One of the Society's objectives is to further the study of James Woodforde's world and the setting in which he lived. These pages invite you to share this exploration—
firstly  by looking at Woodforde's world in a dozen objects, and
secondly  through highlighting parts of the country with which he was familiar.

Woodforde's world in a dozen objects James Woodforde's longcase clock from his Weston parsonageWoodforde's clock from his 'happy, thatched dwelling' [Parson Woodforde Society Collection]

We celebrate the diarist's life through a selection of artefacts. They range from the seventeenth-century oriel window at his birthplace and the marble memorial to his parents in Ansford Church to his longcase clock and the family pew of his great friends at Weston, the Custances. The majority of these items are on public view.

Each link in the list takes you to a separate page with a photograph and description of the object.


1 . James Woodforde's longcase clock, made at Reepham, Norfolk
2 . Nancy Woodforde's portrait aged 22, painted on a box lid
3 . The cream jug of Mr Du Quesne, Woodforde's clerical friend

Ansford, Somerset

4 . The Old Parsonage • the diarist's birthplace
5 . The parish church • the mural tablet to Woodforde's parents


6 . New College cloisters • the mural tablet to Woodforde erected by the Society

Weston Longville, Norfolk

7 . The parish church • James Woodforde's portrait
8 . The parish church • the Royal Arms of King George III
9 . The parish church • the Custance family pew
10 . The parish church • James Woodforde's mural tablet
11 . The former public house • the Old Hart

Introducing Woodforde to the public

12 . Beresford's five-volume Diary • vol. 1 first edition (1924)


Places to visit in Woodforde country

Somerset • The two places most closely associated with Woodforde are his birthplace Ansford and the neighbouring town of Castle Cary; he served curacies in both. He retained close family connections with the area throughout his life.

Norfolk • Woodforde lived from 1776 until his death in 1803 at Weston Longville (then generally known as Weston), 12 miles north-west of Norwich. We learn a great deal about the village and neighbouring places from his diary.

Norwich • In 2008 the Society marked its fortieth anniversary by publishing Phyllis Stanley's Walks Around James Woodforde's Norwich, a 48-page booklet describing the city which Woodforde knew. Illustrated with maps and drawings, it is still available from the Society, by post.

Norwich in 1779, the city familiar to James Woodforde, by M.J. ArmstrongNorwich in 1779, in a wealth of detail. The walled city was very familiar to Woodforde on his numerous visits. He often stayed at the King's Head in the Market Place, west of the Castle in the centre [drawn by M.J. Armstrong for Mayor Roger Kerrison; engraving by J. Thompson: Cozens-Hardy Collection]The booklet has been used to good effect by a historian and blogger for his website Colonel Unthank's Norwich – History, Decorative Arts, Buildings. Here he draws on Phyllis Stanley's text to create a well-illustrated portrait of the city known to James Woodforde: Parson Woodforde goes to market.

In a second study taking as its inspiration the Society's booklet we learn about Parson Woodforde and the Learned Pig.