The Diary of a Shropshire Farmer
A Young Yeoman's Life and Travels 1835-37
15th June 2011
Not many young farmers of the early nineteenth century left diaries that have come down to us, still fewer from Shropshire, at a time when country life continued much as it had since long before the Industrial Revolution. In June 1835, twenty-three-year-old Peter Davis set out from his home in the Teme valley on a mini grand tour. As befitted a son of the soil, his eye lighted first upon the current agricultural scene. Not surprisingly, however, it was the great cities of Liverpool and Edinburgh that came to take more of his attention. The young man's travel diary represents a vivid snapshot of his experiences in passing through the north of England and southern Scotland during the reign of King William IV. Complemented by Peter Davis' narrative, it describes the day-to- day events of his life at home during 1836-7, culminating in his beloved father's death. Before the advent of railways every journey from Peter's home in Burford was significant and through this diary, it has been possible to flesh out the history of a family and imagine ourselves living the lives of past generations. The diaries have been edited by one of their author's great-great grandsons. Martin Davis. He draws comparisons in his introductory essay between the changes affecting the landscape at the time of the diaries and those we face today. This wonderful book will be of interest to Shropshire residents, family historians and all those with a concern and love for country life in pre-industrial times.