The Reuben J Stone Farm Day Book, 1906 – 1928
This manuscript was deposited at Herefordshire Archive Service by the Fownhope Local History Group (FLHG) and Community Archive. Conservation work was supported with a grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust and a contribution from the FLHG, and was carried out by Kaori Takahashi Hilton.
Pages 4 to 17 of the manuscript are blank and have not been digitised.
This manuscript has humble origins, and therein lies its importance, for Herefordshire is noted nationally for its long-lasting tradition of yeomanry farms but there is a scarcity of evidence for the activities that took place. This account book and diary of a smallholding covers the years 1906 to 1928, a period that features rapid changes in the rural economy and includes World War One. Reuben Stone was combining farming with a milk round, cider production, and building work, all noted here along with records of his animals. The book was used regularly; the economy of the entries suggests a busy man who yet made sure he captured the essentials of every day’s key events and transactions.
The crumbling pages have barely survived the multiple perils of poor quality materials, frequent use, mould, insects and a spillage of undetermined origin but definite destructiveness.
After washing and re-sizing, the pages were supported with moistenable tissue on a vacuum suction table. Holes were infilled with Japanese paper adhered with wheat starch paste. Following digitization the manuscript is being rebound in a functional and sympathetic style and is available for consultation from April.
The Archive Service invited FLHG&AC visitors during the conservation treatment. Visitors included the great-great nieces of Reuben Stone; and the Councillor for Fownhope, John Hardwick. Volunteers from FLHG&CA were trained to digitise and index the manuscript, which is available at Herefordshire History: https://www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk/.