Essex People 1750-1900

By A. F. J. Brown, Essex Record Office Publications No. 59, Essex County Council,1972, SBN 900360 14 3, 206pp

Review by Pat Marsden

This book describes how fourteen Essex people lived, worked and thought during a period of 150 years from 1750-1900. The material is drawn from their diaries, memoirs and letters so that the writers tell their stories in their own words, with notes and references kept to a minimum. There are contributions from a wide variety of people including the gentry, a vicar and a curate, a doctor, farmers, bay-makers, a tailor, a silk weaver,and a watchmaker. Two chapters are particularly relevant to Wivenhoe. The first is a collection of some of the letters (1771-79). of Mary Rebow of Wivenhoe Park; the earlier ones written before her marriage, when she was still Mary Martin (the granddaughter of Captain Matthew Martin), and the later ones written after her marriage, when her husband, Isaac Martin Rebow, was away at Warley camp and elsewhere serving in the Militia. The second chapter consists of extracts (1799-1803) from the diary of Joseph Page, a Fingringhoe farmer , who entertainingly describes his working life on the farm and his social life with friends and neighbours, which frequently involved crossing the River Colne to Wivenhoe.

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