Four Courts Press 
New Catalogue
October 2005
45/45/$65 hbk

The diary of Nicholas Peacock, 1740-51: the worlds of a county Limerick farmer and agent


Nicholas Peacock of Kilmoreen, near Adare, Co. Limerick, from 1740 to 1751 kept a detailed account book and diary of his life and work as a small farmer and the land agent to his relations, the Hartstonges of Court. Never published in full, his diary is one of the most complex and revealing accounts that we have of the world of rural 18th-century Ireland. It has been often drawn on by scholars, but never printed in full.

When the diary begins Peacock is a bachelor with a 'little family' of servants. His life changes when he becomes a married man with children. He writes in detail of the circumstances of his courtship and marriage, of building a new house and furnishing it. Nicholas and Catherine Peacock had three children, and Peacock's diary includes the circumstances of his wife's labour and the birth of their first and subsequent children.

Marie-Louise Legg is honorary research fellow in the department of history at Birkbeck College, London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her publications include Newspapers and nationalism: the Irish provincial press, 1850-92 (1998) and The Census of the Diocese of Elphin, 1749 (2004).

320pp October 2005