12 Apr. 2013, Diary manuscript photocopies lodged in county record office

A full set of paper photocopies of the manuscript diaries of Mary Hardy and Henry Raven was lodged this week in Norwich at the county repository, the Norfolk Record Office (the NRO).

Mary Hardy's MS diary: Mary Ann's wedding

Mary Hardy records the wedding of her only daughter Mary Ann to Jeremiah Cozens at Letheringsett on 12 Nov. 1805  [Cozens-Hardy Collection]

The original diaries remain in the custody of Mary Hardy’s descendants, who have given their permission for the deposit. These A3 photocopies will be available for public access following the publication of the Diary volumes on 30 April 2013.

Readers will now be able to study the original text and check the editorial transcription in the published work.

Mary Ann Hardy’s wedding

Each diary page is very large, only a part of the page being illustrated here. On 12 Nov. 1805 (her mother’s 72nd birthday) Mary Ann Hardy married the Sprowston farmer Jeremiah Cozens. He had been widowed at the start of the year and had two very small children. The bride was 32 and the groom 39.

The following day the Hardys distributed a barrel of beer (288 pints) round the village poor to celebrate the marriage. The total village population was then about 240, nearly half of whom would have been children. In 1801 the rector numbered the poor at 182, including children. The adult villagers and older children thus got up to two or three pints each.

The beer was on offer only at the end of the working day: ‘in the evening’.

The pencilled ‘X’ in the margin is by Basil Cozens-Hardy, such annotations signalling that he was including the entry in his Norfolk Record Society edition of 1968 (Mary Hardy’s Diary, vol. 37). His highlights total less than 10 per cent of the complete text of Mary Hardy’s diary. A teetotaller, he did not include the entry of 13 Nov. 1805—with its reference to the free beer. His marking has been edited out for the banner, to return the look of the manuscript to its original condition.

Mary Hardy’s handwriting is large and clear; Henry Raven’s less so. Inks were prepared at home, and have faded in parts to pale sepia. As the tough, supple paper has yellowed over the years the contrast can be poor. Nevertheless the photocopies are on the whole easily legible.

Postscript: the catalogue references in the NRO

(Summer 2013): The paper photocopies of the diaries are lodged in six large boxes in the Norfolk Record Office and now have the overall reference FX 376.

The accessioning by the archivists reflects the dates of each of the five large ledgers in which Mary Hardy wrote her diary (FX 376/1FX 376/5).

A sixth reference covers the photocopy of Henry Raven’s manuscript diary, from his ledger  (FX 376/6).

The details for Mary Hardy and Henry Raven can be accessed from the NRO online catalogue NROCAT. Just type the individual reference into the NROCAT search box (either Quick Search or Advanced Search).

The results can be downloaded in printable form.

Update, Jan. 2023: Henry Raven’s original diary in NRO

The original manuscript of Henry’s diary was lodged in the Norfolk Record Office in October 2022, along with a large quantity of other papers and photographs from the Cozens-Hardy Collection. In January 2023 the deposits were given the holding reference ACC 2022/106.

Books on the open shelves, for comparative study

A full set of the Burnham Press edition of the diaries (published in 2013) is held on the open shelves in the Norfolk Record Office searchroom, for public access.

The four hardback Diary volumes have the references 5140, 5141, 5142 and 5143. The paperback volume, The Remaining Diary of Mary Hardy, containing the entries not included in the hardback set, has the reference 5144.

Readers who wish to study the work in detail can thus easily scrutinise the paper copy of each manuscript page with the printed version of Margaret Bird’s transcription to hand.

Read more articles

Margaret Bird

Margaret Bird in 2016

The editor and author of the Mary Hardy volumes

You can read about the historian Margaret Bird on the link above

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