Updated 6 Dec 2007
WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900
Elizabeth Webster's diary
First of 249 pages of the diary.
Martin Mosley writes:
Elizabeth Webster was my 3x G Grandmother, born in 1798 in Wirksworth,
Derbyshire. She was an ordinary working class mother and grandmother who
kept a remarkable memoir of her life. This unique document gives an insight
into living conditions and the influences on everyday life. Through the
diary we are able to learn much about her family, the local community and
the way of life for agricultural workers in the 19th century.
Elizabeth was the oldest of eleven children born to James Webster and
Sarah Adams. James was employed by squire Hurst at the Alderwasley Iron
Works, and we learn from the diary that he was 'of weak constitution and
of a consumptive family'. Her father had been an agricultural labourer
until his marriage, and Elizabeth believed his move to the iron works
had contributed to the deterioration in his health. She also considered
that the men who worked at the iron works spent too much time in the
'Alehouse' and paid insufficient attention to their homes and families.
Elizabeth was a devout christian and from a young age, distanced herself
from such behaviour. As a young girl she was close to her uncle Samuel
Adams. Samuel was only ten years older than Elizabeth and was a Calvonist,
attending the old meeting house at Ridgeway, Heage. He introduced Elizabeth
to the Sunday School at the meeting house, where she was taught by
Mr Hutton, a teacher from Belper.
For more see:
MOSLEY & other families Geneology pages
Sketch of family tree
Emails on the subject
| | | | |
1798 1799 1801 1803 1805
Elizabeth Mary James James Joseph
1886 1802 Adams
Elizabeth 1823 Samuel
| | | | | | | | | | |
1824 1825 1827 1829 1830 1832 1833 1835 1839 1841 1844
Elizabeth John Ann Thomas Mary Isaac Henry Lucy Sarah William Harriet
Emails on the subject
Martin Mosley writes:
Thank you for agreeing to look at the memoir and diary kept by my
3xG Grandmother, Elizabeth Webster (copied by her daughter, Lucy), who was
born in Wirksworth in 1798. I have been the 'guardian' of this document
since I was about 13, and without doubt it was reading how Elizabeth had
lived her life that influenced my own interest in the history of my
ancestors and the communities in which they lived. The diary had been
passed from my grandfather to my mother, who in an inspired moment
recognised that it would have meaning to me even at such a young age.
All my subsequent research stems from this document, and Elizabeth's
family were the first I began to trace. Imagine my surprise (and luck) to
find that Elizabeth came from Wirksworth, and my early Internet searches
which revealed your magnificent site. Within minutes I was finding
Elizabeth, her husband, parents and other family members and everything
began to fall into place. The combination of hard facts from your
trancriptions of parish records, and the details provided by the diary
enabled me to feel a part of these people's lives. I was also fortunate,
through my search for details of Elizabeth's husband, Samuel Walker Barnes,
to 'bump into' Stuart Hill who had done (and continues to do) so much to
research this family, all the time ignorant of the existance of the diary
which contained so many clues. Stuart has continued to inspire my research,
and I'm pleased to be able to offer something in return for a change.
Despite the distractions of everyday life, I have continued to research
my family histories, and to ask questions about where and how they lived,
how they worked, what they ate and drank, how they dressed etc. In short
I have become addicted to the search for my roots. I see it as a means of
bringing my ancestors to life and of leaving a unique legacy for my
In times past, I may have done what Elizabeth did, and written everything
into note books. My parallel interest in modern communication though, means
that I have spent a great deal of time developing a website which enables
me to present my story to anyone who may be interested. The site is in it's
very early stages, and will eventually cover all the aspects referred to
above. I guess it will turn out to be a lifetimes work, and therefore not
too different from the memoirs of Elizabeth. I only hope that in 150 years
time, my descendants will be as fascinated by what I presented as I have
been by the work of Elizabeth.
All this from a document maintained by my GGG Grandmother.
I hope that you and your readers find the diary as inspiring as I have done, and look forward to the surprising contacts it may yet provide.
With very best regards,
Deciphered, transcribed, compiled, indexed,
formatted and copyright © 2007,
All Rights Reserved.