Browse this collectionThis entry describes an individual archive record or file. Click here to browse the full catalogue for this collection
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FEP/6/5
Former ReferenceD3311/14/4
TitleTravel diary of Eleanor Anne Porden, on journey in France
Date11 Oct 1816-25 Nov 1816
DescriptionInside front cover – Bookplate with the name Philip Lyttelton Gell.
Front of journal: handwritten in pencil " No. 3 in continuation of this journey 1816 Eleanor Anne Porden "
October 11th
Continued description of the journey with ‘’towns half deserted and falling to decay.’’ Mentions a church they passed before Amiens which had gravestones ‘’almost all of black and white’’.
They reached Amiens about 2 o’clock. They went to look for a hotel near the cathedral but were unsuccessful so they stayed at the Hotel de France with clean and comfortable apartments.
EP describes the chivalrous decoration of the walls of her father’s apartment. EP continues with the description of the decoration in their (EP and Miss Appleton) room. EP describes Amiens and the Cathedral. EP goes on to describe how they are surrounded by beggars wherever they go in Amiens and that it is the worst they have experienced in France. They also had trouble from the guides who followed them about ‘’and are not to be shaken off – they will instruct you against your will.’’
Saturday October 12th.
WP and Miss Appleton were ill but they visited the cathedral again. After dinner EP greets Miss Thomson and Madame Soulage on their arrival at the same hotel.
Sunday October 13th.
They went to mass at the cathedral [Dried flowers have been inserted]. EP writes of her satisfaction in praying in her room after attending the mass. ‘’I feel my own littleness, my own unworthiness so much in such a fabric, it seems as if the great Creator addressed in such a solemn manner by thousands of his creatures, was too elevated, too remote to listen to the prayers of such a worm.’’ EP talks of her indulgence for the Catholic religion. EP writes ‘’ I think it is the interest of the English, as English and as Protestants, to make the difference of feeling or of religion as little obvious as possible; As Catholic countries become more enlightened, much of their superstition must necessarily dye away, and if they cease to perceive the line, they may perhaps step over it.’’ After twelve they left Amiens and went as far as Peronne, on their way to Cambray. EP describes Peronne which they reached as it was almost dark.
They had had to come on to Peronne with the same horses they had used to Villers. As a result they had to pay a post extra for feeding them. In the side column EP describes how the Femme de Chambre at the hotel tells them of the surrender of the town to the English whom she hated ‘’heartily.’’
Monday October 14th.
They walked to the church then on to the ramparts of the town, with EP describing the fortifications and the river Somme beyond. They left for Cambray. The road was busier and they met many English carriages. At Cambray they saw British Sentinels on every side and passed to the gate through a file of English soldiers. EP describes how the town was full of English ‘’and the sound of one’s own language all around produced a strange and indescribable sensation.’’ They tried to find out if the Duke of Wellington was in town but were given contradictory information. They enquired of Dr Perkins, physician to the forces, but an English officer directed them to his colleague Dr Grant. He was not at home but called on them later. They stayed at the Hotel of the Grand Canard which was exorbitant which EP put down to the presence of so many British troops.There were eight officers and two colonels staying there.
EP talks of the present cathedral of Cambray being very poor and the old cathedral having only a few arches left standing due to the destruction of the revolution. ‘’Alas! One thinks these venerable piles ought at least to have crushed with their weight the wretches that destroyed them.’’ EP wishes that there would be more Gothic cathedrals built. Her father talks of designing one on his return.
Tuesday October 15th.
They visited a mason to purchase some ornaments rescued from the old cathedral then walked the ramparts of the town. They visit another church which is hung in black to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Marie Antoinette. They left Cambray after twelve en route for Valenciennes, where they were asked for their passport and were advised to continue on to Mons. Just before entering Quievrain they passed the frontier into Belgium. They arrived at the Hotel de la Couronne Imperiale in Mons at about eight having passed down well lit streets. The hotel was clean and they had an excellent supper.
Wednesday October 16th
After breakfast they went out into the town and visited the cathedral and then St Elizabeth and St Nicolas which she describes. Following on from the discovery in St Elizbeth’s and St Nicolas’ of the image of the black virgin and child, Notre Dame de Halle, EP describes the town of Halle during the jubilee of Notre Dame de Halle. EP returns to the description of Mons with a guided walk including the ramparts. EP describes the altered appearance of the inhabitants of the town and the houses there. At about eleven they left Mons for Soignes where they saw the church of St Vincent. They changed horses at La Genette and at Halle. EP describes further changes from France and how the common people almost ceased to speak French. They arrived in Bruxelles (Brussels) past six which they found decorated in preparation for the triumphal entry of the Prince of Orange the following day. They managed to find a room at the Hotel de Clarence with a closet for Papa as there were no beds at the Hotel d’Angleterre.
Thursday October 17th.
There was a letter waiting for them at the Poste Restante ‘’containing news of an unpleasant character.’’ EP then goes on to describe the spire of the Hotel de Ville and the Cathedral.
EP describes the procession as viewed from their hotel: the regiments they see and how shabby they appear compared to the French and British troops: the cars which take part in the procession: the Prince and Princess, with the waving of two or three handkerchiefs, a solitary huzza, and the bowing of the Prince and Princess to the multitude: EP comments on how inferior she finds it to an English procession. ‘’Foreigners I thought excelled us very much in all these points, and I was surprised after all the pompous descriptions I had read, to see how very far they are behind us.’’ EP describes the illuminations in the evening.
Friday October 18th.
Started for Waterloo at 9 and passed through the forest of Soignies, called the forest of Bruxelles. Arrived in the village of Waterloo, driving through and arriving at Mont St Jean where they met their guide Pierre Brassin . They viewed the heights on which the British cannon were posted. EP writes that their guide ‘’told his tale with an enthusiasm so different from the dull chant of our sight shewers who have their story by heart’’. He had been a conscripted Buonaparte soldier who was forced to serve three years near Strasbourg. They saw the farm house of La Hague Sainte where EP copied the inscription off a wall by surviving officers of the 2nd Light Battalion of the King’s German Legion to their brothers who fell in battle [noted in pencil at the back of the diary]. They were shown Wellington’s tree and stole from it, ‘’like many others’’ a small piece of bark as a memorial. Planchenoit ‘’where the gallant Pieton fell’’, was pointed out to them as well as Frichemont ‘’whence the Prussian army made its appearance and were mistaken by Buonaparte for the troups of Grouchy’’. They were shown the little copse where the Prince of Orange was taken prisoner and wounded. From La Haye Sainte they entered the French positions and saw the hillock of Les Cailloux. They could see the auberge of La Belle Alliance and the heights of Montplaisir where the French Artillery were stationed. EP comments that it would be impossible for anyone unacquainted with what had happened to know that a battle had been fought there. ‘’Even the battered walls of Hougomont might have owned their ruin to any other cause.’’ They were shown the spot where Buonaparte gave his last order before fleeing towards Charleroi and the spot where Wellington and Blucher met. They were shown the ruin of Hougomont and returned by the Nivelles road to Mont St Jean. Pierre Brassin reminded them that although the English called it the battle of Waterloo, the French called it the battle of Mont St Jean and the Prussians called it the battle of the Belle Alliance. The guide said that he ‘’never expected that the English would have fought so well, they were sidoux. They had always shared their bread and meat with them in their cottages and sat at the same table with them, or they would have had nothing to eat.’’ The women were all sent into the forest of Soignes and the men attended the wounded at Mont St Jean and after the battle removed the wounded. ‘’The English first, the Prussians, the Belgians and the Dutch – and last the French who were not moved until the fourth day, and as they passed were always begging for a little glass of water.’’ Miss Appleton finds a cannon ball which ‘’she intends to take to London and convert into a Lead pincushion!. EP gathers some sprigs of Forgetmenots. [Dried flowers inserted between the pages here] They stopped at the church of Waterloo to see the inscriptions erected by surviving officers. They returned via the forest to Brussels where they stopped at the King Coachmaker M. Van Kampenhout to see the carriage which had belonged to Buonaparte. EP is doubtful that this could have been his carriage as ‘’it was ugly, uncomfortable, unlined, unpainted thing with closets and boxes in every corner and secret places, all for papers… just seemed the thing for an undersecretary.’’
Saturday October 19th
They visited the Cathedral again and then walked all round the Royal Palaces and the park. They couldn’t get into the park as ‘’Madame Blanchard was to ascend in a balloon – the same we had seen in the Champs Elysies at Paris.’’ They left Brussels and went to Anvers (Antwerp), passing the Palace of Lacken and the canal. They stopped at Malines (Mechlin) to look at the Cathedral. EP describes architectural features at the Cathedral. They arrived at Anvers at it was getting dark. EP comments on how in France they were ‘’constantly flattered because we were feared’’ and the government paid great attention to their accommodation. However in Flanders this was not the case. The people showed their respect in differing ways, including changing the names of the hotels to English ones. A waiter said that the King of England ‘’had done very ill in giving Anvers to the Dutch – he had much better have kept it himself.’’: to the people of Anvers ‘’the Dutch are hated and the English seem to be favorites.’’ The waiter spoke ‘’ the oldest English imaginable – it was taught him by two American gentlemen…… and was jumbled in the strangest manner with French, Flemish and American. EP comments on the mprovements in Flanders compared with France, apart from the climate. A most striking difference to EP is the increased superstition of the people.
Sunday October 20th.
EP describes the entrance to the church of St Dominic at Anvers: "There were in all besides these, between fifty and sixty figures…. a curious example of Dutch taste and Spanish superstition. I could not look on them without something of horror, as if I had been entering the Inquisition.’’ EP describes the cathedral which they visited earlier. They walked to the port, admiring the river Sheldt. They saw two basins formed by Buonaparte to accommodate his warships. EP comments on the wide streets and regular building, ‘’ like a flourishing English town.’’
Monday October 21st
They visited the post office which was closed. They went to Mr Pictet’s banker to deliver Papa’s letter of credit. They climbed the cathedral spire. In the margin EP describes the bells.
They view the landscape below them, on one side to Ghent and Mechlin, and on the other the black ‘Montagne’of Flushing and the white one of Bergen op Zoom. They visited the Church of the Jesuits which she describes. They visited the church of St Dominican again. EP describes the sculpture and pictures. They then went to the church of St Jacques. [Dried flowers inserted between the pages.] EP describes the art there also. Miss Appleton meets a man who could not speak French but spoke unintelligible English: Eleanor ran away, but Miss Appleton ‘’stuck to him like a leech, or rather like a sucking fish, for tho she squeezed him pretty hard she could not get anything out.’’ They went on the visit that of the Augustins. EP describes the artwork in the church.
Sunday October 22nd.
They went to an art dealer Mr Blakeman, in the Place de Mer, opposite to their Hotel de L’ourse and viewed the pictures, including ones by Van Dyck, Reubens and Leonardo da Vinci. They then went on to the Museun. They left Antwerp gladly as they had been suffering from many ailments whilst there. EP says ‘’I am sure two or three days more there would have knocked me up.’’ They had sent their carriage over the river the night before. They crossed the river by boat. By two o’clock they were ready to depart in their cabriolet for St Nicholas. They were upset to find however that they had lost their tongue, part of their provisions. They arrived at St Nicolas and whilst the horses were changing, attempted to find a replacement. They were directed to the butcher's shop. ‘’A girl we spoke to shook her head and answered in Flemish. No tongue here thought I but seeing thro’ a creak in the door a party eating, we thought that meat might possibly be among the party, and resolving like Orlando in As You Like It, to make an assault upon it, in we bounced.’’ They were able to obtain some meat from the party. EP describes the postilion who was ‘’ the greatest buck we have seen.’’ EP describes the scenery on route. [Dried stems inserted between the pages.] They arrived at Ghent in the dark.
Wednesday October 23rd.
They went out to visit the Cathedral Church of St Bavo. EP describes the interior, and the subterranean church of St John and then the Churches of St Pierre and St Nicholas.
They tried to enter St Michel’s but were unable. EP and Miss Appleton sat in the porch waiting with a beggar opposite and EP wrote 3 verses on this. They then peeped into the Bibliotheque. They saw the Jardin des Plantes and then the church of St Jacques. They were unable to attend a play as the actors were ill. Extra description of St Nicholas.
Thursday October 24th
They visited the museum and viewed the collection of pictures. Then they were able to get into St Michel’s, which she describes. They left Ghent for Courtray, losing on the way a fresh tongue which they had bought ‘’which damped our spirits for some miles; but it was at length found in Papa’s pocket.’’ They arrived at Courtray in the evening.
Friday October 25th 1816
They visited the church of St Martin. They were shown the Collegiate church by a gentleman they met there. EP descibes the church. The gentleman offered to conduct them to the Hotel de Ville, which she descibes: EP observes that all the domestiques "ran about like mice at his orders’’, and they discovered that the Mayor of Courtray had shown them the town. They continued to Menin and passed the frontier. They felt the change of country with a dirty straggling, dilapidated French village before them. They arrived at Lisle ‘’a la francais dirty and savoury. ‘’ EP describes the fortifications, quays on the river. They went into the church of the Magdeleine. They dined at the Hotel de l’Europe. Copied out is a certificate of good behaviour of Mr Porden, signed by Miss Appleton on the 26th October 1816. ‘’Monsieur Porden our Companion and Protector has conducted himself with becoming descretion, and that when we were obliged to sleep in the same chamber, as oftentimes befell, he never peeped behind the curtain at improper seasons.’’
Saturday October 26th.
They visited the church of St Catherine then walked on to the ramparts. They arrived at the south side of the town and viewed a hundred windmills. They went into the church of St Etienne then the Museum of Paintings, where they were admitted to one of the best collections of pictures they had seen, which EP describes. They then visited the church of St Sauveur [sketch of window drawn in back of diary]. In the evening they took leave of Miss Appleton.
Sunday October 27th
EP went with her father to the church of St Maurice. At midday they set out for Cassel ‘’the road becoming more English and more pleasing as we advanced.’’ The town of Cassel is ’’half filled with English soldiers. Dr Thomson and Colonel Staveley , who were at Cassel when we were at Cambray are now I fancy at Cambray- so we shall ingeniously contrive to miss them.’’ EP describes a graveyard at the entrance of Cassel.
Monday October 28th
They viewed Cassel from the mount. They left for St Omer. EP describes the town and the church of St Bertin. From St Bertin they went to the Cathedral. As they approached they saw Mrs Yarrow with her aunt and sister. EP describes the cathedral. They left for Calais and met Dr Thomson on the high road. He was coming from Lord Combermere who had a chateau near St Omer. About a half a mile before Calais they passed the first gate and drawbridge and had their passport demanded.
Tuesday October 29th
They prepared for departure then embarked about one on a French packet. They ought to have sailed immediately ‘’but we could not get hold of the Captain till nearer three.’’ They arrived in Dover in the dark and went to their hotel, ‘’our baggage remaining in the hands of the Custom House.’’
Wednesday October 30th
Eleanor’s father went to the Custom House and ‘’found the supervisor a pleasant intelligent man who had studied mathematics and engineering as a recreation, knew Dr Hutton by reputation and was curious as to french buildings.’’: he took out Eleanor’s diary and said ‘’the young lady seemed to like writing as much as working.’’; father and the supervisor concluded with a mutual promise of correspondence. ‘’We had risked little, but were happy when that little was safe thro’ the Custom House – we lost two cakes of chocolate.’’ They went out for a walk down to the harbour. They left Dover in a Post Chaise ‘’our unaccustomed eyes were astonished at its neatness and size.’’ They passed through countryside with views of Dover castle behind them until they saw views of the Medway. They stopped at Canterbury and visited the Cathedral briefly which EP compares with the churches seen in France. From Canterbury they went to Chatham where they stayed overnight.
Thursday October 31st
They visited the docks. EP describes a Man of War, a large anchor wharf and various buildings. They walked up to Chatham lines then returned to their chaise. They continued their journey , stopping at Rochester to look at the Cathedral briefly. They pass through Dartford and Shooters Hill. They continued through Blackheath and Deptford, with the houses between there and London ‘’a magnificent suburb.’’ In London ‘’yet though it had been a rainy day and the streets were wet, there was a cleanness in them, and a sort of finished neatness about the houses, that spoke a sort of comfort and prosperity in the inhabitants.’’ They completed their journey home. ‘’ I will not speak of the welcome which we met, as we expected at home – from our family and from all our friends – but I must say that I felt our house more comfortable and better furnished than ever.’’
November 9th 1816
EP went to see the Lord Mayor’s show at Mr Sheriff Blades’s in order to compare a British with a foreign procession. ‘’It was as much superior to the Triumphal entry of the Prince of Orange into Bruxelles as I expected to find it.’’ EP describes the collection of armour in Lower Brook Street, highly spoken of by Mr Flaxman. She was surprised that none was older than of Henry VII. She mentions the specimens brought there from the Elector of Bavaria’s Armoury at Munich, brought to Paris by General Lavelieur (?) for Buonaparte. Sketches of a sword and helmet.
November 19th 1816
EP is taken to view an eclipse of the sun, announced to begin at 18 minutes past eight and to finish at 32 minutes past 10. Mr Kay escorted her to Hampstead Heath. They set out after seven with a large telescope which Mr Jones had sent for her. They ascended the hill on foot as the eclipse began. They reached Jack Straw’s castle ‘’bespoke a front room, ordered our breakfast, and fixed our telescope in a window that seemed to have been made for the purpose.’’. Sketches of the eclipse are in the margin. They returned to London afterwards by stage.
Tuesday November 25th
M. Ruinart de Brimont, son of Count Ruinart de Brimont dined with them. He was met by Mr and Mrs Phillips and Mr P Pictet. EP states ‘’I shall now endeavour to set down as they occurr to me two or three interesting facts that were mentioned in the course of conversation.’’
(Page 119)
Top of page ‘’M. Ruinart had been a Captain of the National Guard in Paris, and though serving in this manner.’’ No further entries.

18 blank pages then pencilled notes.**
On first page;
La Haye Sainte October 18th 1816.
The officers of the 2nd Light Battalion
Kings German Legion,
In memory to their brother officers
And friends of the regiment who fell
In defending this farm on the 18th June 1815
Captain and St Major Adolphus Boswell
Captain William Wigmann
Captain Wm. Schaumann
Ensign Ernestus Robertson
Pierre Brassin du Mont St Jean.

Six blank pages then sketch in pencil of St Sauveur Lisle October 26th***
Blank page then sketches in pencil of architectural features of Cathedral, then of windows from St Bertin, St Omer October 28th 1816.
Next page - quote from Philanthropist – a Brussels Journal, October 17th 1816.
Blank page.
Next page - notes written in pencil including quotes in French, information relating to the church of St John and a sketch.
Next page - notes written in pencil relating to the churches of St Pierre, St Nicholas, St Jacques, St Omer, St Bertin.
Next page - pencilled verse in French and English.
Back cover note in pencil – 17 Broad St.,Buildings. Also a paper pasted in with ‘MARVIS, Marchand de Papiers, rue Saint-Martin, No. 20, pres de celle St.-Merry, A PARIS’.
Extent1 volume
RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive CreatorEleanor Anne Porden, later Eleanor Franklin (1795-1825)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
TermTravel abroad

Show related Persons records.

Related Names
Name (click for further details)
Thomson; Thomas (1775-1853); physician
Appleton; Elizabeth (c1790-1849)
Add to My Items