The diary of Mary Ann York

Between 1795 and 1831 Mary Ann Lascelles kept a diary of her daily life. The early entries are those of a young woman from a well to do family – she records lessons with her drawing master, visits to friends and family, riding in the carriage, shopping and visits to the opera. She also records house parties such as one in late 1795, early 1796 which included 'Prince William of Gloucester'. A typical entry, for 23 March 1796 is shown below.

23 March 1796 (small)
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In November and December 1800 she experimented with entries in code although these seem to record only the same sorts of events as the rest of the diary: visits to church, walks and meeting with friends.

16 November 1800 (small)
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The diary ends again in English however, with the words 'end of the century: to be continued'.

In April 1801 Mary married Mr York although the record of the event in her diary is very abrupt:

20 April 1801 (small)
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The diary makes little mention of any preparations for the wedding. The next year her first child, a son, was born on 6 January, after a labour of three to four days.

The diaries continue to record family events, visits to country houses and to London, children's birthdays and the family events of friends and relations. In 1831 Mary is clearly ill – she records being unable to get up or to go out and having the sacrament bought to her. Her records end in June 1831. The last entry for Thursday 9 June records her husband and son's activities and the arrival of visitors from Gargarve.

9 June 1831 (small)
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The diaries make no mention of international political situations – although Mary kept them throughout the Napoleonic wars. What they do record in great detail is the daily life of an individual woman.