Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sasha Clarkson has posted 171 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.
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About Friday 20 December 1661
Although, in 1661, the Winter Solstice was on the 11th December in the Julian Calendar, because the sun is close to perihelion at this time of year, an astronomical day is longer than 24 hours: therefore the sun rises a little later each day until about 10 days after the solstice at this latitude.
About Monday 16 December 1661
Interesting Bill :)
I wonder whose observations and calculations Andrews' ephemerides were based upon. Perhaps it was Kepler's Rudolphine Tables?
Modern Technology is wonderful: Seething Lane is 51°30'(51.5°)N, 0°04'W. Adding 10 days, today is 26th December in the Gregorian Calendar: therefore the Sun rises about 8:05 and sets around 15:56 by GMT, which would have been close enough to the local time used in Pepys' day. Of course, the Greenwich Meridian had not been though of yet: the first one being set up by Edmond Halley in 1721.
I guess that by "Lord Sandwich’s lodging", Pepys means the 'Grace and favour' apartment which Sandwich had in Whitehall. It seems that he was still maintaining this, despite Lady S moving in at the Wardrobe.
About Tuesday 10 December 1661
I'm confused here about the identity of "my Lord" Crew: Thomas Crew is an MP, and is not yet Lord Crew, as his father, Baron Crew of Stene, is still alive until 1679. "The House" could mean the Commons or the Lords.
"My Lord" could of course merely be a courtesy extended by Pepys to Crew (fils), but he is referred to as "Sir Thomas" on 13th November, and his father, Baron Crew, is referred to as "My Lord Crew".
Although Baron Crew "retired from public life" after the restoration, can we conclude that he never attended the Lords? The History of Parliament website also states that "He was reckoned an opposition peer from 1675 till his death"?
Ooops - I meant tomorrow! - could you move or remove that please Phil? :)
Note that today is the Winter Solstice (shortest day) for Pepys.
About Saturday 7 December 1661
Pepys describes the altercation between Ferrers and the watermen in a very matter-of-fact manner, without overt partisanship, except perhaps indicated by the words "soundly beaten". He was generous to his patron's footman though for attempting Ferrers' defence. A crown, 5 shillings (20 shillings to the pound), was a not insignificant tip.
Sam, would have been well known by the watermen as a local and a regular customer, and probably in the tavern too. I expect he will have been able to sort things out diplomatically, without needing to appeal to his authority as a magistrate (Justice of the Peace), which in any case did not run in the City itself.
About Thursday 5 December 1661
Christmas was not abolished under the Commonwealth/Protectorate as an egalitarian measure. Indeed, although the Leveller faction of the Army was egalitarian, Cromwell himself was not; even less so were the original military Parliamentary leaders like Sandwich's cousin Manchester. At best, the interregnum regime was more meritocratic and less corrupt.
People who campaign to "keep Christ in Christmas" always make me smile. Christmas is on 25th December because the Church in the later Roman empire simply rebranded the local pagan winter solstice festivals, from Saturnalia to Yule. Many Norse pagan traditions are subsumed into an English Christmas. For example, the ancient Boar's Head Carol refers to the tradition of sacrificing a wild boar to the fertility god Freyr. Mistletoe is is of great Celtic pagan signnificance, and Santa Claus is the modern manifestation of Jolnir, the Yule god, an aspect of Odin.
The Puritans were not motivated by a desire for misery, but by a desire to "Purify" and remove the Papist sanctioned pagan traditions from their religion. They failed, just as the early church did, because ritual midwinter excess served several useful social functions.
The restrictions on Christmas should also be seen in the context of the long tradition of European sumptuary laws, from ancient Rome, through mediaeval England and also Tudor times.
About Tuesday 3 December 1661
On 20th November, Pepys wrote of Anne Wright " a witty but very conceited woman and proud." Today's entry sheds a little more light on the reasons therefor.
Although the daughter of a puritan Commonwealth family, the good Lady's attitudes firmly reflect the values of the restored court. Some of Sam's own values were undoubtedly a product of Cromwell's era and, although a supporter of the new regime, he is still uneasy about its stability and "public relations".
About Sunday 1 December 1661
Of course, many "disapproved of Charles as a ruler" - even Clarendon at the start of his political career. Up to the beginning of the the second civil war in 1648, Cromwell himself was a moderate, and wished for a constitutional agreement with Charles I, only turning against the King when his untrustworthiness led to renewed bloodshed.