday with him. We made the gentlemen work for the poor soldiers in the Crimea by winding skeins of work.

Weston   1854, December 10

Sunday. Selina & Lucy went to church at Blymhill in the afternoon.

Oakley Park   1854, December 11

The Wilson Pattens went away. Newport, Selina & I lunched early & were off by 1 o'clock. Selina was only going to Shiffnal to meet the Orlando Foresters. Newport to Shrewsbury for a Hill dinner & ball & then off to London tomorrow for Parliament & I to meet Mary at Shrewsbury & come to Oakly Park. We stopped at Wadlow's on our way to Shiffnal to look at ..(?) horse of Newport. When we got to Shrewsbury we had both an hour or more to spare so we took a walk about the town & in the Quarry walk. We went to the Lion, Shaw's &c. Met Lord Cosmo Russell, Mr. Cotes, Mr. Borough, Mr. Leeke, Mr. Clement Hill, Mr. Corbett & all the world including Henry Simpson who is staying at Acton Reynald & who walked with us. Met Robert too going back to the station & Nano who walked back with us. Robert remained for the dinner but not the ball & came on to Oakly Park late at night. I came on with Mary & we had a t?ɬte à t?ɬte evening.

Oakley Park   1854, December 12

Robert started very early to go to London for Parliament. Mary & I drove to Ludlow in the afternoon & shopped.

Oakley Park   1854, December 13

In the morning we drove down to the school, called on Mrs. Longworth & walked back. In the afternoon we drove to Dowton Castle & called on Mrs. Tarratt.

Oakley Park   1854, December 14

Heard of Tom Moncreiffe's son & heir, born on the 12th. I am so glad. Mrs. Longworth called & staid luncheon. We went to the school & heard a singing lesson.

Oakley Park   1854, December 15

The morning was so fine that we felt it our duty to go out & we walked to the kitchen garden, stables &c. In the afternoon we drove to Ludford & called on Mrs. Jones. Shopped in Ludlow & called on Mrs. Thomas too.

Oakley Park   1854, December 16

Went out in the ponycarriage for a short time in the morning to one or two cottages & in the afternoon again, round about the park. Robert came home.

Oakley Park   1854, December 18

Monday. Mary & I walked down to the Vicarage in the after- noon & sat some time with Mrs. Longworth over schoolprizes. The ponycarriage came for us there & we took a pretty drive. Bitterly cold.

Oakley Park   1854, December 19

I had a sick headache which kept me to the house but was not bad, as they have been lately. Mary shopped in Ludlow. I had tea & went to bed early.

Oakley Park   1854, December 20

Mrs. Longworth came in the morning to help Mary to distribute school frocks. Frances Legge arrived about 1/2 past 2. Lady Powis, Lucy & Harriet Herbert, Mr. Wrottesley, Uncle Charles & Nano, Mr. Willes & Mr. R. Cholmondeley also came. Mr. & Mrs. Longworth & Colonel & Mrs. Jones dined here. We played at the Race Game. Harriet won.

Oakley Park   1854, December 21

I had a sick headache & could neither dine nor go to the Ludlow ball tonight, rather an unlucky day to choose. Everybody else but me & Uncle Charles went to it. Lord Powis came.

Oakley Park   1854, December 22

A large party to Ludlow this afternoon. Everybody went but Frances Legge. We first lionized the church, then the Castle which was amusing, Then some of the gentlemen walked home & the rest of us went on to pay Mr. & Mrs. Struver(?) a visit in a very nice pretty house they have come to live at at Ludford. We partook of wine & biscuits there, brought Struver (?) back in the omnibus with us, had tea & Gina(?) when we came in. More people dined here. Mr. & Mrs. Tarratt, Mr. & Mrs. Walcot & Mr., Mrs. & Miss Bridges. Another Race. Music first & a variety of accomplishments were brought to light at desert, such as swallowing fire ships, cutting swans out of apples, & pigs out of orange skins.

Weston   1854, December 23

The party broke up & I returned to Weston. Frances Legge, Uncle Charles, Nano, Mr. Cholmondeley & I came together as far as Salop. We had to wait for the train (kicking our heels, knitting & weighing each other) for an age at Bromfield which made us miss the train to Shiffnal & we had nearly 4 hours to wait there. Uncle Charles & Nano were good enough to wait for us all that time, which was the more magnanimous as a train went their way 1/2 an hour before ours & none again for nearly 2 hours more. Frances & I telegraphed to tell the coachmen coming to meet us what had happened & then we established ourselves on a bench with Nano & took out our work & made the best of it. We made a "delightful pic-nic" on a beef sandwich that Frances had accepted (I had foolishly refused mine thinking I should be bome to luncheon) & some biscuits & ginger bread which Uncle Charles treated us to. The station was crowded nearly all the time with crowds of Xmas marketers & militia men going home for Xmas &c &c, not a very pleasant crowd, so we were very glad of Uncle C. & Nano to be with us. Saw very few people we knew. Our next train was very late too & Uncle C. & Nano saw us into it & Mr. Henry Corbett got into the same carriage. It was past 5 when we got to Shiffnal & I parted company with Frances Legge & I had no further adventures. Found George here & he staid to dine & sleep. The Newports, Alice & the children gone. Letty also away to Halston.

Weston   1854, December 24

When Lucy & I came in from the little walk we took on a photographing errand, we found Mrs. Holyoake sitting with Selina. Uncle & Aunt Charles, Emily, Isabel & Leila came. The boys had a half holiday & decorated the house with holly & evergreens. Made a most beautiful bower of my bed. Hope I shant get up in the dark & prick my nose. Christmas day. There was a very full attendance at the Sacrament today. Mr. & Mrs. Beckwith called after afternoon church. George came to dinner.

Weston   1854, December 25

A very solitary Xmas Day, only Papa, Lady B., Lucy & me in the house. George did come to dinner.

Weston   1854, December 26

The family gathering began. Letty came back from Halston & brought Aeneas Mackay with her. Lady B. drove with Mrs. Fielden to Wheaton Aston to see a schoolchild- dren's dinner Mr. Rait was giving. Mr. Leeke came early from hunting & Lady Hester in the course of the afternoon. Uncle & Aunt Charles, Emily, Leila & Nano, Agnes & Mr. Corbet also came. (Isabel is away at Babworth). George came to dinner. Mr. & Mrs. Feilden also dined here.

Weston   1854, December 27

In the afternoon Aunt C., the cousins, Lucy & I went to Blymhill to see the children; most of them went in the carriage. Leila & I walked there & were caught in a sharo snow storm. Aunt C. & Leila walked back & were caught in another. Today is the first snow we have had this year. Orlando came.

Weston   1854, December 28

Nano went away. George lunched here. We pottered about.

Weston   1854, December 29

The Leekes & Corbets went away & Aeneas Mackay. Mr. Bagot came & George & his children to stay a fort night or so. George is very bad with Erysipelas, come on quite suddenly.

Weston   1854, December 30

Orlando & Mr. Bagot went to Neachly for luncheon. Miss Baker came.

Weston   1854, December 31

Sunday. George went to Blymhill & did the service which he should not have done. Orlando went with him.