The diaries of Rachel Ketton

The sun setting on Felbrigg Estate with a tree in the foreground

John and Rachel Ketton bought Felbrigg Hall when Mad Windham went bankrupt. Rachel kept diaries of life at Felbrigg during the 1860s and one of our volunteers has transcribed them for you, so you can read about their day to day life - what the family and the weather were doing, and who was visiting Felbrigg.

18 December 1863

Note from Lady Buxton putting off her party of the 23rd. Miss Cremer caught fire at her house the night before but it was put out only burning her arms. In the afternoon .......

10 February 1864

Mr & Mrs Upcher, the 3 children and the 3 Misses Pigott came in two sledges, each drawn by a pair of ponies, called after lunch, we all went to the door to see them off ......

29 July 1864

The 2 girls rode with Captain Douglas 4 hours, dinner at two. The Douglas’s left us at four and we spent the evening at Mrs Beauchamp’s. The Anderson’s, the Marcon family and ......

5 January 1865

Georgiana the kitchen maid had a letter to say her little brother 5 years old was dead of diphtheria. She very much wanted to go and see him, but was persuaded not. It poured ......

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. Shepherd came .......

30 January 1866

Rhoda called me down and gave a month’s warning in an improper way. Sent for her into the schoolroom and she showed us Mrs Hamonds letter from which it appeared .....

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. Cranmer came and said “is there .....

16 September 1867

Obliged to discharge Ann Taylor for threatening Vincent. The kitchen maid insisted on going too cut off a fortnight’s wages. Mr Mott wrote to ask for some peaches and nectarines.....

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. Ten Buxtons and Pattersons came and Miss Pellew .....

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 when all the servants rose .....

Wednesday 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!)..