A few posts ago I briefly introduced Ralph Thoresby, the Leeds antiquarian and diarist whose intellectual and religious pursuits have caught my attention. My intention is to make this a regular series where I offer up some little gems from the Thoresby diary, but in these initial posts I want to provide a bit of background for the entries and the reasons why they exist in the first place.
Previously I pondered in general terms why people keep diaries, and what sorts of information you might include in them, here I want to explore Thoresby’s inspiration in more depth. Continue reading
Ralph Thoresby, 1658-1724.
The time has come to introduce many-headed monster readers to my current historical obsession: Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725). Thoresby, the son of a wool merchant, was a well respected antiquarian and topographer, a dissenter who conformed to the Church of England later in life, a husband, a father, a historian, a fellow of the Royal Society, the owner of a museum, a prolific correspondent, and a diarist. Over the summer, I had the pleasure of delving into Thoresby’s diary, which was transcribed and published by the Reverend Joseph Hunter in 1830. Future posts will deal with the content of the diary, which reveal a likeable, pious, and reflective man, but reading it also got me thinking about the ‘diary’ as a historical document, and it is this that I will deal with in this initial post. Continue reading