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Hay and district
Francis Kilvert
  The famous diaries of a Victorian curate  

The Reverend Francis Kilvert was Curate of the parish of Clyro, near Hay, from 1865 to 1872. He began to keep a diary in 1870 in which he described the people he met and the places he visited in fascinating detail.
Many of his journals were destroyed, but some were later published and became famous as 'Kilvert's Diaries' because they gave a rare picture of country life in the late Victorian years.

  Members of the church were among the 'gentry' in Victorian times, and Kilvert mixed with many important people of the day.
But he also took a real interest in the poor people of the district and wrote often about their very hard lives and wretched housing.
Francis Kilvert became very fond of the beautiful countryside, and loved to walk in the hills and valleys of Radnorshire and Breconshire and described the landscape in great detail.
The school Log Book of St Harmon's School near Rhayader mentions his visits when he was the curate of that parish in 1876.
Revd Francis Kilvert

This small example from Francis Kilvert's diaries was written on 17th May, 1871 -
"The great May Hiring Fair at Hay, and squadrons of horse come charging and battalions of foot tramping along the dusty roads to the town, more boys and fewer girls than usual. All day long the village has been very quiet, empty, most of the village folk being away at the fair. Now at 8pm the roads are thronged with people pouring home again, one party of three men riding on one horse".

Francis Kilvert died at the age of only 38 in 1879, but his very human accounts of people and places around Hay and elsewhere will make sure that he will not be forgotten.

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