Researchers and academics

The volumes depict eighteenth-century life across a huge canvas. Specialists and enthusiasts in particular fields, as also the research student and academic, will find specific material for their chosen area of study.


A heavy horse: part of the team for ploughing and beer deliveries

The broad range of the diarist’s coverage

The 39 distinct areas of study provided by Mary Hardy cover a very wide range. They include:

  • Pressures on home life, marriage and children
  • Running the household and working alongside the maidservants
  • Road diversions to create private pleasure grounds
  • The long, bureaucratic process of parliamentary enclosure
  • The effect of the long series of harsh winters on arable farming
  • The careful expansion of a vertically integrated rural business
  • The problems of beer distribution in country areas
  • The workings of the excise service, and JP regulation of drink
  • Female help with a village Sunday school in the 1780s
  • Leisure provision, eg by touring players performing in barns
  • The cross-class importance of fairs as family reunions
  • The Merchant Navy, including the coal trade
  • The civilian response to threats of invasion by the French

The full range of subject areas is listed as chapter headings under the four individual commentary volumes for Mary Hardy and her World 1773–1809.

Letheringsett in 1834 by Josiah Manning

Josiah Manning’s map of Letheringsett 1834. The Hardys’ porticoed Hall is in red, next to the church. William Hardy jnr created the sweeping bend in 1808 to form a small park round his home. His maltings, brewery and tun room are in dark grey beside the road and River Glaven  [Cozens-Hardy Collection]

Each Diary volume in the four-volume edition of the original text has a chronology, glossary, bibliography and well over 100 pages of index. A summary of the content appears under the individual Diary Volumes for The Diary of Mary Hardy 1773–1809.

Each volume’s page can be also accessed from the sidebars on those links.

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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