Since you left here I have made and filld ten pitts [sic] for young trees with the same care the three first were done. I next planted them, and fenced six – the remaining four I could not fence yet owing to the flood (there has been no cows in the park since you left) to hurt those that were not fencd [sic] – I kept the cart constantly going carrying earth to & from the Dahlia border from the dahlia border [sic] to fill the pitts & from the river side to fill the border which is not quite filled yet – when I was driven from the Park I went to Inwood <1> and as I observed before I could not do anything there with water I next began at Wick Farm <2> & there prepared four Elms in the hedgerows expecting every day that the water might subside that I could plant them – one day I spent in carrying the willow poles from the river side to the back yard & casting stones from back yard to the melon ground ( Captn Feilding <3> is getting a low wall built where one recently stood to hide the frames & dung heaps from the avenue – it begins at Lady Valletorts <4> flower garden & goes down to the pond, a very good contrivance <5> – yesterday the men were employed – some taking up gravel for my Ladys <6> garden & the others in the shrubbery with her Ladyship as I could not go a planting – all this work has been done at intervals – it appears and is, little done in a fortnight but all owing to the weather the water is now nearly within the bounds of the river. Should it not rain before wednesday I think I should have the four large trees planted but at present the weather looks very doubtful it has rained from morning to three this afternoon as soon as I get the trees removed I must make good Mr Haywards <7> Hedges & plant some young thorn in them
I am just come from the river now and I find that the water has carried off four of the young trees out of the prepared pitts & more surprising two of these were fenced, one of the fences carried quite away and the other washed into the park, the trees were the Ontario & white poplars a lime & horsechesnut [sic] I fear I shall find a great many of those planted close to the water carried off &c &c –
Your Obdt Huble Servt
H. F Talbot Esqr M.P.
31 Sackville Street
1. Inwood, near Lacock, Wiltshire.
2. Wick Farm, Lacock, Wiltshire.
3. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
4. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister.
5. No closing bracket.
6. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.
7. Probably Thomas Hayward (b. 1783), tenant farmer, Wick Farm, Lacock.