Sunday 29 December 1661

(Lord’s day). Long in bed with my wife, and though I had determined to go to dine with my wife at my Lady’s, (chiefly to put off dining with Sir W. Pen to-day because Holmes dined there), yet I could not get a coach time enough to go thither, and so I dined at home, and my brother Tom with me, and then a coach came and I carried my wife to Westminster, and she went to see Mrs. Hunt, and I to the Abbey, and there meeting with Mr. Hooper, he took me in among the quire, and there I sang with them their service, and so that being done, I walked up and down till night for that Mr. Coventry was not come to Whitehall since dinner again. At last I went thither and he was come, and I spoke with him about some business of the office, and so took leave of him, and sent for my wife and the coach, and so to the Wardrobe and supped, and staid very long talking with my Lady, who seems to doat every day more and more upon us. So home and to prayers, and to bed.

20 Annotations

dirk   Link to this

Rev. Ralph Josselin's diary for today:

"very open and moist weather to this day, the lord good to me in the season my health and mines continued to us, god good in the Sabbath, which is very sadly neglected, profaneness wonderfully abounding."

[Note: the use of the word "wonderfully" - clearly with a negative meaning - here is quite different from modern usage!]

Australian Susan   Link to this

"and there I sang with them their service"
Was this common practice? Did the choir mind? Or were they not as professional as they are now? Was this like one of those singalong Messiahs (BYO score)? Methinks that if it had been a great privilege for Sam, he would have told us about it. How did he know what setting they were using? Or did he look over someone's shoulder at the music? No amateur (even if gifted) could do this in the Abbey today.

Ruben   Link to this

1) some half a year ago Sam and Elizabeth began to learn to sing.
2) He also plays musical instruments.
3) In his portrait Sam his holding sheet music.

In his time music was not only an entertainment but part of a good education.
I am sure Sam new the part, as liturgical choirs usually had a small repertoire.

Ann   Link to this

Would a church choir be relatively new? I'm guessing the Puritans had outlawed them? If that's the case, they probably weren't as "professional" as they are today, and could have been more informal. Just a guess.

Philip   Link to this

"No amateur (even if gifted) could do this in the Abbey today."
Several years ago, I was touring Westminster Abbey with my wife. Due to a shortage of singers, the cleric in charge of Evensong asked several of us to serve in the choir, which we did. It was a memorable and beautiful experience.

Glyn   Link to this

He truly is very wary of Captain Holmes being near his wife (even if Holmes isn't wearing his gold-braided suit).

Harry   Link to this

Would a church choir be relatively new?
"Music retained a place of great importance in the English cathedrals throughout the 17th century (through its status as a "royal peculiar" Westminster Abbey was rated as a quasi-cathedral). Strong choral establishments were a part of the Elizabethan legacy, as were organs. A great deal of superlative music had been composed for the church during the 16th century, and more was to be added in the 17th, from the pens of such men as Orlando Gibbons and Henry Purcell. The Puritans disapproved of the emphasis which the established church placed on elaborazte music, performed by professional musicians; they saw to it that organs were smashed and choirs disbanded during the Civil War and Interregnum. Cathedral choirs were reconstituted as rapidly as possible during the Restoration, although with difficulty: the hiatus of something like 16 years without sung services marked the greatest break in the entire history of church music in England. After 1660 new organs were installed almost everywhere; since they were larger and finer that their predecessors, the Civil War may be regarded as a blessing in disguise for organists and organ makers." (Stanford E Lehmberg: Cathedrals under Siege - Cathedrals in English Society, 1600-1700)

RexLeo   Link to this

"...and there I sang with them their service,"

I wonder what part he sang? Sam sounds like a "tenor" kind of a guy.

Ruben   Link to this

if we put together Sam's musical background with Harry's reference and Philip's exceptional experience we have a plausible answer for Australian Susan's annotation.

Sjoerd   Link to this

I may be prejudiced against Holmes (for burning and pillaging the Dutch island of Terschelling for one thing) but there might be a lot of other reasons for Sam to steer clear of the man. Apart from having made some sort of pass at Elisabeth he seems to have been a very short-tempered and ill-mannered type of bully.

vicenzo   Link to this

Re: Holmes: Dashing, outrageous, shocking, excessive, immoderate. Just the type a fellow a girl likes for an interlude. His CV is rich in conquests, sea and bed.

Diana Bonebrake   Link to this

Holmes is the least of Sam's problems.

Glyn   Link to this

Diana B: looking at your website I see you are a painter, so what's your reaction about the length of time it's taking for Sam and Elizabeth's paintings to be completed? I think, they've had about six or seven sessions each so far and presumably more to come - would that be typical?

Peter Bates   Link to this

"No amateur (even if gifted) could do this in the Abbey today."

I’m startled by Philip’s experience of being asked to sing in the Abbey choir. Was this in the summer when the professional choir there (they get much more than I do in Liverpool Cathedral!) was on holiday and there was a “visiting choir” providing the music?

JWB   Link to this

Singing Puritans
The first book printed in America was the Bay Psalter. Here's the title page: "The Bay Psalm Book:
The Whole Booke of Psalmes
Faithfully Translated into English Meter.
Whereunto is prefixed a discourse declaring
not only the lawfullness, but also the necessity
of the heavenly ordinance of singing Scripture psalmes
in the churches of God.

Cambridge, Mass. Stephen Day
Imprinted 1640"

Australian Susan   Link to this

Puritans and Psalms
Metrical psalm-singing is not the same as singing the liturgy (Kyries, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Doxology) - Puritans had no objection to psalms being sung and they introduced singing of them as they did not consider organs in churches proper - only the human voice - the Scottish Psalter (composed for the Presbyterian Church of Scotland) has given us a wonderful musical heritage such as Crimond for the 23rd Psalm and the "Old Hundreth" for Ps. 100 (All People That on Earth Do Dwell). I find it very poignant that the little community in New England, struggling so hard just to keep their community fed and surviving, considered it so important to publish their own Psalter.
That aside, it is not clear from Sam's entry whether he was singing the Eucharistic liturgy or Morning Prayer.

Diana Bonebrake   Link to this

Hi Glyn. Well. not being a portrait painter myself, I would guess that what with restless sitters, and little more to go on than sketches and quickly painted studies, it probably would indeed take several sittings to complete a portrait. I have heard of very famous portrait artists who insisted upon their subjects sitting still for several hours while they agonized over each stroke, and others who could whip out a likeness with a few sketches and a few quick sittings. But I can't picture Sam suffering a tempermental painter, or having to sit relatively still for too long.

JonTom Kittredge   Link to this

Eucharistic liturgy or Morning Prayer?
Since the entry implies that SP went to Westminster after his dinner, my guess is that he was there for Evensong.

tjCarr   Link to this

Organs in New England
I never connected the ban on organs with the Interregnum. I remember asking my mother why our typical New England Congregational church did not have an organ. Her answer was also, "Only human voices are appropriate for worship". Of course, this is not the case for all modern Congregational churches as I've been in many with organs.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

RexLeo wonders what part Pepys sang, and conjectures: "Sam sounds like a 'tenor' kind of a guy."

The truth is surprising. "He was a bass (we would think of him as a bass-baritone)...."
-- Richard Luckett, "Music," L&M Companion

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