Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary June 1828

Friday 20 June 1828

6 50/60

Off at 7 50/60. Drove Miss McL- in a gig & had a man mounted on horseback to follow. Pass the gates to Drummond castle. Then good village of Muthill. Very neat new gothic church. Then the gates to Culees castle (General Drummond), nice looking place, & at 9 10/60 (the country latterly plain & bleakish) at the little fathermost inn at Ardoch. Breakfast at 9½ to 10 20/60. Went out at 10 40/60 to see the old Roman camp (Scottish Tourist, 57/415), “the most entire in Britain.” 50 minutes there. Very interesting. Some of the outward works too much planted. “There are evident marks of the camp having been enclosed with a stone wall.” No! Said our guide, not the camp, but the praetorium. He himself could remember a little low wall round this, and a little bit of old building, sort of tower in the middle of it. Had dug up parched or burnt corn there. Similar probably to the charred wheat found at the camp near Comrie. Near 1 of the outworks close to the garden of Ardoch house a stone coffin found about a year ago, the bones of a tall strong man in it. Legs cut off by the knee & laid by the side, the coffin being only about 4 feet long.

Ardoch Roman Fort
Dr Richard Murray / Ardoch Roman Fort / CC BY-SA 2.0

Got back to the inn at 11 40/60. Off home again at 11 55/60. In passing enter the rustic gate (made of branches of fir, the lodge 40 or 50 yards off within the grounds) & drive up the long, narrow avenue to castle Drummond. ¾ hour there. An old, white, low-roomed, bad house close to the ruin of the old castle-house. A new entrance cut thro’ the rock, and drive thro’ an archway of the old castle into the odd, shabby court. Fine situation. Wooded hill & dale, fine view of Crief on the hillside, & the Grampians, and southwards & eastwards a wide plain (Strathearn) bounded to the south by the Ochills. A fine piece of well-done, artificial water, & the river Earn so naturally seen winding in the distance as to make the whole appear lake & river from the drawing room windows. Saw the armoury, because mentioned [in] Scottish Tourist, 83/415 (vid. also 170/415) but the man knew nothing about the swords having belonged to Bruce, & as for the crown it was merely what was fixed on the top of the canopy of the King’s chair at the coronation [1], which fell to  Lord Gwidir as hereditary Lord High Chamberlain (in right of his mother) of England, & our time and shilling were wasted on the room added to the old castle & merely containing common arms & common highland “targets” bourne by the tenants who went to meet the king at Edinburgh.

Drummond Castle, 19 June 2008 (180 years 1 day after Anne Lister visited)
Tom Parnell from Scottish Borders, Scotland, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Got back to Crieff at 2 35/60. Had to wait above an hour while a small seat was fixed on to the gig for the man to sit between us & drive. Off all 3 in the gig from Crieff (Mr Robertson’s inn & hotel), a very nice, picturesque little town, at 3 35/60. (Vid. Scottish Tourist, 83/415) pass Monzie Castle (pronounced Mǒnēē, the Scotch seldom, observed Miss McL-, pronounce the Z), finely wooded, beautiful situation, fine valley with beautiful outlet upon the beautiful hills near Comrie. Handsome 2 storied gothic lodge & handsome looking castle-house. At 4 35/60 (a very heavy shower came on that lasted all thro’ the glen as far as Amulrie) a turnpike & then fine descent into Glen Almond. Leave (right) the turn into that part of the glen called Logiealmond, where (not far from us) Fiauteach, or Fendoch & the bridge of Buchanty (pronounced Būchăuty), 83/415. Glen Almond very fine. The finest narrow, rugged, savage pass I have seen in Scotland. Not a hut to be seen from 4 35/60 to 5 5/60 when cross the Almond over a good one-arched stone bridge at Newton & turn right (hereabouts Fingal’s house & the tomb of Ossian, vid. Scottish Tourist p.83) (leaving Glen Almond stretching farther left, getting wider, with green pastures & a few cottages here & there) into another wild, rugged valley (the mountains however, on each side not quite so high) which led us to Amulrie (spelt on the signpost at the inn, Amulree) where we alighted at 5¾. Expected not to be able to get anything there. However, the chamber maid untold made up a good peat fire & our little landlord (John Cameron), in addition to the boiled milk & eggs we had ordered, sent us in at 6¼ excellent fried trout, cold mutton, fried mutton ham, cold boiled chicken, veal pie, in short a very good dinner. A remarkably civil little man who had only come 25 May last & was busy with workmen getting the house altered so as have room for good accommodations.

Monzie Castle, by John Preston Neale, in page 160 of volume 6 of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. L.P, 1818, by John Preston Neale.

Off from Amulrie at 7 20/60. Wild, rugged drive but excellent road. At 8¾ turnpike & fine descent upon Aberfeldy. Stop there at 9 10/60 on the plea of giving the horse water, but in reality on account of our driver, who smelt strongly of whisky before setting off, owned to having a bottle of porter at Amulrie which made him drive awkwardly, & put me in many a fright when the horse stopped or backed every now & then (often no guard to the road, might have gone down into the little lake 3 or 4 miles from (on this side) Amulrie, or down the precipice). The man got whisky & kept us 10 minutes at Aberfeldy, till I declared I would not wait a minute longer & should have driven off without him. More & more rather tipsy at last. The horse tired, & I never was better pleased than to see us [safe] arrived at Kenmore, where we alighted at the large good inn at 10½. Excellent new road only done about 12 months ago all the way from Crieff to Kenmore. The old road close alongside of us every now & then. 6 turnpikes at 9d each = 4/6 even for a gig. But of all the roads the beat ‘em is the 8 miles from Killin to Lochearnhead. Had we had a post chaise then would have been 2 turnpikes 4/., posting at 1/6 per mile 12/., postboy at 3d per mile 2/. = 18/. for 8 miles.

Came to our room at 10¾. Sometime with her then came to my room, undressed and went to her in bed from twelve and ten minutes to one and a half. She told me the whites had come on on Thursday night and she was quite alarmed. It was six years since she had had them when doctor Belcombe cured her. Lays all to walking up the hill at Inverary. Feared I should now hate her. Only sorry for my disappointment. Would have me when she was able. Wished I had known her twenty years, she should then have been better worth my trouble. Said I would be prudent for a night or two but assured her I should not love her less but if possible better. Poor soul, thought I, I have probably done the mischief. [2] Perpetual & heavy showers all the day from morning to night. Great deal of heavy rain from leaving Crieff to reaching Kenmore. Sad rainy weather.

Crieff to Ardoch & back                 18
Crieff to Amulrie                             12, paid for 13 miles      
Amulrie to Aberfeldy                    9
Aberfeldy to Kenmore                   6             

[1] Scottish Tourist has this to say about the swords, the crown and the chair:
‘Great attention is paid to visitors, who are shown the gilded figure of the crown which was carried in the coronation procession of his Majesty George IV., and the chair on which he sat at the banquet in Westminster Hall. There is also a large two-handed sword, said to have belonged to Robert Bruce, and many other curiosities.’  ( – this is the 1830 edition, whereas Anne Lister would obviously have had an earlier edition in 1828)

[2] By ‘the whites,’ Sibella means some kind of (possibly/probably) sexually transmitted infection characterised by a whiteish vaginal discharge. Anne Lister writes in her journal entry for 23 July 1821, the very day that she and Mariana Lawton (nee Belcombe) renew their promise to each other, ‘It has occurred to me – can C— have given her a venereal disease?…’ Then on 4 August 1821 Anne confides that she is experiencing ‘a queer, hottish, itching sensation tonight, about the pudendum.’ The following day, ‘I am persuaded of being touched with the complaint [venereal disease].’ Quotations from Lister, Anne, in Whitbread, Helena (2010), The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister: Vol. 1: I Know My Own Heart: The Inspiration for Gentleman Jack, Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition, p. 176, 177 & 178). Anne consulted a number of different medical men in order to try and cure herself of the disease, but sadly ended up passing it on to at least Isabella Norcliffe (Tib) and (seemingly) Sibella MacLean. I am unaware of whether she transmitted the infection to any of her other partners or whether she was ever free of the infection.

Helena Whitbread writes this about what type of infection Anne actually had:

‘There existed [in Anne Lister’s time] a state of confusion about venereal disease. For instance, syphilis and gonorrhea were often classed as two different stages of the same disease. Vaginal discharges in women, such as that suffered by Anne and Marianna, posed a different problem which was not really solved until after the Second World War. Trichomoniasis is the most common form of these discharges and is easily transmitted during lesbian sexual activity, whereas syphilis is virtually non-existent among lesbians due to the absence of penile penetration. The fact that Anne was technically a virgin would also have ruled out the possibility of syphilis. Anne’s descriptions of her symptoms sound typical of trichomoniasis. There are no long-term effects from this type of infection and today it would have been treated quickly and efficiently, as would more serious venereal complaints. The sad thing about this is that Anne, on going to Paris to find a cure, was probably made worse by M Dupuytren’s [the doctor who treated Anne in Paris in 1824] prescriptions of mercury.’ (Lister, Anne, In Whitbread, Helena (2015), No Priest but Love: The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister 1824-1826, Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition, location 1637.)

Whitbread writes this about the attitude that Anne took to her infection:

‘Anne now began to feel a great sense of responsibility about indulging in sexual activity with any other woman. She made every effort to cure herself of the complaint, and included in these efforts was that of abstaining from sexual contact with Marianna for fear of further outbreaks of infection. Although she was not always successful in this last aim, the sobering fact of a venereal complaint certainly changed Anne’s attitude towards Marianna and towards future sexual conquests.’ (Lister, Anne, in Whitbread, Helena (2015) No Priest but Love: The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister 1824-1826, Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition, location 347.)

You can read the original diary entry here:

7 thoughts on “Friday 20 June 1828

    1. Could certainly be. It saddens me how much Anne, her partners and contemporaries suffered due to lack of medical knowledge in their time.

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