John Cooke’s Diary 1781

Saturday Jan.y 6th 1781 – Bought Mrs Cooke a new calico gown, olive striped with white and my son Thomas a new hat and on Monday last bo.t him a pair of black Manchester breeches. Two little girls went to Mr Davies’s today.

Monday Jan.y 8th – Went with my son John to Bath to visit Mr Thicknese at his hermitage at St Catherines. We lay at York house that night and returned to Bristol next morning. Mr Cookshatt called in Somerset Street whilst we were at Bath, on his way to Yorkshire.

Jan.y 18th – Sent our first load of goods by Caerleon boat to P’pool.

Tuesday Jan.y 23rd 1781 – This day my son Thomas went to board at Cap.t Pococks in princes Street. This day my daur Mary went to board with Mrs Calloway up on Kings Down.

Jan.y 29th 1781 Wednesday – This evening we left our house in Somerset Street and went to lye at my cousin Capel next door.

Jan.y 25th – Sent our last loads of goods to P’pool by the Caerleon boat and gave up the house next morning to Mr Jones the school master. We went on Friday 26th to Mr Davies in Somerset Street and returned on Sunday to me cousins house.

Feb.y 2nd Friday – We set out from Bristol with Eliza in a chaise to the passage, had a fine passage. Set out from Haggard’s in a chaise to Usk and got to Kevanhila by 6 o’clock in the evening. This evening Mr Cecil’s barns and oxhouses were burnt down and a great quantity of grain coustand to the value in the whole of above 300£.

Verses written by a Miss A Maud and sent to a young officer (with a gilded gingerbread doll) who railed ab.t marriage Nov.r 1780

Your aversion to marriage to us is well known

But we really believe you will like this Miss Joan

Whose excellent merits induced us to send

This sweetest of creations to you, our good friend

As is plain to seen, she’s a lady of riches

And we give you our word she’s unreceiving breeches

She is silent and always give you your way

She will never direct you, but always obey

And should you be as ‘tis common be tired of your wife

You may put her away without fear of your life

These verses will induce you we think too well treat her

But we beg you won’t love her so much as to beat her

Feb.y 5th 1781 Monday – I went from Kevanhila to Christchurch to meet my moor tenants and returned to P’pool. Next day went to Kevanhila.

Feb.y 7th 1781 Wednesday – We went in a chaise from Kevanhila to P’pool to Mr Hanbury’s. Staid there ‘till Friday the 9th when we went to our house to live which I rent from Mr Hanbury at 10£ year.

This is the house I was born in, built by my grandfather, inhabited by my mother and will I hope long be so by myself.

Feb.y 5th 1781 Monday – This day abt 7 in the morn.g Mrs Roberts, wife of John Roberts Esq., of Abergavenny died and on Thursday the 8th I attended her funeral at Abergavenny she was buried in the Church there. Mr Hanbury Williams, Mr Jones of Llanarth, Mr Chambre, Mr Lee, Capt Lucas, Cap.t Carr, Mr William Morgan of the hill and myself were bearers. We had hatbands and scarfs and the funeral was the handsomest I ever attended.

Feb.y 7th 1781 Wednesday – This morning killed my pig at Goytre, it weighed 12 stone and cost in all £2.

Feb.y 9th Friday – This day Mr Griffiths of Kevanhila and my son John dined at Mr Hanburys. John is to return to Bristol tomorrow.

Feb.y 10th 1781 – Rec.d of Edw.d Parry 1£ 1s 0d with which I received before at different times and by allowances of land tax make 18£ 10s 0d for half years rent due Michaelmas 1779. He also left 12s on acc.t This day I bought a flitch of bacon for my cousin Capel Cooke which weighed 98 pounds at 21/2d per pound and paid twenty shillings and 5d for it.

 Feb.y 17th 1781 Saturday – This morning ab.t six o’clock my cousin Ann Griffiths of Kevanhila died. She was ill ab.t a fortnight of a warm fever which carried her off in the sixth year of her life.

Feb.y 22nd Thursday – I and Mr Wm Griffiths her cousin attended her funeral as two mourners to Usk Church where she was interred.

 Feb.y 19th Monday ( on blotting page)  – Sent my cousin Edw.d Grevile half a sheep to Bristol. Cost 5s 6d – 22lbs at 3d.

Feb.y 17th 1781 – Rec.d of Sam.l Howell 6d on acc.t of rent.

An easy introduction to the knowledge of nature and the reading of Holy scriptures adapted to the capacities of children 8£ 3s Dodsley 1780, the author Mrs trimmer of Brentford.

Monday Feb.y 26th1781 – This evening Ann Leek came to live with us, wages and tea 5£ 5s 0d a year.

Saturday March 3rd 1781 – Planted 12 gooseberry trees and several currant trees in the garden at P’pool, bro.t from Goytre and also a peach tree and many shrubs. Sowed also my carrots, onion, leeks, turnips, parsley and lettuce and small salading.

March 3rd 1781 blotting page – Mrs Griffiths of Usk sent Eliza in a present of a fine cap from London.

Shrove Tuesday Feb.y 27th 1781 – This day we had, at P’pool the greatest of storm wind that ever was known here. Many houses and buildings unroofed and thrown down, sev.l trees destroyed, some torn up by the root, other broke short off in the middle. Mr Hanbury had above 100 trees blown down in and ab.t P’pool. The wind came from the north and west and raged with all its greatest violence from ab.t two o’clock ‘till four in the afternoon. It is remarkable that the storm was not much felt in or ab.t Abergavenny.

March 7th 1781 – This day Mrs Griffiths of Usk and her son Mr Griffiths of Kevanhila came to see us. She staid two nights.

March 9th Friday – Mrs Cooke and I went to Goytre for flower roots and dined there.

March 11th 1781 – David Williams paid me 6s on acc.t of half years rent due at Lady day 1780 remains due 10£ 14s 0d .

March 13th – Had the grout in my left hand which lasted above a week.

March 24th – The feast at Pontevellien Saturday. This day my horse Jolly came from Goytre to be kept at P’pool. Had a cart load of hay bro.t here.

Mr Griffiths left Kevanhila on or ab.t Tuesday the 27th of March 1781 which he has rented out to Mr Tencate for 17 years from Candlemas last.

Saturday April 14th – Mr and Mrs Griffiths of Kevanhila came here and returned to Usk next day.

Monday 16th – We dined at Mount Pleasant.

Saturday evening April 17th – 5 loads of coal, the week after came 6 loads of coal.

Monday April 23rd – Henry Howell paid me 9£ on acc.t of rent.

Tuesday April 24th – Mrs John James paid me 15s for a years rent due at Michaelmas 1780.

April 25th 1781 – William Bardin paid half years rent due May 1st 1780.

April 26th – Set two quarters of the garden at Goytre with white potatoes.

Tuesday April 24th 1781 – This day poor Lacey Maud died of a contusion in his head from a fall from a horse.

Monday April 30th – Dined at Thos Jenking dinner of trustees.

Saturday April 21st – Edw.d Parry sent me in 5 bushells more of oats.

Saturday April 21st – Mrs Cooke and I dined at Mr and Mrs Edw.d Davies with Mr and Mrs Drane of Berkshire and next Sunday they all dined with us at P’pool.

Sunday April 29th – My cousin William Griffith dined with us at P’pool.

To Make Excellent Lavender Water

Half a pint of the highest rectified spirit of wine.

Part ¾ of a drachm of oil of lavender and 3d of the essence of amber grease. Mix all well together:

Mr & Mrs Davies of Somerset Square

Spirit of wine 10 01/2

Oil of lavender 3 0

May 26th 1781 – Rec.d of John James four pounds eleven shillings on acc.t of half a years rent due to me at Michaelmas 1779.

May 28th 1781 – Set potatoes in the garden at P’pool. Mrs Griffiths dined here.

May 29th – Made raisin wine.

May 30th – Dined with Mr Cookshatt at Geo. Kemys at Newport. A practical grammar of the French language priced 2d bound by N Wanostrocht, printed for I Johnson Pontypants church yard.

June 17th 1781 – Rec.d of David Williams 3 guineas of acc.t of rent. Rec.d same day of Edw.d Parry the sum of 5£.

 Monday June 11th 1781 – (on blotting page) – John Leeks came to me upon Trgal. Wages to be 7 guineas May 1st 1782.

Spence of Amber grease 9d

Cost in all to make above quantity 1£ 4s 91/2d

Tuesday May 1st 1781 – This morning Mr and Mrs Hanbury and family set out for London

May 5th 1781 – Edw.d Parry paid me five pounds on acc.t of rent. This day my daur Eliza began to learn to read with Joe Rogers.

May 7th – Began my casks of raisin wine from Bristol.

Saturday May 12th 1781 – This morning ab.t twelve o’clock my son Thomas arrived from Bristol having finished his schooling there. He came by the Caerleon boat which struck upon the sands on Friday where they staid all night.

Saturday May 12th 1781 – (on blotting page) – 6 bushells of oats from Mr Morgan of Mamhilad. Mr and Mrs Watts of Bristol called here this day.


Monday June 18th 1781 – This evening my son Thomas set out to go to Caerleon by the boat to Bristol where he paid Cap.t Pocock 11£ 12s 0d for his board and drawing and Mr Norton 10£ for all rent due to him at Lady Day last and on Friday June 22nd he and his sister Mary with both the Miss Watsons came by Caerleon boat and I met them at Newport and bro.t all to P’pool. Thomas bought a new coat and breeches of the bone de Paris coloured cloths at Bristol.

Friday June 22nd – Set 3 rows of marrowfat peas at P’pool.

Tuesday 26th June – Set potatoes in the slopes towards the river at P’pool.

Saturday June 3rd 1781 – I paid 1 guinea duty to the examination for my man servant John Evans for a year ending the 30th June 1782.

Thursday June 21st 1781 – Bro.t a hogshead of cyder to P’pool. Sold Mr James of the Black Boar 48 gallons of it at 6d a gallon, he had the same quantity of it before at the same price. John Jacob had 3 gallons at the same price. I kept 40 gallons for my own use. Gave Dan.l Jones six gallons of cyder.


Ann Leek came Monday Feb.y 26th 1781


Wages and tea 5 5 0 year

Friday April 20th paid her

On account 10 6

Saturday May 12th paid her

On account 5 0

Thursday July 26th

I paid her in full of all wages due

to her this day July 26th 1781 1 8 6

this will be due to her on the

26th Feb.y 1782 to finish her

Years wages: exactly 3 1 0 to

Make up the 5 5 0 2 4 1

Decm.r 1781 Pd her 1 1 0

 Feb.y 26th 1781 Pd her to finish

Her year due that day 2 0 0


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