John Byng, The Torrington Diaries: Containing the tours through England And Wales of the Hon. John Byng (Later Fifth Viscount Torrington) between the years 1781 and 1794
John Byng was born in 1743, the younger son of George Byng, third Viscount Torrington, of Southill, Bedfordshire; he was the nephew of Admiral John Byng, controversially executed in 1757 for cowardice. He attended Westminster School, then served in the army from 1760 to 1780. Between 1782 and 1799 he served as a Commissioner of Stamps with the Inland Revenue. He was not well-known in his lifetime but is now known for his diaries, describing journeys by horse through England and Wales between 1781 and 1794. He described the buildings and landscapes he visited, and the people he met. He was often critical, or downright rude, but unlike travellers such as Cobbett had no strong political agenda. He finally became fifth Viscount Torrington in December 1812, but died in London in January 1813. Our coverage of Byng's diary is currently a work in progress, and limited to text from the fourth and final published volume. Tours are listed in the order they were taken, not in the order they were published.