Other characters

JOHN HUGHES, we are led to understand, is the son of Thomas Hughes, ‘up along Rayemedowes’. There is a Ryemeadows near Much Marcle in Herefordshire. However, a contemporary Herefordshire newspaper advert spells the word Rye as Righ suggesting that the writer at least didn’t pronounce the word that way.

SQUIRE MANTON is the local official who handles property transfers. Manton seems to be a Northamptonshire surname, possibly derived from the place name of Manton in that county; although there is another Manton just outside Marlborough. Squire Mantons are thin on the ground but one such was a prosecutor in a case of cattle stealing at Fineshade Abbey, Northamptonshire. Unfortunately, the date, 1832, is much later. Could he have been the son of the Diary’s squire?

MISTRESSES LIVVY AND PRU were the old squire’s daughters and we don't know their surnames, or if they were single or widowed. We don’t know either if the current squire is any relation of the old one, given the title went with the property which may have been sold after the old squire’s death. One of them taught Anne and possibly Lady Susan to read and write. The fashion of address that we see in Jane Austen’s contemporary writing about the gentry is to call the eldest daughter by her surname and the younger by their first names. Whether this is relevant to the two sisters in the Diary isn’t clear.

CARTER’S LAD’s surname was True. In the end, he ‘went for a soljer’ which is quite feasible. Recruiting sergeants did travel the country signing up young men.

SARAH, Anne's maid, and later wife of parson Cross, seems to have been in her first job as a maidservant. Anne has to teach her many of the things she expects of her. When Sarah's mother later dies, her very young brother is taken on at a generous wage by John.

Parson GODFREY CROSS. No trace of a cleric of that name has been found in the records of the established church. The only other clue is the surname of his aunt, which was Thomson.