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Document number: 2124
Date: 09 Jan 1831
Recipient: GAISFORD Henrietta Horatia Maria, née Feilding
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA(H)31-1
Last updated: 2nd February 2012

9th January 1831

My Dear Horatia,

Today I dined at Hartham, where Joy <1> is turning a ploughed field into a thick wood forty years old. How it will succeed Time will shew: but at present it looks prosperous. One of the Trees moved is a Beech fifty feet high – It must have been a difficult operation, for they have planted it on sloping ground – Maclure thinks Sir H. Stewart <2> never transplanted such a tree in a dream. – I have only moved 7 trees as yet; they are not very large: the moving the 3 last was impeded & perhaps injured, by the frost. The ground is now as hard as a rock. – I prophesied a hard frost from seeing such a beautiful Aurora Borealis on the night of the 7th It was very curious, there were [illegible deletion] white luminous clouds that shot across the sky from West to East: beginning at the West, where the Sun had gone down, & in half a minute or less reaching to the East, & forming a bright arch over the whole heavens – Whatever is the nature of this luminous substance, I think it likely that the tails of Comets consist of the same, and perhaps those nebula in the sky which astronomers describe as consisting of unformed light. I spent 2 or 3 days at Bowood <3> very agreeably, & made acquaintance with one of the most delightful of our neighbours Lady Barrington <4> – The Liddells <5> are all amiable, but she is certainly the flower of the family – Her Sister in Law Miss Charlotte Barrington was with her – Moore <6> & Lady B. sung [sic] all the evening – The Ball was on Tuesday the 4th It went off exceedingly well, & was kept up till near 4 o’clock – Kerry <7> was in high health & spirits –

In the Greenhouse I have Ixia ramiflora coming into blossom, a native I suppose of Naples; it is like the Ixia Bulbocodium which you have seen wild in Italy, but larger – I raised it from seed Wm <8> sent 2 years ago. – I am going to Melbury <9> tomorrow: write me one letter there.

Yours afftly

Miss Horatia Feilding
18 Brunswick Terrace


1. Hartham Park , Chippenham, Wiltshire and Henry Holmes Joy (1805–1875), Irish lawyer. [See Doc. No: 03587].

2. Mr Maclure worked for Sir Henry Stewart. [See Doc. No: 01961]. Sir Henry Steuart (1759-1836) was a pioneer in the transplanting of trees, particularly for a gentleman's estate. His seminal book was The planter's guide, or, A practical essay on the best method of giving immediate effect to wood, by the removal of large trees and underwood: being an attempt to place the art of fixed principles, and to apply it to general purposes, useful and ornamental : chiefly intended for the climate of Scotland (Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1828). It went into a second, illustrated, edition the same year, and remained influential for some generations.

3. Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock: seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne.

4. Jane Elizabeth Barrington, née Liddell, Lady Barrington (1804–1883).

5. Sir Thomas Henry Liddell, 1st Baron Ravensworth (1775–1855), father of Lady Barrington; and his wife, Maria Susannah, née Simpson (d. 1845).

6. Thomas Moore (1780–1852), Irish poet.

7. William Thomas Fitzmaurice, Earl of Kerry (1811–1836), MP.

8. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.

9. Melbury, Dorset: one of the Fox Strangways family homes; WHFT was born there.

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