Calverley Diary

Frederick Clarkson Calverley born 18.02.1844 died 12.03.1913 was to son of Walter and Mary Ann Calverley (nee Clarkson).

Frederick Clarkson Calverley started a diary in a book that he had given to his wife Annie to keep her accounts in. However, Annie died on 22.01.1879 and the book was unused. On March 19th 1879, Frederick decided to commence a diary so that his three young children would be able to know about their mother’,s latter end and her death along with particulars of their family life as young children after their father Frederick died. When their mother died, Frederick William was aged 6, Walter aged 4 and Mary Annie known as Polley was 3 years old on the day that her mother was interred at Aycliffe.

The diary was written for 26 years and still survives in the Calverley family with a descendant of Frederick Clarkson Calverley.

These are extracts from the diary that relate to the area surrounding Mickley and the Hackfall area of Yorkshire where Frederick spent his younger life.

The memories of Frederick Clarkson Calverley, my Great Great Grandfather.

February 18th 1882
Saturday night 11 p.m.
It is my birthday, I am 38 years old today born 1844.
I have been off work this week ill, but am much better, thank God, and hope to start work on Monday, all being well.

Mrs Bell came from Mickley this morning on the way to visit my sisters, and bought bad news about dear old Mickley, the Mill stopped, and all the people are leaving the village.

April 4th 1882
Tuesday night 10 p.m.
I went to Mickley yesterday morning and had my dear Uncle Henry’s remains removed from Ripon Union, where he died at 12.05 on Friday night, and I had him buried in the east corner, near my dear mother.

This is three of my beloved ones I have had to inter in about five years, and I feel it is telling its tale upon me. The Lord Help Me!

July 19th 1886
I ought to have made this entry earlier.
My family and I went to Mickley Feast a week ago on Saturday 10th July, and returned a week today.

We stayed with Aunt Jane Calverley, and we visited the famous Hackfall on Sunday afternoon as far as the Grotto Bay and Fisherman’s Hall, in fact to the gate at the far end of Hackfall on the footpath near the river. I also showed them round the Fisherman’s Hall and inside it too as the door was open, and we inspected the table and chairs etc.

My family Willy, Walter and Polley enjoyed it immensely. I took them up the walk as far as what used to be called the Silver Pond when I was a boy. It was called that, from there we could see what used to be called the New Buildings where the Galas are held at times.

Having been there and through Hackfall by the waterside, we returned to Mickley, and dinner, and then went to the dear old Methodist Chapel where I first began to pray and where I first believed in the Lord unto Salvation. My sons both sat on my left hand upon the seat I used to sit when a young man, facing the Pulpit, and upon which my Uncle Tom Calverley sat. As there was not room for Polley, she sat on my right hand with her back to Mrs. Tomlinson’s pew on a form placed there.

We went to the evening service too, this is the first time to my knowledge that my family has been with me to that dear old Chapel, at all events since their dear mamma died. This is the first time I have been at my native place at Feast Time since the death of my dear mother.

I was there the Feast before mother’s death and believe my dear Annie and family were with us, and that was our last time, as a family at Feast time.
I have been at other times with my children, such as our Shop Trip. I have gone to that dear old spot instead of Scarborough or other places, as I could have done.

Well so much for Sunday.
On Monday I took my family through Baros and through Hackfall fields up to the top of them, and on the fields at the top of Hackfall as far as the old ruins called Mowbray Castle or Mowbray ruins, and we had a rest there, and my children played at ball inside the remains. From there we went to what used to be called the Low Ground Farm, the place I was first engaged to as a farmer’s boy, and where I got my thigh bone broken by a horse kicking me.

Having explained this to my little folk, we had some milk brought out, and sat on the grass near the gate, and had some lunch and 2 quarts of milk. From there, through the fields and Barrows down to Mickley and spent the afternoon in the village until time for starting for Tanfield and thence to Darlington by 9 p.m. and thus closed the first visit to Mickley Feast where there was no mother to welcome me and no dear wife to accompany me, and this made it a visit of very mingled feelings. Though I was pleased and proud of having my family thus far brought up and to see them enjoying themselves, I could not refrain from thinking how incomplete joy as to what it would have been had their dear mamma or my mother had been there, but they are better off I trust and believe for all the pleasures we have had here.

October 16th 1888
I should have made this entry sooner.
I went on my holidays on the Monday 24th September last and recommenced work on Wednesday 3rd October, having had 8 working days holiday. I visited my sister Caroline at Darlington on the Tuesday 25th, and found her very poorly, and I fear she is going home fast.

I also went to Lofthouse on the same day for the first time since my family and I, including my beloved wife left Cleveland. I also went to Skingrove Furnaces, and cottages after 12 years absence. On Friday 28th I visited my dear old Mickley, and stayed all night with Aunt Jane Calverley. Paid a visit to beloved Hackfall on the Saturday morning Fisherman’s Hall and the Grotto at the far end of the footpath. Going through Masham I lit a new pipe for the first time and returned to Mickley for breakfast, singing as I came through the barrows and down the valley end.

And pointing to the grave he said No one remembers me.
I then bid Aunt and others not many now left who I know or who care much for me to bid goodbye to and I proceeded to Leeds and bought my family each a pair of boots, and myself a pair, and arrived at my house by 5 p.m.
So thus ending my tripping, having only 2 paper passes allowed this year instead of card passes as before.

The rest of the holiday I spent working at home, except on Sunday when I visited my dear wife’,s grave alone. So that in 3 day’s 28th, 29th, 30th I looked upon the graves of my beloved mother, my beloved wife and Uncle Henry, with no earthly friend to tell my feelings to, that could fully understand them (only my God and Saviour)…..

July 12th 1889
Dear old Mickley Feast has fallen on Wednesday this year and though my dear sister Caroline has passed away so recently I decided on Wednesday about 11 o’,clock to go and see the dear old place of my birth, and take my family, so I hurried Willy and Walter off home from work and followed, and got off by the 2.48 train, caught the 4 o’,clock train from Ripon to Tanfield. Got to Aunt Jane’,s about 5 o’,clock, was in Hackfall yesterday forenoon, and returned last night awfully lonely as there were no old faces visiting the feast but us…….

July 15th 1890
This entry is to state that last Thursday the 10th July it was Mickley dear old Feast day, or the date it used to be held, and the 11th July too.
I intended to pay another visit to that lovely spot and told my sons to leave work at 11 o’clock, and I left at 12, and we, as a family went, arriving at Mickley about 5 o’clock.

We stayed with Aunt Jane Calverley, as last year.
I took my family to Tanfield on Friday 11th to go by train to Masham. I saw Mrs. Swan and Charlie Buckle, and then we went to Hackfall and Mickley to dinner.
On the Saturday 12th the boys and I went to Stanley and back, and at night I set my daughter off from Tanfield for Darlington, as it was the Harrowgate Hill Sunday School Anniversary, and my Polley had to take part in saying a piece, the first. I would have liked to have been there, but Willy and Walter begged to stay over Sunday, so the boys and I did.

We went to church in the morning, and Chapel in the afternoon and in the evening. Thomas Chandler preached, and his brother-in-law Mr. May.
We returned last night, leaving Tanfield 7.21 p.m., arriving at Darlington 9.15.
This ends another visit to my dear native place, but no mother to look for me as in the days of yore, nor wife to accompany me, nor sisters to visit, or go with me. I am only left to tell the tale of friends departed.
Lord help me to trust.

June 20th 1892
I should have stated in my last entry under the date 15th June, but forgot through the trouble I felt by hearing my son Walter on the 5th Sunday speak so ungratefully of me, and my family as a whole, drive Miss Best away, I forgot to state that on Wednesday the 8th of this month my friend Mr. Joseph Gray, Charge Man, and I went to see my dear country. We met at Bank Top Station at 6.40 a.m., took a train to North Allenton and then went by the lower line to Ripon, walked in an hour round The Minster by the low way and prison, through the Market Place, and back to the station, took a train to Masham, had refreshments, and then walked to dear Hackfall Wood to the first Grotto, and then to the Fisherman’s Hall and there met an old playmate of my boyhood days now a watchman. I gave him a shilling and a drink, then we climbed the hill to Mowbray Point or New Building, then down again to the beautiful Grotto with the waterfall in front. There we had a Cigar, and a little whiskey with water from the fall, and thence to Mickley. We met Mr. James Fryer and another but did not know him, but he returned to the village before we left, and was in him company so little time at the Grey Horse Inn, we called at the other houses for a few moments and bid goodbye to a few of the people and left for Tanfield and back to Darlington. I had a very pleasant day.

My daughter commenced work this morning at Priestgate Co-Operative Stores to learn dress making.

July 11th 1892
This is dear old Mickley Feast Day. Held on the 10th and 11th. I and my family are not able to go this year, as I had intended. Had we been more prosperous, and not been working short time for more than 3 months, through the Colliery Strike. I visited my dear sisters grave last night at North Cemetery. All that is left of them to see, when I used to see at my dear native place years ago, on that date 10th July.

I have not been able since the 21st May last, my boys birthday to visit my dear Annie’s grave, through the effects of influenza in my legs, but mean to try soon, and not having any one since Miss Best left us to look after the house, it is having it’s effect on me through the want of proper food and proper attendance in cooking.

My daughter went with the Co-Operative employers last Wednesday on their picnic trip to Leyburn, I think it was, and to Wesleyan Sunday School anniversary yesterday 10th.

February 21st 1893
Tuesday.This is to state that on Saturday last 18th, being my birthday, 49 years, and thinking of the many and sorrowful changes that have happened, me and us as a family, I thought I would like to go and breath my native air in the dear old place where I was born 49 years ago gone Saturday, and think of days and years gone by, and especially those whom I loved but now are no more. My dearly beloved mother and my beloved wife and sisters, and Uncles, and all that have from this world of sin and sorrow, that was dear to me. Also I remembered promising my dear Uncle Henry Clarkson, mothers youngest brother when he died at Ripon workhouse 11 years, not only that I would have him buried near my dear mother at dear old Mickley, but that I would have his name put on the same stone, and though I have not got it done all those 10 or 11 years, for reasons too numerous to name, first the fault of the Mason at the time, or soon after, and afterwards the mislaying of the telegramme with the date, in my comfortless state of life. So being determined to carry out my promise to poor Uncle Henry, and show my regard to his memory, I thought my birthday an appropriate day to go and see the stone, and decide where abouts on it to have his dear death stated, whether just below my dear mother’s or at the bottom, to leave space for my own name, when the battle of life is o’er with me, and as it is nearly 11 years since come the 1st April next, I decided to have a space left for mine, and have Uncle’s put below, so on Saturday last I had the Mason Mr. Ridsel, whom I got to put up the stone, and do the lettering on mother’s death at the church yard with me, and gave him orders to do it at once, or as soon as possible, but I had forgotton the date of Uncle’s age, and I promised to write to him, and send it on. I have found on the cards of his death, and have written to Mr. Ridsel this day 21st February enclosing the card, and asking that he will make as workman like job as possible of it, that I may have what pleasure it is possible for me to have, as I look at it, if spared to do so.

I have suffered for some days from pain at my heart, the result of the accursed influenza. I felt unwell on Saturday night, so I stayed all night at Bay Horse Inn with Mr. Crabtree, and returned on the Sunday night.
Thus endeth my 49th year, by visiting my dear old native place, and thinking of those that have gone before, and joined the majority above. Lord help me to give as to hear the Word Amen.

February 26th 1894
This is to say that a week today I returned from dear old Mickley, my dear native place, where I went to a week gone Saturday last, to spend my 50th birthday Sunday 18th.

Not having any company except my son Walter and daughter Polley and they too young to enter into my kind of feelings at such a time, as my mind and thoughts naturally turned to the past, and all the changes that have taken place since first I breathed the breath of life in that beloved place, and as the only one left of the family, I represent from Mickley, I determined to spend my 50th birthday there, as I said.

Thinking about the changes, and of them that have gone from my sight that I loved. My beloved Mother, and beloved wife and sisters and uncles. Also that I might talk to my Monitor and Conscience about the past and future.
I went on the Saturday evening, and had a dreadful going, snowing all the way from Darlington to Mickley, and nearly lost a she, it being so deep, yet I enjoyed the walk over that sacred place from Tanfield to Mickley.
I said to myself, but loud enough to have been heard had any one been beside me “My father and mother and sisters walked along here, and my uncles and aunts, and they are all gone and only I left to tell thee Lord,” and much more as I viewed all and everything that I had seen and known in my boyhood days.
I stayed with my Aunt Jane Calverley.

I went to the church on Sunday morning, to the dear old Chapel in the afternoon, took part in the prayer meeting and as the Preacher did not come, gave out the dear old hymn, “And are we yet alive,” and also the 565 I think, “Lord let me know my end.”

I went to Church in the evening.
I visited the Parsonage on Monday and saw the clergyman, I made a request to have the ground between my dear mother and uncle’,s grave reserved for my resting place. I met the clergyman at the spot a little after seeing him at the house, and pointed out the place, and he drew a sketch of it, and made a note of my request. Afterwards I gave final orders to Mr. Ridsdale, Mason, to put my Uncle Henry’,s name and death on the head stone, or rather, it is at he foot of my dear Mother’,s grave, that it can be seen, as I promised my Uncle I would do before he died, which will be 12 years come the last night of next month March at 12.05.
I wrote to Mr Ridsdale the day after my return to Darlington, Tuesday, and sent a card of Uncle’s death, and asked to have it done before Uncle had been dead either 1 or 2 years, but some misunderstanding about it.

I ordered my sister-in-law Mrs. Baister to make a loaf for my son and daughter, and got it on Saturday night alright, I returned on the Monday to Darlington 19th February 1894.

I wrote to Miss Staveley on the Wednesday 21st about the house Mr. Stainsdrop lives in, to purchase, if it possible, but I have not had any reply yet.
Thus ends the particulars of my visit to dear old Mickley on my 50th birthday, of my lonely and sorrowful but not hopeless life.

July 19th 1896
Sunday. This is to say that a week yesterday 11th July, being dear old Mickley Feast, or rather the date on which it used to be, the 10th and 11th of July, I decided to visit it once again on the Feast date, in love and memory of bygone days. I was alone and stayed at the Middle Public Inn, and paid a visit on the Sunday morning to dear Hackfall Wood, getting to the Grotto on the way to Masham by 11.30. Left it at 12, after smoking a cigar, and in company with Herbert Harlond, who offered to accompany me, the landlord at he Bay Horse Inn where I am staying, though a stranger to me, drove me nearly to Wath for the station the same night. Thus passeth another lonely reflecting and thinking visit to my dear native place, where are so few left, in fact none dear to me, only the place, and it’s meaning, and memories except those in the church yard.
I met James Fryer there, and we were in company together. Regretfully it was about time to leave the place where my father was brought up at, and my cousin Lucy Crabtree is leaving the shop too.
Oh! The changes in that dear place.

September 11th 1898
Sunday. This is to say that I received on Tuesday 30th August the first letter from my son Willy since he left Portsmouth, written at Colombo.
I answered it on the 31st, and sent him papers.
I purchased 2 plaque lamps last Thursday night at Allinsons, Darlington for dear old Mickley Chapel, and receive on Friday last 9th two brass plates from Newcastle to be fixed to them and I went over to Tanfield yesterday Saturday 10th with them and left them at Mr. Chandler’s to be fixed during the present week for Sunday Service, next Sunday. One in memory of my dear mother, and one of my dear son Walter, and shall perhaps go over on Saturday night for the weekend, to be present at he Service’s and see them lit.
I hurriedly went forward to my dear Mickley and marked the place where I wished them to be put, and straight back from the dear old Chapel for Darlington.
Also I visited my dear wife’s and son’s graves this afternoon. It is 20 weeks yesterday since my beloved Walter was interred. Lord help me. Too sorrowful to say more. My God help me.

September 25th 1898
Though very sad in spirits (with thinking of the days that have been) and the events that have befallen me, especially the death o f my beloved wife, and also the death of my beloved Walter, and the desolation of me by my family in leaving me with awful ingratitude after living a life of sacrifice and hardship for nearly 18 years.

I went to dear old Mickley on Saturday the 17th for the weekend, and returned on Tuesday, having remained at my dear old birth place to the Service of Song on the Monday night, as well as Sunday Service of the Harvest Thanksgiving.
The dear old Chapel was most beautifully decorated, far beyond my expectations with a white wreath near my dear son’s name and lamp, and a dark crimson wreath near my dear mother’s name and lamp.

There was on the Monday night, after the Services, a vote of thanks proposed to those who gave the Service’s of Song, and to the giver of the 2 lamps. They looked well and gave a finish to that end of the Chapel.

I did not reply, though I could have done, but it was late and very hot, though the windows and doors were open, and the Hall full to the door.
The Chairman apologised for not calling on me to reply or speak, but many of them had some distance to go to their houses, and wanted them to have supper before going , as it was prepared by Mrs. Marshall, the able Chapel Keeper.
I commenced work on the Wednesday. Lord help me.

March 6th 1904
Sunday. This is to say I should have made this entry a fortnight ago, but have been too ill and too worn out. It was my 60th birthday a fortnight gone Thursday 18th. I rushed off to my dear old Mickley on Saturday 20th, and returned on Sunday. It made my heart sad to see my dear native place going to wreck.

I had no scribe or treat, except to see the birth place. I stayed at the ‘Saddle of Mutton’, Inn.

I have not been able to visit my loved ones graves at Aycliff last Sunday, or today either as I suffer so much in my legs. I fear I am going to lose the use of them, they are shocking again today.

This memorable 6th March, the death of my beloved and heroic mother I believe 1877, 27th anniversary if I am right. They have all gone since then, only I left on the verge.