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Fair Seed-Time

Irish & Grand Tours in Napoleonic Wartime

David Crackanthorpe


William Crackanthorpe was born in 1790. At the age of ten, on his father’s death, he inherited the family home, Newbiggin Hall. At St John’s College, Cambridge, where his cousin, William Wordsworth, had preceeded him, he was a young man of independent though not splendid means – but enough to leave him free to choose his way of life.

He chose a time of travel first, of which the letters and diaries included in Fair Seed-Time give an account.

His journeys took him round Ireland in 1812, then from 1813 to 1815, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, to Sweden, Prussia, the German kingdoms, Austria, Hungary and, later, to Italy, where he met Napoleon on Elba, to Paris, Brussels, and, finally, to the field of Waterloo.

The letters and diaries, now in Cambridge University Library, were found tied up in a trunk in the stables at Newbiggin after his death. They included a large number of folded billets doux from the young women in the various cities of his journey.

William did not marry and spent his long life in local affairs in his native Westmorland. He died at the age of 98.








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Paperback 167mm x 245mm



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