Skip to main content

An anonymous account of a tour from London to the Lake District

 Single Item
MS. 11501

  • Request

The account is written in a humorous vein. The author is a Scotsman (see pp. 17, 24,37, 91) living in London, and seems to have connections with nonconformists. The account was written (p.10) for a 'Mrs B[?] of [blank]'. One 'Sheriff Carter' provided lodging in Coventry and 'cash and a very handsome jig' for the journey (p. 21). Early in the account the author digresses on the corruption of the Coventry aldermen, and cites Carter as a noble exception. 'Sheriff Carter' may be John Carter, under-sheriff in Coventry.

The author is accompanied by a young friend, 'Mr Tom', who comes under increasing suspicion for his apparent interest in the young ladies of the houses and inns in which they stay. At the end of the account, the author leaves a few pages blank for his companion to refute these aspersions, but the pages remain blank. On p. 7 'Mrs B' is described as the 'mother to my friend'.

The account begins in London where the author seems to work in an office. It describes the inns and the people met along the way. It is in two volumes, paginated in one sequence. The itinerary includes:

  1. (vol. 1, pp. 8-11) a description of the corrupt state of Coventry
  2. (pp. 17-20) an encounter with a maimed Peninsular War veteran on the road
  3. (pp. 22-58) journey to Penrith via Derbyshire and Lancashire; notices 'manufactories' and notes dwellings or places associated with non-conformist friends; dislikes Manchester (p. 42) and is afraid of the possible depradations of cotton workers on the road from Garstang to Lancaster (pp. 46-7)
  4. (pp. 58-68; vol. 2, pp.69-90) Lake District, including a climb of Saddle Back mountain, with horses (pp. 60-2); an ascent of Skiddaw with ponies (pp. 67-70); he notes (p. 63) that thousands are visiting the Lakes because the war has closed Switzerland to them; visits Mary Robinson, the 'Maid of Buttermere' (vol. 2, pp. 76-7)
  5. (pp. 90-7) A fortnight stay in Broughton-in-Furness with a long-term friend, Mr Postlethwaite, including a visit to the Luthwaites [Lewthwaite] of Broadgate.
  6. (pp. 97-end) return journey, accompanied initially by 'Dr Gilpin', including a description of crossing the sands of Morecambe Bay. Concludes with further observations on Coventry corporation (pp. 109-110) and a request to his 'fair reader' that 'if she has had the patience to read thus far, she will instantly commit the MSS to the flames'.


  • Creation: Jul - Aug 1813


2 Volumes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 11501, pp. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 11501

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11501


An anonymous account of a tour from London to the Lake District, Jul - Aug 1813

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought from John Hart, bookseller, 2015. Sponsored by Jonathan Anelay, Duke Humfrey's Night, 3 Oct 2015.

Physical Facet

Two octavo volumes, plain brown leather bindings. Watermark in vol. 1 'John Hayes'; in vol. 2 'S. Wise & Patch, 1808'. Contained in a modern marbled slip case with label 'MS Diary 1813'.

An anonymous account of a tour from London to the Lake District
Finding aid prepared by Mike Webb
Language of description
Script of description
Sponsored by Jonathan Anelay, Duke Humfrey's Night, 3 Oct 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom