A Lively Letter: Judith Dugdale, 1727

What Judith Dugdale feared may become of her son? 18th century fashion and living as satirised by Hogarth in 'The Rake's Progress'.
Painting by William Hogarth. Part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Judith Dugdale was the granddaughter of Sir William Dugdale, the famed antiquarian. Her letter to her daughter Isabella, in 1727, is a bit of a rant about the failings of her son William, at this time a man of 25. Listen out for numerous references that fix this document firmly in the 18th century; references to hunting, powder and shot, periwigs, dicing, etc.

William did eventually marry Anne Grosvenor in 1732. Sadly he was killed in a fall from his horse on the hunting field in the following year. As for those wigs, perhaps his new wife had already taken the matter in hand.

With thanks to Rob Eyre and Rowan Fisher of Heritage and Culture Warwickshire for the performance. Original letter held at Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR2855/Box 4/628. Acquired with the aid of the MGC/V & A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries.

Modernised transcription of Dugdale letter, 1727.
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