The Diary of the Rev. William Fidler

A photograph of oil painting of the Rev. William Fidler.
Rev. William Fidler by William Gush

This document is a transcription of my great great great grandfather’s diary for the years 1825-1827.

The Reverend William Fidler was born on 18th December 1796 in Carlisle, Cumberland, England. He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1824 and married Anna Wale in Rothley, Leicestershire, England, on 9th March 1825. Sixteen days later the couple embarked for St. Vincent on their first mission to the West Indies. This diary records that journey and the following two years in St. Vincent.

It was transcribed in 2003 from a microfilm copy of the original diary, which is now in the archives of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

The diary was given to SOAS in 2000 by Mr. Derek Evans, executor of the estate of the Rev. Oscar Muspratt (1906-2000). Initially the author of the diary was unknown (the diary is not signed), but members of staff at SOAS were able to identify the author as a result of the information it contained.

Oscar Muspratt’s widow, Mrs. Vera Muspratt, had no idea how her husband had come to possess the diary. It was simply found among his personal papers at the time of his death. However, there may be a connection with Australia. Oscar Muspratt was born in Australia, and William Fidler’s eldest son, also named William Fidler, was sent to Australia as a missionary in 1857.

I have attempted to transcribe the diary as accurately as possible, retaining the original spelling and punctuation, although neither was consistent. The footnotes include additional information that I have added, and are not present in the original diary.

The diary begins in March of 1825, and the Fidlers went on to serve in several other Windward islands in the Caribbean, during three separate missions to the West Indies. Anna Fidler died in 1859 in what was then known as British Guiana, and William Fidler died in 1866 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England.

Kevin Laurence

April 2003

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