A LOCAL history group in a Ryedale village has completed its fourth book - based on the diaries of a Victorian school teacher.

Frederick C Dawson was a teacher in Appleton-le-Moors in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. The diary is a personal record of Dawson’s life in Appleton during the period from November 1840 to the end of December 1843, but although it is the journal of a school teacher it does not contain many references to the school.

Instead, it has a striking personal tone and contains many insights into village life.

Now, the Appleton-le-Moors History Group has written a 140-page book based on Dawson’s diaries, entitled The Life and Times of Frederick C Dawson, School Teacher of Appleton-le-Moors (1841-1843).

The diaries came to the group by a circuitous route. Dawson was employed by the village’s benefactor Joseph Shepherd. The history group understands that Dawson presented the diary to Joseph, and it was passed down through the Shepherd family.

Some time before the death of the final Appleton Shepherd, Susanna, in the 1960s, the diary was handed to Charles Russell, a retired bank manager. It was he who decided the diary rightly belonged with the Tomlinson family, as they were so often mentioned in its pages.

He gave it to John Tomlinson, who passed it to his son John, of Ebberston, who passed it to the history group.

Jim Hall, secretary of the group, said: “It’s a most treasured possession and a key part of the archive.

“The group has researched in depth the life of Frederick before and after he came to Appleton and discovered an intriguing mixture; a rise from lowly beginnings in the East End of London to a fairly wealthy middle-class conclusion in Lincolnshire.”