A man is so vain, so unfixed, so perishing a creature, that he cannot long last in the scene of fancy: a man goes off, and is forgotten, like the dream of a distracted person.Jeremy Taylor, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651)
On the afternoon of 21 August 1675, George Lloyd sat down in his room at the Three Crowns inn, Colchester, and made himself a little book. Paper in the 1670s was a fairly valuable commodity and he was not a wealthy man, so its pages were tiny. In a necessarily minute hand, Lloyd proceeded to carefully document his activities over the preceding two days, beginning with his early morning journey from London to Colchester on 19 August, right up ‘to this place’. He scrupulously recorded little details, noting that he had stopped at the Essex village of Ingatestone at eleven o'clock and there dined with ‘2 gentell men and one woman’, stopped again at Kelvedon at four, and arrived at Colchester a little after six. He stayed at the Three Crowns Inn and, clearly exhausted by his journey, went immediately to bed.Footnote 1 The entry for the following day offers an even more minute account of his comings and goings in an unfamiliar town. Times of appointments, places visited, people spoken to are all accounted for in a detailed, rational narrative which mirrors the linear temporality of a day recently lived and carefully remembered. Lloyd offered no moralistic or grandiose ‘reason’ for recording these minutiae or any rationale for his method of doing so. It was not an exercise in religious piety, an educational memento for his descendants, nor a record of important events for posterity. He did write a brief preface of sorts, which outlined his personal background, to which I shall return below. In terms of how he thought about the text I refer to as ‘the diary of George Lloyd’ (for the author never used these words), he offered few clues. He did, however, describe the book as a record of ‘the most remarkable passages and alterations of my life’. This introductory essay will set this life, and its diary, in historical context.Footnote 2
Lloyd's diary is, in fact, anonymous, and has remained so despite a handful of brief citations in other works.Footnote 3 However, it contains identifying details which made it possible for me to identify the author for the first time. The volume begins with a brief ‘account of the most remarkable passages and alterations of my life’, in which the author states that he was born on 11 May 1642 ‘in the parsonage hous in the parlour at Wonston’, suggesting that his father was a clergyman. Also bound into the back of the book is a page written in a distinctively different hand, containing a basic cypher using astrological symbols, and a signature – N. Floyd. These snippets of information turned my attention to Nicholas Lloyd [Floyd] (1630–1680), a notable but not famous clergyman and scholar, and the subject of a brief article in the ODNB – but clearly not the diary's author. Nicholas was born in the parsonage house at Wonston, Hampshire, the son of ‘the Revd George Lloyd’. He had three brothers; John (1643/4–1682, a poet and clergyman, who also merited inclusion in the ODNB), Edward (d.1655), and George. John was born in Wonston in 1643/4, followed in Nicholas's footsteps to attend Wadham College, Oxford, 1662–1666, was appointed vicar of Holyrood, Southampton, on 20 May 1675, and died at his living in 1682; he can also, therefore, be ruled out as the author.Footnote 4 This leaves us with George, a man totally forgotten by history, but whose distinctly unremarkable life left a surprising number of biographical and archival traces.
George Lloyd's diary did not survive as a result of its literary qualities or the exploits of its author. Rather, it almost certainly avoided the dustbin of history because Lloyd's brother Nicholas was the kind of man whose diary which might have been carefully preserved by antiquarians. A clergyman and academic, Nicholas occupied a number of prestigious positions throughout his career, mostly at his alma mater, Wadham College, Oxford. He was university rhetoric leader in 1665, and sub-warden of Wadham in 1666 and 1670. In addition, in 1665 he was appointed chaplain to Dr Walter Blandford, bishop of Oxford. His magnum opus, published in 1670, was a much revised and expanded version of the Dictionarium historicum, geographicum, poeticum of Charles Estienne's 1553 work. Nicholas was also a noted friend and companion to Anthony Wood.Footnote 5 His final years were spent apparently uneventfully as rector of St Mary Newington, a living to which he was appointed on 28 April 1673. When Nicholas died on 27 November 1680, George inherited the majority of his brother's estate, including most of his papers.Footnote 6 The 1719 edition of John Aubrey's The Natural History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, following a very brief biographical sketch of the life of Nicholas Lloyd (in his capacity as Rector at St Mary Newington), suggests that
much more might have been said of him and his Labours, had Mr Lloyd been pleased to communicate what he has left behind him, or his Brother, in whose Possession [Nicholas's] Papers were till lately, after his Death, they were retrieved from being made Waste Paper.Footnote 7
In fact, this passage was written not by Aubrey (who died in 1697), but by the antiquarian and bibliophile Richard Rawlinson, who revised, updated, and published the manuscripts started but left unfinished by Aubrey. The papers discussed in this passage are held by the Bodleian today, as part of the Rawlinson Collection, the manuscripts bequeathed to the library by Richard Rawlinson when he died in 1755.Footnote 8 In other words, George Lloyd preserved certain papers of particular significance pertaining to his brother, and Rawlinson appears to have personally acquired them after his death. Certainty here is impossible, but it seems likely that Rawlinson ‘retrieved’ the papers from Lloyd's widow Elizabeth, who survived him by some six months.Footnote 9 Whether Lloyd's inconspicuous little diary was passed to Rawlinson and then bequeathed to the Bodleian with any purpose, or whether it was a happy accident, is impossible to say. Perhaps the signature of Nicholas, bound upside down into the back of the volume, is the sole reason for its ultimate survival.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, this diary is not the only substantial but forgotten biographical text relating to the Lloyd family held in the Rawlinson Collection. The diaries of Nicholas and Edward Lloyd are lost, but the former composed and preserved two sermons in memory of his father, entitled ‘Parenti parentatio’, and accompanied them with a fairly rich and personal elegiac biography of the elder George Lloyd.Footnote 10 This short biography provides some insight into what it must have been like for the diarist growing up. Nicholas was an intelligent and sensitive man who greatly esteemed his father. The text, though undated, was probably written in the late 1650s, very shortly after the death of the elder George Lloyd (d.1658).Footnote 11 Its tone is reverent and even emotional at times, and it is clear that the anecdotes chosen to paint a picture of the elder Lloyd were designed to flatter him. However, as a source of incidental biographical information, it is very valuable and corroborated by other documents.
The elder George was born in Leckford, Hampshire, in 1597, the son of David Floyd and Anne Tainter. Anne, Nicholas informs us, was from Cricklade in Wiltshire, ‘where some of the Family remain to this day in good fashion and Reputation’. David Floyd was also a clergyman, serving as vicar of Leckford from 1596 until his death in 1627.Footnote 12 The family used the names Lloyd and Floyd interchangeably, perhaps with an awareness that both were a ‘corruption’ (to use Nicholas's word) of the ‘Native Pronunciation’. The elder George ‘adher'd peremptorily to noe one’ spelling, ‘but was wont all waies, or for the most part to write his Name thus. Geo: Floyd.’Footnote 13 Nicholas also used ‘Floyd’ in this document and in his inscription in the back of the diary, but in ‘official’ sources he was always referred to as Lloyd. The diarist, on the other hand, invariably used Lloyd when he signed his name in a handful of other sources.Footnote 14 The family was indeed of Welsh extraction, and its roots in England were probably shallow; Nicholas suggests that David Lloyd was himself born and bred in Flintshire, Wales, but ‘when he came over, and how long or where he abode before he came to Leckford’ he could not be certain.Footnote 15
George Sr was destined to follow in his father's footsteps. At the age of nine he was sent to Winchester College as a Chorister, and after suffering through ‘a World of Hardness there under that Rigid Informator Dr Robinson’,Footnote 16 he went up to Oxford, ‘first To Trinity Coll[ege] […] and fro[m] thence to Brazen Nose’.Footnote 17 After successfully taking his BA, Lloyd Sr returned to Hampshire to teach the sons of ‘a Gentleman one Mr Helliar’, before being called to the curacy of Hunton, part of the parish of Crawley, in 1622. This appointment signalled the beginning of a career characterized by hard work and scanty rewards. Nicholas continues,
As his Means was but small, so his Work was not very great, the custome then being to preach but once a Month, wheras now in most places they preach twice a Day. He had been but few years at Hunton, but he was called to Officiate at Wonston hard by under Dr LoveFootnote 18 Warden of the Colledge <neare Winton> and one of the Prebends there. Where as his stipend was more so also was his Work for he Preached not onely every Sunday once, but also Expounded, or preached a Lecture beside. In the year 1626. He took his degree of M[aste]r in the Arts – And In the year 1629 He was Married. Not long after which Dr Love died; and Dr HarrisFootnote 19 succeeded him in the Wardenship, and might have so don also in his Parsonage, but that he preferred Mean StokeFootnote 20 before it And therefore Dr BurbyFootnote 21 Archdeacon of Winton had it by reason the BishopFootnote 22 was his friend and after his kinsman.
This was to be the story of the elder George Lloyd's career; Nicholas paints him as a diligent and well-intentioned clergyman who never won the kind of preferment necessary for material success. Instead, he found himself trapped in margin and junior clerical positions, often subservient to younger men who purportedly treated him poorly. He remained a curate at Wonston for some twenty years, and ‘was not negligent in his office’, according to Nicholas, labouring to encourage his apparently recalcitrant parishioners in their observation of the faith. This proved to be a futile enterprise; like Saint Peter, Lloyd Sr ‘toyled all night and caught nothing.’Footnote 23
The travails of the Lloyd family worsened with the onset of the Civil Wars, during which the elder George Lloyd attempted to negotiate a path of judicious compromise between the warring factions, which seems to have attracted the enmity of both sides. He was deeply disturbed by the conflict and feared for the unity and preservation of the Church of England, so much so that ‘upon a certain Fast-day praying for the Nation he burst out into Tears and could [pro]ceed no farther’. According to Nicholas, George Lloyd Sr was ‘not Superstitious yet Loved to observe the Ceremonies of the church’, was ‘not profane, yet cared not for Innovation’, and continued to wear his surplice and hood ‘till they were both taken away’. In spite of this, he found himself accused of being ‘against the King’ – apparently a slander concocted by a disaffected parishioner. Then, when the living of the rector Dr Burby was sequestrated by the Parliamentarians – the parsonage house itself being used to billet troops – he ‘suffered many things by the Parliament's Souldiers’. These trials and tribulations were too much for George Lloyd Sr, who had been ‘alwaies before of a gracile and slender constitution’, and he died of a fever on 20 November 1658, after catching a cold a few weeks earlier.
War, death, and civil unrest provided an uneasy backdrop for the upbringing of the Lloyd children. Beyond Nicholas and John, Lloyd had at least three more siblings. There was one more brother, Edward, who died of smallpox on 14 March 1655.Footnote 24 Very little information survives relating to Edward, but he was significant in one respect: he was the first Lloyd sibling to keep a diary. A page-long autobiographical memorandum written by Nicholas, preserved with his papers at the Bodleian, notes that in 1656 while visiting his family, he commenced a ‘diarie, which I undertook by occasion of my Brother Edwards, who kept one of his’ – perhaps in his memory.Footnote 25 Rather intriguingly, at the very bottom of the same page, there is a fragment of a diary entry, which reads ‘30 Augt within doing things in my Chambr. dined pd within at worke in my Chambr. after made a place for ye Ducks supt at pr. pd’. Who wrote these lines? This is the same system of abbreviations used by George Lloyd in his later London Diary; ‘at pr.’ means ‘at prayers’, and ‘pd’ means ‘performed my devotion’. Perhaps the Lloyd brothers shared not only a tendency to keep diaries, but also a particular way of using abbreviation and narrating their experiences. Or, George Lloyd was making notes on Nicholas's papers – either way, it hints at a Lloyd diary which no longer survives. Work by Elaine McKay has found that early modern diarists rarely acted ‘alone’; they usually began writing under the influence of family or wider social networks.Footnote 26
George Lloyd also had an uncertain number of sisters, whose lives have unfortunately proven almost impossible to trace. Frustratingly, the births (and deaths) of Lloyd siblings are inconsistently entered in the Wonston parish registers; perhaps some were born elsewhere. The baptism of a Maria Floyd is recorded in the parish register for Wonston on 17 June 1632, but her funeral was subsequently entered on 27 April 1634.Footnote 27 Interestingly, there is one reference in the Colchester Diary to ‘my sister Mary’, presumably another sister born later and given the same name. Throughout the diary, Lloyd also makes reference to his correspondence with ‘my sister Carless’.Footnote 28 This was almost certainly the surname of a married sister, or even a more distant in-law, since in the London Diary he regularly referred to in-laws in this way.Footnote 29 Another sister, Frances, is mentioned in a draft copy of Lloyd's will from 1717 as living in Cheriton, Hampshire in the early eighteenth century.Footnote 30 Most curious of all, however, is the fact the Lloyd wrote in his Colchester Diary about a ‘sister’ who appeared to be a small child. On a visit to Aynho, Northamptonshire, where he had temporarily resided before moving to Colchester, he described how he ‘sate with my sister in my lap’ whilst the rest of the household played at cards; two days later, he ‘helpt dress my sister’.Footnote 31 This suggests that this ‘sister’ was very young indeed, but unfortunately he never provided any further explanation. It is, however, vanishingly unlikely that Lloyd's own mother, who had her first child in 1630, could have had young children in the 1670s. It is possible that she was a very young sister-in-law, or perhaps a cousin or niece. He also makes reference to a visit to ‘my sister Mary’ on the same trip.Footnote 32 The will of George's eldest brother Nicholas, who died on 27 November 1680, lists all of the surviving immediate members of the Lloyd family at that date. Unless Nicholas had seen fit to disinherit any close relatives, his (and George's) remaining family consisted of their brother John Lloyd, their sister Frances James with her son Nicholas (who was not yet of age), and somewhat surprisingly their mother, Jane Lloyd.Footnote 33 Unfortunately, the ultimate fates of most of these individuals remains obscure, but Frances is the only one of Lloyd's siblings who was still alive during his later diary in 1711.
Lloyd was educated at home by his father until 1651, when at the age of nine, he moved less than a mile to Hunton to attend the school where his father was master. In his teens, George followed his father and elder brother to Winchester College. One of the most intriguing and significant biographical facts about George Lloyd is that, of three brothers (leaving aside Edward, who died young), he was the only one not to be educated at the University of Oxford, attendance of which was a virtual family tradition. The reasons for this are unclear, but it is possible that, due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances, it was simply not convenient for him to attend university. The family's fortunes had been mixed for some years, and they certainly suffered with the death of the elder George Lloyd at the end of 1658; this was particularly bad timing for the diarist, since he was sixteen and approaching the age at which decisions about his future would have been made. In George's construction of his own life-story, the death of his father was followed by the completion of his school studies, and immediately he ‘designed to goe to Lond[on] to be an aprentice’.Footnote 34 Bad luck struck again, however; as a result of ‘Richard Cromwell being out and times unsettled’, Lloyd was forced to live at home with his mother until Michaelmas, 1659. He was then sent to nearby Crawley to live with Samuel Tomlins, a former chaplain of Richard Cromwell, who had been installed as rector there by the victorious Parliamentarians in 1655. According to Nicholas Lloyd, Tomlins had ‘domineer[ed] over’ George Lloyd Sr when he had served him as curate, making his final years a misery.Footnote 35 That the Lloyds turned to such an individual for help indicates just how difficult things must have been for the family. Lloyd remained with Tomlins until 1661, when, aged 18 or 19, Lloyd returned home ‘in order to fitt me for a place for a Justices of the Peace his cleark but got none till October’. He then went to live with, and work for, one ‘Mr May of Coldry’.Footnote 36
Another explanation is that George was simply not a good enough student. John, a little over a year his junior, was able to go up to Oxford in 1662, and was fully admitted on 30 September 1663, at the age of nineteen.Footnote 37 Nicholas, more strikingly, had matriculated in May 1652, some two weeks short of his 22nd birthday. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the family would have considered George ‘too old’ to go to Oxford at the age of 19. Lloyd seems to have been the least intellectually distinguished of three Lloyd brothers.
In fact, there is a hint that George was self-conscious of this educational and even intellectual disparity. When, in 1682, John Lloyd found modest fame with the publication of his English verse rendering of the Song of Solomon, Shir ha shirim, or, The Song of Songs, George supplied a brief dedicatory poem – the only time, so far as I am aware, that he appeared in print. Its opening lines are suggestive:
Lloyd felt rather insecure about his social and educational status, and this insecurity is reflected in his diary. Throughout, an impression is formed of an individual preoccupied with self-improvement and the need to prove his social, cultural, and economic value. He seems to have relished his status as a highly literate citizen in Colchester, offering to teach adults in reading and writing at any opportunity, and even occasionally lecturing friends and neighbours on their moralFootnote 38 and religious choices, sometimes reading aloud from books to drive his message home.Footnote 39 At the same time, he obsessively strove to improve his physical appearance – on a budget – devoting hours to mending and altering various garments, or making them almost from scratch himself, despite a lack of any formal training as a tailor. He was, in short, a man eager to telegraph his value, physically, intellectually, and culturally. In this respect, his diary bears comparison with other examples of life-writing produced by other ambitious young men in late seventeenth-century England, such as Roger Lowe,Footnote 40 or indeed Samuel Pepys.
Returning to the narrative of George Lloyd's life before the diary, he stayed with Mr May until February 1666, when he moved to London and ‘lodged at Mr Eaglesfields by Warwick house near Chayring Cross’.Footnote 41 The diarist spent the next few years apparently in the employment of various gentlemen, and although it is unclear what exactly he was doing, it can be speculated with some confidence that he was a clerk to at least one JP, and perhaps later a servant, or private tutor. He mentions that he was once again employed by a Mr May; he was sent to live in his ‘new house in St James’s and took care of his things’. In August 1667, at the age of 25, he was afflicted with smallpox, and was apparently incapacitated until Christmas of the same year. His next move, after a brief lodging at Long Acre, was to Welham, Leicester, where he had gained ‘a place with Mr Halford’ in March 1668 ‘with the helpe of Mr Winsloe’, probably as a servant. A few days after the diarist’s arrival in Colchester in 1675, he mentioned recognizing the ‘tapster’ at the King’s Head, who had been ‘at Sir Will Halfords with Sir John Pretyman when I was with Sir Will’. The following day, the diarist ‘wrote a letter to Sir Will Halford to let him know I woud wayt on him’.Footnote 42 Sir William Halford of Welham married Elizabeth Pretyman, daughter of Sir John Pretyman, 1st Baronet, in 1663; it seems plausible that he, or a relative, was the diarist’s former employer.Footnote 43 In 1669, Lloyd went ‘to live with Mr Cockain my Lord Cullens son at Harborough’, probably as a tutor to Charles Cockayne, the future 3rd Viscount Cullen.
Lloyd stayed there until 1674 or 1675, and proceeded to stay with his brother Nicholas at Aynho, Northamptonshire, and at his new living at Newington Butts. During this time, Lloyd received tuition from the well-known calligrapher and mathematician Edward CockerFootnote 44 (1631/2–1676) ‘learning som knacks in writting and Arithmatic’, and paid him the substantial sum of £10. On 19 August 1675, he set off from London to Colchester, from which point, in Lloyd's words, he provides ‘a perfect account of my Actions etc.’
The biographical catalyst for Lloyd's diary-keeping was his move to open a school in Colchester. The first thirty-three years of his life are rendered in a brief preface, whereas his life as a schoolmaster is documented on a daily basis for two and a half years. The nature and purpose of the school is, however, quite obscure. This is because the information provided in the diary relating to the school is almost impossible to corroborate due to a dearth of sources. Lloyd's school left no discernible documentary trace in the records of Colchester borough, and was also apparently unlicensed.Footnote 45 Going by what can be gleaned from Lloyd's educational background and the account provided by the diary, which depicts a fairly informal, small-scale arrangement which appears to have provided instruction in literacy and numeracy for young children (and perhaps calligraphy lessons for their parents and older siblings), I suggest that Lloyd's was probably a ‘petty school’, perhaps with a ‘specialism’ in calligraphy and penmanship.
In general, the quality of such institutions was not high: David Cressy has suggested that ‘many petty teachers were little more than child-minders’.Footnote 46 Charles Poole, an experienced grammar school teacher writing in the 1630s, opined that
The Petty-Schoole is the place where indeed the first Principles of all Religion and learning ought to be taught, and therefore rather deserveth that more encouragement should be given to the Teachers of it, then that it should be left as a work for poor women, or others, whose necessities compel them to undertake it, as a meer shelter from beggery.Footnote 47
These were early ‘elementary’ educational institutions for younger children of ‘middling’ parents, which tended to be by their nature transient, informal, and, from the historian's perspective, often invisible, an issue which is exacerbated by the fact that most of their teachers gave ‘fitful service’.Footnote 48 According to Cressy, ‘school teaching could be a career, but it could also be undertaken begrudgingly as a lowly stopgap employment on the way to something else.’Footnote 49 Indeed, Lloyd is a perfect illustration of this; he stayed in Colchester from 19 August 1675, opened his school in September, closed for business on 28 September 1677, and left the town for good on 19 October, and may never have returned. The only source touching on Lloyd's school is his own diary, and he provides little context or exposition. In particular, he is peculiarly silent on what went on in the classroom. That said, he still includes a valuable account of the ‘business’ of running a seventeenth-century school. Whilst this section will serve as practical overview, designed to make the text of the diary more intelligible to readers, I believe that there is more material to be extracted by scholars primarily interested in the history of early modern education.
In Lloyd's own educational journey, the high point must have been his tuition under the famous writing master, Edward Cocker. One of Lloyd's particular ‘specialities’ appears to have been writing and calligraphy. It seems likely that his school was intended to fill a gap in the educational ‘market’, between the extremely basic literacy that a minority of children would have been able to acquire at home, and the more advanced learning available at the Colchester Free Grammar (now known as Colchester Royal Grammar School). The Grammar only admitted boys aged 8 and over, and required entrants to be able to read printed and written material and to write, and its teachers to have a university degree.Footnote 50 Interestingly, throughout the diary, Lloyd made no reference whatsoever to Colchester Grammar, nor to its master at the time, James Cranston.Footnote 51 Lloyd probably did not consider the grammar to be ‘competition’: in fact, he may have provided some form of tuition (perhaps in calligraphy) to a handful of its pupils.Footnote 52 He did, however, take an interest in the work – namely calligraphic ‘peeces’ – and premises of other keepers of small schools.
Upon his arrival in Colchester, Lloyd immediately set about searching for premises for his school. At the same time, he also searched for private lodgings for himself, and this makes it difficult to disentangle the two projects. Whilst Lloyd's brother Nicholas appears to have known a member of the local clergy,Footnote 53 the diarist had no connection to Colchester, and no prior arrangements had been made for the foundation of his school. His efforts appear to have been informal, amateurish, and indeed rather stressful.Footnote 54 In the event, he opened his school in the room above a local shop of some sort, owned by a Mr Meadows, who ‘let me his roomes for 5li the year for 6 months’. It is worth noting that by October of the same year, Lloyd had haggled Meadows down to £4 per annum, suggesting that barely more than a month into his project, finances were already a problem. On the same day that he secured a room, Lloyd went and ‘bought 3 bords to make a table and 2 for formes and bespeake a frame for my peece’.Footnote 55 Several of the entries from this period refer to constant work on a ‘peece’, or ‘peeces’, – almost certainly works of calligraphy to advertize his skills – and a few days later, Lloyd ordered another frame, and then went to ask for official permission from the mayor ‘to keepe a schoole’. He received the mayor's blessing, and two days later, he ‘nayld my peeces of writing to the frames and hung one out at the doore of my schoole and the other at the Coffee house’.Footnote 56
The school, it seems, got off to a slow start. It officially opened for business on 6 September 1675.Footnote 57 Early that morning, one ‘Goodman Bell’ brought his son for Lloyd ‘to learne’; he made the boy a book, ‘and began with him’. Two weeks later, Lloyd ‘sent [his] scholler home’ at the end of the day, and it appears he still had only a single pupil by 1 October. Uptake appears to have been picking up by January 1676, but, beyond Lloyd's scattered mentions of initial recruitment to his school, there is little reference to numbers of pupils, or the success of his enterprise in general, until much later in the diary. In June 1677, shortly before Lloyd closed the school, a ‘fayre’ was held at Colchester, and Lloyd complained that as a result, he ‘had but 4 boys’ to teach, and the following day only ‘5 or 6 boys’ by the first recess at 11.Footnote 58 Since this must have been remarkably low turnout in order to elicit repeated mention by Lloyd, one can surmise that, after about a year and a half of operation, his school probably had pupils in the double digits – perhaps in the teens or twenties. This phrasing also suggests that, whilst Lloyd clearly tutored young women, the school itself was not co-educational.
This ‘after hours’ tuition probably focused either on more advanced skills in penmanship and calligraphy,Footnote 59 or on improving the basic literacy of local adults or adolescents. Less than a fortnight after his arrival in Colchester, Lloyd had agreed to teach Elizabeth Edlin to read for twenty shillings. She was presumably a relative of the joiner he had hired to build his tables and ‘frame his “peeces” ’. Since she solicited his services and bargained for a price herself, it seems likely that she was at least older than elementary school age, if not an adult, and Lloyd continued to teach other adults literacy skills of varying levels as a sideline during his time in Colchester.Footnote 60 Lloyd also gave regular lessons to his landlady, Mrs Stratton, in both reading and writing, and listening to her reading aloud each night (probably from a psalm or other scripture) almost seems to have become a kind of bedtime ‘ritual’.Footnote 61 He also taught a number of other local people, and he seems to have taught as many (if not more) women than men.Footnote 62
Ultimately, however, Lloyd's school was an unsuccessful enterprise. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, owing primarily to Lloyd's opaque style of diary-keeping, and his evident reluctance to document his failures and mistakes in detail. In brief, on 13 December 1675, Lloyd met a ‘Mr Ardrey’, and promised to ‘learne him to write’.Footnote 63 The two developed a friendship, with Lloyd spending more and more time visiting Ardrey's house. By April 1676, Ardrey had evidently proposed that they went into business together, and commenced searching for new (presumably larger) premises for a school,Footnote 64 and on 16 September 1676, they rented a new set of rooms. At the same time, Lloyd agreed to move out of his lodgings, and into Ardrey's house. This was a poor decision; by reneging on his agreements without notice with his domestic and commercial landlords (a Mr Stratton and Mr Meadows, respectively) he managed to infuriate both of them simultaneously. The following day, Stratton threatened to sue Lloyd, apparently over a mysterious dispute concerning a horse.Footnote 65
This rather abrupt and ultimately disastrous move is, frustratingly, never adequately explained by Lloyd. Indeed, one fact makes it downright puzzling: Lloyd discovered, just before he moved his school and lodgings, that Mr Ardrey was in fact a violent and abusive alcoholic. Lloyd had to physically restrain him from murdering his wife and maidservant only a few days before he moved into Ardrey's home.Footnote 66 Diary entries from the period when Lloyd boarded with Ardrey regularly note, with evident displeasure, the drunken state in which he returned home in the evenings – or went missing.Footnote 67
Lloyd's social and economic prospects in Colchester were clearly dimming. During this period, several of the names regularly mentioned in a social context in the first half of the diary appear with much less frequency: evidently, Lloyd had done damage to his own reputation. On 1 January 1677, during a visit to his brother in Aynho, Nicholas gave him £5 and persuaded him to move to Newington Butts to stay with him. Lloyd appears to have reluctantly accepted, but ultimately returned to Colchester, perhaps to give things one final go.
At the same time, in 1677 Stratton did indeed commence proceedings against Lloyd.Footnote 68 He attempted to talk Stratton down, but to no avail.Footnote 69 After initial efforts to hire attorneys seemingly came to nothing, Lloyd and Stratton agreed to an informal process of mediation, and their case was never heard in court.Footnote 70 On 22 August 1677, at the home of a Mrs Jackson, a Mr King and a Mr Phillips arbitrated and determined that Lloyd should pay Stratton £20 for the disputed horse, ‘7s and 6d for other things’, and settle an outstanding bill with another neighbour. This was the final straw. On 25 September, Lloyd visited another local schoolmaster, Mr Delight, ‘and told him I was to leave the towne’. Then, rather dramatically, at the end of the school day on Friday 28 September, he ‘broke of schoole and told my boyes I should never keepe schoole any more’. The ensuing days were spent attempting to collect payments from his pupils’ parents. On 19 October 1677 he left Colchester for London.
The end of his school also spelt the end of Lloyd's Colchester Diary. It continued for a few months until 1 February 1678, by which time George had moved to Newington, Southwark, to reside with his brother Nicholas. Perhaps, since his attempt at establishing himself in Colchester seems to have ended in failure, he felt that there was no longer any point in documenting his actions. Perhaps life was simply too busy. The most tantalizing possibility, of course, is that he continued keeping a diary, which sadly no longer exists. Either way, Lloyd continued to make impressions in the historical record between his diaries, which allows us to trace the major developments of his life in these intervening years.
When Lloyd moved to Colchester and opened his school at the age of 33, he was (unhappily) a bachelor. By the time the diary ended, aged almost 36, he was still unmarried. Lloyd had, before and during his days in Colchester, attempted a number of courtships, with varying degrees of success. During the diary, he maintained a correspondence with his ‘deare Mrs Gray’ and paid visits to her in London throughout. Theirs was a rather tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship, probably owing to Lloyd's physical distance, and his wandering eye. According to a letter of 25 October 1676 they had ‘miscarried’, but by 10 November that year, Gray ‘declared her affection’ for Lloyd yet again. Later, in another letter received on 4 August 1677, Lloyd ‘received a letter from Mrs Gray in which she tould me she understood all things were at an end betweene us’. Rather pathetically, however, when Lloyd arrived back in London after leaving Colchester, his first act was to deck himself out in a brand new ‘Brusells Camlet Coate’, purchase a barrel of oysters and a carnelian ring, and produce these tokens before Mrs Gray in an attempt to win her back.Footnote 71 He was at least temporarily successful; by 28 November 1677, by which time Lloyd was living in Newington, he ‘stayd all night’ with Mrs Gray.
It is worth noting here that the inconstancy of Lloyd resulted from his sudden proximity in Colchester to two single, and rather eligible, sisters who lived in the village of Dedham, Elizabeth and Mary Lynford. They were, in fact, the sisters of Thomas Lynford (bap. 1650–1724), a clergyman who would later be made Doctor of Divinity and chaplain-in-ordinary to William III.Footnote 72 Their father had died before the Restoration, and it seems they were living with a guardian in Dedham. Lloyd may have known the sisters before his move to Colchester, but he clearly knew he was acting rather dishonourably, frequently referring to the sisters, particularly their correspondences with him, using the slightly pretentious sobriquets Philoclea and Pamela, the daughters of the Duke Basilius in Sydney's Arcadia (1593).Footnote 73 Certainty is difficult, but there are some hints in the diary that ‘Philoclea’ (the primary subject of his affection) was Mary, while Elizabeth was ‘Pamela’.Footnote 74 Whilst he was writing love-letters to Mrs Gray, Lloyd was fawning over the sisters, eventually managing to finagle his way into staying overnight at their home, culminating in this heady passage:
Thursday, 5 July : […] went into the garden see [sic] them play at ninepins went in eat som super playd till after 10 [p.m.] and was about to com home but I stayd all night after 12 went to our chamber the young Ladys went in with usFootnote 75 I Kisst them both upon my bed I went to bed had but little or no sleepe at 4 I rose went into Mrs Lynfords chamber and stayd till almost 7 sate by her beds side and Kist her several times more than I ever did dressed myselfe performed my devotion eat som breakfast stayd till after 8 came home after 9 went to school stayd till after 11 came in lay downe till 12 went to diner
The evident significance of this night to Lloyd is evident in the fact that this is the only point in the diary, excluding major disruptions such as severe illness or travel by sea, that the orderly stream of daily entries is interrupted, and one day bleeds into the next. Lloyd's rather careless attitude toward both the young women he was pursuing, and to his school-teaching responsibilities, is difficult to ignore.
Lloyd energetically tried to impress and win the favour of the two sisters for several months, and the diary provides an interesting insight into aspects of courtship in the late seventeenth century, bearing comparison to texts such as the diary of Roger Lowe or the ‘courtship narrative’ of Leonard Wheatcroft.Footnote 76 Lloyd's diurnal style places a focus on the material side of courtship, with a particular emphasis on day-trips, holidays, and gifts.Footnote 77
For reasons which are not entirely clear, however, Lloyd's courtship of Mary or Elizabeth (or both) floundered in the final months of the diary, with the latter sister marrying his acquaintance, an apothecary named Thomas Lardner.Footnote 78 Rather strangely, Lloyd wrote that he officiated at a kind of mock betrothal service. This failure may have been related to Lloyd's apparently social and economic fall from grace in Colchester more generally; notably, Lloyd's efforts to win the sisters’ favour intensified during this period.
Failure to win the heart of either Lynford sister may not have mattered too much to the diarist. The evidence is not definitive, but on 2 January 1682, a George Lloyd married a Frances Graye at the church St Mary, Newington Butts – the church where Nicholas Lloyd had ministered and was buried.Footnote 79 This may have been a coincidence, but I think it unlikely. Almost nothing can be known about the married life of George and Frances, except that it was brief, and ended in tragedy. On 27 September 1685, a child named Frances, daughter of George and Frances Lloyd, was baptized at the church of St Giles-in-the-Fields.Footnote 80 Sadly, on 2 October Frances Lloyd of Drury Lane was buried at the same church.Footnote 81 Then, on 29 October ‘Frances of George Lloyd’, of White Hart Corner on Drury Lane was also buried.Footnote 82
Lloyd married again, at the age of 45. His wedding to Elizabeth Winter, née Walker, a widow, took place at the church of St Swithin, London Stone on 9 July 1687.Footnote 83 Elizabeth must have had at least one child from her first marriage, as she left her ‘grandson George Winter Fifty pounds and my Silver Tankard’ in her will, which was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.Footnote 84 Lloyd married Elizabeth almost a decade after the end of his first surviving diary, and more than two before the commencement of his second, so we know little about the early circumstances or nature of their marriage. However, all the evidence suggests that they never had any children, a fact which is not altogether surprising since this was a late-in-life marriage for Lloyd at least, and probably for his new wife also. Unfortunately, it seems that Elizabeth was rarely at the forefront of George's mind when he sat down to keep his diary, and she is merely referred to in passing as ‘my wife’ (never by name), when Lloyd saw fit to mention that he had taken her along on a social or business call. He never wrote in detail about the nature of their relationship, but it does appear to have been an affectionate and important one. The only ‘deeper’ references to his married life come in the form of expressions of regret and remorse when he and Elizabeth argued, and worried documentations of her physical ailments.Footnote 85
Among Lloyd's other chief personal upheavals during this time were the deaths of his two surviving brothers, Nicholas and John, in 1680 and 1682 respectively.Footnote 86 The death of Nicholas, in particular, must have been deeply upsetting. Nicholas's will makes clear the strength of their relationship; ‘my Brother George Lloyd now dwelling with mee’ received almost all of his older brother's estate and was made sole executor and overseer, while John, who had a vocation in common with Nicholas, inherited a number of books, including a ‘Polyglot Bible contaning six Volumes’.Footnote 87 The depth of George's grief is evident in his stern reply to a letter from Richard Berry, a clergyman whom Nicholas had previously helped to obtain a post at Lincoln Cathedral, but who had neglected to write to express his gratitude to his benefactor. When Berry eventually wrote to Nicholas not with thanks but with requests for yet more favours, his letter arrived after the latter's death on 27 November 1680. After rebuking Berry for his ‘forgetfullness, or rather ingratitude’ and the offence it caused Nicholas, George moves to vividly and emotively describe his brother's decline and death:
… toward the latter end of July he was seized with the feavour so Comon this sumer, and after a Moneth was a little recovered and able to goe abroad, but not often, and then he had the griping of the gutts very violently, and the yellow Jaundice which kept him in the most part of September and October and quite tooke away his stumack and at the beginning of November had an Ague and then the scurvey and as the Doctors say a dropsy in the stumack, (which I understand Not) for he was so far from any swelling, that he was wasted away to nothing, and for all that Month scarce eat tooke anything but what came from Doctors that so he was by degrees brought to that Condition that death had little to do, for on November 27th, Saterday morning about 11 he rendered his body to the power of death and his soule to the hands of his gratious Creatour and Mercifull Redeemer after 3 faint groans, sensibly speaking not above a Minute before and has left all his friends to bewayle the loss of so great a scholler so good a Man and true a Friend, but the assurance of our loss is his gaine is the only ingredient can help to sweeten so severe a dispensation of providenceFootnote 88
Nicholas's death proved to be a watershed event in George's life. Now almost in his forties, Lloyd could no longer retreat beneath his older brother's wing: a dependable livelihood was required.
To that end, on 22 February 1681, the diarist, styling himself ‘George Lloyd, gentleman’, petitioned the Treasury ‘for the Office of Surveyor, Landwayter or Searcher or other Imploy in the Customs’, and supplied a ‘Certificate of his fitnesse’.Footnote 89 Work by John Brewer on the backgrounds and motivations of individuals who applied to work as revenue officers in the early modern civil service shows that Lloyd was, in fact, a typical candidate.Footnote 90 Applicants for positions in the revenue offices in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were more often ‘tradesmen who had fallen on hard times or members of that group best described as “shabby genteel” than men who had risen from the bottom of society.’ It was, in other words, an ‘escape route or fall-back’.Footnote 91 Lloyd had already lived an entire lifetime pursuing a different calling – service, tutoring, and teaching – and now he had decided to start from the bottom in a new profession.
Brewer's work shows that Lloyd's background placed him in an ideal position to apply. Most revenue officers needed to be skilled in ‘penmanship, mathematics, and bookkeeping’, since their job was based on (amongst other things) calculating and recording the taxable values of goods. Indeed, another eighteenth-century ‘autobiographer’ (for his texts did not quite constitute a diary), John Cannon (1684–1743), followed a career trajectory which was a mirror image of Lloyd's, using his basic, non-university education to become an officer in the Excise, and then, ‘like so many others’ according to Brewer, drawing on the same skill set to open a small local school and work as a scrivener when he was ejected from his post.Footnote 92
Brewer points out that the abilities in basic literacy and numeracy were often emphasized in letters of recommendation for applicants to the service, and this was almost certainly true of Lloyd. Whilst the original copy of the petition he sent to the Customs no longer survives – likely casualties of a catastrophic Custom House fire in 1814, which destroyed almost all of the institution's records before this point – a copy of the ‘Commissioners of the Customs Report’ relating to his application for a post can be found in a Treasury ‘Reference Book’ from the period. The opinion of Commissioners Francis Millington, John Upton, and Charles Cheyne, the men who assessed the application of ‘Mr Georg Lloyd’ on 16 March 1681, was as follows:
it appeares That the Petitioner is a person of great integrity and honesty and very well skilled in writing and the method of accounts and we judge him fitt for a land Carriage man Coast Waiter or a landwaiters place in an out port when a vacancy shall happen in either of the sayd imploymentsFootnote 93
Ultimately, Lloyd was appointed to a position at London Port, rather than one of the less significant ‘out ports’, in March 1682.Footnote 94 He was appointed to the office of ‘Coast Waiter’, one of lesser seniority than those to which he had applied, but which provided a reliable income of £40 per annum, plus fees and gratuities.Footnote 95
What was a Coast Waiter? A contemporary definition runs:
These Officers take Care of the Coasting Vessels, as to the landing and loading of their Goods, in the same Manner as the Searchers, the Land- Waiters, and King’s-Waiters, do of the Vessels exporting and importing the Goods to and from foreign Parts.Footnote 96
To put it more simply, the primary responsibility of the Coast Waiter was to supervise the landing and shipping of domestic goods moved by vessels travelling along the coast, and ensure that these goods were not then surreptitiously redirected for foreign export, in order to evade paying the relevant duties. In the early eighteenth century there were seventeen Coast Waiters at London Port.Footnote 97 Whilst the revenues from duties on the movement of goods coastwise were small in comparison to those generated by foreign trade, the transport of such goods was still vitally important to the English (and after 1707 the British) economy. Coastwise trade to and from London was particularly significant as a result of the capital's role as the major centre for the distribution of goods and services around the rest of the country.Footnote 98 Lloyd, as one of only seventeen individuals supervising the bulk of coastwise trade around the British Isles at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was a man of some responsibility, albeit in a fairly junior role. In the scanty history of the daily workings of the early modern English Customs, only Elizabeth Hoon has provided anything resembling a detailed account of the primary duties of Lloyd and his fellows, which were too byzantine to fully recount here.Footnote 99 In sum, the office of Coast Waiter required literacy, numeracy, the ability to accurately assess the weights and qualities of diverse cargoes, and, perhaps most importantly, personal integrity – if this was lacking, the coastwise trade was vulnerable to fraud at multiple points. Lloyd was judged, rightly or wrongly, to possess all of these attributes.
This was to be Lloyd's primary employment for the rest of his life.Footnote 100 By the time of his London Diary he appears to have worked at a reduced capacity; he did not attend the Custom House or wharfs every day, or indeed anywhere near it. The diary provides only intermittent detail about the specifics of his work, but where it does, context and explanation are provided in the notes. Overall, Lloyd’s diary paints a picture of a service characterized by informality, a lax work ethic, and frequent ‘double-jobbing’, or at least the swapping of official responsibilities. This is an aspect of Customs business which is by definition poorly covered by more official forms of documentation – at least from the perspective of the officers on the ground. Lloyd’s diary is a new and valuable source for specialists in the area to find a fresh perspective on this neglected but important aspect of the history of the development of the British state. Aside from a spell in Gravesend from 31 May until 27 June 1711, Lloyd clearly carried out his Customs duties inconsistently, rarely describing the kinds of duties expected of a Coast Waiter, such as boarding ships and inspecting cargoes. Instead, he attended meetings about establishing a new office for the Coast Waiters,Footnote 101 supervised groups of London watermen,Footnote 102 and sat with his colleagues at a number of local taverns.Footnote 103
By 1711 Lloyd was collecting the salary of a Coast Waiter and transacting certain official Customs duties, but, as mentioned above, readers will notice that his diary suggests he was not spending the majority of his time sitting at the wharfs waiting to ‘take’ ships. What, then, was he doing? Lloyd had a busy social life; he visited friends, relatives, coffee houses, and taverns. He also continued to pursue a rich spiritual life, and frequently attended churches around the City of London. Readers will also, however, find themselves confronted with a host of opaque references to ostensibly professional commitments and appointments which bear no relation to the work of the Customs. This is because, like many early modern ‘middling’ Londoners, Lloyd had a number of ‘sidelines’, chief amongst which was his role as a rent broker, primarily in the service of one ‘Lady Mathews’.Footnote 104
The fact that Lloyd's employer was a woman is noteworthy in itself in the overwhelmingly patriarchal world of early eighteenth-century London. In this male-dominated society, even socially elite widows were proportionately much less likely that their male counterparts to own substantial real property, as moveable goods were considered to be more appropriate legacies for women.Footnote 105 That said, Peter Earle's examination of insurance policies taken out by the fairly small number of financially independent women who operated in London during the period shows that ‘widows quite clearly dominate the female property market’. Earle goes so far as to argue that, in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century London, ‘a woman as a landlady must have been a common experience’.Footnote 106 The widowed Lady Mathews, formerly Anne Wolstonholme, was one such woman.Footnote 107 Her husband, Sir Philip Mathews of Great Gobbions, Essex, died intestate in 1685, and the precise details of how his estate was settled remain unclear.Footnote 108 Their son, Sir John Mathews, 2nd Bt, died unmarried and without issue, killed in 1708 at the Battle of Oudenarde in Flanders, where he was a Colonel under Marlborough. Curiously his will, hastily drawn up before his departure for Flanders, does not make reference to any real property, or to his mother.Footnote 109 It is, however, worth noting that evidence from litigation makes clear that it was Anne herself who brought much of the real property into the Mathews family estate; her ‘considerable marriage portion’ included land, tenements, and messuages on ‘Barbican Street’ in St Botolph without Aldersgate and St Giles without Cripplegate. All of this, along with property ‘formerly purchased […] of Sir Peregrine Bertie’ by her father-in-law, John Mathews, was settled upon Anne by her husband ‘in full [sic] of her Jointure and in lienFootnote 110 of her Dower’.Footnote 111 By 1711, then, Lady Mathews was a relatively wealthy and substantial landowner in London.Footnote 112
How Lloyd came to work for Lady Mathews cannot be definitively established. One potential link might be found in the will of Sir John Mathews, who left all of his moveable goods (which included a very substantial quantity of plate, jewellery, and various other luxury items) to a widow named Susannah Bird. The identity of this individual remains obscure, but there are several references in Lloyd's diary to visits to a female ‘Cousin Bird’.Footnote 113 The most likely explanation for their association is that Lloyd had a family or social connection to Mathews. Another, admittedly more tenuous hypothesis is that Lady Mathews's family appears to have had an ancestral connection with the Customs. Her grandfather and great-grandfather had been farmers of the Customs prior to its transformation into a more modern, professionalized government department in 1671.Footnote 114
Lloyd appears variously to have been Lady Mathews's accountant,Footnote 115 tenant manager, a kind of bailiff, a supervisor of construction work,Footnote 116 and even, at times, little more than an errand boy. This variety meant that Lloyd often moved rapidly between very varied social groups and contexts: one day he might be visiting his Lady's mansion in Windsor, or rendezvousing with a lawyer at the Inns of Court, the next, he could be ‘amongst the tenants’, trying, and often failing, to ‘get money’.Footnote 117 In addition, Lloyd managed dealings between Lady Mathews and the authorities and stakeholders in the parishes in which she held interests.Footnote 118 The complexities with which Lloyd had to deal are readily apparent in the following passage:
within all day and Mr Sandford was with me and we adjusted the Accounts betweene my Lady and him my Lady allowing him 13l.11s for repayres he allowd 1 yeare and ½ Rent and paid 4li.10s for Mr Harris for a yeares Rent and I gave him a Noate for 6.10s and he gave me a Receipt in full for his Bill of 50l.3s:11½d there being 30li paid before, and he gave me a Receipt for 13:11 for Repayres.Footnote 119
Lloyd was a figure of considerable responsibility, both in the more cerebral, financial side of Lady Mathews's affairs, and in the day-to-day running of more practical activities.
Lloyd functioned as a kind of proxy between Mathews and her often impoverished tenants. Early modern urban tenant–landlord relations is a badly neglected area of research, perhaps owing to evidential difficulties; it is hoped that this volume may prove valuable to scholars attempting to redress this.Footnote 120 One of Lloyd's tasks documented extensively in the diary serves as a useful case study in understanding his role; his dealings with a pauper tenant named Richard Hedges. By coincidence, Hedges is actually one of the ‘lives’ featured in Robert Shoemaker and Tim Hitchcock's London Lives project.Footnote 121 Put very briefly, Hedges and his family resided at Vine Yard, a property owned by Lady Mathews, off Goswell Street. Although he no longer lived in the parish of St Dionis Backchurch, Hedges received relief from its churchwardens, and the diary shows that Lloyd was responsible for collecting it. In 1711, Hedges fell ill, and also seems to have come into conflict with the churchwardens and/or Lady Mathews. His relief was halted, and Lloyd attempted to evict him and seize his ‘goods’, but was unable to as Hedges was bedridden with illness.Footnote 122
Interestingly, at exactly the same time, Mathews was in the process of trying to sell Vine Yard to the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches and, yet again, Lloyd was doing much of the work in organizing this transaction.Footnote 123 Lady Mathews had a plan and appraisal of the property drawn up in 1712, estimating its value at £1306, 10s.Footnote 124 In a petition to the Commissioners dated 18 October 1711, pursuant to a request by the Commission on 4 October, the Churchwardens and Vestry of St Botolph Aldersgate gave an account of their parish, which contained 705 households, and an estimated population of ‘about Six thousand; a great many of which are so poor, that they receive Alms from the Parish’.Footnote 125 The parish was too big to be sustainable, in other words, and a new church would have to be built to share the ecclesiastical and social burden. As a result, the leaders of the parish suggested a couple of sites, including ‘Vine Yard […] which is the estate of the Lady Mathews, and an Estate of Sir George Newlands adjoyning thereto […] which we conceive may be proper places for the Sight of a Church’.Footnote 126 Newlands, then an Alderman of London, was also a member of the Commission.Footnote 127 Amongst the signatories of the letter (most of whom formed the parish vestry) are some familiar names, namely ‘John Sandford’, and a ‘William Briscoe’, who may have been the owner of a plot shown annexed to Vine Yard on the plan, labelled ‘Mr Briscow's wast Ground to be sold’. The vestry minutes for the parish note that on 12 October 1711, a sub-committee had been established ‘to Search and Give an Account of Ground for Building a New Church’, of which Sandford was a member.Footnote 128 Lloyd also collected relief money for Hedges from Thomas Briscoe, churchwarden of St Dionis.Footnote 129
Mathews's sale was ultimately unsuccessful, and Hedges continued to receive intermittent relief, dying in 1715. The whole affair does, however, provide an interesting insight into the networks of interest and obligation which operated beneath the surface of the housing system in early eighteenth-century London – and it forms just one small part of Lloyd's activities as a rent-gatherer. I have only been able to reconstruct a handful of these examples for the purposes of this volume; much potential remains in the pages of the diary.
Lloyd's second diary ends as abruptly as his first, at the end of August 1712. His final years can only be glanced fleetingly through a small number of archival traces. It seems his health may have failed progressively; a draft copy of a will, dated 1717 and written in his own hand, can be found with the papers of his brother Nicholas at the Bodleian. It indicates that by this time, George and Elizabeth were living at St Thomas, Southwark, rather than in the City.Footnote 130
Near the end of 1718, ‘Nicholas Wade of London Citizen and Leatherseller’ petitioned the Lord of the Treasury, claiming that
at this time Mr George Loyd who has been Employ'd in the office of a Coast Waiter for severall Yeares being dangerously Ill in so much that there is no hopes of his life and your Petitioner's Misfortunes in the world still Increasing upon him, his Necessitys oblige him once more to Request the favour of your Lordships that he may succeed the said George Loyd in the said office of a Coast Waiter In Case he shall happen to die or that your Petitioner May have the next Vacancy that shall happen.Footnote 131
Wade was, in fact, probably a friend of Lloyd's: his London Diary contains several references to purchasing fabrics from, or socializing with, a ‘Mr Wade’.Footnote 132 Whether Lloyd encouraged Wade to apply for his position, or was too ill to know anything about it, we cannot know.
Either way, the prediction of the petition proved accurate; Lloyd died some time in late December, 1718. The original copy of his will, dated 22 December 1718, bears a very shaky signature and is endorsed with his seal, an image of Charles I, whose martyrdom Lloyd carefully observed by fasting in the Colchester Diary.Footnote 133 Describing him this time as a ‘Gentleman of St Dunstan in the East’, it is a plain document of little interest, lacking even the expressions of repentance and faith often found in wills of this period – something of a surprise, considering the piety and devotion evident in the diary.Footnote 134 However, the will, which was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, makes clear that Lloyd's geriatric double-jobbing had, to some extent, paid off; he was clearly a man of comfortable means. Lloyd left £30 to his one surviving sibling, his sister Frances James, £100 to her eldest son Nicholas (about whom he complains in the London DiaryFootnote 135), and £50 each to her four younger sons. The entire remainder of his estate was left to Elizabeth, though the precise value of the bequest is not specified.Footnote 136 In the slightly longer draft will mentioned above, Lloyd also left almost everything to Elizabeth, so that
she may not only enjoy the benefit of the Interest and produce thereof dureng her Life, but may also if she hath Occasion made use of so much of the Principal as shall be necessary for her more Comfortable subsistance and Maintenance, for which reason I have not thought fitt to prescribe any particular sum to my said Wife haveing an entire Confidence in her prudence and discretion.
In spite of these good intentions, Elizabeth lingered on for just a few months after George's death. Her own will, dated 7 May 1719 and proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 11 June, asks that she be buried in the same grave as her ‘dear husband’, at Camberwell.Footnote 137
It must have been in these intervening months that Rawlinson obtained from a grieving Elizabeth her late husband's diaries and the papers of his brother, to preserve them for posterity. George and Elizabeth fell quickly and deeply into obscurity, however, and this long, detailed, and dense diary has sat virtually unnoticed by generations of historians. I hope that by presenting the diary in this volume, future scholars will find much of interest in the mundane and unexceptional life of George Lloyd.
Note on the Manuscript
The diary of George Lloyd is bound into a tiny volume measuring approximately 16 cm by 10 cm, containing 119 folios of text. The autobiographical preface takes up the first folio and the second folio is blank. The first part of the volume – fos 3–77 – referred to here as the Colchester Diary, covers the period of Lloyd's life from 19 August 1675 to 1 February 1678 with mostly consistent discrete daily entries. The second part – fos 89–119 – referred to as the London Diary, ‘resumes’ without any explanation on 1 January 1711, and there are again consistent, discrete entries for each day. The handwriting in the first volume is truly minute, with each page often containing entries for five days, each of which may have ten or more lines. Difficulty increases as the reader moves down the page; perhaps to save on the expense of paper, Lloyd seems to have been keen to cram in as much material as possible, and so the handwriting becomes almost impossibly small in the final entry on each leaf. The larger handwriting and slightly more generous margins found in the London Diary probably attest both to his advanced age (we know he wore spectacles and had eye problemsFootnote 138) and his more comfortable economic position.
Very occasionally, Lloyd uses a shorthand writing system or systems in his Colchester Diary. This system bears some resemblance to the Tachygraphy of Thomas Shelton (1600/1–50?), which was used by Samuel Pepys in the composition of his diary. Lloyd also occasionally interspersed this shorthand with pictograms, particularly in his rendering of Proverbs 28:14 in the entry for 22 August, 1675, wherein he denotes the word ‘heart’ with a heart-like symbol. Lloyd's rendering of the shorthand is also very untidy in places – namely at the top of fo. 3r – which makes interpretation even more challenging. The inscrutability of this shorthand only becomes seriously frustrating at fo. 58v, where Lloyd clearly uses it to obscure his account of a romantic encounter with his future wife, Frances Gray. In total, shorthand and/or pictograms appear on fos 3r, 34r, 58r, and 58v, only ever for a few words at a time. It is my hope that any interest in the diary of George Lloyd generated by this edition may one day result in Lloyd's code being cracked!
It seems likely that these were originally two separate volumes which were bound together at a later time, as the folios for the second part are very slightly larger than the first. There are a few leaves between the two diaries; some are blank, others contain some untidy accounting, a note about the arrival and departure of a lodger or maidservant, and some handwriting practice.