Hamwood Papers, copy of book for sale

For those interested in obtaining a copy the fabulous publication, The Hamwood Papers of the Ladies of Llangollen and Caroline Hamilton (1930), edited by Mrs Bell:

nice First Edition copy of THE HAMWOOD PAPERS OF THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN AND CAROLINE HAMILTON  for sale.  The book is missing its dust cover but has no damage and is in good condition.  If interested please contact me for further details via the following email: jejclarke [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Jim found the text while sorting through relatives’ books, doesn’t have room for it himself, and would like to see this copy go to a good home (rather than sit on a bookshop shelf).

If you’ve never heard about The Hamwood Papers, feel free to post a comment (below) asking about the book’s contents. A “must have” for anyone interested in the lives of Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler; useful also for anyone interest in this period (late 18th, early 19th century) in British and even Irish history.


Reading over the Shoulder of Lady Eleanor Butler…

Michael from Aberystwyth has been a joy to correspond with, lately. His interest in the Ladies, in women travellers in Wales, and in Welsh National Costume is such fun to hear (read) about.

Michael visited the National Library of Wales, and had these wonderful off-the-cuff thoughts about Eleanor’s diary:

I spent a few hours with Eleanor’s earliest journal (1784) on film yesterday. It is very clear and her handwriting is generally good, but the original diary was tiny, and she writes something every day (mostly about the awful weather which seems to have been much worse then than now – but even during a month of deep snow, they still managed to visit others and get visitors).

Her handwriting is quite large, and she used rather a thick pen nib, so in order to squeeze everything in, she compresses the words, and some, especially names, are difficult to read.

On first reading, one phrase appeared to be ‘Lord Machnes from Eddenies’ , so I went back to it after getting my eye in and read it as ‘Some madness from Edwards’  (Edwards’ name appears quite regularly;  it appears that he was a local) but I’m not at all certain about that reading either.

Elizabeth Mavor’s selection from this diary is very limited indeed, and seems to record only the entries which deal with her relationship with Sarah, or her headaches, which are quite untypical of the diary as a whole.

To my delight there are lots of names of visitors of whom I know, but I will have to do a lot more research to check they are who I think they are. So far, it’s yielding exactly what I want…”


Michael’s Elizabeth Mavor book refers to Life with the Ladies of Llangollen, also published (in paperback) as A Year with the Ladies of Llangollen. He’s piqued my interest to look up 1784 in both Mavor and The Hamwood Papers.

You can see the extensive “Ladies”  bibliography by clicking on this link (also on the menu above, and to the right).

The image  (above) is thought to be Lady Eleanor Butler, and is entitled Lady in a Tall Hat. Gathering the Jewels (a favorite website) is currently undergoing some “security maintenance”. Be patient if the picture’s link isn’t working.

New Visitors sighted at Plas Newydd!

At the end of last week I received a wonderful biography (2007) of William Smith MP called Progress by Persuasion: the Life of William Smith, 1756-1835. HIGHLY recommended for its blend of the political, social and familial. The authors are Jenny Handley and Hazel Lake; I’ve been lucky to be in correspondence with Hazel recently. So I hope to talk more of this book.

William Smith knew oh-so-many familiar names; but the one I of course write about here are Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler!

Jenny and Hazel have included the diaries (few as there are in existence, alas) of Smith’s wife, Frances Coape. And it is during their travels that we catch glimpses of Eleanor & Sarah:

1784, September:

“Mon Set off to visit Llangollen at half past 8 – …

The vale of Llangollen  dined at Inn called the Hand patronised by Miss Butler and Miss Ponsonby  visited their cottage…”

1792, late August:

“When the weather permitted we made a visit to the cottage of Lady Elinor [sic] Butler and Miss Ponsonby.”

1800, July:

“Thurs. 29 we then proceeded on to the Vale of Llangollen  after dinner went to Lady Eleanor Butlers cottage  We drank tea here. Both Ly Eleanor and her friend Miss Ponsonby are very agreeable women”

I looked in vain through the Hamwood Papers for these dates, but should double-check all the “Smith” entries – in case, like the Burgeses, the William Smiths turn up in years other than those Frances wrote about.

May 2012 UPDATE: I’ve corrected a minor misrepresentation — the last entry was written by daughter Fanny, not her mother Frances; and added a sentence I missed when, not yet reading the book, I was looking up references via the index. So do take a look at the Visitors page for the Smiths of Parndon!

* * *

Papers of William Smith and the Smith family reside at Cambridge: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/manuscripts/smith.html

Other papers are at my dear Duke University: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/smithwm/

Visitors to Plas Newydd, Part II


Readers who look up the Hampshire Record Office’s cataloge to find “Melesina Trench” will find an AUSTEN connection…

Monsieur Simond tried to gain entry to Plas Newydd; I find the published account *fun* to read.

Mr Southey got the opposite treatment: a welcome!

Readers also get a peek at a letter, penned by the delightful Sarah Ponsonby, which was once for sale online. (See Melesina Trench’s “visit”, for she once spoke of Sarah’s “fairy penmanship”!)

Ladies of Llangollen Bibliography

For the life of me I could not figure out if I had written about The Hamwood Papers or not…

I did! I did! – So, why did I wonder that? Why couldn’t I find what I had posted about these items??

Because the BIBLIOGRAPHY link listed book excerpts in a drop-down menu, I did not think to simply CLICK on the word BIBLIOGRAPHY! 

E voila…

I must try to find a different way of listing the excerpts… But for now, this short posting must serve for those looking for the likes of The Hamwood Papers and primary sources for the letters & diaries of the Ladies of Llangollen, as well as some books and papers.

Apologies for the layout of the page; it’s obviously font-challenged at present…

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