Reminiscences of Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham, 1801-1866)
The following "Reminiscences" were written by Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham, 1801-1866). The diary, which is just over 100 pages, is hand written, and also contains a number of drawings. All her notes relate to her early life, information about her ancestors, memories of her relatives and general descriptions of the places where she lived (mainly Fincham and Stoke Ferry in Norfolk). This diary was presumably written during the final years, or months, of her life. Towards the end her handwriting stops as she dictates to her son, Col Henry Helsham-Jones, who completes her story, writing in his own hand. Elizabeth's story reads as follows:
"The Mother's" Reminiscences
My dear Henry [her son Col Henry Helsham-Jones] wishes me to record the memories and traditions of days long gone bye. It seems impossible, the rather that none are left to touch the chord which would awaken them, but love is potent and my child's wish is a spell, so I will try.
The Hailshams that lie buried at Hailsham in Sussex, or who did, or did not, survive the fields of Cressy and Poitiers, are a myth to me. So are the Crowes in King John's reign but if they had a veritable existence I hope they are found amongst the Barons in that cave I once visited at Reigate and that they signed the Magna Carta. I have not the same sympathy with the Irish branch of the Helshams on whom Oliver Cromwell bestowed lands in Kilkenny, which have but lately past away from the family. Neither should I have coveted the friendship of Dean Swift, which, nevertheless, was possessed by a Helsham whose portrait in Dr. Arthur Helsham's dining room bespeaks him as a man of refinement and other good qualities. That my Grandfather was related to the families we now hear of in England and Ireland I have no doubt, and I remember to have heard that a Mr. Caudle Brown, when on his way to his property in Norfolk, did visit at our house at Stoke Ferry, and brought with him his two nieces, the Misses Helsham, one of whom afterwards became Mrs. Wheeler and died near Kilkenny about a year or two since [Catherine Frances Hannah Helsham married Arthur Wheeler and her sister Cecilia married Arthur's brother Henry Wheeler, both in 1850]. Thus the relationship was acknowledged but the missing link which would connect Dr Henry Linhooke Helsham with the rest of the family, we cannot find. Of him, my Grandfather, I cannot be said to have any recollection beyond that of being frightened at the red velvet cap in which he took his afternoon nap, and this arose from some nursery talks about the cap of liberty, it being about the time of the threatened invasion.
My Grandmother was Anne Harvey, and I think she was both born and married at Stoke Ferry, her parents being Robert and Mary Harvey. A relative, the Rev. William Harvey, was incumbent of Fincham Church the years 1745 and 1787. Another of the name, a cousin resided at Watton in Norfolk [Robert Harvey], whose only child married Sir Robert Harvey, and their son is the Mr Harvey whose entertainments at Crown Point cause such a sensation from year to year.
My Grandmother [Anne Harvey] had, I believe, more than one brother but the only member of the family we knew and loved was Susan who is very imperfectly represented by the portrait which hangs over my fireplace. She married Mr. Forby [Thomas Forby] of Stoke Ferry, whose brother, the Rev. Joseph Forby [1734-1799], was rector of Fincham from 1787 to 1799 and he it was who, while travelling on the Continent before the French Revolution, left some small sum in the French Fund of which mention was made some years since.
My father [Henry Helsham]was an only child and I have just unfolded a tiny lock of his hair which, with other treasures, was presented by his fond and good mother, specially his christening cap which might have figured in one Sir Joshua's pictures. A school letter too, dated "Lynn July 31st 1778" and a list of his school fellows which contains many names I remember hearing in earlier days, and a few of the county families still remaining in Norfolk. There is likewise a scrap of a letter from his cousin Robert Forby [1759-1825] whose apology for not writing "more an better" is that "Henry was at his side and calling him off every moment to mend his pen". What a foreshadowing of the unwearying friendships shown to the orphans of the next generation!
My father [Henry Helsham] received his professional education at Edinburgh and was the friend of John Hunter. I should think he was early engaged to my mother as the miniature taken when a student there was evidently meant as a present to her. I cannot say when and where they met, but my Great Grandfather, Robert Crowe, whose portrait hangs in the dining room together with that of his wife Alice Alpe of Hardingham Hall in Norfolk, was a solicitor at Swaffham and, although he died in 1786, his second son, Phillip [Crowe], continued to reside there for many years. And, moreover, I remember to have heard that my Grandfather, Henry Crowe, succeeded Archbishop Sutton in the curacy of Stoke Ferry and probably continued to reside there until he became Rector of Burnham Deepdale in 1766. He was born in 1741, was BA in 1761, Fellow of Clarehall in 1763 having migrated from Christ's College and MA in 1764.
My Grandfather Crowe [Rev Henry Crowe] was a remarkably handsome man with the most polished manners of the old school and of a character to be universally respected as well as loved. He was a great favourite with Mr. Coke's (Thos Coke, Earl of Leicester) youngest daughter, afterwards Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, and always treated with the most marked attention by all the family and their guests (he was the domestic Chaplain to Thos. Coke), even to royalty. Nor, however full Holkham might be, was his apartment ever allowed to be taken from him. I believe my Grandmother [Elizabeth Crowe nee Haylett] was well suited to him but she died early leaving him with five children and for their sakes rather than his own probably, he married a second time, Mary Smith, a daughter of the rector of Burnham Westgate and where he was resident, there being no Parsonage House at Deepdale in those days. My step-grandmother was not wanting in ability but had a certain hardness of character and feature which rendered her singularly unlovable, and yet "Aunt Crowe" for having a great many nephews and nieces she was everybody's "Aunt Crowe", was a rather popular person in her way. The veritable nephews and nieces were the children and grandchildren of her three sisters, the eldest, the wife of the Rev. John Glasse, Rector of Pencombe in Herefordshire. Another, Catherine, whose white hair is inn the brooch I am now wearing, married Rev. B Edwards, Rector of Hethersett in Norfolk and Everilda became in 1765 the wife of the kind and courtly Sir Mordaunt Martin, Baronet, who used to pet me as a child call his tamest chickens after me. The foundation of this petting was, I have been told, a strong likeness to his daughter Fanny who had died three or four years before. When I sat at Richmond in 1862 he asked me if I had ever been thought to resemble Sir Joshua Reynolds' pictures. Now there was a print from his Gipsy Boy which used to be considered very like me in early days, and as Sir Joshua was said to have made an offer of marriage to Miss Everilds Smith and certainly painted a very attractive portrait of her. It is possible that this lingering attachment might cause the painter to give her expression to his fancy pictures long after she had married the soldier Baronet, Sir M. Martin. At any rate, it may pass for a shade of romance in character of one who had not much of that, I believe.
My Grandfather Crowe [Rev Henry Crowe] was on terms of intimacy with very many families in the western and central parts of Norfolk, Rolfes, Thylemans, Daveys, Hastes, Henleys (Sandringham), Alpes (Herdlingham, Mr. Petre (Westwick) etc. etc. but perhaps there were not many of my mother's standing amongst them, for her early friends seem to have been principally the Martins and the Weatherheads of Sedgeford Rectory. One of the last named, Mrs. Robert Green of Lynn, kept up with what intercourse circumstances allowed of until the death of her friend, and afterwards showed friendship to her children, and finally sent me some doyleys when I was married, of her own making.
My mother [Katharine Helsham, nee Crowe] and her elder sister could not have been very congenial spirits. My Aunt Caroline (Mrs. Dorkin, Dawkin, Donkiss?) was very handsome with a commanding figure and very fond of admiration. My mother's features were beautifully regular and refined and her gentleness caused her to be more admired than her stately sister. One joint work of their fingers is perhaps still in the house, namely drapes embroidered for a grand ball at Holkham given to commemorate the revolution of 1688. I never heard much of my mother's early life, she worked beautifully, drew a little and took lessons in music from a master who crossed the Wash weekly from Lincolnshire to give them. She was likewise a good horsewoman. She was her father's darling child and great must have been the loss to him when on the 17th September 1796 she married Henry Helsham in the parish church of Burnham Westgate, Sir Mordaunt Martin giving the bride away and recording his affection for her in a small volume given to her at that time.
Our family dates were as follows:-
Catherine born Feb 2nd 1797 died Oct 24th 1818.
Anne Nov 2nd 1799 July 12th 1822.
Elizabeth March 22nd 1801 April 18th 1866.
Henry Feb 12th 1804 March 14th 1826.
George Jan 25th 1806 May 21st 1835.
My father died March 22nd 1806.
My mother died Jany 10th 1816
I have few traditions of the ten years of my parents' marriage. That they were happy in each other I have always understood. The medical practice of Stoke was, in those days, a very good one but the fatigue and exposure to weather which it occasioned, proved injurious to my father's health. Of the families in the neighbourhood, the Bedingfields, Whites and Whishs were amongst those who most valued my parents. Sir Michael Bedingfield was then residing at Oxburgh Hall and, notwithstanding the ???staunch Romanishe???, Lady B. and my mother were great friends. The then Rector of Oxburgh Hall [now owned by the National Trust] was the Rev. Joshua White whose wife and daughter were very superior people, good and clever, the elder lady rather awful and the younger very lovable, as Mr. Forby found. Indeed, they were mutually attached, but their views of duty towards their respective parents led them to relinquish all thoughts of marriage. The Whishes were a large family, their father Rector of Northwold, one of them married Dr. Buchanan, who led the way in missionary work in India, another, Colonel Prowle and a son was Rector of a large parish in Bristol.
I remember, or fancy I remember (she was then 3 years old) Mrs. Prowle and Mrs Kempthorne as sponsers at my eldest brother's christening (both sisters were married to officers in the Indian Army). This christening must have been the earliest event of which I have any recollection, and about the same time I was commended by my stately Aunt Caroline (Mrs. Dorkin) for holding a skein of silk steadily, after which she quitted Norfolk.
The burial of a favourite bird beneath the "Helsham Apple" tree in our own garden likewise made an impression on my young mind, as did the tall, graceful figure of our cousin Kitty Crowe of Swaffham who was engaged to my Uncle Robert [Robert Crowe 1771-1807], but I cannot recall her sister Fanny as present in my first home, although she was my father's kind and skilful nurse in his last illness, when my poor mother, in consequence of her recent confinement was unable to attend on him. Probably this might arise from my continuing to see Fanny at intervals during so many years whereas Kitty soon became consumptive, as did Uncle Robert, to whom she was engaged, and, dying within a few days of each other in July 1807, they were placed in the same grave in Swaffham churchyard on the same day.
I have a dim recollection of being in father's sickroom and of his giving me a sweetmeat from a bureau, and likewise of a funeral procession seen through a venetian blind but whether his or my grandfather's, who died the previous year, I cannot say. (She was six years old when her father died.)
On quitting Stoke, my poor mother must have taken her five children to her father's house at Burnham. He then occupied half of the Hall, Mr. Glasse, who had become Rector of the parish in which it is situated and had recently married his cousin, Anne Maria Martin, having the other half. What possessed Mr. Wilkinson to build so handsome a house in so undesirable a spot I never could imagine. His only child married the first Lord Camelford and their daughter married Lord Grenville and so came about a friendship with the Martin family which continued whilst any survived to be the objects of it, for, in my last visit to Mrs. Glasse at Slough she remarked that Lady Grenville had sent her gardeners from Drossmore to fill the beds of her little garden. The Hall was so accurately shared by the two families that the inner hall, having a very elegant stone staircase splitting into two sweeping flights of steps, was a matter of great anxiety to me to reach my grandfather's dressing room in time to descend with him to breakfast by that appropriated to our use.
In the autumn of that year, 1806, we took possession of our new house in Fincham. Three small dwellings had been thrown together for a straw-plaiting establishment and, as this was given up, it became our abode. It was ugly enough with a square garden in front divided into four squares, but I have some pleasant childish associations with it nevertheless. My brother Henry and I were mechanical geniuses and constructed wonderful palings and gates for our tiny garden and had many pleasures in common. The object seen from our window was the very handsome church of Fincham St. Martin. The photograph of which, from a drawing by Mackenzie, I must transfer to the opposite page.
We had not been many months in our new house when my eldest brother, (Henry) was attacked with scarlet fever. He was a very pretty, graceful child and until then a very healthy one, but it was thought his constitution never recovered the shock. We three elder children were sent to kind relatives at the Rectory, but George, the baby could not be separated from my mother.
In 1807, I paid my first visit to my Ely cousins, Mr. And Mrs. Millers, and had some admiration of the cathedral, as Henry had at the same age in 1844 but I must have been much more of a baby and certainly should never be allowed to attend its services independently as he was. I was taken to Ely by my "Cousin Patty", Mrs. Forby's eldest daughter Martha [1761-1828], who died unmarried in 1828. Susan married Captain Webb, no issue, Mary married Rev George Millers, died 1845, Robert, who never married, died 1825. Those four were, you must understand, my father's cousins.
On returning home from Ely I was constrained to be careful how I played with my sister Catherine. She had had a fall from the nurse's arms in infancy which had caused much anxiety even before my father's death and now the consequences were becoming very serious. Her spine was affected and for the remaining twelve years of her life her suffering was almost continuous and at times very acute, but her loving submission to her Heavenly Father was evidenced by her unvarying patience and, wherever it was possible, cheerfulness. She was certainly employed and many of the groups of flowers painted from nature were done whilst suffering greatly. To my mother she was a treasure and an object of tender affection to all who knew her. I do not think there were many who, having once seen her, would forget the sweet expression and intelligence of those large grey eyes.
There were in those days no resident Rectors or their families near Fincham and our life was very secluded. Each Christmas and Midsummer Mr. and Mrs. Millers paid a visit at the Parsonage generally accompanied by their adopted child Catherine Alexander (afterwards Mrs. William Muriel) and occasionally by one of her sisters, Rose (who became Mrs. Brummell), Bessy (Mrs. Ricardo) and Matilda (Mrs. Leach). At Easter, Mr Forby and his mother always went to Ely, and this cold snowy March has recalled to me the weather in which we used to see them start. Our own guests were very few. I remember Miss Whish coming and in 1810 when my Uncle [Henry Crowe] and Aunt Crowe quitted Swaffham, both Fanny and Eliza came to us, the latter for along visit, but Fanny soon left us to reside in Mr. Cardeu's family in London where her many valuable qualities were duly appreciated and their children, Sir Robert Cardeu and Mrs. English remained fast friends to the day of her death. The coach which was to convey her to London was to be taken at Stradsett Folgate, a wayside inn somewhat more than a mile from us and that spot we accompanied her one hot dusty day. Nor, I believe, did she forget the very simple act of kindness I rendered her, gathering fresh grass to wipe her boots.
About this time I had a very prolonged attack of jaundice during which I constructed tiny rooms, the furniture of which was formed of coloured paper. I learned by heart whole cantos of Sir Walter Scott's first poems and began to draw so that I have always retained rather a pleasurable recollection of the illness. My first sorrow came later when my brother Henry [Helsham] was sent to preparatory school near London. I well remember sitting on his little bed that last night he slept at home.
The bright spot in these years of retirement was our autumnal visit to my grandfather [Rev Henry Crowe] at Burnham which must have been no less a pleasure to him and to my dear mother. There we had many friends. Sir M. Martin had purchased the Hall and was residing in it. His eldest daughter Sophia, a very charming woman was unmarried. His second, Everilda, the widow of the Rev. Thomas Barnard, lived in the house which was at a later period occupied by my grandmother as a widow and till now by the Boltons. Mrs. Barnard had five sons who were our earliest playfellows. The eldest, a midshipman, was killed in the Aelicatie in 1810 or '11 under sir William Hoste. The second, Mordaunt, is now Rector of Bardfield in Essex, a family living where I see Sarah Barnard endowed a school in 1774. The third, John, was in the Indian Army and died early. The fourth, my special friend and favourite, William, was likewise in the Navy but quitted it after the peace and went to India where it was supposed his uncle, then Sir Roger Martin and a judge, would forward his interests. When the uncle returned to England in 1828 he brought the tidings of his marriage to Miss Boscawen. His happiness was very brief. He wrote of the graves of his "wife and little girl", sent his boy to England and died as Governor of a small isolated territory in Burmah. George was the youngest of the five and was for a while a clerk in the Exchequer, after which he lived independently in London and died not long since in Nice.
To return to the Martin family as it was almost sixty years ago.
Mr. and Mrs. Glasse, Anna Maria their kind daughter, had taken possession of their house in the wide part of the street and there Mordaunt was born but Bulkeley's blue feather and shoes I remember when they were yet at the Hall. Louisa Martin, the fourth daughter, had married Captain Wolley Ret. in 1796 and after residing for a time at Long Melford (not however in the house which had belonged to several generations of her father's family) she accompanied him in his wandering over the world as Commissioner of the Dockyards at Port Royal, Gibralta and Malta and finally in Somerset House. These four we knew intimately and loved dearly. They greeted us affectionately in childhood and were ever the kind sympathising friends in the sorrows of after life. There was a fifth daughter, Caroline, married to James Moure Esq. But she was very eccentric, though ladylike and agreeable, and seldom came to Burnham. Fanny, as I have said, was dead, and Roger was India.
Mr. Coke built a house for my grandfather [Rev Henry Crowe] in the part of the parish of Burnham ****** or All Saints nearest Holkham and there, in the well kept garden, we passed many happy hours with him, and had, moreover, our own special portions. Mine was famous for its sweet pea hedge and wonderful carnation poppies. A favourite walk was to the ruins of a Carmelite Monastery founded in 1241 by Sir Ralph de Hemenhale and Sir William de Calthorp, where there was a wishing well and, beside the clear little stream, a great abundance of yellow iris and that pretty bog plant Meryanthus trifoliate. Another walk was to Burnham Thorpe or St. Peter's, the birthplace of the naval hero (Lord Nelson) who had been an object of interest from his boyhood to those around us. Each year we had one or more expeditions to the seashore where young and old were collected in the carrier's tilted wagon. My grandmother and Miss Martin, the two timid ones, invariably sitting where they could watch the horse. This was always a day of freedom and wild enjoyment. Shoes and stockings might be taken off, and even my grandmother's slender ankles were visible. During one of these autumnal visits, Sir Mordaunt Martin, after being very many years a widower, brought home a second wife. Her maiden name was Styleman, aunt to Mr. le Strange and widow of the Rev. Holstock, Rector of Ringstead. She brought with her two daughters, the one clever and severe, the other the exact opposite. Occasionally the Holkham carriage and four would drive up bringing Miss Coke and her stern Governess, or Lady Anson and her sweet looking daughter who was afterwards Lady Roseberry, but I cannot distinguish between one and another of our visits from Fincham further than that in 1811 there was a brilliant comet, and in 1812 our cousin Philip Crowe, having returned from a fourteen year tarriance in India, married Matilda Willis and brought her as a bride to Burnham. He was a remarkable man, his figure tall and commanding, and his face the handsomest I have ever seen, a well formed nose, splendid eyes, a rounded chin and firmly compressed lips capable of the most varied expression. I could fancy I had seen the tiger hunts he described, and known the friend whose high qualities he extolled. It was not very surprising that Matilda Willis at sixteen should have lost her head to him. They met at a house of a mutual friend, Mr Parry, an East India Director residing in Banstead in Surrey, who gave Philip an appointment in India in 1799. He was serving under General Lake in Delhi in September 1803 when he was severely wounded and it became necessary to amputate his foot. A cocksfoot was sent out, but he could no longer ride as heretofore. When he had been in India seven years he became engaged to Miss Willis and in 1812, as I have said, returned to claim her.
We had at that time given up our house at Fincham and our visit to Burnham being ended, we took possession of a house on St. Martin's Plain at Norwich. A small and somewhat gloomy looking town church with its raised churchyard telling its tail of successive generations there interred was on our left and before us the beautiful spire of the Cathedral, the winter view of which is given in my sister's outline.
The palace was then visible. We had permission from the Bishop (Bathurst) to walk and play in his large garden which is entered by a large old gateway with Porter's Lodge out of the drawing to the left.
We were not settled in our new house or the business of unpacking completed when my youngest brother [George Helsham] became most critically ill with inflammation in the chest, and our first introduction to our kind neighbour, Mrs. Massey, was her bringing a bunch of grapes for the sick child. From this attack he recovered but many months had not passed before typhus fever of a malignant character attacked both him and my sister Anne and our kind medical friends, Dr. Rigby and Mr. Page Scott were again in close attendance. I likewise took the disease, but in my case it was mild, but their lives were long despaired of, in particular poor George's. The kindness and sympathy evinced were most touching (supplies of things nice and nutritive came from various families. Mrs. Massey, disregarding all risks for her own children, took our dear Catherine, and Mrs. Day lent her own upper servants as night nurses). At length, after long and painful watching, my dear mother was permitted to see her children regaining health, and we were allowed to meet our elder sister in the Bishop's garden.
And now, having made mention of our dear cousin, Mrs. Day, I must show how she was related to us. My grandmother Crowe [Elizabeth Crowe nee Haylett] had a sister who married Mr. Framingham. Of their children, two older daughters were then living together in Norwich and did live to a very old age. Another had married Mr. Dalton of Swaffham and been dead many years. A son Sir Haylett Framingham of the Artillery was at that time with Wellington in the Peninsular, and the youngest daughter, Margaret, as Mrs. Starling Day was living in much comfort and luxury in a large house in St. Giles Street, having nine children then living - Tom, Henry, George, James, William, Starling, Margaret, Fanny and Mary Anne. Mrs. Day was much attached to my grandfather and my mother. She had been to see us at Fincham shortly before we quitted it, and on our journey there we had rested at her son Henry's house at Swaffham seeing his young wife and first child. When, later in the year, we reached Norwich she welcomed us cordially and was ever after kind and considerate. Her three daughters did not very much differ in age from my sisters and myself and we met frequently.
The immediate neighbourhood of Norwich was far prettier then than now. Crossing Bishopgate Bridge we had a bracing walk on Mousehold Hill or, passing under the arch of the old Ferry-house and so over the river, there were pleasant meadows where now you find intense ****** of the station. Thorpewood too was undefaced by villas and terraces and I have pleasant recollections of nightingales heard there, and of the sweet sound of St. Peter's fine peel of bells softened by distance and the water. During the three years of our residence in Norwich, 1812 to '15, those bells did indeed often give forth a crashing, deafening sound as they announced some fresh victory. Their fury was something tremendous as we hastened through the Market Place to learn particulars.
Again and again came tidings of added triumphs and successes and then followed that terrible winter of 1813-1814 when our sunny walks on the crisp snow were so exhilarating, and the sufferings and privations of our poor neighbours were so great. My mother [Katherine Helsham nee Crowe] was one of those who went from one wretched garret to another to ascertain and minister to their wants by distribution of a noble subscription. She did "what she could". Her own slender income with a ten percent property tax and every necessity of life enormously dear, would bear no further distribution but freely she gave her time and, as it proved, her health. The commencement of that long frost was something marvellous. Anne and myself had accompanied our three cousins, the Days, on a visit to Captain Suckling (Ret) at Woodtow Hall and when, after one night of falling snow we would have returned to Norwich the coachman declared himself unable to proceed, and it was ascertained that the barouche had actually passed over the top of a hedge, so deep and firmly packed was the snow. I had forgotten to name Mrs. Suckling (Kitty) as one of the Framingham family. She died not long after this and left no family. Before the snow had disappeared the Allies had entered Paris, and all that summer was marked by rejoicing the peace. An ox roasted whole in the Market Place was a horrid sight, but the illuminations and fireworks as seen from Castle Hill, a very beautiful one. And then we went for our visit to Burnham and took part in festivals of every kind and degree, eating jelly off plates in Holkham Park, or humble plum pudding in the Market Place at Burnham but always ending with a dance, one while in a meadow and another in a malthouse.
I have no vivid memory of the following winter. Anne was at Burnham during a whole or a part of it and was taking lessons in French with great diligence and enjoyment. Napoleon escaped from Elba in February and then followed excitement of a fanciful kind. Armies were mustering and we saw the Brunswickes march over the Plain before our house, to many of them to meet their death at Waterloo and then came the tidings or the glorious victory and who had survived and who had fallen. In the summer we left Norwich, as the events proved, to return to it no more as our home. Probably our friends there foresaw this, for those long mornings exposed to cold and wet to which I have alluded had produced an effect on my dear mother's health which was never shaken off.
Our first visit this year was to Fincham Rectory. And being then too young to apprehend the evils, I have the recollections of some happy weeks in what must have been a very beautiful summer, for we were constantly in the garden an the sketch now before me gives the summer house beneath a large plane tree in which we used to sit and work and read Rokeby, Catherine Alexander being of the party. That was a charming old garden with its wide grass walks, soft as velvet. It contained too, some fine trees, one of Athenian Plane, not that in the sketch, the finest I have ever seen. Also a very wide spreading red cedar and an Anson Apricot, more like a forest than a fruit tree. Both my brothers were with us then and after the holidays were ended they went to school at Ely and were passed on to Burnham.
It now became too evident that my mother [Katherine Helsham nee Crowe] would be taken from us. It was a decided case of pulmonary consumption. I wonder that my recollections of that autumn and winter are not more vivid, but perhaps it is natural that they should have become dim in the lapse of half a century, and that it is my knowledge of its sorrow and bereavement which makes me think they ought to have stereotyped each passing hour. Some injunctions given by my mother I can recall as if I were now in my little bed in that north room in the nursery. Then, as winter advanced, I seem to be waiting in what was the sick room to the south, and then we knelt around her bed on the 14th of January 1816. Our invalid, Catherine, had been her constant loving nurse. Strength for this sacred duty was given her and that ended, she flagged more and more. Our dear grandfather had been declining for many months. He only survived his darling child until the 14th of March. The seed from whence their immortal bodies will arise at the last Trumpet Call was sown in corruption in the north aisle of Burnham Westgate church.
In the spring of 1816 my sister Anne paid a visit to Brandon to a family names Toosey who had shown us civilities when they and we were resident at Fincham. With them she went to Mr. Isaacson's house at Mildenhall and when I was a guest there thirty years later my "pretty sister" was not forgotten. The Tooseys likewise took Anne to Mr. Harvey's at Northwold and there she first met our cousins William and Bessie Dalton and their warm and enduring friendship began. Meanwhile I was at Burnham with my grandmother and Catherine, becoming intimate with the various members of the Bolton family who had come to reside there in the previous year. May 1st was marked by Mrs. Barnard's removal to London to make a home for George who was then a clerk in the Exchequer and a few weeks afterwards poor William followed her. This was a year of great commercial and agricultural distress. My sister Catherine and myself were under the roof or our kind friend at Fincham Rectory before the "wet harvest" and the riots in the Isle of Ely and elsewhere. The harvest from Mr. Forby's glebe had been gathered in early and well and his thanks offering was a weekly distribution of the most capital soup, the meat for which was brought every Tuesday from Lynn. It was rather an incident of the week to see the jugs go forth and have a basin brought for our approval. My dear invalid was most patient, but constant suffering and the monotony of our daily life must have been very trying to her. She could not come down stairs to join the family, but we had our day and night room, and well do I remember the puzzle it used to be to me to find something fresh to talk about.
We were still at Fincham during the midsummer holiday of 1817 when my dear Catherine suffered from nightlyattacks of spasms in the chest, and kind Mrs. Millers would rise to share my watchings, and the owls hooted in the large elm trees. Later we returned to Burnham, not to the vinery for my grandmother had, with Mr. Coke's permission, let that to Sir W. Bolton, but to the house that Mrs. Barnard had left vacant. There, Anne took my place as nurse (for her sister) and I went to Norwich to pay a long visit to Mrs. Henrietta Gurney and resume my French lessons with Madam Joulain. All the ramifications of the family were very kind to me and they were not commonplace people. At the Grove there was still a fine old couple with very sweet daughters, their sons already dead, at Theswich, a widow and that remarkable Anna Gurney with crippled limbs and intellect and heart of such unusual expansion, at Earlham Hall, John Joseph Gurney and his first wife, my sister's friend, with the present Mr. Gurney brought in his nurse's arms. There were elder members of the family too, J.J.G's sisters, Catherine, who was always rushing off to Norwich on some errand, Richenden, who made a capital wife to the "Vicar" of Lowestoft and a sweet Priscilla who seemed e'en then nearly purified from all earthly dross and soon went to Heaven. Mrs. Fry too with half a dozen children, but I fancy this must have been in a later visit.
One event of this winter visit to Norwich is not to be forgotten, the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, then regarded as a national calamity, but which was probably the means of averting greater evil which might have arisen when party sprit ran so high in the sad matter of her parents.
In the early part of 1818 I paid many visits to kind friends in and around Norwich and then returned to Burnham to be my dear Catherine's nurse during the remaining months of her life. The 23rd psalm was the last I repeated to her and the "Lord her Shepherd" led her safely "through the valley of the shadow of death" to her eternal rest. This was on the 24th of October, our kind friends Miss Martin and Mrs. Glasse being with us.
In the summer of 1819 my sister Anne and I visited London for the first time and, after a coach journey of 12 to 14 hours, had a kind welcome from Mrs. Barnard and Miss Martin who took us to the then objects of interest and attraction after which we were with the Alexanders either in Corke Street or Willesden or both, and best of all we went to my dear cousin Philip [Crowe] and his kind little wife at Hartley in Coulsden. That was indeed enjoyment. I seem e'en now to be sketching on the sunny hillside or from the wood behind the house, or taking long walks or drives in which the Surrey hills appeared to us quite grand scenery after the flatness of Norfolk. Then, within doors, my cousin's sound sense and varied information with such animation and playfulness of manner were a constant source of pleasure. Besides this we saw a great many agreeable people, including Mrs. Crowe's sister, who died at Bath last year. Mr. Willis was residing at Battersea Rise, a pretty house and grounds now spoilt and built upon.
During the summer and winter of 1821 my dear Anne had been much with our cousins the Daltons both at Swaffham and by the seaside sharing their amusements and probably overtaxing her powers as the drowsiness to which she was liable was afterwards remembered. Thence she passed on to Fincham Rectory, where her sole companions were our guardian and her aged mother. I fear she suffered unquiet nights and nervousness and, at last, Mr. Forby was called up to find that she had broken a blood vessel in her lungs. When the tidings reached me at Burnham the blow fell heavily indeed. I knew my darling sister's life could not be much prolonged, yet I was allowed to be her constant companion for nine months and no word or look of impatience ever clouded our intercourse. She was sleeping in the little room, the window of which is open (in the drawing) when first attacked but I found her in that over the dining room with the large sunny window and that was our sick room throughout the winter. Only for a night or two did we leave it to go to Swaffham in order to have Sir Charles Clarke's opinion at Durham Hall. There were some slight returns of bleeding and then decided pulmonary consumption which brought the close of all on the 12th of July 1822. It was an early and very hot summer, but I do not remember that this tired her particularly, although I used to rush out in dewy evenings into the long grass. We had two north rooms given up to us, one of which is associated with the calm and perfectly conscious departure of her gentle spirit, and the last look of intense affection she turned on me.
Since writing the forgoing I have been reading and destroying my beloved sister's last series of letters written during her many happy visits in 1821. Surely no one ever was so lovable and so beloved. The last was dated Sept. 12th and describes her extreme nervousness and oblivion of everything during an interview with our parental friend Mr. Forby. This should have indicated to our cousins a need for medical care. When he was gone she immediately wrote and declined a visit she had been urged to make and offered herself to be companion of the dear old lady at Fincham, which offer was accepted with the utmost affection and kindness and she went thither a few days later with what results I have detailed. The sympathizing letters of the three sisters, Miss Martin, Mrs. Barnard and Mrs. Glasse were in the same parcel all bearing the date July 1822. One speaks of the "softening affect of time". This is indeed true, and mercifully ordained but the wound has bled afresh and vividly recalled the intense grief of that first hour of loneliness in the little room I fled to, but at the same time I can recall my deep thankfulness for her exceeding joy, and I have always felt gratitude that her gentle spirit was spared the many trials which followed fast upon this.
In 1823 my brothers left school and were together at Fincham and, as ever, happy in each other's society and in the simple pleasures afforded by their pony, favourite dog and gun, not the sportsman's gun, that would have been far too expensive an amusement for my dear ones, but in the pursuit of jays that never would be shot.
In March Mr. Forby took dear George to London and, after putting him in communication with our various friends there, left him with Mr. Rowe, a medical man in Burton Crescent and the prospect of passing four years there. By early rising he obtained the refreshment of a walk out of town, which was then possible, as well as time to read the Bible and devotional books, and this, I have every reason to believe, became his settled habit for the remaining thirteen years of his life. This was an eventful year in our little circle of friends. Mrs. Barnard received tidings of the death of her son John in India and on the 8th of September our dear gentle Aunt Forby had an attack of paralysis which entirely deprived her of the use of one side and left her accustomed chair vacant. Her two daughters, Mrs. Miller and Miss Forby were her day nurses and her faithful servants shared the night watching. I was at a distance making various visits which enabled me to see my dear George [Helsham] who had no holidays in Norfolk this year. He was with me at Hartley and greatly enjoyed that visit, and we also met at Alexander's and Frank Ricardo's.
In October dear Henry [Helsham] entered on his Cambridge career, and, late in November, I find Mr. Forby numbering the days till his vacation. He also records that after being "jumbled about in a stage coach for fifteen hours I reached Norwich and walked to Thorpe", from which he infers to me to be in "tolerable health".
In January I went on to Fincham and our cousin Patty, henceforth Mrs. Martha Forby, failing utterly in health went to her winter lodgings and favourite medical attendant in Norwich and I became co-nurse to Mrs. Millers and so remained to the close, a high privilege I esteemed. Her good son, writing the day after her seizure, says, "she has passed the whole day in tranquillity, sometimes even cheerfulness, with an aspect of the most perfect composure, and occasionally enlightened by a smile perfectly delightful. The most distressing thing to us is the extreme imperfection of utterance, but not an indication of impatience escapes her when she finds she has not made herself understood". This sweet state lasted all the eight months she was bedridden. Happily for us the imperfections of utterance passed away, and so we could hear the earnest devotion with which she breathed forth the liturgical prayers with which her excellent memory had so long been stored.
After the Christmas vacation Henry returned to his comfortable rooms in the old building at Corpus and which, he learned from the mother of his bedmaker, were the same our uncle Robert Crowe [1771-1807] had occupied a quarter of a century earlier. Now he speaks of an introduction to Henry Newland and at Easter writes to his brother, "My friend Newland is a great acquisition. He is a very good natured, open-hearted fellow, and I like him much. We read classics together which is a great advantage to me as he is good at them".
At the end of April our dear patient, after a few hours of excessive restlessness in which she would turn to us so meekly saying, "My dear, I hope I am not too impatient", became insensible and when this state had lasted three days and nights she breathed her last on the first of May. We placed her beside our dear Anne in the chancel of Fincham church. The pilgrimage of the one lasted 92 years, of the other 23, but the Grace of God had wrought in the hearts of both alike and, it seemed to us, had removed all earthly dross.
A letter from Ely about this time speaks of a very touching incident. We had long known intimately a family, a widow with ten children, the youngest a school fellow of my brother's who was articled to Mr. Evans of Ely. Three cases of insanity had broken out in it. Poor Edward's was one of them and it became necessary to remove him to London, where he had a constant attendant though not confined. He had even met my brother George and spoken gently and rationally to him. He, however, escaped from his attendant and made his way to Ely. Of course it was no less needful than before that he should be placed under restraint, but his entreaties to be allowed to remain in Ely were most urgent. At length, being assured that his was impossible, He fell on his knees exclaiming, "Heavenly Father, not my will, but Thine be done!"
Dear Henry [Helsham] came out creditably in the College examination at the beginning of June, was in the 1st class and had a scholarship, but as there are only twelve good ones belonging to the College, and three for that year, the pecuniary value of my brother's was a mere trifle. Not so the gratification of knowing that he had thus far succeeded, notwithstanding his want of physical power to endure close study.
The long continued habit of visiting Fincham Rectory at Midsummer was this year broken through and all dispersed to seek refreshment in visits to old friends. Mr. and Mrs. Millers went to London, Mr. Forby with dear Henry to Barking, Bury and elsewhere and I to Mrs. Day in Lower Close, the Masseys at Thorpe, Stewards at Heigham Lodge, Polward Days at Kirby Bedon etc. Then we all gathered at Fincham again and welcomed our dear George on the 17th of August after his absence of nearly a year and a half. He remained with us about six weeks, happy weeks for us, but there is nothing to be told of them that would interest my children. George gone and Henry's first long vacation ended, I was not long ere I returned to Burnham, first to my nominal home with my grandmother from which I had been so long away, but soon to be chief nurse to my dear Anne Bolton who was in a fearfully delicate state with fainting fits most alarmingly prolonged. I have often thought how generous it was of Susanna Bolton never to evince any jealousy of me for she had devoted herself to her youngest sister during long years of that lameness and ill health, and to see her made easier or happier through my instrumentality seemed even a source of pleasure to Susanna. Anne thought she could not spare me and so, as there were guests to make the Rectory cheerful, I did not go to Fincham for Christmas. Mr. and Mrs. Millers and Kate Alexander were there, and Henry Newland for a short time, and Mr. Forby had his old friends Mr. and Mrs. Munnings from Gorgate Rectory who, during thirty years had never failed to visit except the previous winter when the dear old lady's illness made it impossible to receive even old friends. I do not think my dear Henry was hurt at my absence, he writes so affectionately of "dear Lotty" to George and so gratefully of any manuscript copying, and other things, but could I have foreseen what was to befall before another Christmas Day I should not have been absent.
In mercy the future is veiled and so 1825 brought much happiness. Anne Bolton improved in health and I paid a short visit to the Wards at Stonhoe. Mr. Ward had married Horatia Nelson and their family consisted of two little children. A while afterwards the old Earl Nelson, as Prebend of Canterbury, presented Mr. Ward to the Vicarage of Tenterden, and there their numbers were increased to nine or ten.
My next visit was to Barwicke House where I was always happy with my friends Caroline and Louisa Hoste, the former very clever yet always ready to help those who were less so, the latter very amiable. Both died within two years of that visit. Their brother Dericke married his cousin and their eldest daughter, the wife of Captain or Colonel Simpson is in possession of the nice old place with the woods and rooks which used to afford me much delight. When I passed it with Henry in 1864 I in vain endeavoured to catch sight of even a chimney.
In the classical examination in the Senate House in March Henry was again 1st Class. He derived great gratification at this time from an attendance on Professor Farish's lectures, and it was enhanced by his sense of the kindness of the College Tutor who, having one ticket placed at his disposal, gave it to my brother. Well do I remember the pains he took to interest me in the notes and diagrams, nor do I think he failed in doing so. In the mathematical examination before the long vacation, Henry was fourth, his friend Newland just below him.
The beginning of June (1825) found me once more at Fincham with my dear Henry and prepared for the important duty of receiving the family from Barking Rectory, Mr. and Mrs. Davy and four daughters with the addition of Mr. Brown who was so soon to be Frederica's husband. Their stay was very short and our morning drives were, as usual when we had guests, in search of objects of some architectural interest as subjects for sketching, Pentney Abbey, West Dereham church etc.etc. Mr. and Mrs. Millers were not of our party but on a visit to his older brother at Tendring in Hertfordshire, Mr. Millers had lately, with the consent of the Bishop of Ely, resigned his Living of Hardwicke, near Cambridge, to his brother George and was, I think, on the point of removal to the north, the death of his wife's two sisters having put him in possession of a very handsome income.
About the middle of July we all went to Cromer, all meaning Mr. and Mrs. Millers with Kate Alexander, Mr. Forby, Henry and myself, and George joined us later. We were all in high spirits and our journey was charming. In what way our detachment reached Fakenham I cannot recall but I have the most vivid recollection of posting the two next stages by Thursford Hall, Holt and Felbrigg, my place being on the box from whence I could better admire the tangled wayside by the Park palings, the fine trees and finally the blue sea with its frame of healthy hills.
Next morning we sallied forth to the Hotel to give our friends from Barking a joyous greeting and were somewhat surprised to find that a sister's wedding produced headaches and hysteria and that they could not be seen. The arrival of the bride and groom a few days later somewhat consoled them but we were, I believe, too gladsome for them and so, with my brother's pony on the firm sands, and pleasure drives and walks and sketching, this, our first visit to Cromer, came to an end.
Dear George finished his holiday with us at Fincham and now, the long vacation drawing to a close and my dear Henry's health and eyes becoming manifestly worse, our kind guardian proposed sending him to London for the best advice for both and, that he night keep him a few days longer out of the damp air of Cambridge, obtained leave from his tutor for a slight extension.
I was at Ely awaiting the arrival of the Frank Ricardos, who were to take Kate and myself to town in their carriage for a winter visit of some length. We were to pilot him, George to meet him. Nothing can exceed the tender thoughtfulness of the good man's letters. One who ought to have thrown open his doors to my father's son, and to have replied instantly and cordially to Mr. Forby's expressed wishes, was frigid and discourteous. On no account was Henry to be made aware of this, or of anything that could "vex him". I have been greatly interested in the perusal of his letters, so wise, so kind and affectionate. George had, with some hesitation, asked for an invitation for a summer holiday at Fincham for his friend Hilditch. The reply was most cordial and he only regretted that he "had not been the first to think of it".
But I am lingering on lighter matters, unwilling to tell my tale of sorrow. It was in the week before Christmas (1825) that I received the intelligence that our beloved parental friend [Robert Forby] had expired in his bath the previous noon, sinking beneath the water either from fainting or a fit. Some hours unavoidably passed before George could make his arrangements with Mr. Rowe but we quitted London soon after dark and posted to Ely where, early in the night, we had our sad interview with Mrs. Millers and then continued our mournful journey to Fincham. There was my poor Henry, he had not been quite alone when the stroke fell upon him. Mr. Creed and Anne Bell had ridden over and when the length of absence exceeded what might be accounted for, Mr. Creed gave directions which revealed the awful truth. Before Christmas Day we had placed him beneath that very spot whence he had, with a solemnity noticed by many, in the words of the second warning bade his parishioners to the celebration of the Holy Communion on the coming festival. As I knelt there the words rang in my ears, "I for my part shall be ready", yes, "ready" to drink it new in our Father's Kingdom. It needs not to tell of our grief, no one but myself is left to remember it. Dear George was the first to leave us and return to his duties in London, next Mrs. Martha Forby, to whom the Rectory had been home during the incumbencies both of her uncle and brother, then dear Henry to Cambridge, and Mr. and Mrs. Millers to Ely. At last I was left alone for two or three days, such being my wish. One more memorial, it is part of a letter addressed to myself early in 1825. He writes "That we did not see you while we were all together was very sufficiently and satisfactorily accounted for, but having understood that another friend of the poor sufferer is expected I wish to press soon upon you the expediency, not to say the positive necessity of transferring yourself to other friends. There are some persons in the world who, to all human seeming, have more occupation in it in soothing the sorrows and promoting the well being of others, than in seeking and finding their own personal enjoyments. You appear to be one of these. I have known others, my dear mother was a conspicuous one.
You knew her only when she was calmly reposing in the Evening of her Long Day, but the longer portion of it was remarkably occupied in such labours. I sometimes see something like it in myself, certainly many and various opportunities have fallen in my way to be helpful to others. Well, so let it be. In His providential care of his creatures, God is pleased to use instruments. There is nothing whereat to glory but yet one is very reasonably glad to find oneself of some use in this world . . . ". The sketch taken from life by Caroline Davy from the life and kindly copied for us, is by far the best likeness of our invaluable friend.
I quitted Fincham on the 20th and was most kindly welcomed by my dear cousins at Kirby Bedon. Their children were with them and their relatives near, and they thought little of letters, only receiving them when they went to Norwich. Great then was my alarm when three letters in the same handwriting, Anne Alexander's, were put into my hand. My dear George was critically ill from erysepalis in the head. Mt. Rowe had removed him to a lodging near St. Pancras' old church where the woman of the house had nursed him very kindly, but oh, how he must have wondered why his sister did not hasten to him. Most trying was the interval and the long, long journey. They told me the danger was passed but he was deplorably weak and looking ill. However, through the mercy of God his amendment was progressing and as soon as he could travel we left our lovely lodging and kind hearted hostess who gave me, at parting, the tiny china jug on my cabinet.
It was a most extraordinary fact that Mr. Rowe allowed the first part of this critical illness to elapse without informing any one, although urged by the poor sufferer to do so he, all the while, enduring "excruciating agonies", his head and face so swollen that he could only see a strip of daylight and nearly forty ounces of blood was taken from his arm. He was fully aware of his insipient danger and little hope of life, but felt more sorrow for his brother and me than for himself. At length Mr. Rowe wrote to Mr. Alexander and then followed the delayed letters and prolonged loneliness.
From London we went to Hartley [Coulsdon, Surrey. Home of Philip & Matilda Crowe] , a change most delightful and recruiting to the dear invalid. It was at the beginning of April and a very fine season, the oak shaws full and carpeted with stores or wild flowers. The birds so glad and gladdening, and the pure air of the chalk hills so delightful, we ourselves so fervently thankful. Our cousins [Philip & Matilda Crowe] , in their kind desire that we should not feel a burden, left us for a few days on some visit, and my dear brother gaining strength daily, our delightful 'rambles' were more and more extended. Then there was the sitting hour after hour on the pleasant hillside sketching and smelling the juniper and the thyme on the open down. I shall insert some of my pet sketches for my own peculiar gratification as a feeling of happiness always comes over me when I look at them.
The first, the wheelwright's sheds and litter under the large tree, was at a pretty bend in the road to church, and there the village band met on summer evenings looking so neat in their slop frocks. Then going on, we passed through the churchyard to the hillside whence the second sketch is taken. The house on the right of the churchyard is not the Rectory, that is a very good house befitting the Living and farther up the road. It was then occupied by the Rev. Arthur Drummond, his mother and two sisters, capital people and special favourites of my cousin's. They had pleasant guests too. A pretty Miss Percival, a daughter of the minister who was shot, was a great object of interest to me. Below the ridge on which Hartley stood, and where the Brighton rail now runs, resided Colonel and Mrs. Byron of the family who now have the title. He was a fine specimen of the polished gentleman of the olden time, he was at the Battle of Minden.
I wish I could add sketches of Hartley but they are so out of perspective that I do not like to do so. From the drawing room , with its pretty bay and nicely constructed verandah, you stepped out upon a lawn of a particularly cheerful character for beyond the grounds and the road the ground soon began to decline, then rose again and the little spire visible in the distance was Banstead where my cousins had first met. This must have been my last visit to Hartley for my cousin [Philip Crowe] gave it up in December 1829 and I could never have been at liberty in the interval.
And now to return to my dear homeless Henry [Helsham]. He had passed the Easter vacation at Ely where Newland was kindly invited and Kate and Emma Alexander made time pass cheerfully. Then there was to make arrangements for the long vacation which we did by taking a small lodging in Yarmouth next door to our old friends the Tulhills, who had given up Helgham Lodge to their daughter Mrs. Steward on her marriage and were very bright and happy at their seaside abode.
On the 26th of May I joined dear Henry at Stow on his way from Ely or Cambridge and we had a very pleasant journey by the Lynn coach to Norwich. There we waited some hours and called on old friends and then, with the addition of Emily Massey, proceeded on our way to Yarmouth. My people have only seen Emily under unfavourable conditions and inexplicable circumstances and I fear, in their devotion to me in my extremity and illness, were intolerant of her lesser maladies, and so a very unpleasant state of things was brought about, but Emily was not always thus. In 1826 she was the pretty, gentle yet playful creature who, as a most welcome third, added most materially to the comfort of our little lodging. My poor Henry! What a contrast this to all the comfort and enjoyments of his old home at the Rectory. But no regrets ever escaped him. He planned out his hours of study and resolutely prepared to do his duty, but alas! After a little while the pain after eating and the distress in thinking gained ground so fast he proposed to Mr. Millers that he should degrade for a year, still clinging to the hope of coming out in honours. But Mr. Millers objected, of course knowing too well the utter hopelessness of such a measure, and so my beloved brother had to conform his mind to the idea of a ?pelloi? degree in January.
We had very nice friends and acquaintances at Yarmouth. The aged Rector, Mr. Turner, called on us accompanied by his gentle wife who, as Miss parish of Lynn, had been a great friend of my dear mother's, and Catherine visited her at Yarmouth before she married, but she was suffering under an incurable malady and we only met on Sundays when I sate in her pew. The Dawson Turners invited the trio to dinner and took great pains to make the evening pass pleasantly by bringing forth valuable prints etc. and Lady, then Mrs. Palgrave was better than the loveliest picture. Her boy, the present author, tossing on the carpet with a great dog. The Matthew Manleys were always sociable. She, Miss Edgar of the Red House, in Ipswich, died the other day. We dined once and again with our dear Quaker friends, the Brightwens, and all this made a little change and cheer, for the weather during the first month was most unfavourable, the wind always north or east. Then we had, I think, a month of summer weather and made some nice little excursions and saw grass and a tree, which you can never do in Yarmouth, except the foreign looking avenue on the very handsome Quay. One sunny afternoon we rowed ourselves to Burgh Castle and sate long under the shelter of Roman walls. Another day we drove to Caister Castle where the graceful trees around the ruin were most refreshing to our eyes, so long deprived of such a gladdening sight. Two sweet days among the furze bushes on Gorleston Cliff, and then our loving little party separated thankful for all that had cheered us in our trials.
We quitted Yarmouth at 5am outside the London coach on 11th August and were most kindly received by Mr. Davey and his family. My brother had frequently been Mr. Forby's companion in his visits to Barking Rectory [Suffolk] but I had never seen it, and was charmed to find myself in a pretty drawing room with a widely extended view from the window over to the Stonehams, one of the side windows giving the graceful tree in the sketch, and beyond the churchyard was the Hall and Lord Ashburnham's oak woods.
They were noble trees, 100 years old, the children of those at Campsea Ashe. Mr. Davey was most kind, driving dear Henry out, and our visit was most pleasant. We then went to Hemingstone Rectory where Mr. and Mrs. Brown were truly considerate. From them to the dear old entomologist at Barham. He showed us his beautiful collection of butterflies and insects. I sketched the peaceful old Rectory which is now levelled with the ground and a very different one erected by Mr. Schreiber by the church on the hills. The 5th September we left Suffolk taking the mail at its usual early hour on its way to Norwich, where we breakfasted, saw may friends during the day and reached Kirby Bedon to tea. On 21st September we were both at Burnham, Henry staying with the Glasses. Henry passed a month at Burnham and then left on his way to Cambridge.
Dear Henry [Helsham], being too ill to go into the Senate House, took an aegrotat degree and then joined George [Helsham] and myself at Ely. When we left Ely, Henry went to London for advice about his eyes and there saw Newland. Returning to Norfolk, he made a little visit to R. Wales at Fincham and then to Stow.
Dear Henry made visits to his old friends in Suffolk, our object being to pass away the summer months and, if possible, to close with my dear uncle's [Henry Crowe] proposal of being under the same roof with him at Bath for the winter. In June and part of July dear Henry was at Midhurst with the family of his friend Newland. Most people know Midhurst with its fine extended view over the Sussex Downs which my dear brother greatly enjoyed. He was too feeble to walk far and had no horse. I cannot remember what our arrangements were in the next six weeks but early in September we were in Bath. Orange Grove was directly opposite the entrance to the Abbey, a large old-fashioned house or rather two houses, in one of which my uncle had a room of very ample dimensions for his pictures and curiosities.
His bedroom being the parlour looking into the Grove. In one part of the house there was a large airy room next to the Grove in which our uncle used to dine and drink tea with us. Our bedrooms running back. It was a very lovely September. For a while we walked with the help of a camp stool, even reached the stone quarries where I sketched.
For a while we got on better, had a nutting expedition and dear Henry must have been much revived as I accepted Mrs. Ricardo's kind invitation to ?waltz? and had one or two charming rides on Mrs. Ricardo's horse but, as winter drew on, Henry began to ask for changes and we decided on a week at Clifton but alas, alas, this was our crowning evil, a damp bed producing intense cold during the night ended in pulmonary consumption. The first day at Clifton was one of thick fog but after that we had some fine walks as our house was then the last on the cliff looking down on the Avon with its richly wooded cliff.
I have not spoken of my uncle's friends, many of them held a very good position in society as the Peytons etc. but of those most specially kind and valuable to me were Mrs. Lowe, Miss Donne and others. The year closed mournfully and 1828 opened yet more so. Sad indeed were my forebodings and in February Mr. Norman saw him and gave his decided opinion of the utter hopelessness of the case. George was summoned from Ely to help nurse and on the 14th of March all was over. We placed him in the crypt under St. James's church and my uncle placed a stone with a Latin inscription over the grave. I would gladly have had a little quiet time with my uncle and friends and have made our arrangements for moving in more quietness but I suppose Mr. Muriel required my brother's presence at Ely. Dear Mrs. Jones would have me sleep one night at Landsdown urging that the air would revive me. ?High? would she have made us promise to visit her in Scotland the following summer but this could not be, and so we never met again.
We had, as usual, the long day's coach journey and entered Oxford as the moon was shining beautifully on the columns of Balliol. The next evening we reached Ely. From thence I soon went home to Burnham where my dear Anne Bolton strove to soothe me with the tender affection of an older sister.
Sir Roger Martin returned from India this summer, he was received and welcomed by all. He was very kind to 'Kitty Crowe' as he would always call me. (Her name was Elizabeth Helsham, daughter of Catherine Crowe). Mrs. Woolley would gladly have seen him marry and a happy thing it would have been for he evidently craved domestic life and could not even dine without Anne Crowe to sit beside him. But, the two sisters who had children were of a different opinion so, erelong, all was sadness and sorrow.
Poor Anne Bolton's ague returning, we went to Cromer where dear George was with us, but the sea air had no effect and so we travelled by easy journeys in a hired carriage, in the first week of November, to Hastings. There we passed the winter. In the spring Mr. and Mrs. Bolton and their two children came and took lodgings near us and when it became too hot on the beach we removed to a lodging on the East Cliff. Thence our dear invalid went home and George [Helsham] and I came into Suffolk. We had not been many days at Barking when we received a letter from Mr. Kirby stating that Mr. Harsant, who had given up practice and retired to his ?turning? room had lost his only son of fever and a substitute must immediately be found. My brother wrote to William Muriel, "You want to marry, I can wait. Make what use you please of the enclosed letter." And we know the result. Shortly afterwards when we were staying at Hemingstone, we received information that Mr. Lynn's assistant having gone into practice in opposition to him married Miss Clarkson whose family carried considerable interest, Mr. Lynn himself was seeking a new partner. Of this transaction I need not speak and it is better not to do so of things and persons in Woodbridge. Dear George entered eagerly into it. The income of the practice being represented as a very handsome one, I could not remain here but returned to Burnham. It was a terrible winter and I had to make more than one effort before I accomplished my journey to Woodbridge. We were in Gall's lodgings whilst I purchased furniture. The alterations were so recent that the house was not dry but the inconvenience of daily walks through heavy snow drove me into it.
The summer of 1830, Henry Newland paid us a visit, a short but very pleasant one and then, having made some receptions in a rough way which were kindly received and aided, particularly by the Days, I ventured to go to Burnham to my dying friend, Anne Bolton. I remained with her some weeks and when I seemed most essential to her and it was indeed agony to part, I was obliged to yield to the representations of the one who stated that my absence from Woodbridge was injurious to my brother's interests, but I had not been here many days before her death was announced and I returned to see her laid in her grave at Burnham churchyard. Next came the appalling news of Mr Glasse's death, the result of an harassed mind. This led to my returning somewhat later to Burnham to assist my grandmother in making arrangements for giving up her house and accompanying Mrs. Glasse to London.
Of the next years I have not much to record, but in the autumn of 1835, urged by Lord Nelson and the Girdlestones to visit Wiltshire, I went first to Landford but here again sickness and sorrow followed me. Lord Nelson was out of health and this showed itself to be an unmistakable organic disease. Dr. Beatty came to Brickworth but no real encouragement could he give us. My friend requested me to come to him, none he was sure could nurse as his dear little sister Anne's "child". Once I drove with him to desolated Trafalgar, he was always calm and humble minded, was sure that he should not adorn the title. But, one morning, he was said to be so much more ill that he desired Dr. Watson might be summoned as well as the lawyer from Salisbury. From that day he was nursed as I am now. All were as sisters and no servant was allowed to wait upon him save for the fire. It was my night in my own room when, on 2nd November, I was hastily summoned to his bedside and found him apparently dying. His two eldest boys had been sent for from Chichester school. He lingered through the day, quite conscious and in the evening breathed his last supported by Henry Girdlestone and myself.
When it became necessary that the boys should return to school I took them there, slept at the Deanery, and next to the Ricardos on the way home. And so another sorrow was added, but think not my children that I murmur. It always was my earnest desire that God should appoint my lot as seemed His best. You all know what befell the following May, and now I was left on the 21st of May 1836, utterly bereaved. (by the death of her brother George).
[this is the end of the diary]
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(Elizabeth Jones) (Note on Barnard family)