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Mary K has posted 980 annotations/comments since 9 March 2007.

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About Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Mary K  •  Link

I doubt the Montagu girls went to Tom's funeral as well, not least because women in general simply did not attend funerals; it was "not done." Funeral observance was man's business. This aspect of social etiquette persisted into the 19th century.

About Wednesday 23 December 1663

Mary K  •  Link

I made up to the mourners.

I don't think that this is anything to do with professional mourners. Pepys is explaining that, once the 'show' part of the transportation of the corpse had been accomplished, Pepys approached (made up to) the chief persons mourning the deceased who were about to leave London and start their lengthy journey to Norfolk for Edward's burial there.

He had not approached them personally before this; it was more important to get the order of coaches, questions of precedence etc. settled rather than offering personal commiserations.

To make up to someone: to approach them with a degree of deference, caution, hesitation in order to introduce oneself, deliver a private or personal message or greeting. It is a careful move, coloured by circumstance.

About Thursday 17 December 1663

Mary K  •  Link

Edward Pepys widow

This lady is a member of the Walpole family - a very well known and long established Norfolk family. Perhaps she is in Norfolk and the news of her husband's illness and death is taking time to reach her.

Incidentally, I suspect that the earlier reference to her being "handsome" may well refer to her family status as well as to any physical attributes.

About Tuesday 28 July 1663

Mary K  •  Link

The Dunny Man (though called the Sanitary Man) operated in rural Cheshire in the early 1950s. This came as a great shock to this young Kentish child when visiting an aunt's home for the first time.

About Monday 11 May 1663

Mary K  •  Link


We still use this term when referring to sheep-worrying. An uncontrolled dog may worry sheep either by simply chasing them or by chasing and savaging them. The owner of such a dog is liable to prosecution and the owner of the livestock may be entitled to shoot the offending dog.

I quote a very recent appalling incident in which 116 sheep were killed.

"The sheep, many of them pregnant, had been herded into a tight group against a fence and a gate bordering woodland, and either died from shock or by being crushed in the flock".

Sam was probably most afraid of being badly bitten.

About Saturday 9 May 1663

Mary K  •  Link

Castile soap is first recorded as being imported into England via Antwerp in the second half of the Sixteenth Century.

During the Seventeenth Century its use gave rise to controversy in England after its Spanish (i.e. Catholic) producers purchased a monopoly on soap from the cash-strapped English government. A tax on the use of Castile soap persisted into the Nineteenth Century.

No doubt this turned Castile soap into a luxury product during Pepys' time, but it would have been available in London.

About Wednesday 1 July 1663

Mary K  •  Link

Legal position

Prior to the passing of the Buggery Act in 1533, such cases were handled by the ecclesiastical courts rather than under the civil law. The 1533 act defined buggery as a capital offence. With the brief exception of a short period under Queen Mary, the civil act remained in force essentially until 1861 when buggery ceased to be defined as a capital offence, though it remained a criminal offence.

About Sunday 19 April 1663

Mary K  •  Link

the new suit

At some point in the past we had quite a discussion about the change in fashion from "petticoat breeches" (very full in fabric, looking more like a knee-length skirt than any kind of breeches; it was even possible mistakenly to put them on with both legs inside the same leg of the garment) to much closer-fitting breeches that fastened just below the knee. However, a brief troll through the Encyclopaedia has proved unproductive, so perhaps we have lost track of this thread.
A look at pictures of Charles II (the supreme leader of fashion, of course) shows how he fairly soon abandoned the flowing breeches for the closed-knee type - and Pepys is dressing in the latest fashion here.