Saturday 2 November 1661

At the office all the morning; where Sir John Minnes, our new comptroller, was fetched by Sir Wm. Pen and myself from Sir Wm. Batten’s, and led to his place in the office. The first time that he had come hither, and he seems a good fair condition man, and one that I am glad hath the office. After the office done, I to the Wardrobe, and there dined, and in the afternoon had an hour or two’s talk with my Lady with great pleasure. And so with the two young ladies by coach to my house, and gave them some entertainment, and so late at night sent them home with Captain Ferrers by coach. This night my boy Wayneman, as I was in my chamber, I overheard him let off some gunpowder; and hearing my wife chide him below for it, and a noise made, I call him up, and find that it was powder that he had put in his pocket, and a match carelessly with it, thinking that it was out, and so the match did give fire to the powder, and had burnt his side and his hand that he put into his pocket to put out the fire. But upon examination, and finding him in a lie about the time and place that he bought it, I did extremely beat him, and though it did trouble me to do it, yet I thought it necessary to do it. So to write by the post, and to bed.

27 Annotations

dirk   Link to this

"I did extremely beat him, and though it did trouble me to do it, yet I thought it necessary to do it."

Sounds very British public school like: it's going to hurt me more than you, my boy!

In true Biblical tradition, Sam is acting as the boy's father supposedly would - and let's be honest: the boy deserves a punishment of some kind for this fireworks trick.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

To be fair, Sam says he questioned Wayneman and on top of injuring himself and very likely risking a fire in the house, the kid lied. Given corporal punishment was the norm Sam's feelings do him credit. I'm interested that Beth seems not to have expressed much concern over Wayneman's injuries, but perhaps she did and he was giving her a rough time...

Red Robbo   Link to this

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot ?
Young lads playing with gunpwder at this season of the year, now where have I heard of this before. Does anyone know whether there was a tradition of fireworks in England during November that predates Guy Fawkes adventures.?

Mark Ynys-Mon   Link to this

Predates? Er, Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plott was 1605.

Bob T   Link to this

Gunpowder and a match in his pocket?

The boy isn't the brightest light in the harbor. People in Sam's time were almost paranoid about fire, and they had good reason to be. It's not too many years down the road, that their fears become reality.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"I did extremely beat him ... yet I thought it necessary"
*Extremely* beat him, a telling word.
Methinks Sam was right, yet his anger o'ercame him.
Look for him to be nice to Waynemann in the future, if the lad takes to his lesson and makes due apologies.
(Not a spoiler alert, I have no idea what's coming.)

vicente   Link to this

Beat 'im! wot guesses are there about instrument of torture used , Hand? belt? walking stick[cane]? or nice piece of Hazel branch? or even a riding crop that he could have for his riding habit. I wander, if it would be a civil three or a dastardly twelve?
A match, how made? a self striking type?

vicente   Link to this

match? did young Wayneman invent the stiking match before Sir R Boyle did 1680.
an answer:
In 1680, an English physicist named Robert Boyle (of Boyle's Law fame) devised a small piece of paper coated with phosphorous. He had a separate splinter of wood with sulfur on it. When he drew the wood through the paper, it burst into flames. FIRE! However, phosphorous was rare in those days, so it soon disappeared before anyone knew of them
So wot did our young tyke do, to set off his fireworks,what kind of match?

vicente   Link to this

"Sounds very British public school like: it's going to hurt me more than you, my boy” Me old master never said that to me, when I had to touch me old toes and wait for the sound of paper being hit, for which I got double dose after removing said protection against insult to the derriere from the thin hardened switch of Hazel.
Oh! the good old days???

dirk   Link to this

what kind of match?

re - vicente

The only reference I could find to anything like matches in Sam's time is the "stoupell"

"Stoupell (also stouple, stopple) - a quick-match, a fuse. A quick-burning match used for firing cannon, igniting fire-works, shells, etc., consisting of cotton-wick soaked in a composition of gum, spirits, water and gunpowder."

upper_left_hand_corner   Link to this

What kind of match?

Most likely exactly what we would call a match today, only without any phosphorus on it. Just a stick of wood you would put into the fire, and then use to transfer the flame to another place quickly.

Mary   Link to this

What kind of match?

OED has two useful citations here. The first explains that 'match' was a term applied to the wick of a candle, recorded from the 14th century to the 17th.

The second cites the term as naming an article of domestic use, consisting of cord, cloth, paper, wood etc. dipped in melted sulphur so as to be readily ignited by the use of a tinder-box. The first supporting quotation comes from 1539.

Either definition could apply to Wayneman's match.

DrCari   Link to this

Wayneman will prove to be quite an incorrigible young fellow as the diary unfolds. I don't want to spoil any surprises here, but Wayneman will continue to provide diary fodder and Sam will have great influence on Wayneman's future.

Pedro.   Link to this

"Sounds very British public school like.”

Not only Public schools but Grammar schools, up to at least the early 1960’s.

language hat   Link to this

"and gave them some entertainment, and so late at night sent them home"

This sounds suspicious, but I suppose with his wife at home nothing inappropriate was going on.

john lauer   Link to this

"...a match carelessly with it, thinking that it was out, and so the match did give fire..." is what he wrote -- which obviously refers to a burnt (but hot) ember, nothing more modern!

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...and gave them some entertainment, and so late at night sent them home"…

This sounds suspicious, but I suppose with his wife at home nothing inappropriate was going on.”

Well, these were Sandwich’s girls, not actresses, barmaids, or neighbors’/acquaintances’ wives. Apart from having to be very careful in such a case (“My ex-servant Pepys did what to my daughters?!!”), Sam had a reasonably unselfish affection for the young Montague ladies.

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

When little we lighted the laces of our shoes and they would slowly but almost unstoppably smoulder away, to the exasperation of our mother. It also gave off a terrible stink. I think Wayneman's match was of the same sort of fabric (cotton?).

Al Day   Link to this


In the early days of making firearms loose powder or a fuse "quick match" carried the flame into the main powder chamber. This was ignited with a "slow match" which was a smoldering piece of cord or wick. It might be impregnated with a bit of salt peter to help keep it burning.

Glyn   Link to this

Perhaps he meant he played music or card games with them. Sending them home with the dashing Captain Ferrers probably kept them safe from brigands, but did it keep them safe from Captain Ferrers?

vicente   Link to this

Sorry: how was the Wick lit ?. by flint? word Match is intriguing too?

Peter   Link to this

Vincent..."match"....never really thought about it before, but based on the descriptions here of wicks and fuses it looks like the word "match" could come from the French "meche" (sorry, can't put a grave accent on the first e) - meaning "wick". Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Mary   Link to this

match: derivation

Yes, indeed. Originally from something like Vulgar Latin miccia, via Old French messche. Even earlier Greek origins have been suggested but (per OED) are the subject of debate.

Al   Link to this

Slow match

I think they smoldered very slowly, perhaps 15 to 30 minutes per foot of cord, so you might carry several feet of it depending on your purposes. If you were a soldier going into battle with a "matchlock" musket (where the trigger mechanism pushed the smoldering end down into the finely ground priming powder) you might have a foot or two of it with an end lit and more in reserve. I would guess that to fire a cannon they would have the cord on the end of a stick. By the way, if the main charge did not catch, you would have a "flash in the pan".

Ken   Link to this

I have missed a couple of weeks of the diary. Has Will been discharged or is Wayneman (sounds very much like a computer game character) simply another employee of Sam's?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Will was dismissed 5 September 1660:

Bill   Link to this

"and a match carelessly with it, thinking that it was out"

MATCH (meche, F.) a Sort of Rope made on Purpose for the firing of Guns, or the setting Fire to Trains of Mines, &c.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

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