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Francis Hutchinson was born in Derbyshire, educated at Cambridge, where he obtained a Doctorate of Divinity, and was ordained into the Church of England at the age of 23. His early career was spent in various English livings and, on the death of Edward Smyth in 1720, he was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor. Perhaps Hutchinson is best remembered for the building of St. Thomas' Church on Rathlin Island in 1723 and, because the inhabitants of Rathlin understood only the Gaelic tongue, for the printing of a catechism in parallel columns of English and Irish so that the Gospel could be brought to those people. He has, however, left another remarkable legacy; there are among the manuscripts preserved in the Down, Connor and Dromore Diocesan Library, two account books and a commonplace book kept by him,

During the first ten years of his episcopate, he lived in Lisburn, at the centre of his dioceses, although his consecration took place in Drogheda.

These books are priceless documents of their period; space will not permit more than a glance at one of them, the first account book. This is a large volume, some 16" high by 6½" wide containing 180 folios, closely written on each side. The accounts record the Bishop's weekly expenses, household, travelling and all manner of other items for the period of years commencing in January 1729 and ending in September 1734. A detailed study reveals much about the habits and customs of the time, particularly in relation to the large household which his Lordship maintained. We learn from the variety and amounts of food purchased much about the diet of the household and about the general tenets of housekeeping; we learn about the Bishop's travels, both throughout his dioceses and his frequent journies to Dublin where he would have been attending sittings of the House of Lords. The commonplace book is in the Bishop's own hand and is largely an 'aide memoire', where he jotted down all kinds of unrelated notes as they crossed his mind; it also contains considerable detail about the rents owing to him from his various estates and a list of the clergy in each parish of his dioceses. His own hand is, however, largely illegible and we can be thankful that the account books were kept by one Anthony Kinsly, who appears to have been his Lordship's practotum and whose hand is in large measure more legible than his masters. the inside front cover we read:

Januery the 20th 1728:9;
I Be gun with this Book in;
Lisburn for ye Right Revd the;
Lord Bishop of Down & Connor & use by me
Anthony Kinsley

Let us begin with a typical weekly account, that of Feb ye 21st 1729:
24 of Butter; 0 7 0 ½
wild foule; 0 0 9  
cream; 0 0 4 ½
a qr of mutton 0 1 11  
a couple of pullets; 0 0 8  
eggs; 0 2 0  
4 hunder'd of oysters; 0 1 4  
seven chymnes of swip't; 0 2 6  
cakes; 0 3 0  
two quarts of Pickled oysters; 0 1 0  
for bread; 1 3 0
for a qr of beef; 1 5 10  
4 pound of suet; 0 1 0  
Tripe & feet; 0 1 6  
a qr of veal; 0 4 0  
a qr of mutton; 0 1 10  
paid Mrs. Jones for Letters; 0 9 3  
to a poor woman; 0 0 6 ½
for Fish; 0 1 6  
a mouse trap; 0 0 8  
a peck of oatemeal; 0 2 4  
a peck of barley meal; 0 1 8  
a sheet of pins; 0 0 7  
4 14 5 ½

This example tells us many details of interest which are repeated throughout the book; the size of the Bishop's household, for the feeding of which he was responsible; the variety of meat which was available (we also find occasional entries for venison, rabitts, duck and pigions); the relatively high cost of bread and - most astonishing of all - the huge quantity of oysters, measured in hundreds weekly, consumed.

Not all the food was homes produced; from time to time we find tea (3s10d qr) lemons and oringes (3s 9d for 3 duson) nutmeg, mace, cinement (cinnamon) and cloves. Entries for sacks of mawlt from ye mill and for hoops indicate that they brewed their own beer. Rum and Whiskey are found only occasionally; the drinking habits of his Lordship were satisfied by copious quantities of claret.

Sept ye 19th 1729 Mr. Js MCCartney sent to Lisburn 2 Boles of Malt 2 of Oates seven dozen & six bottles of clarit in a cask; wth three men demand 2 shillings a car for wch reason I did na pay them but left ym to be pd b Mr McCartney at ye same time 2 sugar loaves from Mr Sanders March y 19 bought a matrice for a little bed and gave seven shillings & sixpense for it.

Bishop Hutchinson visited Portglenone frequently (before he eventually went to live there), spending several nights on the journey; one such journey is recorded on March ye 10th 1729

The Bill in Antrim ye first night; 02 07 02
The servants there; 00 02 08 ½
The smith there; 00 00 O8  
The sadler there; 00 02 02  
att Sheens Castel; 00 00 09  
att Ranelstown; 00 02 08  
att Artloan fo Licker (liguer); 00 06 06  
the wide spicks child; 00 00 06 ½
att Stafords town 00 03 00
att Ranilstown 1 night; 02 02 06
The servants there; 00 02 08 ½
In Stafords town for Licker next day; 00 05 06  
ols for ye horses there 00 07 06  
Buter there for ye servants; 00 00 06 ½
My Lord there; 0O 00 03
hors hier own night for ye Bealifs; 00 O1 01
att Cornery Mill; 00 01 10
06 08 01  

June the 6th 1729

I left Lisburn for Dublin

aft machrelin 0 0 9  
Logh Bricklan 0 2 3  
The Osler there 0 0 2  
att Newry 0 0 6  
Down Dawlk aft night 0 3 4  
The servants there 0 0 6 ½
Down Leer 0 0 ;7  
Droghady 0 2 0  
The osler there 0 0 2  
att Swords 0 2 1  
For caring ye goods to ye inn att Dublin 0 0 6 ½
Porters 0 0 3  
A hamper 0 0 6  
pack thread; 0 0 1  
2 pair of gloves for my Lord 0 1 6  
A hats case 0 2 2  
my charges in Dublin 1 7 8  
The servants att my lodging 0 1 4  

my charges coming home from Dublin

Balaugh 0 1 3  
The osler there; 0 0 2  
Droughady 0 3 0  
The servants there 0 0 6 ½
Down Dawlk 0 1 8  
The osler there 0 0 2  
att Newry; 0 0 9  
Logh Bricklan 0 3 2
The servants there; 0 0 6 ½
att Drummore 0 0 6
The total 2 17 5

In September 1729 Kinsley himself visited Dublin and the journey home took him via Jullinstown Bridg, Donleer, Dondawlk, ye fews, Ardmaugh, charlymount, Dungannon, Machrefelt (where he gave Leftenant Burten 14 10s .for to by powder and ball and the Drawgowns (dragoons) 18s 6d for to drink his Lordship's health & to harten them), Dawsons Bridg, ferying at ye toum, Donnean, Randlstown, Cheans Castl, Antrim and Glenavey.

Jan 14 1729:30 paid Mr Fielding 15Li which with fifty paid befor makes 65 in full for a new coach & 4 pair of harness, but he had ye old coach & we found the Lining & Fringe. He used the same glasses.

Around this time the Bishop purchased Portglenone House; the commonplace book records the price as 8220 li. The household moved to Portglenone on August ye 7th 1730, using Lough Neagh as the most convenient route:

att Balendery when to see for the Boat 0; 0 7
Brown peeper att Lisburn 0; 0 1
A man from Lisburn to enquire for the Boat 0; 1 1
For takeing up the furnish and Boyler and greass 0 0 1
4 men att ye coals 0; 6 0
Drink for them 0 1 8
For watching the goods own night in y yard 0; 0 6 ½
Charges going to y boat with ye goods with ye carmen 0; 1 6
for helping to load ye boat 0; 1 1
paid to the widow for trespass there 0; 0 6 ½
8 cars to the boat 01; 0 0
10 cars to Portglenon 04; 0 0
The Boatmen 0; 1 1
My Lord Conways gentelman 1; 3 0
to Mr Sleater for takeing of ye Back parler fayr 0; 1 1 ;
to Mr Rosses man for takeing of the locks 0; 0 6 ½
ale to the men for measuring the oats 0 0 9

The bishop's sister, Mrs Carpenter, died in February 1732:3. Piecing together various entries both in the account book and in the commonplace book she seems to have been buried in Ahoghill, subsequently exhumed and body taken to England.

Febry y 19th 1732:3

a thousand of 3 neals for y led coffin 0 2 6
Licker to the men that healpt to oapen y
grave and took up the corps
0 2 11
Deal board for covering the coffin 0;;; 2 6
paid a man that helpt ye sexton out with
ye earth
0;;; 0 4
my one charges at Aughel 2 days 0;; 2 6
Licker to ye men that helpt ye corps in to ye grave 0; 1 1
Alexdr Reas & William Mc Cartneys Bills
for makeing Mrs. Carpinters coffins
3; 14 11
March y 5th 1732:3
An ounce of snoof for my Lady 0 ;0 2
paid ye carpenter att Aughel for raising the
Boards two ? & laying of them again over
Mrs. Carpinters grave & peals for ditto
0; 7 7

A page in the commonplace book, in the Bishop's own hand, records the event as follows:

Money given to my wife as Executrix to my sister Carpender

the two Doctrs Policy caryds
  Clerk Sexton Coffin
Paid for crape at Marafelt ) 3 8 9
Jan Y 1 1732 ? Clements )
Febr y 10 paid Mr Mckedy twenty pound fifteen shillings ) 20 15 0
ditto paid Mr Courtney for ye grave; 0 6 8
To the poor of Ahoghil 2 0 0
For laying down the Boards & floor over y grave ) 0 ;
Lead for a coffin 2 13 10
to Wm. McCartney for helping to make ye ;
coffin handles & ? )
) 0 10 0
Febr 23 to Alex r Rea & Wm. McCartny );
for coffin & nails & hinges )
) 3 14 11
1733 to Mrs Symonds for legacy & rings; 12 12 0
For opening of grave March y 5th )
& other things paid Apr 27 );
0 11 10
July ye 16 1733 Kinslys Bill
for carrying my sisters corpse to
England thirty four pounds twelve shill & 7d;
34 12 7
March 17334 paid Mrs. Mary Chapmn
for Mrs Carr legacy;
52 0 10

This short article should end on a lighter note and I am listing a number of miscellaneous entries which are, to say the least, a little odd in todays language.

For mending my Ladys shews; 0; 0 2
paid for bulling the three cows 0 1 ;0
paid for mending Mr. Hutchinson's pistels 0; 18 6
4 ounces of Burnt Hartshorn 0; 1 0
paid for 17 hearths (hearth money tax); 1; 14 0
for mending my Lord's speckteckels ;0 ;0 6 ½
pipes & tobacko 0; 0 1 ½
pigteal for my Lord 0;;; 0 1
cutting my hair 0;;; 1 1
Handkirchers for my Lady 0;;; 9 11 ½
stockings & socks for my Lady 0;;; 5 8
Gerdles 0;;; 1 6
4 cheambr Potts 0;; 3 4 ;
9 horses drawing dung 0; 10 6
a pot for my own room 0;;; ;0 ;1
for quilting a petticoate 0; 5 5
for cleaning my Damask suit 0; 10 10
2 pd of chocklet 0; 9 0
A spicket & foset 0;; 0 0 ½
A piggs haslett; 0 2 0
Lickerish Ball 0; 0 1 ½

Frances Hutchinson, Bishop of Down & Connor, died at Portglenone on - June 1739, having built the church there at his own expense. He was buried in a vault underneath the Sanctuary and I am indebted to Rev. M.E. man, Rector of Ahoghill and Portglenone, for having sent me a copy of the tablet erected to the memory of the Bishop in the church which he built:

In a vault under the Communion Table
Lye the remains
of Dr. Francis Hutchinson
late Bishop of Down and Connor
at whose expense chiefly
this church was erected
He was born at Carson in Derbyshire
and was minister of St. James' in St. Edmundsbury;
He was a careful diligent charitable Pastor;
A learned Prelate and an honest good man
He departed this life June 23rd 1739;
aged about 80 years

In the same place is interred
Anne his widow;
who survived him 19 years.

I would like to record my thanks to the Diocesan Library of Down, Connor and Dromore for permission to make a detailed study of these manuscripts and to reproduce extracts from them.


I'll tell you a story, a story most merry,
Of a Bishop from Edmunds but not Canterbury
Who for his great Parts and the Books he has written
Outdoes all the Bishops e'er sent us from Britain . .;
High Down; Down, Derry Down

When he first came over to bless this poor nation
And found us a people without Education;
Full sore did it grieve him and therefore did he
Resolve to reform us and that speedily;
High Down, etc.,

And 'cause we can't read, nor yet understand
The language that's spoken in Old England
First taught us a Catichize wrote in our own
In an easy new method, before never known.;
High Down, etc.

And since he has spoke, to his praise be it told
An Almanack, since that will never grow old
For whilst we do practice his PROVERB so wise
His works never fail and his name never dyes.;
High Down, etc.

But what's more surprising to you I'll relate,
To shew his fine genius and knowledges great
And indeed it is stange, yet some folks do say
He can't read a word of it himself to this day,;
Learned Down, etc.

0! WHALEY, thy loss we now shou'd lament
Hadn(t Providence this good ASTROLOGER sent
To converse in the clouds with the stars, sun and moon
And to find out their haunts at night, morn and noon;
Down etc.,

He least thought our lawyers on us shou'd impose
There are rogues in all trades which everyone knows
He taught us discharges, receipt bonds and bills
That even the Black-Smiths can make their own wills very;
Down, etc.

Lest witches' and spirits our children should fright
He on that occasion did learnedly write
And at tea told her Grace 'twas no breach of the law
The' men should spew pins and old women spit straws;
High Down, etc.,

One day importun'd by his Lady and daughter
To see Tinny Park and the great fall of water
He begg'd their excuse but to please 'em, he made
By the help of their water, a noble cascade;
Raise Down, etc.

O! Ireland what cause have you to COMPLINE
'Cause so few of your friends to the Mitre attain
Since Britain such care of your welfare does take
To part with such wonderful men for your sake,
Learned Down, etc.,

Now should I say something before I have done
Of wise Master Thomas, the Bishop's own son
But I fear my true story to you might seem Fibbs
Should I tell them the wonders of him and R ...... Gibs
Now God bless our Kind may he long wear the Crown
And may this learn'd Prelate so long wear his gown
And whenever death calls him I fear we shall find
That he has not left such another behind.

Dublin, Printed for T. Harbin, opposite Crane Lane 1725-6

Reprinted from a paper among the Reeves MS in the Diocesan Library, which has the following note:

Folio, a single leaf printed on one side only in a volume lettered 'Old Papers' being mostly broadsides, formerly belonging to Swift's friend Dr. John Stearne, Bishop of Clogher, but now to Cambridge.

July 18, 1876;
Henry Bradshaw

1. Among Hutchinson's English appointments before coming to Ireland, was the vicarage of Bury St. Edmunds.
2. Hutchinson published a treatise on the History of Witchcraft in 1718.
; ; ;
1A Typical page from the account book. Note the last entry 8 Dooks 1s4d. These are of course, ducks; 2 This account owing to James Bradshaw is a loose insert in the account book; 3. In the commonplace book: the Bishop,s own hand. The fees paid on becoming a bishop and taking his seat in the house of Lords.;