Thanks to the kindness and fundraising efforts of a group from Montacute, the South West Heritage Trust has been able to acquire two diaries of Edward Phelips MP, 1725-1797.

The diaries record the daily life of Edward Phelips with particular emphasis on the weather, the company he kept, his hunting and hounds, and the business of the Montacute estate. They provide a glimpse into his character as well as his activities and speak honestly and directly down the years.

Robert Fisher, coordinator of the Montacute group, told us that the pocket diaries of 1784 and 1789 were offered for sale at auction.  They had been spotted by Clive Farahar, a local dealer in books and expert on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

A group of some 20 willing subscribers was found and between them they were able to make a successful bid.  The group have generously agreed to donate the diaries to our collections.  They have also arranged for the diaries to be digitised and hope to provide enlarged replicas for display in St Catherine’s Church in Montacute.

In September the group visited the Somerset Heritage Centre to donate the diaries and receive a tour of the site.  Head of Archives and Local Studies, Janet Tall, thanked the group for their generosity and for the enthusiasm they showed for all that the Trust is doing for the county’s heritage.

We are delighted to have been able acquire the diaries thanks to the fundraising of local Somerset residents.