Monday 3 August 1663

Up both of us very betimes and to the Yard, and see the men called over and choose some to be discharged. Then to the Ropehouses and viewed them all and made an experiment which was the stronger, English or Riga hemp, the latter proved the stronger, but the other is very good, and much better we believe than any but Riga. We did many other things this morning, and I caused the Timber measurer to measure some timber, where I found much fault and with reason, which we took public notice of, and did give them admonition for the time to come. At noon Mr. Pett did give us a very great dinner, too big in all conscience, so that most of it was left untouched. Here was Collonell Newman and several other gentlemen of the country and officers of the yard. After dinner they withdrew and Commissioner Pett, Mr. Coventry and I sat close to our business all the noon in his parler, and there run through much business and answered several people. And then in the evening walked in the garden, where we conjured him to look after the yard, and for the time to come that he would take the whole faults and ill management of the yard upon himself, he having full power and our concurrence to suspend or do anything else that he thinks fit to keep people and officers to their duty. He having made good promises, though I fear his performance, we parted (though I spoke so freely that he could have been angry) good friends, and in some hopes that matters will be better for the time to come. So walked to the Hillhouse (which we did view and the yard about it, and do think to put it off as soon as we can conveniently) and there made ourselves ready and mounted and rode to Gravesend (my riding Coate not being to be found I fear it is stole) on our way being overtaken by Captain Browne that serves the office of the Ordnance at Chatham. All the way, though he was a rogue and served the late times all along, yet he kept us in discourse of the many services that he did for many of the King’s party, lords and Dukes, and among others he recovered a dog that was stolne from Mr. Cary (head-keeper of the buck-hounds to the King) and preserved several horses of the Duke of Richmond’s, and his best horse he was forst to put out his eyes and keep him for a stallion to preserve him from being carried away. But he gone at last upon my enquiry to tell us how (he having been here too for survey of the Ropeyard) the day’s work of the Rope-makers become settled, which pleased me very well. Being come to our Inn Mr. Coventry and I sat, and talked till 9 or 10 a-clock and then to bed.

15 Annotations

Patricia  •  Link

I wondered at Sam's use of "conjured" says this:
"3. Archaic. To call on or entreat solemnly, especially by an oath."
So that makes sense.

TerryF  •  Link

It appears the day's theme is "the time to come."

Pointing toward future performance targets - the hemp "experiment"/demonstration, the timber-measurement test, the review/pep-talk with Commissioner Pett, &c., serve that purpose.

The initial rather arbitrary dismissals seem to be intended to begin the day with a lesson in consequences, which methinks puts the cart before the horse, but perhaps a smack against the head with a log's the only way to get the yard's full attention.

Australian Susan  •  Link

So what did Capt Browne do with the "several horses" of the Duke of Richmond (to say nothing of the buckhound)? Is he just taking the opportunity to get his version of events over to people he perceives have influence at Court so questions might not be asked as to how he is in possession of expensive livestock?

The blinded stallion

Horses who become blind do learn to get about a familiar field and stable, but I imagine this poor creature was kept stalled up somewhere and had mares brought to him. I bet Capt. Brown charged a large service fee, stressing the stallion's provenance.

Patricia  •  Link

Regarding the Duke of Richmond's stallion, I guess he was worth a lot for stud, but I can't imagine mutilating such a beautiful creature to prevent its being stolen/appropriated. Capt. Browne seems an opportunist, to me.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"(my riding Coate not being to be found I fear it is stole)"

No doubt, given the events of the day, Mr. Gertz will enlighten us about the true fate of Sam's riding Coate...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A smiling Pett waves off the departing Pepys and Coventry, turning to enter his home...Slamming the door in rage.

"Bastards! And that little...To talk to me like that!" Face dangerously near apoplexy.

Well...Slight smile. At least I got a new coat out of it.


Aqua  •  Link

Sam has his sliding ruler neatly folded as Sam walks up to a stack of 8x8 by 40, and asks for an accounting, and the Officer in charge gives the number, so Sam brings out his slip stick, and dothe measure. Thee can see the convulsion of the Man, when he realizes that this city slicker has got him dead to rights.

Aqua  •  Link

Big dinner, well known to get the brain fuzzy and soften up visiting trouble makers.

TerryF  •  Link

The (in]fidelities of Captain Browne -

who "served the late times [the party of the Interregnum] all along, yet he kept us in discourse of the many services that he did for many of the King’s party, lords and Dukes, [&c., &c.,]..."

So, yes, Australian Susan and Patricia, he likely opportunely hoped to sell his version of events to those who might echo it at court; "and among others he recovered a dog that was stolne from Mr. Cary (head-keeper of the buck-hounds to the King)...."

I wonder how the Diarist - himself an admitted loser and coveter of others' dogs - felt when Captain Browne told this as one in a series of examples of his trust with others' property.

Mary  •  Link


If you visit Chatham Historic Dockyard today, you can tour the old ropehouses and even, if you manage to be there at the right time, make a short piece of rope for yourself.

Some of Commissioner Pett's naval models can also be seen.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"All the way, though he was a rogue and served the late times all along, yet he kept us in discourse of the many services that he did for many of the King’s party..."

Hmmn...How quickly former Commonwealth bureaucrat Sam has dropped his Puritan, king's-execution-applauding, republic-considering past down the memory hole.

"But enough of my heroic endeavours for the King and his party." Browne smiles.

"How about you, Pepys? I'm sure you've a fine list of noble deeds ye did do in secret for the King's service during those dark days of Cromwell."

"Ah...Ha, ha...Ah...Well..."

"Don't be modest, man. Mr. Coventry'd be proud to hear of them, I'm sure."


TerryF  •  Link

SP's "Puritan, king’s-execution-applauding...past" and the Petts.

Thursday 1 November 1660

"Here dined with us two or three more country gentle men; among the rest Mr. Christmas, my old school-fellow, with whom I had much talk. He did remember that I was a great Roundhead when I was a boy, and I was much afraid that he would have remembered the words that I said the day the King was beheaded (that, were I to preach upon him, my text should be “The memory of the wicked shall rot”); but I found afterwards that he did go away from school before that time."1

1 Pepys might well be anxious on this point, for in October of this year Phieas Pett, assistant master shipwright at Chatham, was dismissed from his post for having when a Child spoken disrespectfully of the King. See ante, August 23rd.

Joe  •  Link

"He having made good promises, though I fear his performance"

I wonder if SP's doubts of Pett here might carry some residue from his own reading of his vows last night.

Bradford  •  Link

And I cannot resist, pursuant to Jeannine's eBay find, this extract from the description: look who turns up:

"This is a one-off extremely rare visitors book from Pepys House, Brampton, Huntingdon. It was first signed by the founding members of the Samuel Pepys Club in 1906. These were:


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