A SELECTION EDITED AND INTRODUCED BY WILLIAM PLOMER
Francis Kilvert was an country clergyman who lived from 1840 to 1879, and these are his diaries: gossipy, sweet-natured, generous, curious, and full of an abiding wonder and delight in the natural world and the beauties of the changing seasons. A worthy heir to Pepys and Dorothy Wordsworth, Kilvert is an irresistible companion.
Robert Francis Kilvert was born at Hardenhuish, near Chippenham, in Wiltshire on 3 December 1840. He was the second child of the rector of the parish, the Rev. Robert Kilvert, and had one brother and four sisters. Francis Kilvert spent his early years at Hardenhuish, was educated privately, went in due course to Wadham College, Oxford, and entered the Church. He became vicar of Bredwardine in Herefordshire in 1877. In 1879 he married Elizabeth Rowland, whom he had met during a visit to Paris. But after little more than a month of marriage, Kilvert died suddenly of peritonitis, aged only thirty-nine.