The diaries of Rachel Anne Ketton

Rachel Ketton's fire buckets

John and Rachel Ketton bought Felbrigg Hall when William Frederick Windham went bankrupt. Rachel kept a diary of their lives at Felbrigg, and one of our volunteers has transcribed this for us. Read about their day to day life - what the family and the weather were doing, and who was visiting Felbrigg.

1 September 1863

William and John went out shooting. Waited dinner half an hour but they did not come till dark. John Snr in a terrible passion. The three guns only killed a cock two of them old. A very miserable day.

5 January 1864

Miss Johnstone wrote to ask the girls to come to Northrepps and take their first skating lesson. Anna and Margaret went and lunched with Lady Buxton. The three young Pigotts and Mr Hutton came to lunch and then went to skate.

9 July 1864

Alarming letter from Ellen to say Mamma had a return of the bad symptoms, a most wretched day of indecision, whether we should go to Norwich or not, at last decided not, but to keep the horses ready to start, bitterly cold and rainy.

6 February 1865

Bobbie’s birthday. Very thick fog all day. No one able to go out. John very cross. The boundary a great deal of trouble to him and he did not sleep all night.

7 August 1865

Pouring rain and none of the hay got up. Cleared up in the afternoon. While I was in the garden Mr Johnson’s two ‘jokers’ called and went into the kitchen garden.

7 January 1866

A most awful storm of wind and rain but Priscilla, Anna and Minnie went through it to Aylmerton church, Anna succeeded very well with the harmonium. Canon Robinson’s brother did duty. The white cow calved today.

11 July 1866

Finished sweeping the drawing room etc. Had all the china done and the stove apron put up. John went to Kelling and I drove with Anna round by Overstrand and Cromer. A very hot day, all the hay in the north park cut.

7 June 1867

Letter from John informing me he was better and one from Priscilla to say they would be home on Sunday night. Heavy thunderstorms all day.

16 September 1867

Obliged to discharge Ann Taylor for threatening Vincent. The kitchen maid insisted on going too cut off a fortnight’s wages.

9 January 1868

All hands busy preparing for the small party tonight. Duncan in a bad temper and gave warning but afterwards thought better of it.

22 August 1868

The Sheringham and Holt cricket match; a dreadful day. Bobbie went to Sheringham at 10.30 but found the match was postponed till Monday. It rained all day, except 2 hours.

Thursday 9 February 1869

Looked over plate with Betts who leaves tomorrow. After dinner John paid his wages when he said he much wished to stay. John agreed to it.

14 July 1869

John, Anna, Ellen and I went to a croquet party at Wickmere. Very slow, felt very tired and bored and hungry and expressed myself quite as I felt. Was congratulated by everyone, the only pleasant part of the entertainment!!

19 January 1870

Mrs Feilden called. Abused all the neighbours but otherwise amiable! Dodd and Anna came and went with Margaret and Minnie to dinner at Wickmere. Met Mrs Beales (an old bore!)