The Diaries of Charlotte Grove

The Diaries of Charlotte Grove

Claret Jug Publications was established in 2007 by family historians John Lane and Valerie Lane Kay to bring The Diaries of Charlotte Grove to a wider audience.


Charlotte was born in 1783, the eldest daughter of Thomas Grove of Ferne, an influential Wiltshire land-owner.  She remained a spinster until 1827, when at the age of forty-four, she married the rector of Berwick St John, Richard Downes.  Charlotte’s younger sister, Harriet, famous for her love affair with the girls’ cousin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, kept a diary during the years 1809 and 1810 – although a great many of the intriguing references to the poet were later erased.  Charlotte’s own diary continued the Grove family chronicle from 1811 until 1858, probably until the time of her death in 1860.  Fortunately, most of these journals have survived the passage of time and are preserved at the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, at Chippenham, Wiltshire.


Introduced to an edited version of the diaries (The Grove Diaries, the Rise and Fall of an English Family, by Desmond Hawkins, University of Delaware Press / Dovecote Press, 1995) John and Val were of course delighted to find a small number of references to their own Wiltshire ancestors, the Lane family of Lower Bridmore Farm, Berwick St John.  However, upon consulting the original diaries, at that time held at Trowbridge, they discovered an absolute wealth of information about their farming family.  Captivated by Charlotte’s diaries and finding the greater part of this material had never before been published, they set about producing a complete and accurate transcription.


The resulting work is published in four volumes and affords the reader a glimpse of a small corner of England from the Regency through to the early Victorian periods.  The diary entries span a period of fifty years and provide a useful resource not only for scholars and social historians, but also for family historians, who will discover an extraordinary number of named individuals from families representing all sections of society.


More information will appear on the website as it develops, including a comprehensive set of Diary Notes and some extensive Indexes.  The Index page includes some additional material, including links to Sample Diary Entries, Berwick St John Monumental Inscriptions and Useful Websites.  Each volume will be available either as a hardback book or as a download version.  To find out more about each volume as it is published, or how to obtain copies, click Publications.


The transcription of The Diaries of Charlotte Grove (later Downes) together with the content of this website are copyright © John Lane & Valerie Lane Kay