Thomas Sutton commonplace book

manuscript notebook

A commonplace book kept by Thomas Sutton starting on 5 November 1819 in which he records anecdotes, quotations, epigrams, drinking toasts, many directly related to his home Nottingham and indicate the pride he feels in its history and people. He begins with a passage from John Blackner’s “The history of Nottingham” (1815) extolling the virtue of Nottingham men with a passage recounting an episode during the Glorious Revolution of 1688, followed by several passages from a range of sources in praise of Nottingham and its men, prominent political figures — Lord Grafton, Lord Dundas, Thomas Paine — and stories of local personalities. Nottingham ale warrants several pages of discourse. He provides a lengthy account of a canal boat accident, which is illustrated with a line-drawn plan followed by an extract from Christian Ignatiyus Latrobe’s Journal of a visit to South Africa in 1815 and 1816 about the destruction done by wolves at Groenekloof and the attempt of the missionaries and the native people to hunt them down and a confrontation with a tiger. Also included are copies of four letters sent by his uncle Charles Peck relating to his volunteering for an expedition to the Congo with Major Peddie, his trip along the River Gambia to Senegal, and a letter from Sierra Leone announcing his uncle’s death with a discussion of the money due him from the expedition. The remaining bulk of the volume contains excerpts from The Nottingham Review, toasts, poems by Pope, Thomas Paine, Robert Burns, Thomas Moore; comical stories as well as political events including the death of King George III. He provides a detailed, alphabetic list of the towns, boroughs, and remarkable villages in England and Wales. He relates a story about a wager laid by Colly Cibber and Pope; a woman named Jenny Hickling of Nottingham, bedridden for 61 years and other stories that piqued his attention. His interest in Africa continues in 1823 when he copies several pages from Campbell’s Travels in Africa.

  • Author: Sutton, Thomas, author.
  • Title: Thomas Sutton commonplace book : manuscript.
  • Production: Nottingham, England, 1819-1826.

Catalog Record

LWL Mss vol. 266

Acquired July 2021

Chrisr. Finn’s book, written Decemr. [the] 20th, 1797

description below

A commonplace book containing lists of toasts, dances, songs and quotations assembled by Christopher Finn. A section entitled “Elegant extracts” appears to be an extract from “The unfashionable wife. A novel” (published in London, 1772), perhaps to be used for recitation. The section “Matter for letters” contains suggests for well-turned phrases for the beginning, middle, and ‘subscription’. The last page contains instructions to the person who might find this volume, promising a reward; he provides not only his own address but those of two friends, one in Birmingham and one London and a note to his friends assuring them than he will re-imburse them the price of postage and the reward to the finder, clear evidence of how important this volume was to the author.

  • Author: Finn, Christopher.
  • Title: Chrisr. Finn’s book, written Decemr. [the] 20th, 1797 : manuscript.
  • Production: Dublin, circa 1797

Catalog Record

LWL Mss Vol. 261

Acquired May 2020

John Tregerthen Short copy of a diary

description below

Possibly the only surviving manuscript copy of the diaries of John Tregerthen Short of St. Ives, describing the adverse fortunes, hardships, and privations he suffered for ten years as a prisoner of war in Napoleonic France. Short’s complete diaries, which span from 1804 to1872, were rediscovered in the early 1900s by Sir Edward Hain who later published an edited version as Prisoners of War in France from 1804-1814, being the Adventures of John Tregerthen Short and Thomas Williams (London, Duckworth, 1914). However, the present manuscript, most likely a fair copy of the original diary (now lost) executed by Short in later life, consists not only of Short’s daily entries, but also of copies of letters and documents, songs and poems based on his adventures, and a list of three hundred fellow prisoners of war who died in captivity, recording their name, position, ship, commanding officer, date of decease, and hometown, none of which were included in the printed book.

  • Author: Short, John Tregerthen, 1785?-1873.
  • Title: John Tregerthen Short copy of a diary kept while a prisoner of war in France, 1804-1814 : manuscript.
  • Production: St. Ives (Cornwall), England, 1868?

Catalog Record

LWL Mss Vol. 256

Acquired June 2020

Edward Burton journal and commonplace book of agricultural notes

manuscript notebookA journal kept by the farmer Edward Burton in which he records business matters along with accounts of local events around the Leicestershire villages of Hemington and Castle Donington. He records crops sold, laborers’ expenses paid, and the days on which neighbors began their respective harvests. Burton also used the volume as a commonplace book, including notes on remedies, proverbs from printed sources, and lists of authors and scientists, much of the information derived from almanacs of the day.
Laid in the front pocket of the binding were, eight receipts for purchases, all dated 187-, 1871 or 1872, made out to later members of the Burton family, Thomas and Arthur Burton and Burton Creswell. Now housed separately with the volume.


  • Author: Burton, Edward.
  • Title: Edward Burton journal and commonplace book of agricultural notes : manuscript.
  • Production: Leicestershire, England, circa 1771-1798.

Catalog Record

LWL Mss Vol. 259

Acquired November 2020

A short account of my travels from Riga through Germany, Italy etc…

hand written title page

A journal that details John Thornton’s Grand Tour, which began in Riga and took him through Prussia, Italy, and back to England through France, Flanders, and the Netherlands.


  • Author: Thornton, John, 1720-1790.
  • Title: A short account of my travels from Riga through Germany, Italy etc. to England : with what is curious to be seen at each place, begun at Riga the 26th July 1742 N.S. or O.S. the 15th July 1742, with also the tour of England, Scotland and Ireland : manuscript / the whole finished this by John Thornton.
  • Production: London, circa 1742.

Catalog Record

LWL Mss Vol. 258

Acquired November 2020

Thomas Virgo notebook on gardening, cookery, remedies…

manuscript notes in notebook

A notebook kept by Thomas Virgo, a gardener, in which he records a wide range of observations on the best care for specific plants he uses but also advice on thatching, the making of ice and ponds, catching wasps, building fires and other areas that hint at how he earned a living. He records many recipes for a wide range of aliments — several remedies for gout, rheumatism, and hoarseness and at least one for coughs, piles, pleurisy, and dropsy. Also included are notes on topics as varied as the Anabaptists, the age of the moon, virginity, supplies for drawing, an occasional verse, and some brief Biblical glosses. He occasionally records purchases that he has made and advice on re-using old clothes (getting gloves from old britches). Additional, unrelated, entries were made by a later owner in the early- to mid-19th century, on pages left blank by Virgo. These later entries include mentions of the death dates of several people including Lady Heathcote; Arthur Thistlewood and his companions sentencing to the Tower or a house of correction; details of weather on specific days.


  • Author: Virgo, Thomas.
  • Title: Thomas Virgo notebook on gardening, cookery, remedies, and miscellaneous memoranda : manuscript.
  • Production: Twickenham, circa 1750-1758.

Catalog Record

LWL Mss Vol. 260

Acquired November 2020

Dividend receipt from the South Sea Company

description below

Dividend receipt addressed “To Mr. Lockyer accomptant at the South Sea house” and annotated in the lower right by “Rich. Sarum”. The body of the document reads: “Pray pay to the bearer Mr. Daniel Gell my share of the midsumer [sic] dividend due on two thousand four hundred forty four pounds eight shillings 10d.1/2 capital stock in the South Sea Company, and this shall be a sufficient warrant. Westmr. Octr. 25 1722”.


  • Title: Dividend receipt from the South Sea Company : manuscript.
  • Production: Westminster, 1722 October 25.

Catalog Record

LWL Mss File 153

Acquired August 2020