Friday, 2 December 2011

Ongar: An extract from the Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve c1860


In 1849 Edward Reeve (1785 – 1867), known as “the Captain” to his family, retired to Stondon Massey in Essex having served in the West Suffolk Militia (from 1808) and then a gentleman farmer in Dedham.  He purchased the advowson of Stondon Massey for his son and appointed him rector.  After Edward James’ marriage the Captain moved to The White House in Ongar.

This series of entries is edited from a manuscript written in the Captain’s hand between 1857 and 1867.  The work is known as a commonplace book which is described in a dictionary as “a notebook in which quotations, poems etc., that catch the owner’s attention are entered”.  It was the blog of its day.

The book came into my possession via a relative of the Reeve family.  It casts light on the ordinary lives of the privileged classes in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  In short, it is a fascinating social history.

The text is the Captain’s own.

Andrew Smith

No comments: