Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Mockett’s Journal a special treat for those antiquaries among local bloggers.

When other writers of local blogs turn up in the bookshop for a chat I often give them a copy of Mockett’s Journal one of the local books I publish. I do this because I consider Mockett to be Thanet’s first blogger.

I already publish a fair few sample pages at I have now put the rest of the book up at it’s a very big file that takes up a lot of webspace so I probably won’t leave it up indefinitely.

I hope I managed to get all the pages in the right order it was a bit of a mammoth task to turn it into webpages they are rather large pages to open so you may have to have some patience when opening them.

John Mockett (1775~1848) was a farmer in the Isle of Thanet at the beginning of the 1800s. He was a churchwarden to St. Peters at a time when local government was administered by the parish so he had considerable responsibility for the care of the population and the environment. Mockett also saw military service for 13 years as a “Yeoman of Thanet”.

This publication is the result of a journal kept by him and members of his family. Its original publication was partly financed by subscription, meaning that he got many of the people who bought it to pay for their copies in advance of publication.

It is filled with amusing information about our history the following are some examples.

When coaches first appeared in England a law was passed to prevent men from riding in them as it was thought too effeminate.

When the peace was celebrated at St. Peters in 1814, 436 poor persons and stewards were seated at a table 132 feet long, with about 8 inches of table each it must have been a bit cramped, admission was by ticket all had to bring their own knives and forks.

In 1828 Margate Savings Bank had to close because a clerk absconded with a large amount of money.

In the same year when people dressed up for fun at Christmas a young woman dressed named Crow was so frightened on seeing a man dressed as a bear that she died.

In 1829 the overseer of the poor in St. Peters built a cage to display offenders to the public.

In the same year some of Thanet’s agricultural workers put out of work by the introduction of thrashing machines were deported for seven years for breaking up the machines.

Gaols at the time were fitted with treadmills for evildoers who if they didn’t keep up the pace caused a bell to ring.

The Mockett family have been yeomen and farmers in this area since the mid 1500s the collected documentary matter of John Mockett and his ancestors is an interesting read. Personally I have to admit that as soon as I acquired this book the exciting modern novel I was reading got put to one side and I was sucked into Mockett’s world.

In The Isle of Thanet we are very lucky that John Mockett decided to publish his journal for his friends to read. I would imagine that it cost him a considerable amount of money which I doubt he recovered much of from sales of the book.

Finally should you wish to buy the book as a paper copy click on this link or of course come to the bookshop in Ramsgate, please remember we close Thursday’s.
The picture is of Mockett of course


  1. Michael you do a fantastic job keeping us all informed of local history snippits and I for one thank you sir

  2. I bought this from Michael last year and it's still turning up interesting facts whenever I pick it up. No disrespect to old Mockett, but it is the perfect small-room companion.


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