Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sasha Clarkson has posted 68 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.
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About Tuesday 11 December 1660
Today, you can't be tried before a jury unless committed to trial by magistrates. It was the same in Pepys' day, although the examinations were less formal. According to Robert Neill's 'Mist Over Pendle', handwritten records of magistrate Roger Nowell's examinations (in 1611-12) of the Pendle witch case accused are still extant. Neill partly based the novel on these records.
On another subject completely, Pepys' "today" was the winter solstice, the Julian calendar then being 10 days behind the Gregorian.
About Saturday 8 December 1660
Re Rick's comment about the Thames freezing and the old London Bridge. It should also be remembered that the Thames in London is tidal to Teddington Lock beyond Twickenham, and that salt-water needs a lower temperature to freeze than fresh water. But because the old London Bridge restricted the flow so much, the water upstream would have been fresher (or at least less saline) and have a greater propensity to freeze for this reason too (until 1831 when the mediaeval bridge was finally demolished).
About Tuesday 4 December 1660
It's interesting that Cromwell was referred to as "Oliver", but the rest by their surnames.
Incidentally, he still has his fans here in Wales. There is a firm in Welsh-speaking Cardigan known as "O C Davies A'r Mab" (Oliver Cromwell Davies and son.)
About Saturday 1 December 1660
Note, as previously mentioned, the winter solstice would have been on December 11th by Pepys' (Julian) calendar, which then corresponded to December 21st in the Gregorian calendar, at that time still only used in Catholic countries.
The traditional country celebrations of Christmas did indeed have pagan roots, which were merely rebranded by the early and mediaeval church. For example, carols like 'The Holly And The Ivy', and 'The Boar's Head', refer to pagan customs.
The boar was sacred to the Norse/Germanic fertility god Freyr/Frey, and also to his sister Freyja. At Yule, the Norse winter solstice festival, it was traditional to sacrifice a boar to Freyr. I would imagine, the pagans being practical people, that the head would have been the god's portion, whilst the village folk ate the rest!
About Monday 26 November 1660
I'm a mathematician Bill, but I also suffer from mathematical hubris - welcome to the club! :D
In a course I took recently, I cursed my tutor (mentally) for the multiple errata, and then the errata to the errata. Well, hoist by my own petard, my corrected correction is "The (Julian) October revolution occurred in Gregorian November ..."
Let E be an astronomical event, such as a solstice; let t(E) be its date in the Julian calendar, and let T(E) be its date in the Gregorian calendar. Then, in Pepys' time, t(E) = T(E) - 10, or T(E) = t(E) +10.
So, for Pepys, an event such as the winter solstice occurs around Dec 21st - 10 = December 11th. And "today" in Pepys diary, corresponds to 26th November +10 = 6th December in OUR (Gregorian) calendar.
However, for a fixed CALENDAR date such as Christmas, C in the Gregorian calendar and c in the Julian, then T(c) = T(C) + 10, or t(C) = t(c) - 10.
So, England would have celebrated Christmas 10 days later than the Catholic countries. By 1752, when Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, the difference was 11 days: now it's 13. Russian Orthodox Christmas is currently celebrated on January 7th.
Errgh - got it wrong: it would have been about 10 days EARLIER according to the calendar. The "October" revolution occurred in Julian November; Julian Christmas is in Gregorian January. The Julian calendar was a remarkable achievement, but it slightly over-estimated the solar year, meaning that the calendar was slowly moving out of sync with the seasons.
So all the seasons would have started about 10 days earlier in Pepys' time, so he's closer to midwinter and the solstice than we are!
To expand on Bill's point, because the Earth is close to it's January perihelion, Kepler's second law means that, in the northern hemisphere, solar days are longer than the average 24 hours close to the winter solstice, so astronomical noon moves a little forward each day. At London's latitude, the earliest sunset is around 10th December, and the latest sunrise is around the 31st/1st January, with the actual shortest day in the middle.
In Pepys time this would have been about 10 days later, because Britain still used the Julian Calendar.
Kepler's laws and Descartes' methods helped Pepys' mate Newton come up with his theory of gravity.
About Thursday 22 November 1660
"1500£ would weight 29.3 pounds" Well researched (again) Bill! :)
So £1000 in gold would weigh about 20lb - little enough for one man to carry. So Sandwich's £1000 of a week ago was almost certainly a mixture of silver AND gold.