Diary of John Corby

John Corby was Parish Clerk of Draughton at the end of the eighteenth century. Like all good Draughtonians he kept more than half an eye on what was going on in neighbouring Maidwell. These extracts are printed here entirely as written and with only a minimum of explanatory comment.


Feb 13. The font removed from Maidwell Church to Draughton Church by Mr. Whing (jun) & his men of Hallaton of Leicestershire & George Smith of Draughton being the first child that was brought to be baptised at the said font on Sunday the 18th the Godfather being Grandfather to the said child was sent from the font by Mr. Rose (Minister) for being excommunicated from the Church before time. N.B. very remarkable.

March. A new Communion Table put in the Church at Draughton, brought from the great Parlour at Maidwell & the old one lodged in Rev. Rose’s Parlor at Draughton.

Mar 16. A New Marble Font put in Church at Maidwell by Mr. Whing & on May 19th

Mr. Trufetts Sun was baptised at the said font the first child.

N.B. The two above events very remarkable.

April 16. The Gallery began painting in Maidwell Church of a Mahogany Culler by Mr. Turner’s men of Market Harborough and the services of the Church forbid on Sun ye 18 & 25 that being the fast day. N.B. Mr. Whyks the Curate I think quite rong. The Monuments begun to be took down in the Chancel at Maidwell by Mr. Whings men.

May 2nd. The Chancel entirely pulled down and cleared away.

May 7th. Mary Bland’s old Publick House begun to be pulled down with the old Buildings (The Chequers).

May 14th. Mr. Edward Burton arrested at the new Publick House called the Goat.

(Editor’s note: The Goat was the original name of the Stag’s Head – it was rechristened on 11th November 1907. The Chequers was across the main road from the Goat.)

August. This month the Monuments was put up in Maidwell Church from the old Chancel by Mr. Patrick (late Mr. Whings mason) but now publican of the Goat.

Sept 15. The brick bridge between Maidwell & Draughton finished by Chinea of Creaton. (Probably Cheney, not Chinea – Ed.)

Nov. The Lower Pond finished & Puddled by Mr. Patrick.

Remarks in the Year 1782.

Jan 30. Arthur Bland took possession of his new House that was built by Mr. Patrick where his Mothers old Publick House stood the Chequers.

April. The Figers finished painting at the end of the Church by Mr. Balaam of Northampton (The figures are thought to be the Haslewood tomb – Ed.) & all the old Gravestones that came out of the Chancel was laid down & set up against the Church & in Churchyard.

April to June. Wet cold Snow & sleet. that ever was remembered by the oldest man living.

May 12. Snow 3 feet deep.

November. The Swallows in great numbers drop dead starved for want of food. The Harvest remarkable bad no good corn & wheat 4/- to 8/-


June. The Sundial that tame from Carshalton erected at Maidwell by Nr.Rouse Harboro & carkerlated to this latitude so it is right

Nov. Mr. Barkers House repaired & Mr. Bays of Draughton.

Dec 18. The Elm tree’s by the new Road finished topping & the wood given to the poor of Maidwell & Draughton. so ended the old year & God give us grace & we embrace it to amend our lives in year 1784 Amen


Nov 5th. The footbridge going to Draughton finished.

” 6th. the Footplanks & New Rails over Brook.

Apples at 10/- per Bushel Best 18/- & 1/1/0

Onions at 8/-

Began Snowing Xmas day. & by times the frost continued till Feb. 20th. a cirvear Winter as ever was known.


Sept 23. A new Copper removed from the Mill to Mr. Hopwood’s & an old wash house Copper put in the room that stood in the old Coach house for 3 years as unfit for use.

N.B. l don’t think master knows it.

(Mr. Hopwood was churchwarden of Maidwell – Ed.)


March. A new white Marble Chimney Piece put up in the first Parlor by Mr. Whing.


Maidwell Estate sold to J.P.Hungerford Esq.of Dingley all but Scotland Wood that sold to above in Mar 1790 a sale of all the Household goods Oct 1789 R.Rouse by Oction at Maidwell Hall. Cellar & Brewhouse & all other things. (John Corby’s punctuation seems finally to have broken under the strain at this point. It seems to mean that the Estate and household goods, including the brewing equipment, were sold in 1789, the former privately to Mr. Hungerford, the latter by auction in October. Mr.Hungerford bought the remaining part of the Estate, Scotland Wood, the next year – Ed.)

The Winter in 1789 & 1790 the mildest ever known no snow nor cold birds nest in Feb but beggining of Apr as cold as ever was with frosty nights clear fine sunny days with high winds the earth was so dry that Farmers could not get seed in grass all gone. Apr 15 it pleased God to send a great Snow for oen day without wind that gave the earth a soking 23rd Warm Swallows seen everything very late. in this year 1790 a good seed time & good corn & good yields. l see 2 Swallows. BO Oct & one Nov lst.


if the wind setts North-West or NE or E upon old Marks Eve it is sure to be very disagreeable weather for that whole quarter (St. Mark’s day is25th April so ‘Marks Eve’ is 24th April, but ‘old Marks Eve’ refers to the change in the calendar in 1752 when everything was moved forward eleven days. So ‘old Marks Eve’ means 5th May — Ed.)


June 21st Snow at Maidwell

August The Library pulled down at Maidwell Hall & all the rubbish cleared away.