Publication of these selected extracts has been made possible thanks to the Brecland Society and the Norfolk Records Offfice. The original diary is held by the NRO,dcoument reference MC 175/12-13, 638X2. For a discussion about the importance of the diary, and a sumary of Frank's life see The Journal Of Breckland Studies Volue1 pp54-67
27th Foggy. Walked to Brandon & wrote letters. I heard a Missel thrush singing.
31st I cut out of a willow stem, 3 large orange & brown weevils.
1st I cut out 4 more orange & brown weevils from the Willow.
2nd Wrote letters, & walked on Santon Breck.
we walked onto Grimes Grave's finding on Santon Breck 2 very small specimens of Geaster rufescens1
28th A few flakes of snow fell. I walked to Brandon & back, saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker & heard a chaffinch singing.
29th Heard a Snipe singing & drumming, & a chaffinch singing. Walked to Brandon & back. Frosty weather.
5th We saw V.Io 2 on the wing.
12th Cooper gave me a bit of lead water pipe gnawed through by rats. Philip & I went over Rought's Rabbit Factory where I took many beetles of 2 species Burton showed us the factory & told us they employ 300 hands, many of them girls. The rabbit skins are plucked by women i.e. divested of the long coarse hair, prepared in some way with vitriol, quick silver, &.c. & then put through machines worked by steam. These machines neatly pare off the downy felt without disarranging it & cut up the skin at the same time into long fine shreds. The felt is used for making felt hats & the shreds of skin for size or some sort of glue. Beetles and certain species of micro-lepidoptera make sad havoc with the skins in store. Tinea iruella 3, a rare insect, is said to occur in fields in Brandon where the refuse and waste bits of skin & fur are thrown as manure. Burton showed us many skins of tame rabbit, Australian rabbit & N.American skins of "Nutria4" which look much like other skins, but the teats are much nearer to the dorsal line than to the ventral line. Burton says they have naked tails.
13th Philip & I walked to High Lodge & saw hundreds of old flint pits with big Pines growing in & among them. We flushed a Woodcock but not from eggs. Saw frog spawn in pond at High Lodge.
We found in Downham Geaster rufescens.
16th I found several Peçiça acetabulum7 & saw a Heron go off a tree by the Heron's nests in the gate-house Plantation. Heard 2 Thickknees8 , Moorhens, Lapwings, Snipe, Bat & .c. in the evening after dinner.
17th Hot sunny day like yesterday & the day before. Mrs Ellis of the Thetford Temperance Hotel kindly drove here in the morning & spent the day here in order that I might drive Helen about, which I did, to Thetford Warren in the morning, where we saw Wheatears, rabbits, black rabbits & a Hooded Crow: on the way home we saw a Missel thrushes nest in a Lime tree. After lunch we drove to Brandon & back & saw another Missel thrushes nest in a Lime tree, bought 4 Ringdoves @ 9d each, sowed peas & gave away Ringdoves, potatoes, kale, celery, & parsley. Sent P peçiça to Plowright & Red flowered horse chestnut seeds to Philip.
26th 1C.H.G.Bd. & I wandered with rods by the river, I caught dace with a bluebottle fly (Musca vomitoria, probably) I caught 2C.Cardui9
30th In Downham gravel pits opposite to Chas. Addisson's I found 2 yellowish paleolithic ? waste flakes in the gravel, 2 neolithic scrapers & 1 spearhead on the surface above the gravel. I pitched a mole out of its run with my stick, it gave a harsh grating squeak & half buried itself instantly in the loose sandy soil where it fell.
9th Walked to Grime's Graves... brought home about 7lbs of Fistulina hepatica16 from the inside of a hollow oak.
11th Stormy. I cut pumpkins, fed larvae & .c. & dissected a ♀ House sparrow (found dead) it contained no food, but the gizzard was well stored with brick dust & grit.
16th Walked to Grime's Graves & brought home a bag full of Fistulina hepatica from the inside of a hollow oak.
2nd I saw & heard 21 Fieldfares flying to N.E., saw & heard a starling imitate the whistle of a Stone curlew.
8th At Santon by St Helen's Well I saw Lloyd shoot a Little Grebe, a Waterrail & 2 moorhens, we also started a coot …
9th Autumn foliage is unusually beautiful especially that of beech just now, though there has been for weeks past a splendid show of yellow & golden colour on limes, elm & larch, contrasting well with the brown foliage of the oaks & dark bluish green of scotch fir.
25th P & I walked to Brandon. Talbot drove us to West Tofts & back to Brandon. We lunched at Tofts with Sutton & brought back 3 roots of Rudbeckia laciniata.
26th Met Mr. Williams of Croxton at St.Helen's Well. He walked home with us.
27th P & I walked to Grime's Graves & back & after lunch to Brandon & saw Rought's Rabbit felt manufactory.
[Before 25th] Saw many Crossbills on Scottish Pines by the station.
26th Ph. & I to Bromehill & back seeing hundreds of Crossbills in the Pines.
28th Boughen sent me 2 photographs which he took of the Didlington Sandgrouse17 last summer. too minute for me to keep.
8th I heard & saw Picus minor18 at Hardwick, heard chichaff there several times. Saw a Hedgewarbler's nest of 4 sat on eggs about one foot from the ground in a Rue bush in Bury gaol garden.
13th Geo: Pollard tells me by letter that he saw a flock of 32 Crossbills at Weeting on the 6th
I went to Brandon by rail & took mea manû19 from a small Scotch pine (a mere bush) in the Bromehill Ballast Pit, Weeting, a nest of 4 sat on eggs of Common Crossbill the female sat on them till I touched the nest & I had a good view of her greenish back, crossed mandibles & forked tail. After I took the eggs she fluttered round me frequently settling on the tree within a few inches of my head or hand. Geo: Pollard gave me another nest of 4 Crossbills' eggs (full clutch) which he took for me on the 6th instant from a Scotch Pine in Boggis' Plant n., Weeting. He had a good view of the ♀ Xbill on this nest, his son touched her tail, & the red cock came & fluttered about him with the hen when he took the nest, he also gave me a clutch of 4 Ring Plover's eggs taken by him on the 12th inst & 2 clutches of 4 & 4 eggs of Lapwing taken by him on the 10th & 11th instant all in Weeting … saw 6 or 7 clutches of 4 eggs each of Missel thrush. In the train the Barnham tenant farmer Turner tells me there are still Sand grouse at Merton. I heard a Thick knee at Weeting.
22nd I bicycled to Ampton, heard Nightingales at Ampton & Fornham.
24th Train to Ingham, walked thence to John Paley's at Ampton, between J.Paley's and Ingham station
about 20 Testacella haliolidea20 & put them into spirits.
15th Fine hot sunny day. Saw 15 Testacella in my garden. Received clutches of 5 &5 eggs of Wheatear, 2 & 2 Thickknees & 4 ring Plover from Weeting, found there and sent by Geo: Pollard. I took a nest of 5 fresh eggs of Hedge Warbler from ivy on wall in my garden & saw the bird go off
16th Fine hot sunny day. Saw a Spotted Flycatcher at Rougham
17th Cycled to Ickworth & found a Hawfinch on its nest of 2 eggs about 5 feet from the ground in a Whitethorn.
18th Fine hot sunny day. Cycled to Tuddenham Fen & took clutch of 4 sat on eggs of meadow Pipit, eggs just under water, Meadow Pipit singing a few yards off. Saw a Blackheaded Gull, a shoveller ♂ & several Mallard on the water. Took home a clutch of 5 eggs of Chaffinch & a flint arrow head barbed & tanged & a long flint celt found in Tuddenham.
21st Ch.Gross drove me to Troston where we lunched with R.I. Lofft who photographed us. I took a fine clutch of 5 Blackbird's eggs from a nest about 6 feet from the ground in an elder there.
22nd Cycled to Ickworth & found a Hawfinch on nest of 2 eggs on top of a tall isolated Whitethorn (saw this nest as I was riding!) Saw another Hawfinch sitting on 4 eggs near the top of another tall isolated whitethorn within about 30 yards of the 1st. I took this clutch of 4 also the 2 eggs which I found on the 17th which are forsaken.
23rd Very hot sunny day. At Hardwick took clutches of 5 sat on eggs of Hawfinch about 10 feet from the ground in an isolated whitethorn & 3 fresh eggs of Redstart from a hole in whitethorn trunk. Received from W.C. Palmer a dead Picus21
Dadley the keeper gave me 2 Redshanks, a green sandpiper & a dunlin shot at Tuddenham on the 5th instant. He called the sandpiper a ‘greeenshank"
25th Showery. I found Silene noctiflora22 wild in Bury St Edmund's
27th Best 16 larvae of Berberata from Barberry in Shaker's Lane.23
28th Best 12 larvae of Berberata from Barberry in Shaker's Lane.
29th Took a full clutch of 4 sat on Linnets eggs from a gooseberry bush in my garden & identified Linnet leaving nest. Nurse & I each beat about 40 larvae of Berberata &.c in Shaker's Lane.
30th Very hot sunny day. Found a flint scraper near Shaker's Lane where I beat morning x afternoon, "taking" very many larvae of Berberata. 1 Cucubali24 emerged from this autumn's pupa.
31st Very hot sunny day. I beat many larvae of Berberata.
2nd E.Nurse gave me larvae of Berberata.
7th Warm & showery. Cycled to Barrow …. Found Nepeta cataria25 by roadside in Westley.
19th I dined with the Chas.Kilners at 6.45 meeting I.G. Adam's (practical demonstrator of pathology) of Christ's College Cambs. who has just returned from Pasteur's treatment after cutting his finger in examining Ickworth deer dead of rabies On his way to Pasteur he felt horrible symptoms of rabies also on his way home after the treatment but they soon ceased & he seems quite well & strong
eggs of Blackbird from boxfence, heavy as usual with mud.
8th at Hardwick I found in box bushes 2 nests of young Song thrushes, & many nests of much sat on eggs of thrush & blackbird.
11th Near Rushbrooke railway bridge I saw a Kingfisher fly out of its nesting hole. 12th I dug out the Kingfisher's nest, empty!
13th I heard a Wryneck.
14th At Hardwick I heard 2 young blackbirds, out of nest, Sturmer told me he saw the old blackbird feeding one of them & he also saw a Song thrushes nest full of young whose beaks were projecting over the sides of nest as if they were ready to fly.
15th Carpini26 ♀ has emerged & laid many eggs without ♂ after remaining 2 seasons in pupa.
16th Cycled to Cavenham …, on to Tuddenham where I obtained a rough flint celt. The keeper said he heard a cuckoo this morning in Tuddenham
18th At Hardwick I heard a Nightingale & young Rooks. At Hawstead I saw in Cottage gardens Fritillaria meleagris both purple & white (3 white blossoms on one stalk) which had been transplanted wild from Palmer's "Bell Meadow" (so named after them) in Hawstead. The labourers have called them "maroon bells" & "white bells"
7th By rail to Kennet ...I gathered on the railway bank a very large very dark blue variety of Polygala27
14th I walked to Fornham whence Hy. Prigg drove me to Eriswell. We walked thence to Mildenhall, Beck Row & back. At Mildenhall on palings I took 1 Sinnata28. I picked up from roadside stoneheaps on the way from Icklingham 2 Quartzite pebbles worn & battered at the ends & corners as if by human use, 10 Paleolithic waste flakes(1 was slightly trimmed) 1 core (paleolithic), & gathered a good bag of ag.procerus29 buds & ag. Georgii. 1 certata emerged.
I put the Ringdove & 1 Turtledove off their nests at the same moment within a few yards of each other, & found another Turtledove's nest of 2 young in a Furze bush. Heard a [- - - -] by the shepherd's house. I caught 1 fine ♀ Edusa & [F. Barclay] chased another, & caught 1 worm Pastinum in the middle of the "Griseata" pit at north end of of old heath. I caught 1 Linea.
4th Rail to Thetford, walked thence toward Rushford for Silene otites32 most of which has been cropped short by sheep. Caught 1 Linea33 - late & met Mr Russell (of the School House) who told me he once took a nest of 5 Crossbills eggs from a Pine between the Thetford Butts & Rushford in February.
9th Rail to Brandon, walked thence to Old Brandon on Brandon Fields, gave Carter 5/- for a good symmetrical barbed & serrated flint arrowhead found on Ling Heath, Brandon. Young Kent (Kent? Wolsey?) told me he & others found 14 nests of Crossbill there the year after I took my 6 nests of eggs. Several men & boys tell me there are Crossbills there now & a few days ago a boy had a clutch of 5 rotten eggs of Crossbill. I gathered a fine lot of Silene otites34 & several larvae of Irregularis. More Berberata [qui?]
12th With Baron's eldest son to Higham by rail, walked thence to Tuddenham gathering Silene Otites. Caught Alexis & ♂ Edusa & Cytisaria35, found 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 eggs of Ringdove & 5 sat on Greenfinches, a nest of young Greenfinches, a nest of young Turtledoves & a nest of young _____ ? Warblers? All in in Elder, but the Turtle doves & W arblers which were both in Furze bushes, also a clutch of 2 young Nightjars well able to fly with the old ♀. Also 2 nests of 2 & 2 eggs of Stockdove in rabbit holes out of which we saw the 2 old Stockdoves fly. Very many Berberata emerged the last 3 days from my pupae.
30th On the path by Southgate Green I picked up a very fat fresh killed Dormouse & find it is well known at Hardwick & around Bury by the labourers who call it 'Sleeping Mouse'. Tooley the undergardener at Hardwick traps them.
7 Peçiçia acetabulum = now known as Helvella acetabulum; common name Vinegar Cup. [
It is reasonably widespread with ca 20 sites recorded in Norfolk and is found in deciduous and coniferous woods.
In Norgate's time all ‘cup fungi" would have placed in the genus Peziza but those with stalks have been moved out.
For a long time, and in many books, this species was known as Paxina acetabulum. - Tony Leech, Norfolk fungi recorder]☝
There are but two other agarics that at all resemble it, and both are edible. One about the same size is Agaricus rachodes. It is not generally considered so good in flavour as A.procerus. Mrs. Hussey however, says plainly, "If Agaricus procerus is the king of edible funguses, Agaricus rachodes is an excellent viceroy." From William Robinson's book ‘Mushroom Culture: its extension and improvement" (1870)☝
17 Sandgrouse Members of the genus Syrrhaptes are found in the steppes of central Asia. Their range extends from the Caspian Sea through southern Siberia, Tibet and Mongolia to northern and central China. They are normally resident, but Pallas's sandgrouse can be locally migratory and very occasionally is eruptive, appearing in areas well outside its normal range. This happened in 1863 and 1888, and a major eruption took place in 1908 when many birds were seen as far afield as Ireland and the United Kingdom where they bred in Yorkshire and Moray.☝