Thursday 27 November 1662

At my waking, I found the tops of the houses covered with snow, which is a rare sight, that I have not seen these three years. Up, and put my people to perfect the cleaning of my house, and so to the office, where we sat till noon; and then we all went to the next house upon Tower Hill, to see the coming by of the Russia Embassador; for whose reception all the City trained-bands do attend in the streets, and the King’s life- guards, and most of the wealthy citizens in their black velvet coats, and gold chains (which remain of their gallantry at the King’s coming in), but they staid so long that we went down again home to dinner. And after I had dined, I heard they were coming, and so I walked to the Conduit in the Quarrefowr,1 at the end of Gracious-street and Cornhill; and there (the spouts thereof running very near me upon all the people that were under it) I saw them pretty well go by. I could not see the Embassador in his coach; but his attendants in their habits and fur caps very handsome, comely men, and most of them with hawkes upon their fists to present to the King. But Lord! to see the absurd nature of Englishmen, that cannot forbear laughing and jeering at every thing that looks strange. So back and to the office, and there we met and sat till seven o’clock, making a bargain with Mr. Wood for his masts of New England; and then in Mr. Coventry’s coach to the Temple, but my cozen Roger Pepys not being at leisure to speak to me about my business, I presently walked home, and to my office till very late doing business, and so home, where I found my house more and more clear and in order, and hope in a day or two now to be in very good condition there and to my full content. Which God grant! So to supper and to bed.

  1. In two ordinances of the reign of Edward III., printed in Riley’s “Memorials of London” (pp. 300, 389), this is called the “Carfukes,” which nearly approaches the name of the “Carfax,” at Oxford, where four ways also met. Pepys’s form of the word is nearer quatre voies, the French equivalent of quadrivium.

49 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"the Russia Embassador"

L&M note: "Three envoys had been sent by the Tsar Alexis....Evelyn wrote:
[27 I went to Lond: to see the Enterance of the Russian Ambassador, whom his Majestie ordered should be received with much state, the Emperor his Master having not onely ben kind to his Majestie in his distresse, but banishing all Commerce with our Nation during the Rebellion: & first then the Citty Companies & Traind bands were all in their stations, his Majesties Army & Guards in greate order: his Excellency came in a very rich Coach, with some of his chiefe attendants; many of the rest on horse back, which being clad in their Vests, after the Eastern manner, rich furrs, Caps, & carrying the present, rendred a very exotic and magnificent shew: Some carrying Haukes, furrs, Teeth, Bows, &c:...] The envoys were accommodated at York House, Strand, which had been furnished for them by the Wardrobe at a cost of £850.... This embassy created wonders among Londoners. Sir E. Harley, writing to his wife, adds his own contribution to the stories going around, by assuring her that the 'ambassador's bill of fare is daily four oxen and three partrides'.... Diplomatic and trading relations had since about 1620 become very spasmodic...."

"masts of New England"

L&M note: "New England supplies had first been regularly tapped in the 1650s, and by now the Navy Board obtained most of its larger masts from there. They were usually 27 ins. or more in diameter: see Pepys's notes in Rawls...."

Terry F   Link to this

"Quarrefowr"

L&M has *quarrefour*; in the Large Glossary of the Companion "(Fr. *carrefour*): crossroads: 'formerly quite naturalised, but now treated only as Fr. (OED)"

Terry F   Link to this

"the Conduit in the Quarrefowr, at the end of Gracious-street and Cornhill"

The crossroads is at the right-hand side of the map 1/3 of the way down
http://www.motco.com/map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

Puzzling to me only is "the Conduit"

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn was also present at the Russian Ambassador's entry:

"I went to Lond: to see the Enterance of the Russian Ambassador, whom his Majestie ordered should be received with much state, the Emperor his Master having not onely ben kind to his Majestie in his distresse, but banishing all Commerce with our Nation during the Rebellion: & first then the Citty Companies & Traind bands were all in their stations, his Majesties Army & Guards in greate order: his Excellency came in a very rich Coach, with some of his chiefe attendants; many of the rest on horse back, which being clad in their Vests, after the Eastern manner, rich furrs, Caps, & carrying the present, rendred a very exotic and magnificent shew: Some carrying Haukes, furrs, Teeth, Bows, &c:..."

dirk   Link to this

The Rev. Josselin was in a more pensative mood...

"This day all my family came up to my house on Coln green blessed be god that gives us a habitation, let it be for me and mine: my old dog died in the yard suddenly, when ready to come up. and a young colt that night(,) thus we removed between death, the dogs sudden, the colts expected"

language hat   Link to this

The Russian ambassadors

The main ambassador was Prince Pyotr Semyonovich Prozorovsky, depicted here with his sons:
http://www.elibron.com/english/other/img_detail...
The other ambassador was the much younger Ivan Afanasyevich Zhelyabuzhsky. Discussions did not actually get under way until the following January; there's a description of the mission, for those who read Russian, here:
http://www.kreml.ru/ru/main/science/conferences...
I haven't found anything in English.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Why is the snow a "rare sight"? Is this because of the time of year? Snow is more likely in December or January or is it because it was lying on the roofs and not being quickly melted (by rising heated from poorly insulated buildings)?

Sam doesn't seem to mind his wasted trip to cozen Roger's office, does he? Wonder why he did not send Wayneman to inquire first.

Terry F   Link to this

Conduit
OED 2. a structure from which water is distributed or made to issue: a fountain. Obs. or arch.

"I walked to the Conduit in the Quarrefowr...(the spouts thereof running very near me upon all the people that were under it)"

dirk   Link to this

The Russian ambassador

I suppose this is when King Charles gets two pelicans as a present (not just falcons), that will end up in St. James's Park.

Interesting sidenote on the St. James's Park pelicans --
House of Lords, wednesday 20 December 1995, debated on why "the park pelicans had not laid an egg for 300 years."

Lord Strabolgi: My Lords, is it true that there have been pelicans in St. James's Park since the reign of Charles II and if there are no pelicans there, according to historical myth, dreadful things will happen? Can the noble Lord elucidate on that at all?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the first pelicans in St. James's Park were presented to King Charles II by the Russian ambassador in the early 1660s. In February 1665, John Evelyn noted that he had seen a pelican which was,
"a fowle between a stork and a swan". I have no detailed knowledge of the myth to which the noble Lord refers.

From:
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co....

Nate   Link to this

Is this because of the time of year? Snow is more likely in December...

I wondered about this as well but I have not been in London in the winter and don't know what the climate is at that time of year. The calendar is out of date, is it not, by a week or more? That would make it a bit later in the season than it appears.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

This year [2005 26 nov], in Cornwall has it's share of snow, 1000 kids be trapped in Bodmin Moor schools along with many cars [A30]. It be a bit early except for those winters that be hard, as the ice be melting in the Artic so there be more moisture for snowballs?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"the absurd nature of Englishmen ..."
Here Sam shows himself both cosmopolitan and parochial in a single sentence. Cosmopolitan in finding the ways of foreigners worthy of interest and even admiration, rather than ridicule; parochial in believing that only Englishmen behave this way. There can be no doubt that the common folk of Moscow would have exactly the same reaction to a cadre of English nobility in full regalia.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Conduit ME from L Conductus, Conduce [conductere]
modern, a pipe or channel [canal]:
ancient Fountain but the L be Fons. In L. Conduit be aquae ductus
[con duce/ cum duce] interesting word duco ducere duxi, ductum vt....many variations of meanings. e]El Duce.
Conducto , condui ..........

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

"Quarrefowr,1" strange in L. quaero = to seek; fowr ie = four, i.e your choice of 4 ways to seek but which.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

"...at every thing that looks strange..." difference between ignorance and education.
as Tacitus points out in De Vita et Moribus Iulii Agricolae, 30
"Omne ignotum pro magifico est.
All that is not low born, is wonderful.

JWB   Link to this

"...snow, which is a rare sight, that I have not seen these three years..."
Football was played on the Thames the winter Shakespeare's brother died, 1607-8. Then I think you have to go to 1688 when it freezes over again. Sam's enjoying a respite in the mini-ice age.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"masts of New England; ..."

For an older history of the Mast Road in New Hampshire and brief discussion of the the marking of suitable white pine trees as "King's Wood" see below. A "spoiler alert," however, this does include some discussion of the mast business in New England in the later C 17th. and C 18th.:

http://www.sidis.net/PASSChap12.htm

Mary   Link to this

snow in December.

This looks like the first mention of snow in the diaries so far, so perhaps Pepys means what he appears to say ... that it has been 3 years since he saw snow in London.

On a more general point, the London area is more likely (these days, at least) to 'enjoy' snowfall around the time of New Year and in January or February than in December. Although bookmakers will alway offer odds on the possibility of a white Christmas, they very rarely, if ever, have to pay out.

Xjy   Link to this

The Russian ambassadors
http://www.kreml.ru/ru/main/science/conferences...
Thanks for the link, Dirk!
As far as I can make out, with the help of the excellent (but far from exhaustive, especially in relation to historical texts like this) Russian-English dictionary at rambler.ru
http://www.rambler.ru/dict/
the main (secret) purpose of the mission was to recover a debt made to Charles I by Tsar Alexis' father, Tsar Michael.
Sums mentioned are tens of thousands of Bohemian silver dollars (Joachimsthaler), or the equivalent weight in silver of 10 poods (360 lbs or 165 kg). The English offered 40,000 Spanish dollars, which was rejected by the Russians. They would accept Lubeck dollars, but not Spanish ones.
Maybe someone better versed in Russian, the history of money, and mid-17th century diplomatic history can flesh this out a bit for us.
The reason for the effort put into the embassy (the magnificent impression being made etc) was that Alexis was strapped for money. He had more showy furs and noblemen than ready cash. Again, maybe someone more in the know can tell us why.
The Kremlin has a fascinating museum and is also a centre of historical research, their site is at
http://www.kreml.ru/main_en.asp
Right now there's an exhibition about Tsar Alexis and Patriarch Nikon under way "The Wise Two", obviously boosting old-style obscurantism and flummery. Next stop, Rasputin ;-).

Benvenuto   Link to this

Snow staying on rooftops in London
is pretty unusual even in the depths of winter, as the city is always a few degrees warmer than its surrounds -- more so now than then, with domestic heating more widespread, but even so. Even with Sam's calendar a little way ahead of ours, heavy snow in the normally wet November would be remarkable.

alanB   Link to this

Isn't it typical. We have just be promised the end of the world next Tuesday and along comes Dirk's real spoiler of Prince Pyotr Semyonovich Prozorovsky with his darned pelicans for Rex forestalling the dreadful things that are about to happen. Synchronicity or what!

OzStu   Link to this

"..I found the tops of the houses covered with snow, which is a rare sight.."
No mention of horses and carriages being unable to traverse the streets of London. Unlike the 21st Century when the country grinds to a halt after the first decent snowfall because we're so dependant on our cars, it seems that the 17th Centuy had no need of the equivalent of snowploughs. Maybe Wayneman was out with the shovel.

Jeannine   Link to this

"the absurd nature of Englishmen " --Paul, I also was taken by this sentence and noted this as an example of Sam's curiosity and appreciation of things that are unique and different as opposed to the average person who may laugh out of ignorance (and you are right,it wouldn't just be the English laughing at something different). To me this spoke to Sam's view of the world as he was so aware of novelty and delighted in these differences .

CJ MAGNET   Link to this

Just a small point about Conduits in London. The word Conduit still forms the first part of 15 street names in Greater London. This includes Conduit Court, Conduit Passage, Conduit Way, Conduit Street and Conduit Mews, all in central London.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to do a search on names, such as Lamb's Conduit Street (my favourite) where Conduit isn't the first word in the name.

Bob T   Link to this

“masts of New England;

There are a lot of places here in New Brunswick, (Eastern Canada), where there are large stands of tall, very straight trees. One of their characteristic is, they don't have any branches, except at the top. Some brainy botanist must know what they are. They are called "Navy Pines" locally.

Bob T   Link to this

No mention of horses and carriages being unable to traverse the streets of London

It is only in recent years that a few centimeters of snow has been able to bring the UK to a halt. Once my flight to London was interrupted, (by a British Airline), because of a "snow storm", and I was forced to overnight in Manchester. When I asked where the storm was, I was told "This is it." Amazing.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"But Lord!to see the absurd nature of Englishmen"
We have to be reminded that English Imperialism was just starting and that human nature changes a lot;
Someone also said about England: when I say England is an island I've said everything that needs to be said about englishmen!or something to that effect.

Pedro   Link to this

"Lamb’s Conduit Street (my favourite)"

Lamb, the charitable cloth-worker, who built a conduit at Holborn in 1577, has his munificence recorded in Lamb's Conduit Street.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

snow on roofs

No mention of snow on ground -- the implication is a light sprinkling. First time in 3 years, not pre-industrial global warming but a brief respite. Its around this time in history of which Walter Pater, writing about Dutch winter painting, tells the story of a servant asking if he can cut his master a slice of Moselle (wine).

stolzi   Link to this

“Omne ignotum pro magifico est.
All that is not low born, is wonderful."

Rather, "all that is unknown..."

The picture of the Russian Ambassador shows very well his beard and his long caftan-style outer dress, both of which would look strange to the Londoners. Peter the Great, who became Tsar 20 years down the road from today's entry, was the first to force his nobles out of this style and westernize them.

Aqua Scripto's etymology for "carrefour" is entertaining, but I suspect we have "squared" or "four" in the first element ("quadratum", and perhaps Latin "forum" - open space - in the second. Without a French etymological dictionary, I can say no more.

Wonder if the Conduit was spouting all over everyone because the snow was already melting.

A wonderful entry, once again showing us why Pepys is the closest we get to a documentary camera focused on past time!

Pedro   Link to this

The Conduit.

I suspect there were several places with the name “The Conduit”.

From the Book of Days there is…

“There was once the 'Conduit' in Cheapside, near which Wat Tyler beheaded some of his prisoners in 1381, and Jack Cade beheaded Lord Saye in 1450.
http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/dec/9.htm

And the Conduit in Fleet Street that tells an interesting tale of Mary Frith the pickpocket/cut purse.

“the Conduit, in Fleet Street, as a broker or negotiator between thieves and the public, when Charles I passed her door, on his return from the Border in 1639. Rushing out, she caught the king's hand, and kissed it; the same day she caused the Conduit to run with wine at her own expense.”

http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/dec/7.htm

And for SIR HUGH MYDDELTON AND THE WATER SUPPLY OF OLD LONDON
http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/sept/29.htm

language hat   Link to this

"Thanks for the link, Dirk!"

Oi, that was me, not Dirk! But to show I have no hard feelings, I offer my hearty thanks for giving a summary of the discussion I linked to, and in return I'll give some background on the cash crisis. I quote from Jerome Blum's magisterial Lord and Peasant in Russia (the introduction and first two chapters are online at http://www.ditext.com/blum/blum-con.html ):

"During the course of the seventeenth century new difficulties constantly appeared to beset the economy. Some of these troubles were the consequence of the frequent, expensive, and rarely successful wars in which Russia became involved. There was also an almost continuous chain of outbreaks rising from the discontent of the peasantry and culminating in the great revolt led by Stenka Razin (1670-1671)... In 1655 plague swept the country... The government, always in need of money, after increasing taxes as much as it could, turned to currency debasement. In 1656 it began to coin copper money with the same weight and names as the silver coins. The new money was used by the government to meet its obligations, but all payments to the government had to be made in silver. Prices rose precipitously..."

Another problem was royal generosity to the magnates:

"Michael handed out so much that he began to have second thoughts about his generosity and in a ukase of 1627 announced that he was not going to give away any more. But, characteristically, Michael, and his successors after him, disregarded the decree, and palace lands continued to be distributed."

Nix   Link to this

Conduit --

"In the 1200s, the City authorities did not have to worry about water supply. The water from Holywell, Clerkenwell and St Clement's Well, just north of the city walls, was, 'sweet, wholesome and clear', and in addition to other suburban springs there were, Stow tells us, wells in (every street and lane of the city). The Thames and its tributaries, the Walbrook and the Fleet were probably still fit to drink. By the thirteenth century these local supplies had become inadequate or polluted, and the citizens, following the example of monastic houses, 'Were forced to seek sweet waters abroad ... for the poor to drink, and for the rich to dress their meat'. After 1236 fresh water was carried in lead pipes from Tyburn Springs (roughly where Bond Street Station stands today) down to the hamlet of Charing, along Fleet Street and over the Fleet Bridge, climbing Ludgate hill (by gravitational pressure) to a public conduit in Cheapside. This conduit, administered by a local warden, supplied water free to all comers, and for a fee for those who wanted a private supply. Illegal 'tapping-in' inevitably took place, and a culprit caught in 1478 was paraded through the streets with a miniature conduit leaking on his head. IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY THE SYSTEM WAS EXTENDED, PARTLY FROM PRIVATE BEQUESTS, WITH NEW CONDUITS IN FLEET STREET, CORNHILL, GRACECHURCH STREET AND ELSEWHERE, and new supplies in Islington, and in the 1540s water was brought from springs in Hampstead, Muswell Hill, Hackney and Marylebone. Water supply provided further grounds for dispute between citizens and victuallers. In the 1330s and 1340s there were complaints to the Husting that brewers were using the Cheapside conduit for making ale, and fishmongers were washing their fish in it. The butchers were the worst offenders. They were allowed to take the entrails of animals slaughtered in the Newgate Shambles to Butchers' Bridge, a jetty overhanging the Fleet, and to clean or dump them in the river."

http://www.engr.mun.ca/~jsharp/6101/6101.html

pjk   Link to this

Contemporary Conduits

Pepy's distant relation Thomas Hobson, of the livery stable and 'Hobson's choice' also gave money to bring water into Cambridge via 'Hobson's Conduit'. The water still flows down Trumpington Street

http://www.follies.btinternet.co.uk/hobsons.html (I think it is a little severe for that site to call the conduit head a folly)

Terry F   Link to this

pjk, lovely image of the Conduit head, which might serve as a "fountain," and explain Pepys's situation and the experience of those surrounding it and beneath him!

"Heads-up! water coming down!"
(at least it isn't dirty)

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

The conduit, spouting water, be it on a well??;It be strange that London, it be in an Artesian Basin with some "luverly" hills surrounding it, yet Artesian Water wells, not be noted until early 1800's. Some must have kept this useful secret to themselves as there be a Brewery built on Artesian [*] in Faversham+ Kent in the 1690's. Thus, they that have the Warrant to supply dirty water, would not let nice Klene water from Highgate by cleaned by nice clay, be supplied. My thought be that these spouting Conduits be built on a well and were intermittant and supplied water spasmodicately .
*[name be from n. A well drilled through impermeable strata to reach water capable of rising to the surface by internal hydrostatic pressure.
[French artésien, from Old French artesien, of Artois, from Arteis, Artois, France]
+ Britains oldest brewery;
http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/company/history...

dirk   Link to this

"This looks like the first mention of snow in the diaries so far"

re - Mary

Not completely correct. Sam mentioned snow in London before, in January 1659/60:

Wednesday 4 January 1659/60
"It snowed hard all this morning, and was very cold, and my nose was much swelled with cold."

Sunday 15 January 1659/60
"It being a cold day and a great snow..."

But that's all I could find. So, maybe snow was rare at this time of the year. After all, the worst of the "Little Ice Age" (late 1500s) was over.

If you have a close look at http://www.meto.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/ob...
you'll notice that the averages in the 1660s were somewhat higher than in the 1670s. The differences are small, but don't be deceived by this: a difference of 1 degree (Celsius = approx 2 degr F) in this kind of average represents noticeable differences on the ground.

Glyn   Link to this

Well the pelicans are still in St James Park, and they're fed fish daily at 3 pm.

Terry F   Link to this

Sam surely has no sense of false dignity, methinks, if he perched on the Conduit head, sword and all, gawking and straining to see (but not "laughing and jeering") the spectacle - the Baroque specialty - like any other common fellow not on a formal reviewing-stand. The image of the Conduit head at the top of the site pjk shared deseerves a look: http://www.follies.btinternet.co.uk/hobsons.html

Australian Susan   Link to this

Carfax
There is a Carfax in Horsham as well.

Wells in the City

The Bank of England still has three wells on its premises.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"carrefour"
Etymology:Middle French,from Late Latin
quadrifurcum, neuter of quadrifurcus
having four forks,from Latin quadri+furca fork.
Merriam Webster online

Pauline   Link to this

"...Illegal ‘tapping-in’ inevitably took place, and a culprit caught in 1478 was paraded through the streets with a miniature conduit leaking on his head..."
Nix, thanks. The above pretty much brings this wonderful entry and all the good annotations it brought forth full circle to "(the spouts thereof running very near me upon all the people that were under it):.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Stolzi on Mon 28 Nov 2005, 2:14 pm “Omne ignotum pro magifico est."
All that is not low born, is wonderful.”

Rather, “all that is unknown…”
that be the accepted version by the learned, or "have not seen" as we try to be nice.

Terry F   Link to this

Bob T, here's a botanical resource where you might find the “Navy Pines” of New Brunswick (I'm no botanist either) http://www.canadian-forests.com/

Terry F   Link to this

Bob T, are "Navy Pines" Eastern white pines? These are large (>40 m) trees... which historically were prized for their use as ships' masts. http://www.globalforestscience.org/research/tre...

Australian Susan   Link to this

The Navy was always on the look out for good mast timber. When independence threatened the supply of mast timber from New England, the utilisation of pines from Norfolk Island off the Australian coast was considered. Alas, these pines grow too fast in the climate, were not strong and snapped easily.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"Navy Pines"

Usually grown as far north as possible, so the wood is slow growing, the annual rings are thin and tight producing a dense but relatively flexible wood which will not shatter easily.

Another traditional sourcing area was the Baltic (also with acccess to large supplies of iron ore for shot), one reason the area was of significant strategic importance for any potential naval power. In the age of sail suitable available mast timber was a major limiting factor in building and maintaining a blue water fleet.

Pedro   Link to this

Cheapside Conduit 18 years later...

"A book in quarto, bound in parchment, about a quire of paper, near all writ out, being several accompts for work done, being missing out of a shop near Cheapside Conduit: supposed to fall off the stall, or other wayes, by some accident, lost about the middle of September last. If any will bring the said book to Mr. Hifftell's Coffee-house, in Cheapside, near the Nagg's Head Tavern, shall have 10s. reward.'-1680."

Curious Advertisments, The Book of Days.

Patricia   Link to this

Re Snow: Samuel has complained in his Diary that the past 2 winters have been unusually mild, and people fear it will lead to disease.
Pines: Logging stripped all of the old-growth forest of Eastern White Pine in Canada, but for a few isolated valleys. This was for masts for the fleet.

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