Saturday March 11th 1893

The story of George Barton’s holiday in Stoke Goldington with Miss Annie Green (later Mrs G A Barton) in March 1893

Annie having escaped from prison for a short period, called for me at 3.30pm. Proceeded to St Pancras Midland Railway Station and just managed to catch 4pm train without a rush. Pleasant journey. Arrived at Olney about 5.30. Not finding any means of conveyance to take us to Stoke Goldington, we set out to tramp it, after having left the small tin trunk (which contained camera etc.) in a safe place to be called for on the following Monday.

Olney, Midland Road Station, c1895

After an hours dawdle, we arrived at Weston Underwood where we cast anchor for a little while and were repasted with some tea and buns which were indeed very nice. We then started out for Stoke, it being then dark, and arrived there about 8.30pm. Found all weeping sorely aver a broken window-pane but the appearance of the unexpected visitors had the instant effect of drying up all tears, so that instead of sorrow, there was great rejoicing forthwith. Having had supper and feeling very tired. Retired to rest at about 12 o clock.

Sunday March 12th 1893

Arose about 9am. Went for a walk after breakfast up the Church Lane and round by the wood till 12.30. Had dinner and went to Chapel at 2.30pm (Preacher) Rev. Barker. Had tea at 4 o clock and some music until Chapel time 6pm.

Went for a walk after Chapel, up the Ravenstone Road a short distance, and then back up the Northampton Road. Met Sarah and Lettie returning from Eakley. Sarah before reaching us said she knew it was we because she could hear us smile. How she could have done so I am at a loss to understand.

Returned home to supper 8. Retired to rest about 12 o clock.

Monday March 13th 1893

Up early at 7 am and had breakfast. Set out for Olney walking. Caught train there to Turvey. Strolled through the park and observing on entering same, a notice stuck up on a tree to the effect that "visitors are welcome only on the Path" This seemed very absurd, for in some parts of the Park it was a puzzle to find which was the path or which was not.

Being rather faint after our somewhat long and tedious journey we sat on an old Stone Bridge near by under which flowed a rippling stream which together with the birds flitting about formed delightful music, such as we (Londoners) seldom have the opportunity of listening to. Having partaken of cake and wine we proceeded on our journey.

On the top portion of one house in the villiage were the words "Except the Lord build the house, their labour is in vain that build it", and over the door of another, the following words in Latin. "Quicunque intraveritis primum dicete pux huie domui" meaning; -"whoever enters within first should be asked to sing" or words to that effect.

We then wended our way to the church which was then undergoing the operation of being cleaned, and we were invited to view the interior which we did. We then walked to the end of the villiage to see a statue in the middle of the river supposed to represent Jonah. Called on Mrs Wright and Mrs Palmer on our way back and had some more refreshment before returning to Olney.

Called for box at Olney and made tracks for Weston Underwood where we arrived in course of time. Had tea with Mrs Adams and had the pleasure of seeing 8 little pigs belonging to her, and of which she seemed very proud. One poor little pig had a large bump on his forehead (whether it signified intelligence or not I cannot say). Pigs, as a rule, are not supposed to be very intelligent. Having had some eggs given us for the following morning's breakfast, we set out for home once more. Finding the box etc. rather awkward, we carried it between us on the branch of a tree obtained from the hedge.

Arrived at Stoke about 7.30 Loaded camera for business the next day. Had supper and being footsore, lame and very weary were very glad to retire at 12 o clock. A very good outing for the first day.

Tuesday March 14th 1893

Up rather late. Walked to Gayhurst after breakfast and took photographs of the (Eye Water Well) the river, and a horse which was coaxed up to a five barred gate to have his portrait taken.

Dawdled back to dinner at 3pm. Stayed in till after tea. Developed plates in Miss Blunt's dark room which was rather cold and damp. Had supper and a little music before going to bed about 12 o clock.

Wednesday March 15th 1893

Again rather late and found I had contracted a cold, probably through being in the dark room a little too long the previous evening. Had breakfast and stayed in till after dinner. Walked to Newport Pagnell. The sky looked very black overhead. Called on Mrs Payne and had tea and eggs. Came out. I bought some fish to take back home to supper.

Visited the church which was, by the by in a very dirty state. Took photographs of the church and the High Street and set out for home where we arrived about 6.30pm feeling tired, the wind being very strong. Developed plates. Had supper and a before retiring to rest at 12 o clock.

Thursday March 16th 1893

Late-again. Had breakfast and stayed in till after dinner playing music. Went out, up towards Eakley thinking perhaps we might come across some watercress for tea but instead of watercress we found to our great astonishment, the skeleton of a mare which we heard afterwards had been lying there for months, the flesh being clean gone from the bones. This being a rather unusual sight was photographed as a curiosity. A photograph was also taken of a sheep with two lambs, and a cloud effect. We then strolled back to tea.

Went to Chapel at 7 0 clock and had a pleasant service. Developed negatives before supper and went to bed about the usual hour.

Friday March 17th 1893

Woke up and found the day rather wintry. Snowing hard. Had breakfast and stayed in all the morning and had some music. After dinner, having procured some primroses and violets we made up two small packets to send to London; one for Mother and one for Fanny. Composed a piece of poetry to be enclosed in each.

Had tea. Mrs Cripps being present. Went out for a blow before supper up the Newport Road and back through the viliage and up the Northampton Road a little way.

Had supper. Retired to the land of dreams at about 12 o clock as usual.

Saturday March 18th 1893

Rather late in rising. Very glad to see the weather bright and fine again. Had breakfast and went for a walk round by the wood and entered the stone pit where we had been last year. Everything appeared almost untouched during the twelve months. Saw a rabbit emerge from the pit but unfortunately he was not to be caught, (by us) anyhow. Returned home to dinner.

Went to Ravenstone. Beautiful hot afternoon. Took a snap shot of a young lady gathering violets on the roadside. Arrived at Ravenstone Church about 5.15pm and took a photograph of the same. Finding .the Church door open and noboby about we went in and explored the place. Everything was very nice and clean. Saw a beautiful marble monument there also, and read the inscription thereon. Came out and walked round the churchyard.

Retraced our steps back to Stoke which we eventually reached about 6.30pm. Had tea and assisted in cake-making before supper time. Went to bed about 12 o clock.

Sunday March 19th 1893

Up none too early for Sunday morning in the country. Had breakfast and went for a stroll through the fields before dinner.

Beautiful day. It is an amusing sight to see most of the villagers marching up the village from the Bake-house about 12.30pm with their dinners, forming quite a procession and scenting the street with the smell of butter puddings and joints of all kinds. Had dinner and some music before going to Chapel. Mr Feasey being the preacher for the day.

Came back to tea after which we had a look through the Family Bible till time for Evening Service. Assisted with violin at the Service. Went for a walk as far as Oakley before supper. Retired to rest at 11.45pm which was considered early for once.

Monday March 20th 1893

Rather earlier in rising. Had breakfast and set out for Tyringham. Had a lift on the way as far as the Lodge Gate. Walked through the Park on the farther side of the river. Photographed a couple of swans, and a river scene including the Bath-house. Very warm day.

Came back and called for a sip of wine and violin and then off again to Eakley. Had dinner there at Mrs Godfrey's. Went out again and gathered a few violets and sauntered along up to the lofty heights to rest while. Beautiful view of the hills round about. Stayed there until about 4.45 and then returned to tea. Played a few tunes on violin after tea for the amusement of Mrs Godfrey.

Went to see the pigs and ferret etc fed. The dog seemed to like kissing the pigs. I expect he could smell pork and didn't care much whether it was alive or dead. Started off for home once more. Fast appearance of the new moon.

Got back to Stoke at 7.30pm and developed negatives before supper. Retired for the night at 12.15am.

Tuesday March 21st 1893

Up at 8 am. Walked to Gayhurst after breakfast. Took photograph of the church there, and then proceeded to Tyringham and photographed the Lodges and Gate.. Came back along the road to a small waterfall and waited for the sun to shine direct on it so as to be able to obtain a photograph of it if possible, but feeling rather faint after waiting some considerable time we gave it up as a bad job and strolled home to dinner.

Had a special treat in the shape of rabbit which was cooked especially for us, and which was indeed very delicious. After dinner we went up in the fields to rest in the sun for a time, it then being too hot to walk about far. Came home by the new road and feeling rather mischievious, frightened some calves.

Had tea and some music and then went out for a walk as far as Eakley to fetch opera glasses which had been left behind the previous day. Strolled back to supper. Music after supper.

Retired to rest at 11.55p.m.

Wednesday March 22nd 1893

Up about the usual time. Had breakfast and stayed at home until about 12 o clock. Went out down by the river and took a photograph of same. Sat on a fence and wrote a letter home. Strolled back to dinner and had some more rabbit. Remained indoors for the rest of the afternoon.

Had tea and some music. Went out for a walk up the Northampton Road and back through the village as far as they Olney Road. Came back to supper. Went to rest as usual about 12 midnight.

Thursday March 23rd 1893

Up about the same time as usual. Had breakfast. Remained in till about 11.30. Went out for a short ramble in the fields. Burnt some paper by the heat of the sun with the aid of one of the lenses out of the opera glasses.

Came back to dinner. Burnt Sarah's hand by the sun in the same way as the paper was burnt. Walked to Weston Underwood after dinner, through Ravenstone. Gathered some violets on the way. Took a pistol with us for a life preserver in case of necessity.

Came across some rather angry looking cows in a field on our way, so it was thought the safer plan to retrace our steps to the road under the circumstances. Took a snap shot of the church and the mainstreet.

Called on Mrs Perkins to tea and to say goodbye, and also went to see Mrs Adams and the pigs for the same object. Walked back to Stoke and thereby fulfilling the landlady's instructions arriving there at 6.30pm, Went to Chapel in the evening. Very nice service. Came back to supper. Retired to rest at twelve o clock as usual.

Friday March 24th 1893

Up early 7.45 am. Had breakfast. Developed the last set of plates in Miss Blunt's dark room after which we sent the landlady out for the ingredients for a Golden Cake (that was to be) to take to London. Having finished it satisfactorily and iced it, I lettered it with our names, we had dinner at 2.30pm. Went out for a stroll in the fields and sat on a five barred gate for a time

Whilst sitting there, we were the eye witnesses of the funeral procession of the Abram's family, which proceeded up the Church Lane following the remains of one of their children who had died suddenly on the Monday morning. The coffin was borne by six girls. The keeper of the wood also coming by at the time, we asked him for permission to go into the wood, but he informed us that the boss of the wood, or rather he being boss of the wood, could not allow us to go in on account of there being several traps set about the place, and we stood the risk of having our faces disfigured which would not be very pleasant. We therefore thanked him and he went his way. After a little more rest, we proceeded round by the side of the wood and just stepped inside through one of the gaps which seemed almost to bid us welcome, in order to be able to say that we had been in.

Walked round the churchyard and saw the newly filled grave and then returned home down the lane to tea.

Mr Cripps called in to bid us farewell and not goodbye. Had some music till supper time. Went out for a walk about 10 o clock for a blow up the Newport Road and back again through the village and up the Northampton Road a little way. Beautiful moonlight night and everything very quiet and peaceful. Came back at 10.45pm. Went to bed for the last night of the holidays this year about 12.15am.

Saturday March 25th 1893

Up earlier still. 9.30am. Had breakfast although thinking it was almost a waste of time. Packed up the Golden-Cake, eggs, jam, pickles etc and got everything ready for our departure. Went out for a walk about 11 o clock.

Saw Jesse in the field and arranged about driving to the station to catch the afternoon train and then walked round by the church across the fields. Came back through the village and went across to survey the Chapel Garden to pass the time away till One o clock.

Had dinner. Started off to Olney at 1.35pm. Mrs Green accompanying us to the station. Got down two or three times on the way to help the pony to get up the hills. The dog belonging to the trap followed behind all the way. Arrived at the station about 2.30 and having said goodbye to Mrs Green and Jesse, caught the 7.41pm train to Bedford where we had to wait 25 minutes for the London train.

Arrived at Kentish Town 4.25pm. Drove home to 49 Sussex Road in Hansom Cab where we arrived at 4.45pm. Had tea and then went out for a walk up to Hornsey Rise and along Hornsey Lane, down Dartmouth Park Hill and Tufnell Park Road.

Called to see Fanny and found her out, but happened to meet her afterwards and she insisted on us going back with her, which we did. Called back home for sundry parcels etc, and proceeded to the G.N.C.H. It is not necessary to state what these four letters signify. Probably in this instance, they meant "George Nance Come Home". At all events, we parted one to the right hand and the other to the left, at about 9.30pm. (Rather earlier than usual).

With the exception of one wintry day, the weather was delightful all the time we were away and we felt greatly benefitted and thoroughly satisfied with our second series of holidays spent at Stoke Goldington.

"Forsan et haec clim meminisse juvabit"

"The remembrance of these things will perhaps prove a source of future pleasure".

George. A. Barton

11th to 25th March 1893

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