Mary Hardy books

In the pages under this part of the website you will find brief descriptions of the volumes of the Diary of Mary Hardy followed by an outline of the diarist herself and of the volumes of commentary for future publication.

Full bibliographical details are given in this section for those wishing to place an order.

Horstead, the Recruiting Sergeant

The active diarist: Mary Hardy cooked meals here for 70 in 1776 when there was no innkeeper

The volumes of diary text

The four-volume Diary of Mary Hardy 1773–1809, published on 30 April 2013, is an abridged edition and gives us the text of two-thirds of the diarist’s writing. You can read more on the dedicated Diary website.

The third volume, Diary 3, also contains the full text 17931797 of the daily diary written by her young nephew Henry Raven (17771825), who lived with the Hardy family while serving as their brewery apprentice.

At 73,000 words—in addition to his aunt’s 500,000—it is an extraordinary testament to the toil of the men he worked alongside on the farm and in the small maltings and brewery. Henry and his aunt (principally in Diary 1) kept track of the men who journeyed over 100 miles a week by cart to deliver the beer while also carrying out all their other duties.

Neither Mary Hardy nor Henry Raven wrote with posterity in mind. They logged the activities of the household and workforce, while letting many additional items creep in. We are made aware of illness, debt, politics and war—and occasionally riot—as the backdrop to their lives.

The other one-third of Mary Hardy’s diary was also published on 30 April 2013, as The Remaining Diary. It is pure transcription, with almost no editorial additions.

The editor of all five volumes is Margaret Bird, who has worked continuously on this project since 1988. She has been an honorary research fellow in the History department of Royal Holloway, University of London since 2006.

Four volumes of commentary and analysis

Margaret Bird has also pulled together the threads of the record compiled by Mary Hardy and Henry Raven, and has woven a compelling four-volume commentary. At present in course of preparation and indexing, it will be published by Burnham Press as Mary Hardy and her World.