Chapter One: Welborne-in-the-Marsh

Jan 2nd

Waterlogged fields Up betimes to accompany my Lord to visit the north of the town. The rain of recent days has stopped, but the ground remains very wet and stodgy. My Lord appears not to notice as he strode across the fields, but I was delayed several times as my boots were sucked from my feet by the cloying earth. In the midst of the field my Lord stopped and swung round. "Look Pipez, look all round, soon this will become Welborne". I looked around at the acres of mud and water surrounding us.

"Very good my Lord, so this will become Welborne-in-the-Bog"

"In-the-Marsh Pipez, in-the-Marsh, this is to be Welborne-in-the-Marsh. A bog is a rather different affair"

He strode back to his carriage muttering, 'King Pipez', though I have no royal blood at all. I stood a while, slowly sinking further into the sodden soil. The same soil which was destined to change the fortunes of my Lord and maybe even Fareham itself. My Lord left and I squelched my way back to my office.

Called my boy Will to me to clean my boots. The insolent child complained it will take him a day to remove all the mud and clay. He will need moulding to know my place and endeed his. I will speak to my poor wife about beating him.

Thence to the office for a little business then home to eat with my wife and Mr Cox the shipwright. We were very merry singing and whence he went I had a discourse with my wife about the boy. I will beat him in the morning.

And so to bed.

Jan 3rd

Up very betimes to go to my office.

I fear that the water filled fields of yesterday have filled me with cold. If I am to spend time with my Lord in the waters of Welborne-in-the-BogMarsh then I shall need more boots.

I have found the plans my Lord has submitted to the council for the new development. They are signed Secret - not for the eyes of anyone, especially Pipez. My Lord has a sense of humour.

The plans are for 10000 hovels in the fields between Fareham and Wickham. Ten thousand will provide roofs for all of Hampshire's and the surrounding councils poor and homeless I think, for many years. Not so much Poor House, more Poor Town My Lord's secrecy is well-placed as there are many peasants within the extant town who will object.

My Lord is a thinker for the future and his thoughts are not always appreciated; though I cannot think of an idea which has been a success, maybe this one will be the one.

Home to lunch, then to my office. My Lord's plan has no detail. Just a number, 10000.

There is much work to be done. Water for instance, ten thousand wells to be dug. There will be more holes than in Blackburn, Lancashire.

I shall have find out my Lord's detailed thoughts. Sewers too, though there is the county asylum sewage works nearby. Will the peasants carry their buckets to that plant or just throw it in the streets as they do in Gosport. An earlier discourse with my Lord is important, before the word gets out.

Home to supper, with my wife and Mr Cox the shipwright. My boy has mislaid his lute so our merry singing was not at its merriest.

Prayers and so to bed.

Jan 4th

Up betimes to berate my boy for mislaying his lute. He says he gave it to me for my office. I beat him a while.

To my office to start work on plans. I must remember to take the lute home tonight.