A. D. 1700.
The discoveries I made about this time, relating to the memorable battle
betwixt the primitive Christians in these parts and the Pagans, (mentioned
by Bede) and the stations of both their armies, place of battle and
sepulture, with many other circumstances discovered by the remains of
the Saxon names and views of the places may be found in my Diary, and
in the new Camden. What more immediately relates to these papers, is
the further affliction of my poor family by the small-pox.
This distemper was now epidemical and very fatal: since the former visitation, which left me childless, it had pleased God to give me four children, who were all sick at the same time, of the same distemper. We were now deprived of two of them, Elizabeth and Ruth; the elder, my dear daughter Betty, had not only a peculiar loveliness in her countenance, but what is infinitely preferable, was pious above her years.
But I ought also to record the tender mercies of the Lord, who spared the lives of my son, Ralph, and daughter Grace, who yet survive, and I hope may be useful in their respective generations.
I was somewhat diverted from musing too much on my own affairs, by the visits of several persons of quality, (members of both Houses of Parliament) to see the curiosities, the Earl of Abington's brother, (nephew to the Duke of Leeds) Sir Willoughby Hickman, Sir John Kaye, &c.; but these again were abated by notice of the deaths of my honoured and dear friends, as Dr. Sampson, of London, a pious, learned, ingenious and obliging person, and Dr. Nicholson, of York, another worthy good man. The former left me a valuable manuscript as a legacy, with an affecting letter ; the relict of the other sent me his curious collection of dried plants, in a large folio.