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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Historical diaries to go online
William Bulkeley's diaries held at the University of Wales, Bangor
The diaries have until now only been read by academics
A thousand handwritten pages of two diaries showing rural life in Anglesey in the mid 18th Century are to be made available worldwide on the internet.

The University of Wales, Bangor, has won a 6,500 grant to place the diaries of island gentleman William Bulkeley on the world-wide web.

In his diaries, Bulkeley charts everything from the weather to his daughter's marriage to a pirate.

The university's archivist said they were a great source of social history.

William Bulkeley's two diaries have been in the possession of the university for some time and used by academics there.

The diaries cover a 26-year period of day-to-day life for Mr Bulkeley, who lived at Brynddu, Llanfechell, on Anglesey, from 1734 to 1760, each daily entry starting with the weather and the direction of the wind.

May 8, 1734: Today I set out to Beaumaris to attend the county election which begins tomorrow....{as expected} Lord Bulkeley had been chosen without opposition
Entry from William Bulkeley's diary

"It's an interesting picture of rural Anglesey in the mid 18th Century," said the university's archivist Einion Thomas.

"He describes going to Beaumaris to the court of sessions and how much drink he consumed there," Mr Thomas added.

"And he described in 1741 that Martin, who was a judge there, was 'extremely drunk and unable to carry on with the court case'."

The diaries also record Mr Bulkeley's daily farming practices and the troublesome marriage of his daughter to a distiller, who later turned out to be a pirate.

Historical importance

"The old man was not pleased that she married the pirate," explained Mr Thomas.

"Anyway, he gave his blessing in the end and she went to live with him.

"It's a very sad story because he died in Italy and she had to make her way home to Anglesey and to her father once more.

Mr Thomas said the diaries were of great historical importance.

"If you're doing research into a mid 18th Century rural area of north Wales I don't think you can do anything without looking at these diaries," he said.

The university has received the grant for the project from Cymal ( Museums and Archives Wales). It will digitise the diaries with the help of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and it is hoped the diaries will be on the web by next April.

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