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                          The Final Years 

In this section will be a brief account of the final years of Francis Emilius Cary Elwes followed by a complete list of every entry in the 1st edition of Wisden that has some relationship to Francis Emilius Cary Elwes his life, family, friends or the manuscript.  The relevant Wisden entry will be given followed by a short explanation of how this relates to Elwes's life, family, friends, or the manuscript.  This will mean a certain amount of duplication because so many have already been explained.  This should make it even  clearer that the 1st edition cannot be all Wisden's own work and that very little of the creative input is likely to be Wisden's. 


The diary and manuscript may come to an abrupt end  but knowledge of Elwes's life does not end here also.  It is known that his wife attempted to divorce him on the grounds of non consumation of their marriage.  A scandal ensued.  Elwes's brother Dick acted for him because he was non compus mentis.  The family argued that a divorce should not be granted because he might be curable  and that every effort to cure him should be tried.


The divorce petition was not granted or was at least halted.  His wife went to live initially  in the Gloucester Coffee House in Piccadilly before entering aDominican convent in Stone  and then to Crieff where her family originated and here  she set up a childrens school St. Dominics which is still going today.  In the process she became Mother Mary Ignatius 


Elwes was admitted to Ticehurst Asylum in 1865.  Ticehurst was the best asylum of its kind in mid Victorian days.  His mother was for a period admitted in the 1850's. and so it was a known quantity to the Elwes family.The Wellcome trust hold virtually intact the documentary archive of Ticehurst Asylum.  From this we can see details about his admission, his patient fees and expenses and his patient notes.  He died in October 1867 and was buried in nearby Ticehurst Church.  In his medical notes his death is recorded as being from General Paresis which we now know and understand as Syphillis.  His notes show quite clearly that he was mad and we can assume he was therefore in the terminal stage of Syphillis.  The terminal stage can last up to 5 years and has at least one characteristic of note with regard to Elwes.  At the beginning of the final stage the sufferer can experience a certain amount of megalomania and if one looks at the concept that he appears to be aiming for with regard to Almanacks and the creation of many sporting related each illustrated and with reports he has obviously set himself a huge task.

I will point out the Entries in Wisden's Almanack 1864 that can be traced to Elwes's life, family, friends, or the manuscript below. For clarity the Wisden entries will be in italics 


1 Fri. British Museum closes.

The links to Elwes begin with the very first entry.  The manuscript has as its January 1st opening "Thursday 1 "CIRCUMCISION "  This may not look like a link but in the early years of subsequent editions of Wisden before it became cricket related material only for their January 1st entry they  have "circumcision"

Elwes's initial entry for the 9 May reads B. Museum opens and as I will repeat the Wisden entry for May 9 also reads British Museum re-opens 

3  Sun.  2nd Sunday after Christmas


The opening entry for Sunday January 4th reads


5  Tues.  Dividends due at Bank

The entry for 5 January reads


Almost the same words.  Elwes's banking records show that he received dividends on this day.


6 Wed.  Epiphany 

Elwes notes this day also TUESDAY  5  EPIPHANY 

There are many links with religious connections.  Elwes, as his entries indicate  was a regular churchgoer,  but if this did not provide all the entries with religious connotations then his friend Rev. Charles James Barnard, who will be met with soon, and if the diary entries are a fair reflection of events, was a regular visitor, and could, therefore, quite easily provided the many dates of religious significance with accuracy.

8  Fri.  British Museum re-opens

See entry for January 1st


9  Sat.  Fire Insurance expires

In the manuscript the entry for the 9th reads 

FRIDAY  9  FIRE INSURANCE CEASES.   Almost exactly the same words.  This entry and the entry for January 5 are both recorded in the manuscript and are personal to Elwes.  Why if they are nothing to do with Elwes are almost exactly the same entries recorded in the Almanack on exactly the same days of the year  for 1864.  There is also a later banking entry for March showing that Elwes paid for fire insurance 


10  Sun.  1st Sunday after Epiphany 

The manuscript notes throughout the Sundays after Epiphany



11  Mon   Plough Monday  Hilary Law term Begins 

Plough Monday is generally the 1st Monday after Epiphany.  It is the day when the agricultural year traditionally begins.  I have no problem with understanding how Elwes knew about Plough Monday.  With a father who owned extensive agricultural estates, sharing a tenanted farm/estate with his brother Dick in 1863; and growing up and later in the diary expressing a desire to escape the city is it likely that Wisden was responsible for this entry and for that matter later agricultural entries still to appear


Why it must be asked would Wisden have this entry about the Hilary Law Term .  How did a man with Wisden's limited  education come across such an esoteric term like "Hilary Law Term " other than via Elwes.  Elwes's entry although difficult to make out,  begins,  for the corresponding day in 1863   MONDAY  12  HIL  TERM BEG.  Elwes as a student of Magdalene College Cambridge, and because, perhaps, he was a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Club and because he has noted this specific day in his diary is surely the source of this entry.  (For more confirmatory evidence of this see also entry for Feb 1) 

13  Wed.  Cambridge Lent Term begins. Thomas Lord. 1832 aetat 74

The manuscript diary for the corresponding day in 1863 reads  albeit in abbreviated form 


Here again  Elwes has noted  a start date of interest to him as a former student of Cambridge.

The use of the Latin word "aetat" instead of age.  It does not take long reading the diary to realise that Elwes is an educated man,  probably privately educated and to a high standard. He went to Cambridge in itself indicative of a reasonably well  educated individual.  My money says that "aetat" it is Elwes's choice of language not Wisden's. 


 Oxford Lent term Begins 

Here again albeit in abbreviated form 


17  Sun  2nd Sunday after Epiphany 

The manuscript opening words are SUNDAY  18   2 SUN AFT EPIPH 

21  Thurs John Small d. 1836, aetat 70  Louis XVI guillotined, 1793

The use of the word "aetat" again

My apologies for the length of this explanation.  However if you have wives, girlfriends, nieces, grandmothers, or know anyone with an interest in Jane Austen they might be interested


I was long puzzled for the inclusion of this entry and a number of other French Revolution era  entries.  The relevance to the Elwes family had eluded me completely until a member of the family contacted me about this manuscript and my website.

As part of background research I came across F.E.C.E's. father Robert Cary Elwes.  I learnt early on that he had inherited on the grand scale and at a young age.  Could be Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice  I thought.  And then I checked whether it was possible.   The results of this research is  also recounted on this website. In brief though I think his father was the real life  Mr. Darcy I have a real location for Northanger Abbey a real location for Thornton Lacey  and more besides that relate almost exactly to what Jane Austen tells us about the above.  I can also show 1 degree of seperation between Jane Austen herself and very close members of Elwes's family.  Furthermore I claim to have discovered number and anagram puzzles in her work.  For example Do you see how easily the name Cary is disguised with the addition of a D and anagrammed to become Darcy. 

The point though is that a member of the family contacted me about all this and from him I found that RCE was in Paris with his best friend Charles Drake Barnard in 1790.  A portrait  (now lost, only a photograph published in Connoisseur Magazine remains as evidence)  of him in Paris was painted by society artist of the day  Ludwig Guttenbrun.  In the portrait it is clear he has his own long hair and does not wear as was the custom in Paris a periwig.  Marie Antoinette was said to have asked "Why he didnt" His reply, frustratingly has been lost. He is also thought to have been among the last to be able to freely leave Paris which I presume to be late 1792 shortly before everything really kicked off.  Nobody in the family knows why these 2 men were in Paris in the early 1790's.  But 2 clever young men degree standard education and intelligence Oxford and Cambridge background has long been a source for intelligence operatives.  Were they spies?  2 men; 1 a loyal friend and advisor as Barnard was.  Sounds a bit like Scarlet Pimpernel.  Accounts exist compiled by Barnard that show RCE  squandering money in a way and at places not unlike Sir Percy Blakeney himself had he existed would have recklessly spent money.  For those who like puzzles there is a very clever 2 way puzzle discovered but not I stress created or designed by me  to be found linking Pemberley with Pimpernel.   I digress 

What I wish to make clear is that Robert Cary Elwes and his friend Charles Drake Barnard were definitely in Paris in French Revolutionary days , and that their activities in Paris may easily help explain why there are a number of  French Revolution entries.  


24  Sun Septuagesima Sunday

Although a week later this date is noted in the manuscript for the 1st Sunday in February 

Sun. 1  SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY   Another esoteric term along with Sexagesima and Quinquagesima  that I have little doubt that Wisden had any idea  about.  Elwes though, obviously did know although this maybe via the REV Charles James Barnard.    


25  Mon  Conversion of St Paul 

In the manuscript can be seen the following entry


26 Tues  Dr. Edward Jenner, who introduced vaccination d. 1823

In the diary entry for the 31 of March part of it  reads 

" called at Charlotte's where I found great dread of smallpox . Thank god only in one  servant as yet" Seems to me that this entry provides some impetus for including Dr. Jenner.

30  Sat  Martyrdom of King Charles 1. 

Squashed into a corner is an entry for 30 January that reads 

Friday 30 


Towards the end of the 1st edition of Wisden is one of the most  bizarre of all its contents.  This is a brief account of the trial and execution of King Charles the Martyr.   WHATEVER is this doing in Wisden  is, I think, a fair question to ask.   An answer :  Elwes as will have been seen married a devout Catholic,  married her in a Catholic church and  attended Catholic services.  From 1867 his family became more public about their interest in Catholicism.  However the Cary family in devon from whom comes the Cary in Francis Emilius Cary were for centuries leading Roman Catholics.   A R.C. church was built and paid for in Great Billing by the Elwes family where the Elwes family owned one of their estates.  In later years they helped finance the London Oratory School, one member became a Monsignor.  There are records from the mid to late 1860's of members of the Elwes family converting to Catholicism.  So when I ponder who was responsible for the piece about the trial and execution of King Charles the 1st I doubt very much it was Wisden.  

31 Sun  Sexagesima Sunday 

See entry for 24th January 

At the foot of each page of the Almanack is what might be termed "a factoid" a trivial, unimportant piece of information for which there is little if any apparent reason for its inclusion.  For many of these "factoids"  a reason/s for their inclusion  can be found that pertains very closely to Elwes,  his life, family, friends, or the manuscript.

The "factoid " at the bottom of the January page reads 

"The first Arabian horse introduced into Britain in 1121"

Elwes, as his reports in the manuscript  on horse racing demonstrate so clearly, knows about horses.  His father bred some champion  racehorses and within his own family is John Meggott Elwes  reputedly one of the finest horseman in his day.  Elwes was also a well educated gentleman / aristocrat with, should he need it access to the Oxford and Cambridge Club library.  I see no problem with Elwes  being the source for this factoid"   What did Wisden know of horses?


1 Mon  Hilary Law Term ends

The corresponding entry relating to this in the manuscript is for the 31st of January and reads 

SATURDAY. 31 HIL. TERM ENDS  PART. AND PH. SHOOTING ALSO.   Abbreviated as it is, in the manuscript Elwes clearly means Hilary Law term.   By using it in the manuscript he is conversant with such esoteric terminology unknown to most.  What did Wisden know of such terminology.   

2Tues Candlemas day  Willioam Caffyn b. 1828 

Elwes records that Caffyn was at Wisden's 

4 Thurs  War declared with France 1793

See entry for 21st January 

7 Sun  Quinquagesima or Shrove Sunday.  T. Box b. 1809.

Re. Quinquagesima See entry for 24th January.  Shrove Sunday is not noted in the manuscript but Shrove Tuesday Pancake day is noted.  T. Box is  Tom Box who was something of a foster parent to Wisden in his youth.    Elwes records meeting Tom Box at  Wisden's

8 Mon Rev. George Crabbe, the poet d. 1832

 Of all the poets that could have been honoured with inclusion why would George Crabbe be the poet is a good question.   The answer maybe that on the way from the Elwes estate in Mildenhall to a different estate belonging to the Elwes family the road from Mildenhall to Stoke- by- Clare passes through a place called Wickhambrook .  George Crabbe served part of his apprenticeship to be a doctor here. 

9 Tues  Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is noted in the manuscript Diary 

13 Sat  Massacre at Glencoe 1692 

This is the first of several entries pertaining to Scotland.  Elwes has many links.  As recorded in the diary he and his wife spent nearly 3 months near Crieff in Scotland.  His wife came from a prominent family local to Crieff. He records reading novels by Sir Walter Scott a writer as famous and proliffic as Dickens in the 19th century but now hardly read at all.  His fiction centres around Scotland and Scottish history. 

14 Sun  1st Sunday in Lent  Quadragesima 

Although a week later this Sunday is noted in the diary. 

The full entry reads 22, SUNDAY . QUADRAGESIMA - S.  1IN LENT EMBER W

Ember weeks are weeks in which Ember Days fall during  which 3 days are set aside for fasting.  The Almanack entry for the 17th February reads 17 Wed  Ember Week.  Its a struggle for me to see Wisden as being responsible for this entry .  Elwes however is fully  aware of "Ember Week"    


17 Wed Ember Week.  

See above.

18 Thurs  Battle of Eupatoria, 1855

The 1st of many Crimean war entries.  Elwes has several links to the Crimean war.

His sister Charlotte was married to Horatio Tennysonn  brother to poet Laureate Alfred Tennysonn who was the author of The Charge of the Light Brigade. 

Several of Elwes's relatives fought in the Crimean War.

 In the diary Elwes records taking the 1st 2 volumes of A.W. Kinglakes The Invasion of Crimea


20 Sat Aetat   

Again the use of the word AETAT.  This word is used on many occasions. 

21 Sun 2nd Sunday in Lent 

The 2nd Sunday in Lent is also recorded 

22 Mon  George Washington b. in Virginia 1732

Elwes's wife although of Scottish descent was American and in the early part of her life lived in Vermont.   There are legal documents in which  she states that she stayed with Elwes in various places in North America.  There are 3 volumes of illustrated diaries somewhere in the world dating 1855-1867 that cover the period he first met her.  There existence came to light following an article in Wisden's Almanack 2021 about this manuscrip.  It appears that Cricket book and ephemera dealer Chris Saunders  sold them for thousands?   Their current whereabouts is unknown by me.  C.S may know but is not saying.  

23  Cato Street conspiracy discovered 1820 

The Cato Street conspiracy plot was discovered and foiled on 23 of February.  The link to Elwes is the fact that a dinner party given by Lord Harrowby at his home 39 Grosvenor Street  and Elwes also lived at a Number 39 in queens Gate terrace.  


25 Thurs Cambridge term divides at midnight.   

Although abbreviated the diary entry for 18th February  1863 has the heading "Camb. T.D." Another example of obscure terminology unlikely to have been known by Wisden but well understood by Elwes.


27 Sat  Hare hunting ends  

Although there is no mention in the diary of "hare hunting ending"  the shooting diary and other shooting related entries make it very clear that Elwes knew the proprieties of  shooting to an extent that Wisden probably did not.


28 Sun  3rd Sunday in Lent 


The 3rd Sunday in Lent is not noted in the diary.  However the 4th and 5th Sundays are  noted. 

The factoid at the end reads

"Royal Mint Completed 1811."

I have only a sketchy suggestion for this factoid.  There is a world famous  coin dealer by the name of Spinks and Co.  As a business they have been in existence for 350 years.  For how many of those years they have dealt in coins I do not know.  There are  accounts drawn up for  F.E.C.E's father covering 1790 - 1792 held by Northampton Archives.  They show a number significant and expensive purchases.  For those who read earlier what I had to say in connection with Jane Austen may also be interested to know that from the latter half of the 18th century Spink and Co. operated from No. 2 GRACECHURCH STREET.   In the novel Pride and Prejudice, the Gardiners are prosperous relatives of the Bennets whose business operates from Gracechurch Street. 

6  Sun  4th Sunday in Lent 

This Sunday is noted in the manuscript 


7  Mon Slave trade abolished, 1827

Elwes notes in the manuscript reading Midshipman Easy  by Capt Marryatt.  In this book is the  character Mesty a former prince now a slave.

Possible as this logic is, a more plausible reason for this to be included is that Elwes's great grandmother and great great grandfather owned a plantation and slaves on the island of Antigua.  This estate is not recorded on the slave data base but  is known about by the will of Richard Cary who leaves his slaves and plantations to his daughter Martha.


10  Thurs  Prince of Wales married 1863 

The entry for Tuesday 10 March is given below

10. TUESDAY.   Called on Bernard and Malton - neither at home however - Wedding day of the Prince and Princess - Fine but afterwards foggy day  Minnie and F.G. went to see illuminations at night - Crush frightful 11 lives lost

11 Fri  Benjamin West painter, d. 1820

Benjamin West was an American born artist who came to Britain in 1763 and never left. Elwes's wife was American and thus provides a reason for an otherwise illogical choice of artist among so many to choose from.  


13  Sun  5th Sunday in Lent  

This Sunday is recorded in Wisden 

14  Mon Fly fishing begins 

Elwes and his friend Larry Birch  spent a week fly fishing at Helmsley where  fine fly fishing was and still is to be had. 


18  Fri  Cambridge Lent Term Ends

This day is recorded in the manuscript but happened several days later on the 27th of March 1863  

19  Sat  Oxford Lent Term Ends

This day is also recorded and likewise happened a day later on the 28th March  1863

20 Sun  Palm Sunday 

Palm Sunday is recorded in the manuscript but happened on the 29th of March in 1863

24  Thurs  Richard Chadd d. 1855, aetat 68; has a handsome monument erected to his memory at Harrow by the boys of the school

Wisden coached cricket at Harrow and therefore might seem the more likely source for this entry.  However Elwes had relatives who were pupils at Harrow during Wisden's time there. One of these relatives is recorded as visiting him in 1863.

25  Fri  Good Friday.  Annunciation. Lady Day. 

All three of the above are recorded but in 1863 did not take place on the same day.  In 1863 Annunciation (abbreviated to Annunc.)  and Lady day are recorded for the 25th March and Good Friday  ( recorded as simply (Good)  is recorded on the 3rd April.

27  Sun Easter Sunday

This day is recorded for 1863 on the 5th April 

28  Mon  Easter Monday

Easter Monday was several days later in 1863 and is recorded as MONDAY  (EASTER) 

At the end of March is the factoid "First wooden bridge erected at London across the Thames, 944

I have only the most slender of  suggestions for why this factoid should be included.  In January reports on the safety of the  temporary bridge at Egton.  and in particular the loose timber (see entries for January 5th and 6th)


2  Sat  Battle of Copenhagen 1801

There are many battles commemorated in the 1st edition of Wisden.  At first glance there appears little rhyme or reason for their inclusion; until the families of Elwes and his friend the  Reverend Charles James Barnard and their links are factored in.  I am particularly indebted to the efforts of William Barnard (member of the Barnard family) and the family tree he has created  and thereby enabling me to establishing these links.  The Battle of Copenhagen is the first of these links to the Barnard family.


H.M.S Kite was a ship that took part in this engagement.  A member of the Barnard family Thomas Mordaunt Rosenhagen Barnard died of wounds sustained in action against pirates aboard H,M.S. Kite 27 June 1813

3 Sun  Low Sunday

The diary records "LOW S.  1 AFT . EASTER"

I have no difficulty with the concept that the term Low Sunday derives from either Elwes or his close friend the aforementioned Rev. C.C.B.  But Wisden?  If Wisden did anything it may have been the exclusion of from this Sunday of "1st Sunday after Easter" The following Sunday in Wisden does record that Sunday as the 2nd after Easter.


4th  Mon  Dividends due at Bank 

The diary for the 6th Monday records "Div. due at Bank." Although abbreviated the same phrase as near as dammit.  Elwes's bank accounts record dividends as being paid in early April.  

9  Sat  Fire Insurance expires

Although no exact entry about this time in April the expression "Fire insurance ceases" was used as noted earlier.

10 Sun  2nd Sunday after Easter 

See entry for 3 April

16 Sat  Henry Fuseli,  the painter d. 1825 

The choice of artists to include is like the choice of George Crabbe poet ie.  highly unusual.  Why Henry Fuseli and later  Benjamin West? and Antonio Canova.  There are a few utterly banal trivial references and relationships to Italy to be found. 

The recording of  the arrival of a dog Romeo 

The return from a trip to Italy of Carrie 

The reading of a book by Anthony Adolphus Trollope "La Beata" summed up succinctly by Elwes as "Romeo and Juliet in Tuscany"

17 Sun  3rd Sunday after Easter

The 3rd Sunday after Easter is noted but in 1863 it came on the 26th April 

22 Friday  Lord Frederick Beauclerk,  D.D. d. 1850

LFB  has  links to Elwes although to be fair he was a strong well known character in the world of cricket.  He married Lady Caroline Cavendish a member of the cavendish family Duke of Devonshire etc.  The Elwes family bought the Great Billing Hall and estate from a member of the Cavendish family.  LFB  went up to Trinity College Cambridge in 1790 and graduated in 1792 with an M.A.  Elwes's father Robert Cary Elwes was also at Cambridge together with his friend Charles Drake Barnard in the same years.  There seems a chance they knew each other.  LFB descends from the Duke of St Albans who may not have been unknown to Elwes's father who also owned the estate of Throcking Manor Hetrfordshire.  

24 Sun 4th Sunday after Easter

This Sunday is noted although it came several days later in 1863 on May 3 

28 Thurs  Mutiny on board the Bounty, 1789

Little is known of the early life of Peter Boyle De Blaquiere father of Henri De Blaquiere, FECE's acquaintance from Canada. But it is known that he served on board the ship Director as a mid - shipman under the command of Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. 

30 Sat  Battle of Fontenoy, 1746 

The essential point  to be noted about this battle is that the given date is wrong.  It took place several days later on the 22th of May.  Wisden, in the years subsequent  has earned a well deserved reputation for its accuracy.  However it still makes mistakes as might be expected in such a publication dealing with so many numbers and so much information. A slip here or there is to be expected.  One mistake I feel the need to mention, and  because I can, occurred in the  2021 edition in an article by Jon Hotten reads and I quote  "King is not a follower of cricket"  For the record King ie. me, does follow cricket and it is because I follow  cricket, owned a complete run of Wisdens post 1956 that I recognise so easily, even though they are 100 to 150 years earlier, the linguistic and textual similarities between the reports post 1950 and the reports in the manuscript of 1863.  To me the later Wisden reports so obviously derive from the reports in this manuscript . 



Click here for Part 2 The Final Years 



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