Market Lavington Museum

An 1851 almanack page

We have already seen Annie Earle (later Annie Welch)’s recipe book in our Marrow jam – 1903 blog entry. Annie was a Londoner, but spent most of her married life in Market Lavington. Her recipe book was added to over several decades, with some of the recipes dated and the names of the people who gave her recipes are noted. Most of the pages contain handwritten instructions for making food, lotions and potions, but a few printed cuttings have been stuck in.

Annie was born in 1857, but the little page from an almanack predates her, being for the Autumn months of 1851. We wonder why it was saved and inserted with the recipes.

There is a handy little table allowing an employer to work out the monthly, weekly or daily rate of pay, from the annual wages or salary. The daily rates are given in pounds, shillings, pence and farthings. A farthing was a quarter of an old penny and there were 240 pennies to the pound.

We imagine the first few lines under the month headings at the top of the page refer to states of the moon. The facts given for each day are a real hotch potch of information, ranging from the dates in the church calendar (15th after Trinity, 3rd Sunday in Advent etc.) to when partridge, grouse and pheasant shooting are permitted. Some are current and relevant to 1851, such as the dates for the end of term at Oxford and Cambridge, the day length or the time of daybreak.

However, most of the entries are historical facts about events that happened on particular days in past years and centuries. So we are informed of the date of Becket’s murder in 1170, of the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, of the Manchester riots in 1793 and when the siege of Gibraltar terminated in 1782.

In order to squeeze facts into narrow columns, many entries are abridged. We can probably make out what ‘Houses parlia burnt 1834’ and ‘Gazette first pub. 1695’ mean. A little thought made sense of ‘P. offi. op. 1829.’ Aha, ‘Cha 12 k 1718’ refers to the death of the king of Sweden, but we are not so sure about ‘Brig. pi. de 1853’.

Ah well, at least the typed words are legible, which is more than can be said for some of the handwriting in this old recipe book.