Wednesday 1 May 1661

Up early, and bated at Petersfield, in the room which the King lay in lately at his being there.

Here very merry, and played us and our wives at bowls. Then we set forth again, and so to Portsmouth, seeming to me to be a very pleasant and strong place; and we lay at the Red Lyon, where Haselrigge and Scott and Walton did hold their councill, when they were here, against Lambert and the Committee of Safety.

Several officers of the Yard came to see us to-night, and merry we were, but troubled to have no better lodgings.

20 Annotations

dirk  •  Link

"His majestie"

Well, the king is not here it seems... So he must be in Hyde park with the "gallant sparks".

(Cfr. annotations yesterday 30 april.)

daniel  •  Link


is the use of this word in this context idiomatic or is it just me?

Grahamt  •  Link

We read yesterday that Portsmouth was a fortified Garrison town for the Navy, with 4 drawbridges. Maybe "strong" here is used literally.

Vicente  •  Link

oh! these bunks? Here I am missing the Festivities?"...Several officers of the Yard came to see us to-night, and merry we were, but troubled to have no better lodgings..."
from JE:May 1 I went to Hide Park to take the aire, where was his Majestie & an inumerable appearance of Gallantry & rich Coaches &c: it being now a time of universal festivity & joy: &c:

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Troubled to have no better lodgings"
Might this mean that the officers of the Yard were troubled that their visitors did not have lodgings more in accordance with their status? Or is Sam concerned that their poor lodgings reflects on their status and they ought to have chosen better? Who is trying to save face here?

Mary  •  Link

... no better lodgings.

According to an L&M footnote, the Red Lion was situated on the corner of High Street and Church Lane. One has the impression that Portsmouth was not a town given to gracious living. It was a very busy ship-building centre and a garrison town, with fortifications, walls, bastions and controlled gateways at which visitors were closely scrutinized on entry.

Pepys doesn't seem to feel personally piqued by the poor lodgings, this just sounds like a general grumble about lack of comfort/elegance. Perhaps the town had nothing better to offer.

Nix  •  Link

"A very pleasant and strong place" --

I'm inclined to agree with Grahamt that "strong" refers to Portsmouth's defenses, but OED offers another possible meaning:

"Having great financial resources, rich. In Anglo-Irish, spec. of a farmer.

"1622 BACON Hen. VII, 161 The Merchant-Aduenturers likewise, (beeing a strong Companie at that time, and well vnderset with rich Men, and good order,) did hold out brauely. a1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Squirish, foolish; also one that pretends to Pay all Reckonings, and is not strong enough in the Pocket. 1726 SWIFT Gulliver II. vi. 113 He then desired to know..Whether, a Stranger with a strong Purse might not influence the vulgar Voters. 1820 BELZONI Egypt & Nubia II. 260, I should have..prepared the way for others stronger than myself in purse. 1845 A. M. HALL Whiteboy viii. 64 He and his wife..have borne it [straw]perhaps as a free gift from

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"Here very merry, and played us and our wives at bowls. "

Bowls sounds here to be some kind of game. Does anyone here have an idea what that might be?

Jackie  •  Link

Bowls is still played extensively in Britain. There are two varieties - flat green bowling and crown green (and never the twain shall meet).

In fact, it's a sport inclused in the Commonwealth Games.

Rich Merne  •  Link

"Bowls", Old game with lots of variants from the mid-east to Britain. One version, (pronounced bouls; as in bough of a tree) is palyed on closed long sections of (narrow) public roads in the south of Ireland. Distance and accuracy are paramount here and it's quite spectacular to see.

Laura K  •  Link


Isn't this related to the Italian bocce and boccia, to the French boule and petanque - and to present-day bowling? These variants have ancient roots. Many societies have such games.

Vicente  •  Link

to get to the pin quicker:[Thanks to mary]
one clikk 'tis better than mouseing, deleting and pasteing, I'm so lazy.

vicente  •  Link

Another event Sam missed by going to Portsmouth. John Evelyn did write "...3 May : I went to see the wonderfull Engine for weaving silk- stockings, said to have ben the Invention of an Oxford Scholler 40 yeares since: return'd by Fromantel the famous Clock maker to see some Pendules: Monsieur Zulichum being with us: This evening I was with my L: Brouncker, Sir Rob: Morray, Sir Pa: Neill, Monsieur de [ Zulicum] ( & Mr Ball ( all of them of our Society, & excellent Mathematicians) to shew his Majestie( who was also present) Saturns Ansatus as some thought, but as Zulicum affirm'd with his Balteus (as that learned Gent: had published), very neere eclipsed by the Moone, neere the Mons Porphyritis: Also Jupiter & Satelites through the greate Telescope of his Majesties, drawing 35 foote: on which were dives discourses: "

Sjoerd  •  Link

Thanks for digging this up, Vincent.

The "Monsieur de Zulicum" must be the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens
(Heer van Zuilichem) who is credited with the invention of the pendulum clock.
It als shows Huygens probably conversed in French with his learned collegues, another reason it is regrettable Pepys (with his good command of the language) never met him. At least as far as we know.

vicente  •  Link

re: the astronomer; Evelyn notes as M. Zulecum dined with Evelyn, "...Aprill 1 I din'd with the greate Mathematia[n] & virtuoso Monsieur Zulecum, Inventor of the Pendule Clock and the Phaenomenon of Saturns anulus; he was also elected into our Society:..." He [M. Z.] was only mentioned on those two dates, one would have to see the minutes of meetings to see when the paths of S.M.& M.Z crossed. in his Evelyn in his diary, does not speak or write of SP until Elzabeths death (14 nov 69).

Bill  •  Link

"Up early, and bated at Petersfield" On this trip to Portsmouth, Sam "bated" yesterday also.

To BAIT, to take some Refreshment on a Journey.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"where Haselrigge and Scott and Walton did hold their councill, when they were here, against Lambert and the Committee of Safety"

In December 1659, Hazelrigge was commanding at Portsmouth, where he and other officers declared for a free parliament, in opposition to the schemes of Fleetwood and Lambert.
---Political Ballads. T. Wright, 1841.

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