Saturday 15 September 1666

All the morning at the office, Harman being come to my great satisfaction to put up my beds and hangings, so I am at rest, and followed my business all day. Dined with Sir W. Batten, mighty busy about this account, and while my people were busy, wrote near thirty letters and orders with my owne hand. At it till eleven at night; and it is strange to see how clear my head was, being eased of all the matter of all these letters; whereas one would think that I should have been dazed. I never did observe so much of myself in my life. In the evening there comes to me Captain Cocke, and walked a good while in the garden. He says he hath computed that the rents of houses lost by this fire in the City comes to 600,000l. per annum; that this will make the Parliament, more quiet than otherwise they would have been, and give the King a more ready supply; that the supply must be by excise, as it is in Holland; that the Parliament will see it necessary to carry on the warr; that the late storm hindered our beating the Dutch fleete, who were gone out only to satisfy the people, having no business to do but to avoid us; that the French, as late in the yeare as it is, are coming; that the Dutch are really in bad condition, but that this unhappinesse of ours do give them heart; that there was a late difference between my Lord Arlington and Sir W. Coventry about neglect in the last to send away an express of the other’s in time; that it come before the King, and the Duke of Yorke concerned himself in it; but this fire hath stopped it. The Dutch fleete is not gone home, but rather to the North, and so dangerous to our Gottenburgh fleete. That the Parliament is likely to fall foul upon some persons; and, among others, on the Vice-chamberlaine, though we both believe with little ground. That certainly never so great a loss as this was borne so well by citizens in the world; he believing that not one merchant upon the ‘Change will break upon it. That he do not apprehend there will be any disturbances in State upon it; for that all men are busy in looking after their owne business to save themselves. He gone, I to finish my letters, and home to bed; and find to my infinite joy many rooms clean; and myself and wife lie in our own chamber again. But much terrified in the nights now-a-days with dreams of fire, and falling down of houses.


10 Annotations

ticea  •  Link

I do too, Terry....

CGS  •  Link

If you suffered you kept mum about it, called stiff upper lip. sul or pleased to say differently.

JWB  •  Link

"I never did observe so much of myself in my life."

And yesterday it was: "...and Sir W. Coventry come to me, and found me, as God would have it, in my office..."

And today 343 years later... still looking.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"He says he hath computed that the rents of houses lost by this fire in the City comes to 600,000l. per annum; that this will make the Parliament, more quiet than otherwise they would have been, and give the King a more ready supply..."

Hmmn...Somehow I don't see Cocke's theory working out too well.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"that there was a late difference between my Lord Arlington and Sir W. Coventry about neglect in the last to send away an express of the other’s in time"

L&M say the account of the disagreement is found in the entry of 24 June 1666 http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/06/24/

Bradford  •  Link

"But much terrified in the nights now-a-days with dreams of fire, and falling down of houses."

The days---the weeks---right after 9/11, and much more than houses falling down. . . .

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Calendar of State Papers, Domestic. September 15, 1666

Coventry. 128. Ralph Hope to Williamson. It is impossible to persuade the people into any other belief than that the Papists have a design to rise and cut their throats, and they impute the late sad conflagration solely to their continuance and propagation; this has been insinuated by what happened at Warwick. A boy gathering blackberries sees a man doing something in a ditch, who hastily puts something into a bag and goes away; the boy finds at the place a blackish-brown ball, and carries it before the deputy lieutenants then met. There is no appearance of anything combustible in it, but all take it to be an unfinished fire-ball; the boy describes the man and takes his oath; the whole town takes the alarm; hue and cries are sent out every way to apprehend the man, but all in vain; the town is in a tumult all day, every man in arms, besides the militia horse keeping strict guard all night. Next day Sir Henry Pickering comes with his troop, dismisses the horse guard, and commands the townsmen home; they peremptorily refuse to obey, and after some high words, tell him that for aught they knew, he had a design himself to betray the town. Sir Harry grows angry and commands the troops to fire unless they disperse; the townsmen dare them to do it, cocking their loaded muskets, so that had not the prudence of some prevented, much mischief had been done. The tempest calmed at last, and the townsmen by degrees dropped home. Though the Mayor of Warwick says it was a fire-ball, an ingenious gentleman says it was no such thing. The Papists thereabouts are very high, well armed, and have frequent and suspicious meetings. Mr. Dormer, of Grove Park, a noted papist, is bound over to the assizes for some dangerous speeches. There are strange ridiculous reports, one of which is that the General is poisoned. The trade of killing sheep and taking out the tallow only is still followed in several places thereabouts. https://books.google.com/books?pg=PA127&lpg=PA1...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He says he hath computed that the rents of houses lost by this fire in the City comes to 600,000l. per annum"

L&M note this is far in excess of what may be calculated based on the statistics drawn up after the fire and given in Stow, Survey of London (ed. Strype, 1720), bk. i. 227. 13.200 houses are there stated to have been destroyed, and their average rental vale (at 12 years' purchase') is put at £25 p.a., for a total loss of rent of £340,000.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.