Friday 25 March 1664

(Lady-day). Up and by water to White Hall, and there to chappell; where it was most infinite full to hear Dr. Critton. Being not knowne, some great persons in the pew I pretended to, and went in, did question my coming in. I told them my pretence; so they turned to the orders of the chappell, which hung behind upon the wall, and read it; and were satisfied; but they did not demand whether I was in waiting or no; and so I was in some fear lest he that was in waiting might come and betray me. The Doctor preached upon the thirty-first of Jeremy, and the twenty-first and twenty-second verses, about a woman compassing a man; meaning the Virgin conceiving and bearing our Saviour. It was the worst sermon I ever heard him make, I must confess; and yet it was good, and in two places very bitter, advising the King to do as the Emperor Severus did, to hang up a Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably) in all the Courts of England. But the story of Severus was pretty, that he hanged up forty senators before the Senate house, and then made a speech presently to the Senate in praise of his owne lenity; and then decreed that never any senator after that time should suffer in the same manner without consent of the Senate: which he compared to the proceeding of the Long Parliament against my Lord Strafford. He said the greatest part of the lay magistrates in England were Puritans, and would not do justice; and the Bishopps, their powers were so taken away and lessened, that they could not exercise the power they ought. He told the King and the ladies plainly, speaking of death and of the skulls and bones of dead men and women,1 how there is no difference; that nobody could tell that of the great Marius or Alexander from a pyoneer; nor, for all the pains the ladies take with their faces, he that should look in a charnels-house could not distinguish which was Cleopatra’s, or fair Rosamond’s, or Jane Shoare’s. Thence by water home. After dinner to the office, thence with my wife to see my father and discourse how he finds Tom’s matters, which he do very ill, and that he finds him to have been so negligent, that he used to trust his servants with cutting out of clothes, never hardly cutting out anything himself; and, by the abstract of his accounts, we find him to owe above 290l., and to be coming to him under 200l.. Thence home with my wife, it being very dirty on foot, and bought some fowl in Gracious. Streets and some oysters against our feast to-morrow. So home, and after at the office a while, home to supper and to bed.

25 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

Jeremiah 31:21-22

(21) Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, [even] the way [which] thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. (22) How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.

As Pepys notes, a proof-text of the Virgin Birth.

Glyn  •  Link

"Fair Rosamond and Jane Shoare" - see the Wikipedia entries for Rosamund Clifford and for Jane Shore (also "Mistress Shore" in Shakespeare's play "Richard II").

I assume Pepys is using the term "pyoneer" in the sense of skilled labourer or digger - that usage survived into the 20th century in the British Army with the name of the Royal Pioneer Corps.

Lea  •  Link

Jane Shore is mentioned in Richard III, not Richard II, though she does not appear in the play (though some directors introduce her as a silent character; Olivier does this in his film).

Both Rosamund Clifford and Jane Shore were subjects of many poems and ballads in early modern England, and were both usually represented as repentant royal mistresses, hence, I suppose, their use here as figures of decayed beauty. I don't think the preacher has to have had Hamlet specifically in mind when he invoked Alexander, either; from Harold Jenkins' footnotes to the Arden Hamlet: "From ancient times Alexander was regularly cited in meditations on Death the leveller. See, e.g., Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, XII-XIV. Marcus Aurelius (VI.24) comments on the sameness of the dust of Alexander and his groom."

Patricia  •  Link

"Being not knowne, some great persons in the pew I pretended to, and went in, did question my coming in. I told them my pretence; so they turned to the orders of the chappell, which hung behind upon the wall, and read it; and were satisfied; but they did not demand whether I was in waiting or no; and so I was in some fear lest he that was in waiting might come and betray me."
Could someone please explain this to the unchurched (me)?

Pauline  •  Link

Jane Shore
See also: famous mistress of King Edward IV.
"But King Richard III., out of a pretended zeal for virtue and to make his brother's life odious, plundered her house of more than two thousand merks, and caused the Bishop of London to make her walk in open penance, taper in hand, dressed only in her kirlle. More tells us that Richard had first tried to charge her with betwitching him, literally rather than in the sense in which she had done his brother, and the reader will remember the use that Shakespeare made of this in his tragedy of "Richard III"....The additional horrors that she died in a ditch since called Shoreditch, and that a man was hanged for succouring her contrary to Richard's command, are completely unhistorical, however positive their ballad authority."

This from Chambers's Encyclopaedia, 1906. The concluding note sections begins:

"Percy printed from the Pepys collection 'The woefull lamentation of Jane Shore,' in wretched doggerel, ascribed to Thomas Deloney."

The bulk of the "encyclopaedia" enty for her is very lauditory of her character and wit, and Edward's lifelong devotion to her.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Patricia, I also am totally unchurched, but here's how I understood that passage: Sam pretended to be somebody else in order to be allowed in the pew, someone whose name appeared on a roster posted on the wall of those entitled to use the pew. He was naturally fearful that the rightful occupant would show up and expose him as a fraud, but apparently that didn't happen.

It's a little surprising, on that theory, that other occupants of the pew would not know by sight all those named on the roster. Perhaps this was because they rarely came except on major occasions, or perhaps it was not just individuals but members of extended families that had the right to the pew.

Australian Susan often helps us out on these matters; I look forward to her comments.

Terry F  •  Link

Lady Day

Today is the first day of (fiscal) 1664. No more 1663/64.

Mary  •  Link

"in waiting"

I think that the key here is the use of the term "in waiting". Kings and Queens have lords-in-waiting and ladies-in-waiting. These are specific positions in the royal household and (these days, at least) are exercised for set numbers of weeks (terms). Thus today's lady-in-waiting is not 'on duty' 24/7/365 but will be present in the household for a set number of weeks, then take a break of a cerain length before coming back into waiting.

It looks to me as if Sam has made some such claim as."I wait upon His Majesty" or "I wait upon His Royal Highness" and trusted to the other occupants of the pew to accept that he is 'officially 'in waiting', rather than that he does. from time to time, wait upon both these personages when attending meetings.

PHE  •  Link

The stone
Today (for us) is 6 years since Sam's operation. Good health to him! We will have to wait until tomorrow to see how he celebrates it.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I agreee with Mary! It's all to do with Royal office and the use of Chapel Royal pews. But - LH please help! - does Sam mean by "pretend" to be putting on a false persona? or is it another meaning? Is this another word like prevent which has changed meaning utterly since the 17th century?

Australian Susan  •  Link

I am intrigued by the reference to Presbyter John. Here is a website with information about the (supposed) person, but it does not seem to throw much light on what Sam is referring to here.

Bryan M  •  Link

On 18 May 1662 Sam mentioned his right to a pew at Whitehall chapel: "By water to White Hall, and there to chappell in my pew belonging to me as Clerk of the Privy Seal;". The background information on the Privy Seal cites L&M indicating that the clerks took duty for a month at a time. So perhaps Sam means that he was not on duty as a clerk of the Privy Seal in his reference to being "in waiting or no". (

The Online Etymology Dictionary has the entry below for "pretend". Either of the first two meanings applies. Could Sam have been making a pun here?

c.1380, "to profess or claim," from O.Fr. pretendre "to lay claim," from L. prætendere "stretch in front, put forward, allege," from præ- "before" + tendere "to stretch," from PIE base *ten- "to stretch" (see tend). Main modern sense of "feign, put forward a false claim" is recorded from 1412; the older sense of simply "to claim" is behind the string of royal pretenders (1697) in Eng. history. Meaning "to play, make believe" is recorded from 1865.

language hat  •  Link

"does Sam mean by 'pretend' to be putting on a false persona?"

No. The important thing to remember about pretend/pretence is that at this time they did not carry the implication of falsehood they do today; they simply meant 'claim.' The relevant OED definitions (with a sample citation for each from around Sam's time) are:

4. a. trans. To profess or claim to have (an authority, power, right, title, etc.).
1658 J. BRAMHALL Consecr. Bps. vi. 133 Where the Bishop of London never pretended any Iurisdiction.

c. trans. To lay claim to or claim ownership or possession of (a thing); to assert (a thing) as a right.
1680 R. MORDEN Geogr. Rectified: Japan (1685) 427 At this day the Hollanders pretend all Trade at Japan.

d. intr. To lay claim to a right to or share of something.
1684 BP. G. BURNET tr. T. More Utopia 157 Yet [they] pretended to no share of the spoil.

1. a. An assertion of a right, title, etc.; the putting forth of a claim; a claim.
1667 MILTON Paradise Lost II. 825 Spirits that in our just pretenses arm'd Fell with us from on high.
1683 W. TEMPLE Mem. in Wks. I. 410 His Highness had a long Pretence depending at Madrid, for about Two hundred thousand Pounds owing to his Family from that Crown.

So we should read Sam as saying "... the pew I claimed a right to... I told them my claim..." There's no implication that he lied about his identity.

Susan from Pennsylvania  •  Link

At this time, Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine and the king's reigning mistress, is frequently begin called "another Jane Shore" by her critics in and out of the pulpit. Some at Court (including the Duchess of Richmond) simply called her "Jane" behind her back, and a good many more were already hoping Barbara would end up "tossed on the dunghill" like Jane Shore, and soon, too.
Given Sam's fascination/infatuation with the beautiful Castlemaine, he probably understood precisely the usage here.

Mary  •  Link


Remember that James Stuart (1715) and Charles Stuart (1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie) were known respectively as The Old Pretender and The Young Pretender, both claimants to the throne of England.

Terry F  •  Link

"It was the worst sermon I ever heard him make..., and yet it was good"

Might the fault found be how off-topic of the Virgin Birth the sermon was, and its merit how scenic and pointed the excursus were?!

(Jane Shore, indeed!)

Terry F  •  Link

"to hang up a Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably) in all the Courts of England."

The short coat and long gown I take to refer to the Puritans and Bishops, respectively. I take it Creighton regards them as equally (interchangeanly) bad rulers, and the "Presbyter John" effigy to be a constant reminder of a better way.

Or am I way off base?!

Araucaria  •  Link

Happy New Year, everyone! (Old Style)

No more ambiguous dates until December 31!.

Araucaria  •  Link

And probably Lady Day provided the main context of the sermon.

Pedro  •  Link

Presbyter John (a short coat and a long gowne interchangeably)

Samuel Pepys (a person with short arms and long pockets)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Naught to do with Mistress Shore?" Ah, poor Hastings...

Pedro  •  Link

On this evening Holmes says...

"This night we had a tornado with a great deale of raine and the most Lightning and Thunder that I ever saw." Holmes stayed on deck all night. About two in the morning a tremendous thundrclap and lightning of unearthly brilliance..."as clear as if it were noone day"...made him think at first the ship had caught fire. For an instant the sea was held for several miles in a dazzling incandescence...

(Man of War by Richard Ollard)

malcolm jones  •  Link

This is part of an Addendum to my recent book "The Print in Early Modern England" (Yale UP, 2010). I hope it may shed some light on the mention of Fair Rosamund and Jane Shore by the preacher

Boudicca: -- evidence of continuing interest in the Queen of the Iceni is afforded by the auction catalogues of paintings sold on the London art-market c.1690. The second item offered at a sale held on 29th December 1691 was "Queen Boodisha, that beat the Romans [by (i.e. from) the Original at White-Hall]". The same sale also includes copies of Jane Shore and Fair Rosamond also based on originals at Whitehall, presumably Whitehall Palace, though I have not yet discovered at quite what date these paintings were made, or by whom. It is perhaps significant that Pepys records that in a sermon delivered at White Hall on 25th March 1664, Dr. Creighton, Dean of Wells and Charles II’s chaplain, "told the King and the ladies plainly… for all the pains the ladies take with their faces, he that should look in a charnels-house could not distinguish which was Cleopatra’s, or fair Rosamond’s, or Jane Shoare’s." I believe my pl. 45, engraved in the 1630s, to be the earliest ‘portrait’ of Boudicca, but William Faithorne [also mentioned in the Diary] supplied another as a full-page illustration to Sammes’ Britannia antiqua illustrata (1676).

I wonder whether Creighton meant to name Boadicea rather than Cleopatra -- but perhaps Cleopatra was painted at Whitehall too? I'd be grateul for any further information!

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