Diversions and Assemblies

23-25 April 1701
To all Gentleman and Ladies that are disposed to recreate themselves in the country, this is to give notice, That Dame Butterfeild’s Feast will be kept, at mob’s Hole near Wanstead, in the County of Essex, a mile beyond the Green-Man, where it has been kept 2 years, on the 30th of April, 1701; where will be a very good entertainment all the year afterwards. I give a challenge to leap a horse, or ride a horse, or run on foot, or hollow with any woman in England of my age: I will not under-value my self with any that is older than my self; but if they be one or two years younger, I will engage when, and as soon as you please; So I remain your humble servant,
   Susan Butterfeild. [London Post]

2-4 September 1701   Some days ago some and Ladies, French and English, intending to divert themselves upon the river, sailed in a small yatcht [sic] from Battersey for Richmond, but run aground over against Chiswick. They got their yatcht afloat again, and by great providence meeting with the Envoys of Morocco, who were upon the river in the pinnace [a small light vessel, generally two-masted] of his Majesty’s ship the Tilbury, they went about to salute them with their small guns, but found their ship sinking, whereupon they cryed for help, and the pinnace came time enough to take all of ’em, being eleven in number, and the yatcht sunk immediately, before the boat was off. They were set ashore near the house of the said Envoys, who entertained them with great civility, and lent them their boat to carry them back to Battersey. [Post Man]

1-3 December 1701   This being the anniversary of the Wiltshire Feast, after hearing sermon in St. Mary le Bow, the natives of that shire marched thence in good order, to Merchant-Taylors-Hall; A shepherd with his crook, bag, bottle, and dog walking before them, with 20 poor children that were to be put out by the Society, and kettle-drums, trumpets, and other musick. [London Post]

1-4 January 1709   The River Thames is so frozen up, that people began yesterday to erect booths and tents upon it. [Post Boy]

Saturday 15 March 1718   Sadlers Wells being lately open'd, there is like to be a great resort of strolling damsels, half-pay officers, peripatetick tradesmen, tars, butchers, and others that are musically inclin'd. (Weekly Journal, or, British Gazetteer)

9 October 1725   Bath, Oct. 5. There is a sort of a Civil War here among the Quality, who run into parties in all their diversions, occasioned by the private balls carry’d on one against the other, insomuch, that when they meet at the publick balls, those, of different sides, will sooner speak to plebeians, than to one another: Where these things may end, none will presume so much as to guess. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

11 December 1725   York, Dec. 6. Proposals are on foot here for a daily Assembly to be held, by such Ladies and as shall think fit to subscribe, in a convenient part of the city, where several rooms and a gravel walk 120 foot long, are to be provided with furniture and fires in the winter, and news-papers, for the sum of 12 s. 6 d. annually; besides what they shall think fit to expend in chocolate, Bath, Bristol, or spaw water, &c. There is also to be musick at a certain time, and a cold bath to be made, and other improvements and regulations as shall be agreed on by the majority of the Assembly. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

30 April 1726   Bath, April 25. Since the celebrated Mr. Nash’s arrival, this city looks with a new face, and fresh company arrives daily. A confusion happen’d one day that had like to have terminated in an open rupture, but thro’ a powerful mediation, all differences were happily composed: This troublesome business was occasioned by a gentleman’s rude spaniel falling upon a Lady of Quality’s fine dog in the walks. There is a talk of proposals for an essay on marriage, by a young Lady, to be dedicated to an old gentleman. — Sir William Wyndham is going away, having received great benefit by the waters; the Dutchess of Chandois is much mended in her health. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

27 August 1726   Derby, Aug. 18. There was a great Assembly of Gentlemen and Ladies at this place, the Right Honourable the Earl of Chesterfield, the Earl of Exeter, &c. were present. When the former, out of his noble charity, releas’d all the prisoners confined for debt, &c. in the county and town-Jail: Which noble example, if follow’d by Gentlemen of fortune, would render those meetings a publick blessing to their country; which, at present, in most places, as they are manag’d, are to be apprehended as productive of very different consequences to the youth of both sexes in this Kingdom. After the Assembly, Mr. Frances made a fine entertainment. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

5 June 1735   A subterraneous work is, by her Majesty’s order, carrying on in the Royal Gardens at Richmond, which is to be called Merlin’s Cave, adorn’d with astronomical figures and characters: Her Majesty was on Monday last to visit it, and gave ten guineas among the masons, &c. employed in executing the design. (The Old Whig)

30 January to 1 February 1744   On Saturday morning last a fellow who has played many years at the door of White’s Chocolate-House, and was known by the name of My Lord Dick, was found dead in Catherine Wheel Yard; he had no marks of violence on him, and was observed to be very merry the night before. (The Penny London Morning Advertiser)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Diversions and Assemblies", 19 March 2002, updated 13 March 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/diversio.htm>

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