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Extracts from the diary of Raleigh Trevelyan

Janet McNamara wrote in January 2017 about the diary of Raleigh Trevelyan (1800-1814), a scholar in Brentford until his early death. She adds: It’s a very moving dozen or so pages that were obviously typed years ago with all the things that an early teenager might be interested in war time during his holidays in Kent and recording who is flogged on particular days then a note at the end saying that the entries in the July were very faint and then that he’d died.

Written while at school at Egglesfield House, The Butts, Brentford where Rev Dr Morris was the Head Teacher.

May 1814

Thursday 19 Ascension Day. Went to church once. To day is the day for beating the boundaries of the parish. They make a large party with blue ribands in their hats & long white sticks. We staid at the church to see them set out and then went to see one of them climb over a house but we were too late. One has to swim up the middle of the river. They then dine all together. They only do it once every 7 years. Only had one lesson, greek testament. They bump every body they meet on the boundaries & they have music. Walked through Colonel Clitheroes grounds along the canal where we saw 3 boats of the people & then crossed the fields & met them a little above Col C’s house on the Hanwell road. They went through his garden & were going to cut through a barn but he would not let them. Walked the rest of the way home with them. They had a sermon preached out of Gospel Oak. The whole school went to Mr Gungels. Came home a little before 10.

Friday 20 Went through Colonel Clitheroe’s ground to Gospel Oak. Met Simon walking.

Sunday 22 Went to church twice. Took a walk to Ealing. Called on aunt Perceval.

Tuesday 24 Took some Rhubarb, Castor oil, & a Saline draught for a head ake.

For several days he gives descriptions of other medication and bleedings and was visited by ‘aunt Perceval’. He obviously had some time in London where he saw the illuminations and General Platoff ‘attended by a cossac (sic) in uniform with a long spear’. He went back to Brentford on June 13th and reported 2 half holidays ‘for Peace’ and died about July 12th.

Research notes

Gospel Oak was the northern boundary of the parish. It was in the area where the Piccadilly line now runs and near Boston Manor Station.

Was Aunt Perceval anything to do with Spencer Perceval who I think was shot 1812?

Rev Dr Morris is mentioned in the letter from Miss Clitherow reporting the visit of King William IV and Queen Adelaide on June 23rd 1834. ‘The people were collected in numbers at Dr Morris’s school, and they gave them a good cheer. We then let the boys through the garden into the orchard by the flower- garden, where my brother had given leave for neighbours to be and it seemed as if two hundred were collected’.

Brentford History has more about Egglesfield House and other houses in The Butts.

Raleigh died on 26 July 1814 at the age of 14 and was buried in the churchyard of St Luke, Charlton in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. (findagrave website)

The diary is held at Wigan Archives and their website provides a list of diaries in the Edward Hall collection including a link to download a full transcript of Raleigh Trevelyan's diary.


Page published February 2017