James Woodforde

(1740—1803) diarist and Church of England clergyman

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Woodforde was a country parson whose diary from 1758 to 1802 has survived. His life was uneventful. He was born in Somerset, son of a cleric, and educated at New College, Oxford. After ten years as a Somerset curate, he returned briefly to college before becoming rector of Weston Longueville, a college living near Norwich. He had a lively interest in food, in his servants, and he played whist and went fishing. The diary is full of little vignettes—old Mr Reeve who broke Woodforde's gum—‘he is too old, I think, to draw teeth, can't see very well’; Andrews the smuggler, who ‘frightened us a little by whistling under the parlour window just as we were going to bed’; ‘Mr Townshend's gamekeeper who goes by the name of Black Jack’ and shot Woodforde's dog, Pompey.

Subjects: Literature — British History.

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