Date: 1812

HAILSTONE FAMILY] Commonplace Book, pp166 of tidily written manuscript on 119 leaves in two hands. Marbled paper covered boards and cloth spine with two printed index leaves following front free endpaper.Overall in Very Good condition. Identified as belonging to members of the Hailstone family of Horton Hall by copies of correspondence relating to the Hailstone family crest. Samuel Hailstone was a solicitor and botanist, and Edward his son (1818-1890) continued the practice as a sleeping partner. Edward was a keen book collector, and his collection was left to York Minster Library. It seems to us that the earlier entries might be in Samuel’s hand (entries relating to a Croft House begin in 1814 and end in around 1844) with the later entries, in Edward Hailstone’s hand. It is perhaps interesting to note that the last entry in the first hand relates to funeral Passing Bells. The earlier author- let us conjecture Samuel, shows a considerable interest in the natural world , and he records direct observations as well as quoting from published sources. The first entry, and another on p 16 relate to the heights of British mountains, the information sourced from The Trigonometrical Survey Of Lieut. Col. Mudge. He records the temperatures for January 1814: “ The following Observns were taken a little before 9 o Clock A.M. upon Fahrenh Therm. hung in front of Croft House……Frost began Dec 26. 1813.” Samuel notes the arrival of Swallows in May1812 and again in 1814 , and he comments on the water in the well thus: “Well on the South side of the House is 22 feet from ye surface of the ground deep & stands 9 feet deep with Water as plumbed May 9 1812.” Two days later he measures the North well: “Well at the North end & which is immediately under the floor of the Dining Room is 24 feet from the Surface of the ground & stands nine feet deep in Water…..plumbed May 11 1812. He then goes on to give details of four other Wells with the information entered at later dates, including one for 1836 at Horton Hall. Trees are of great interest too. He has no less than 34 different willow species sent to him “ by Donn from the B.G. Cambridge and planted Nov 4 1808”. [In about 1790 James Donn was appointed Curator of the Cambridge Botanical Garden and in 1796 he published the first edition of Hortus Cantabrigiensis, a list of the plants in the Garden which reached its 13th edition in 1845, long after Donn's death.] Samuel marks the trees with numbers in his garden, and also gives relative reference numbers “ to the Figures in English Botany”. Samuel also notes the plants that he has received from Mr Care of Leeds. As well as planting his grounds, Samuel is concerned with the upkeep of his house, giving “Directions for making about a Pail full of Wash for colouring Cement” which uses tallow, Green Coperas, album, vitriol and milk, along with beer grounds. Different colours required “ according to the Stone or fancy of the Country” May be obtained by the addition of Umber, Red or Yellow Ochre…”. There are a number of pages giving recipes for ink, a page on the Shamrock, a method for destroying aphids, and long articles on Thorp Arch or Clifforth Spaw, Broughton, Crickle Ground, & Skipton and the quality of their waters. The family crest is much discussed in entries around 1838-40 with the only illustration in the volume of “ a rose branch bearing Scotch Roses..”The family history is given in some detail, but with no trace of a formally registered family arms. The later entries in presumably Edward’s hand, are less tidy, and relate largely to weather records including one for a storm ( in barometric terms) which lasted from 17 Dec 1860 until 21Jan 1861. This is an interesting manuscript, very much relating to the interests and concerns of a gentleman in Georgian times. He is concerned about the quality and availability of the water in his wells and of the soil on his land. He records the trees and plants that he introduces, and he is an observer of the weather and natural phenomena. Towards the end of his life he records his interest in his family history and crests, and presumably after his death his son inherits his commonplace book and continues using it. A good slice of Yorkshire family history and topography.


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