The complete record of Mary Hardy
The eighteenth-century diarist Mary Hardy records a man’s world seen through her eyes—in intricate detail for 36 years.
She gives us a panorama of working and social life. Her range covers family and home, farming, brewing and running public houses. She also describes at first hand recurrent conflict over religion, politics and home defence.
In her 500,000-word manuscript this observant countrywoman reveals the exacting, time-pressured nature of pre-mechanised labour. A toiler herself, she tells of lives of striving which never entered the official record.
The publishers Burnham Press first brought out the full text of Mary Hardy’s unusual diary. Further volumes in this major historical undertaking describe and analyse the world she knew.
Oct. 2020: Two of these later volumes were shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2020.
Apr. 2021: All the Mary Hardy volumes Highly Commended for the Thirsk Prize for Rural History 2021.
The wife of a farmer and brewer, Mary Hardy’s daily entries throw light on running a business while maintaining a very active family and spiritual life. We learn about the men and women who made it possible, from working the land to supplying the public houses.
The complete diary text
Four volumes of commentary
The four volumes Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809, also by Margaret Bird, were published on 23 April 2020. They have been described as “Incredibly impressive and most readable; a gold mine for historians”.