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Bengt Ferrner (1724-1802), the son of a Swedish clergyman, studied mathematics and astronomy at Uppsala, taught at the new Karlskrona School of Navigation, and then held the chair in astronomy at Uppsala before travelling extensively in Europe in 1758-62, studying chiefly navigational instruments. On his return to Sweden he was appointed tutor to Crown Prince Gustav, became a minister in the king's chancellery in 1765, was raised to the nobility in 1766, and was elected a member of the Literary Academy in 1786. His travels in Europe brought him in May 1760 to Coalbrookdale and Holywell, and he recorded his observations in a detailed diary. As a foreigner with specialist technical knowledge, Fermer provides a valuable insight into the affairs of local industry in Flintshire, over thirty years before Pennant's history of Holywell parish.s The complex history and inter-relationships of the various industrial enterprises in the Holywell area at this period have been described in some detail by Lewis.6 The following extracts translated from the diary describe Ferrner's brief observa- tions on the Severn coracles at Shrewsbury, and then, after he had travelled on via Whitchurch and Chester, the full account of his visit to the parish of Holywell. The translation attempts to follow faithfully the Swedish original, which is in places obscure and ungrammatical. Spellings of proper names are given as in Ferrner's diary; the correct forms are given in the footnotes. I am grateful to the staff of the Carolina Rediviva Library and Professor Lars Kardell of Uppsala, the Cultural Department of the Swedish Embassy and Mr. K. Davies of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Liverpool Polytechnic, for their assistance in the preparation of this note. BENGT FERRNER'S DIARY Shrewsbury 15 May 1760 The river Severn is navigable to Shrewsbury and twenty miles above, which circumstance contributes very much to the prosperity of the town. Here are dressed and coloured the coarse cloths which are manufactured or woven from Wales. We saw here the portable fishing boats made of horsehides, which the inhabitants here use for their fishing in the springtime. It was one and a half yards long and one wide and so light that the man can put it on his back and carry it home with him together with his basket. It was rowed with one paddle which the man operated with his hands without supporting it against the boat. This was made inside of thin wooden laths, which hold the boat in its shape. B. Former, Resa i Europa 1758-1762 (Uppsala), 1956. (The passages translated here are on pp. 258-260). 5 T. Pennant, History of the Parishes of Whiteford and Holywell (1796). 6 W. J. Lewis, Lead Mining in Wales (1967).