Book gives woman’s take on 19th Century life in Sid Valley

A drawing of Sidmouth's Esplanade in 1826 from Tamsines Diary the life and times of a Devon Gentlewo

A drawing of Sidmouth's Esplanade in 1826 from Tamsines Diary the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 - Credit: Archant

Anyone interested in a woman’s perspective on 19th century life in the Sid Valley can pick up a new book published by Sidmouth Museum.

Tamsines Diary the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 is now available from Sidmouth Mu

Tamsines Diary the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 is now available from Sidmouth Museum - Credit: Archant

According to research by librarians Rab and Christine Barnard, a wedding 200 years ago brought together a number of families from the valley in a simple ceremony.

The groom, Lieutenant John Carslake, was newly paid off from the Royal Navy, having served on HMS Victory under Nelson.nNow, a civilian with property, he was marrying his sweetheart.

The bride, Thomazine Pearse Leigh, was the youngest daughter of William and Sarah Leigh of Slade, now the Donkey Sanctuary, in Salcombe Regis.

The marriage, in village church on September 30, 1817, lasted just short of 48 years and from all accounts was a very happy relationship.


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From the age of 11, Thomazine kept a diary recording thoughts and events which reveal the domestic side of life in her times.

Other writings of that period covering the Sid Valley were written by men so Rab and Christine said this gives another perspective to the era.

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The diary was passed down to her granddaughter who later decided to edit it.

The edited version survived but the original has not.

To mark this special wedding anniversary, Sidmouth Museum has published the edited diary with additional notes and images – some that have never been seen outside the Carslake family.

A limited edition of Tamsine’s Diary– the life and times of a Devon Gentlewoman 1808-1863 is now available from the museum shop.

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