Monday, 18 July 2011

Larkham Manuscripts

In his book on Cumberland and Westmorland benjamin Nightingale has this note among his sources
The Larkham MSS

These include:

(a) The Cockermouth Church Book. This was the work of George Larkham until his death, a few additions being made by later hands. It is in the possession of the
Deacons of the Cockermouth Congregational Church.
(b) The Diary of Thomas Larkham from 1647. This is a most remarkable document and is about the same size as the Cockermouth Church Book. There appear to be in
it at least five different handwritings:
1. That of the original owner who seems to have been an apothecary. The writing here is beautiful and the entries are such as would concern his business. The date in this writing goes back at least to 1697.

2. Near the end of the book are several pages occupied with Christenings, Burials and Receipts in "or [our] prish church of East Greenwch, by G. L. then elected Clarke," beginning with December 1615. The writing is small and neat, but distinctly different from the other.

3. Thomas Larkham was sometime Minister of East Greenwich, and probably the book came into his possession through this connection. He used it as a Diary and Book of Accounts and the earliest date is 1647. These items appear in the various spaces which the other writers had left; but Larkham was not satisfied with that, he has written on the top of the other, actually using their words and letters wherever possible for his own purpose. The result is that it is extremely difficult to pick out his entries.

4. From Thomas Larkham the book appears to have passed on to his son George, the Cockermouth Minister, who fills in remaining spaces and adds copies of letters which Mr Lewis has printed.

5. The next writer is Larkham Bowes, George Larkham's grandson, whose entries are few.

The MS. is owned by H M Fawcett, Esq, of Whitley Bay, a descendant of Larkham, who kindly lent it me for some time. It is very doubtful if a complete transcript can ever be made owing to the superimposition of Larkham's writing upon the original; and the task of making a fairly readable one is very serious. I have, however, proceeded some way through it. The MS is soiled and worn in places ; and was rebound by the owner a short time ago.

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