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The Diary of Ralph Josselin, 1616-1683 (Records of Social and Economic History (New Series)) Paperback – 16 May 1991
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This book is intended for scholars and students of 17th-century society and thought.
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Although the diary purports to start in 1616, in the first few years Josselin is obviously just filling in details about his birth and childhood. The diary starts properly in the 1630s and is not in any great detail until 1640. As time goes on through the great events of the English Civil War entries become more frequent and more detailed. And so we come to learn what it was like for the mid-17th century vicar in North Essex during the Civil War.
It not only covers events that personally affect Josselin but also all of the events that are happening around him, his county of Essex and to the wider nation. These, it does not need me to say, are often quite earth shattering events- including the attempt of Charles to arrest the five members of Parliament (1641), the start of the Civil War and the Battle of Edge Hill (1642), the Battle of Naseby (1645), the siege of Colchester (1648) and the trial and execution of the King (1648/49) and eventually the restoration of Charles II (1660).
If you want a feel for what life was like, what things are important to and how one coped in a Civil War in the 17th century there are very few first-hand accounts, this is one of them. It is not a book you can read from cover to cover in one sitting, but dipping in and out and understanding the mind of Ralph Josselin, is well worth the effort. Recommended!