|1855. July 27th. Friday
‘I resolved to commence a diary’
It was from this point of view just ten years ago as nearly as I can remember, I first saw this, the first old ruined Abbey I had ever seen. I had walked with Ackland from Ruabon. How well I remember everything. There lay the Abbey just as before, the ivy clinging to the old walls, the sunlight on the top buttress faces of the angles towards the West, the dashing brooklet at my feet just seen at intervals through the thick beeches, the quiet solemn grandeur of the bare mountains enclosing the little valley – all just as before. Nothing changed but myself. And myself, how much! Ten years! What a change they make in all one’s thoughts and aspirations when they are the ten between 16 and 26. Is it a change for the better? Not much, I fear. How little good done, how great the evil!
Among other things I resolved to commence a Diary, a thing I had often intended, but always lacked energy to make a beginning. Here then I may write incipit [it begins].
William Wood’s Diary 1855-1861, ed. by Mark Spurrell, is available from Oxfordshire Record Society. These excerpts are presented to give a flavour of life at Radley in the 1850s