About Treleaven's Chronicles of Moretonhampstead



(for the full text see right)

The original diary, with the name Silvester Treleaven name on the cover, was written in two notebooks. Each volume starts with the heading "Chronological Occurrences in Moretonhampstead"; the second opens with the year 1806. The entries start from January 1st 1799 and are fairly frequent until May 29th 1810, the earlier years being the fullest, then there are two brief entries in September 1812, then regular (though usually terser) entries from June 1813 until July 1816. The second note-book was not full, and among the blank pages at the back are six pages of entries for 1829-30, again headed "Chronicological Occurrences in Moretonhampstead".  The full text is available on the right, only the format of the dates being altered to make them easier to identify.

The notebooks evidently passed down to Susan Treleaven, and after her death (1923) to her cousin and heir Bartholomew Parker, who showed them to various people. One transcript was made by T.N.H. Neck in 1924, and another by L.M. Kennaway; excerpts appeared in the newspapers about this time, and from time to time in other publications. The transcript made by T.N.H. Neck (which is in the possession of Moretonhampstead Local History Society) is in a hard-backed notebook and opens with an entry (written on the inside of the cover, as if it was an afterthought) describing a single event on March 26th, 1789. It also includes (between 1805 and 1806) a record of the establishment of a postal service in Moretonhampstead in 1792 in the charge of John Treleaven. Neither of these items forms part of the original "Chronological Occurrences", but a manuscript of a lecture in 1930 by D. McMaster on Moreton history which quotes extensively from the diary also quotes the 1789 item.

Who wrote the Chronicles ?

 During the main period covered by the Chronicle (1799-1816) there were two Silvester Treleavens in Moreton, uncle and nephew (see the family history). At the time of the first entry in the Chronicle the younger Silvester would have been only twelve, but we know that his elder brother Samuel was working on the Exeter Flying Post by that age. The late entries (1829-30) could not have been written by the first Silvester, who died in 1824; the separate item dated 1789 could not have been written by the younger. There is little direct mention of family matters in the diary - a brief account of the marriage of Silvester senior, a statement that "Richard Treleaven set off for Plymouth" (Richard was the first John's third son), and two more personal entries in 1802. The entry "Died in the 81st year of her age my grandmother Treleaven" agrees with the entry in the burial register for Jane Treleaven, the mother of the first John and Silvester, and points to the younger Silvester as the author. Another entry in the same year reporting news of "the death of my Uncle Robert Hutchings" is consistent with the same conclusion (John Treleaven married Grace Hutchings, sister of Robert). The marriage of the older Silvester in 1800 is reported quite impersonally.