5th June 1830
Dear Sir /
I called yesterday on Mr Strong <2> at Box <3> & he requested me to inform you, that he was from home till Monday last, which must plead his excuse for not waiting on you at Lacock - He further desired me to say, that he did not expect any Business which would call him to Town sooner than six Weeks from this time, but that if you wished him to wait on you there previously, he would attend your Summons for that purpose -
I made two unsuccessful efforts to see Mr Paley <4>, but I have since spoken to Mr Short <5> upon the subject of the Curacy, & I find that it would be impracticable to alter the Arrangement with Mr Rogers <6> for the ensuing year, unless something should offer that would suit him in the mean time -
I am Dear Sir Yr much obliged Sert
W. H. Awdry
W. H. F. Talbot Esq
31. Sackville Street
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. Strong's identity has yet to be established. However, Awdry met him at Box, the Wiltshire hamlet whose quarry originally provided Lacock Abbey with its stone, this letter might provide a clue. It is possible that Strong was there temporarily to select stone for the renovations at Lacock Abbey, but given the expansion of the area in the 19th c., perhaps Strong was resident there. The 1841 census for Box (the earliest one available) points to two possibilities. The first, James Strong (b. 1796), was a mason, but the Lacock mason, Charles Selman Banks (1805-1881) did most of the masonry at Lacock at this time. Thomas Strong (b. 1781) was a builder, and seems the more likely candidate.
3. Box, Wiltshire, 5 ½ miles North East of Bath
4. Rev James Paley (1790-1863), Vicar at Lacock.
5. Rev William Short, Vicar of Chippenham.
6. Robert Rogers, Curate at Lacock.