His diaries were kept in large, purpose-printed Charles Letts books, with interleaved blotting paper; these contain some interesting facts and figures of the time, as well as advertisements. A daily entry, throughout the year, first records the weather and then goes on to note the Vicar’s undertakings for the day. He noted planting in the garden, the purchase and killing of pigs and the making of cider for his household consumption. He noted his own visits, family illnesses, letters or telegrams sent and received and visitors. He also kept meticulous notes of expenditure, including the allowances made to his children, train fares, postage and of cheques written. There are times when he notes that the entry has been made in the wrong days, which implies that they are copied from a more informal ‘scribbling’ diary. He noted duties undertaken as the parish priest, for example at the local National School, with which he was heavily involved, attendance at his Church and unusual aspects of his services. He was also involved in Diocesan matters, with the Hereford Eye and Ear Hospital and with his local Board of Guardians. He wrote often to the Sister in charge of St Martin’s Home [for unmarried mothers, formerly in Walnut Tree Avenue, but since demolished] perhaps seeking a place for those amongst his parishioners who were about to give birth, but he may also have served on the Board of Trustees for the Home. As the First World War went on, he became increasingly involved in the local committees that were established to oversee different aspects of the war effort. He noted baptisms, marriages and funerals and he was assiduous in visiting his sick and dying parishioners. However, on the whole, his pastoral duties do not appear to have been too onerous; he often noted that his services are ‘badly attended’. In 1911 his parishioners numbered 245. He spent much time with other members of the family, walking in the Black Mountains.
Interleaved in the diaries are the occasional letter, bills, notes of expenditure, receipts for rent and stock dealing correspondence, [it is not clear whether this is personal stock or part of the parish’s finances]. There are also advertising leaflets for various services available from the printers of the diary. At the rear of the diary are separate pages of cash accounts giving income and expenditure.
Many of his children still intermittently lived at home and their travels, letters and other activities are mentioned in the diaries. His nearest railway station was at Moorhampton and he and his family used it frequently to travel into Hereford, for meetings and entertainments, and as the starting point for longer journeys. His daughters’ expenditure on train fares, outings and postage were noted amongst his out-goings. Occasionally there are signed slips from them, with a note of their expenditure, highlighting their dependence on their father; and he makes occasional allowances to all his children. He seems also to have used a hired carriage driven by ‘Akers’, whose name appears frequently, both in the expenditure columns and scribbled on pages in the diaries. William Akers was a shopkeeper in the adjacent hamlet of Eccles Green; presumably this is one of his sons, working for Derham Marshall on a casual basis and working in the garden was ‘Prosser’. The live-in staff at the vicarage probably consisted of a cook, [originally Helena Wilding or ‘Lena’; until she married] a parlour maid [various names appear] and a ‘page boy’ Sidney Albert Pines. The latter being an orphan from London, who enlisted in August 1914, served in the Cyclists Corps and was killed in action in 1918; he is commemorated in the bell tower of All Saints in Hereford, alongside Gilbert Rimmer, the schoolmaster and other bellringers from the diocese who were killed in the First World War. Sidney had two sisters, [Helen Charlotte] Florence and Annie Louise, both younger than him. In May 1916, Florence is noted in the diary as being in receipt of wages from ‘Henry Derham Marshall’, whilst Sidney is still serving in France.
The older Derham Marshalls were often ill and it is interesting to note that infections such as sore throats, colds and influenza, which today would be quickly cleared by antibiotics, were worrying, as they lasted for days and sometimes weeks, requiring bed rest and frequent visits from the Doctor.