Monday 27 February 1659/60

Up by four o’clock, and after I was ready, took my leave of my father, whom I left in bed, and the same of my brother John, to whom I gave 10s. Mr. Blayton and I took horse and straight to Saffron Walden, where at the White Hart, we set up our horses, and took the master of the house to shew us Audley End House, who took us on foot through the park, and so to the house, where the housekeeper shewed us all the house, in which the stateliness of the ceilings, chimney-pieces, and form of the whole was exceedingly worth seeing. He took us into the cellar, where we drank most admirable drink, a health to the King. Here I played on my flageolette, there being an excellent echo. He shewed us excellent pictures; two especially, those of the four Evangelists and Henry VIII. After that I gave the man 2s. for his trouble, and went back again. In our going, my landlord carried us through a very old hospital or almshouse, where forty poor people was maintained; a very old foundation; and over the chimney in the mantelpiece was an inscription in brass: “Orate pre anima Thomae Bird,” &c.; and the poor box also was on the same chimney-piece, with an iron door and locks to it, into which I put 6d. They brought me a draft of their drink in a brown bowl, tipt with silver, which I drank off, and at the bottom was a picture of the Virgin and the child in her arms, done in silver. So we went to our Inn, and after eating of something, and kissed the daughter of the house, she being very pretty, we took leave, and so that night, the road pretty good, but the weather rainy to Ep[p]ing, where we sat and played a game at cards, and after supper, and some merry talk with a plain bold maid of the house, we went to bed.

31 Annotations

Dave Bell   Link to this

While Sam has set off early, he's not rushing back to London, and he's taking a slightly less direct route back, stopping for a bit of tourism.

Though it's not wildly out of his way. It looks as though he travelled to Cambridge more-or-less along the line of the modern A10, and is returning by the route the M11 takes.

Hhomeboy   Link to this

Well, apparently the weather was not great...so he'll be back in London during the dayu on Day 2...the trip out in one day (leaving in darkness and arriving after dusk) having been a bit much.

Derek   Link to this

Audley End House. There's information on Audley End House, built by the Earl of Suffolk at:

http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/stately%20hom...

though the building of Pepys' time no longer exists.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

John Evelyn, generally the less interesting diarist, is better than Pepys when it comes to travel writing in his diary. Here's a quote from his visit to Audley End (at the Saffron Walden page):
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/423/#c2315

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Traveling conditions & the country

The L&M Companion volume has an entry on travel (pp 448-456, and including a simplified map of the routes between London and Cambridge). Here's a summary of what it says about road transportation:

Roads were horrible. Local governments were supposed to take care of them but seldom did a good job. Poor drainage was a big problem, so travelers often had to put up with mud and flooding. In one incident in 1695, passengers were forced out of their coach in Ware (on Pepys's route to Cambridge) and had to swim.

It was easy to get lost. Signs were absent (not required until 1697), no detailed route maps existed with mileages (until 1675), and, in a field for instance, the route might break up into several tracks that various travelers had used in trying to avoid the worst stretches. Pepys himself will one day get lost on the road he knows well between Cambridge and Ware. Traveling in a group or hiring a guide could help to avoid losing the way.

There was a risk of robbery from highwaymen, but on the evidence of the diary, not a big one. Pepys generally rode a horse on his journeys, averaging about 4 mph in summer, less in winter.

Inns tended to get fewer complaints than the roads. Many were big and historic, with the inkeeper a local bigwig. Pepys never failed to find a bed, sometimes shared wih other travelers -- and fleas.

Liza Picard's "Restoration London" (p 71) said, "few highways were more than open spaces over which there was a legal right to pass and repass. ... On a trip to Wisbech, in the middle of the Fens, Samuel's horse sank 'to the belly.'"

Picard also writes (same page): "Londoners did not view the countryside with much favour. Those who had inherited or acquired a country property escaped to it in the malodorous London summers, or banished their wives there to do them good, while themselves enjoying a bachelor life in London."

Pauline   Link to this

"...Orate pre anima Thomae Bird..."
translates?

A charming holiday feeling. Montagu's quick departure for London hasn't wholly discomfitted Sam. Sam is not a political or business advisor, just a young up-and-coming aide, taking care of personal matters and adding his observations. Montagu has not taken him fully into his confidence about the political situation.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"Orate ..." translates to "Pray for the soul of Thomas Bird." I take the "pre" to be a mis-scan for "pro".

michael f vincent   Link to this

he says " but the weather rainy to Ep[p]ing" it is along the old A11 route
Audley end,Newport,Manuden,Ugley now called uterly) stansted mountficet,b'ps stortford, sawbridgeworth to Walthem abbey to epping forest then home thru aldergate on the morrow after a little fun . Epping Forest Very old.
Epping forest history
It is the largest public open space in the vicinity of London and Essex - in fact it is the largest open space near any capital city in the world that has never been ploughed or cultivated.
maps
http://www.healescycles.demon.co.uk/epping/maps...

oliver   Link to this

"...Audley End House...where the housekeeper shewed us all the house..."

I'm struck by the fact that both Pepys and Evelyn seem so matter of fact about touring the entirety of this great house and the grounds. Could anybody walk in and be given a tour, or did the staff use some criterion to determine who would and would not be let in? When did it become common to tour great houses? Could one stop at any interesting-looking house and ask for a look 'round? When did it stop being ok to knock on the door, so to speak, and ask to be shown into a home?

Pauline   Link to this

But, Paul, who is Thomas Bird?
And the "etc."? I may want my name on this mantelpiece!

michael f vincent   Link to this

visits: only the well connected not us hayseeds unless we work in the orchard or mucking out the stables.

M.Stolzenbach   Link to this

Visits to Great Houses

Only for the well-connected or at least well-dressed, but available (particularly when the owners were away) at least as late as Jane Austen's time: for instance, in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, she writes of Elizabeth Bennet and her relatives, who were respectable but not upper-class, touring Mr. Darcy's great house. I would guess that the divide came somewhat later in the 19th century.

Sam is still enjoying himself with the girls on this part of his trip!

Mary   Link to this

Thomas Bird.

We need an Essex local historian to give us full details of this man, but he was undoubtedly a major benefactor, perhaps even the founder, of the almshouse

fimm   Link to this

I like the way Pepys gets out his flagolet and enjoys the echo in the cellar - such effects today seem to be only enjoyed by children - can you imagine an adult getting out a recorder or something similar in the cellar of some grand house today in order to enjoy the echo?! They'd get some very strange looks!!

Andrea   Link to this

Visits to great houses

In the 16th & 17th century it was quite normal for richer travellers to pop into big country seats. House owners would allow them to look around and often even provide a meal (medieval tradition). A servant would show them around. Historians entirely rely on these travel accounts for houses which are destroyed now.. Celia Fiennes (contemporary to Pepys) and Daniel Defoe are fantastic for descriptions of houses and gardens.

It is really in the 18th that tourism hits the country. Estates like Stowe already have a guide book in the 1740s and quite a large number of people visit it. Towards the end of the 18th century travelling in Britain becomes a leisure pursuit for the aspiring middle classes. Hundreds of travel diaries get published. With Britain at war with France after the French revolution, travelling abroad becomes more difficult. Some houses even begin with visitor managment as early as 1780s.

Glyn   Link to this

a brown bowl, tipped with silver, and (inside) at the bottom was a picture of the Virgin and the child in her arms, done in silver.

Since you could only see the Virgin and child after the toast was drunk - does this mean that the people in the hospital had secretly been Royalists, or perhaps Roman Catholics? Since worship of the Virgin isn't a Protestant tradition.

Are we beginning to get a lot of people who are going to say that, of course, they were always "secretly" Royalists? Just like in France after World War 2 when no-one had really supported the Vichy Govt but had been always pro- the Resistance?

Matthew   Link to this

In "Bleak House" (1852-3) two lawyer's clerks are shown round a baronet's house.

M. Stolzenbach   Link to this

Relics of the old faith

I would think that the bowl with the image of the Virgin and Child was an old, historic one belonging to the days of Catholic faith in England. As are the use of Latin and the request to pray for the soul of the founder/donor. I found these notes an interesting part of today's page.

gerry   Link to this

Thomae Bird
L&M have a note "Magistri should be supplied before Thomae, and Bird should read Bryd. The brass commemorates a 15th century Rector of Great Munden, Herts"

Nix   Link to this

Re: The virgin in the bowl --

I think I recall from a visit to Audley end that the Howards, masters of Audley End, remained Catholic after the Reformation. Is it likely that the almshouse was endowed (or influenced) by them, and this could explain the persistence of such imagery?

Mick Hadick   Link to this

Virgin in the bowl--If I'm not mistaken, isn't that the Holy Grail? Wouldn't it figure? This Pepys guy really has all the luck. Besides, a Virgin in the bowl is worth two in the bush.

And let me also apologize in the same post. Sorry.

Peregrina   Link to this

Is my reading of this correct, that the hospital was on the grounds of or somehow connected with Audley House? If so, the bowl with the image of Virgin and Child may have come from the time of Catherine Countess of Suffolk whose husband, Lord Thomas Howard, built Audley House at the beginning of the 17th Century. In "Faith and Treason", Antonia Fraser writes that Catherine was a Catholic, "although not publicly so,and planned to die within the Catholic faith."

michael f vincent   Link to this

Secrets: Many of 17th houses have priests (holes)hideaways;
Many people keep their faith hidden ( even Russia under Stalin, note the sudden visability of the ikons and the traditional ways, suddenly become exposed)
Alms house : There are still many, now under more politically correct titles in East Anglia, kept up by the different religious groups like the Quakers.

Polly   Link to this

I love the way going back to his old college haunts has reawakened his student habits of heavy drinking and philandering! College reunions still have a tendency to bring out bad habits in people :)

Nix   Link to this

Pepys speaks of it as a "very old hospital or almshouse", so it probably predates the Howard tenure of Audley End, which had been a Benedictine monastery before the dissolution. However, it does seem likely that the Howards were the patrons of the hospital in Pepys' time, and I was able to confirm that they remained Catholic (and pro-Stuart). Britannica recites that, post-Restoration, "the civil disabilities incurred by the Howards on account of their Roman Catholicism tended to discourage the family's prominence in subsequent periods."

j.simmons   Link to this

Re: The Virgin in the Bowl...
If recollection serves, the symbol in the bottom of the bowl was rather like early Christians drawing a fish in the sand, to test the feelings of someone they weren't quite sure of. The English Catholics, being much persecuted, had developed a great deal of caution, and were very cicumspect in their dealings.

j.simmons   Link to this

What I should have added, is that by Sam's time the bowl would have been a curiosity, although Catholicism would remain at a disadvantage legally and socially in Great Britain for many more years.

Eoin   Link to this

played on my flageolette, there being an excellent echo

It always sounds better when you play in the subway.

Stephen Trinder   Link to this

What no slapping wenches backsides and 'bouncing' with flighty maids ??? Tush

arby   Link to this

I was wondering if he is just being more circumspect in reporting his flings with maids of the house early in the Diary, or if he still hasn't found his wings?

ELeeming   Link to this

He's certainly found something, in fact, he's found it twice in one day!

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