A. D. 1696.
To divert myself a little at leisure hours, I pored upon the old registers
of the Church, to make a computation of the growth or the declension
of the parish; of the health or sickliness of the several years, &c.
from Henry VIII.'s reign to the present. By them also I was enabled
to make considerable additions to the pedigrees of the gentry in these
parts, since serviceable to me in the Ducatus Leod. This also put me
upon viewing their ancient seats at Farnley Hall, Armley.
August 16. I sadly lament that I have misspent so much precious time, and blush to think that this day I enter upon the fortieth year of my age.
My aunt Thoreshy (relict of Alderman Paul Thoresby) told me a remarkable circumstance concerning my good uncle, Mr. George Thoresby, of Newcastle, whom she visited in his last sickness, and hearing his sighs and groans into her lodging, went early into his chamber to condole his bad night, " No aunt," said he, " it has been a good night, for I hope I have got a step nearer Heaven. It is better for me to have such weary nights, to disengage me the more from this transitory world." A dear friend of his and my father's was the holy and mortified Mr. Elkana Wales, of Pudsey, whose Memoirs I drew up about this time, from original papers in this repository, and transmitted to my friend, Dr. Sampson, of London, in return for those he sent me of Mr. Rayner, of Morley.
On a Lord's-day evening, there being severe thunder and lightning, I endeavoured to improve it on the children to serve and fear God, and avoid breaking the Sabbath-day, from the sad instance of some children that were playing at Holbeck on a Lord's-day, one of whom was downright slain, and others wounded.