Friday 11 October 1667

And then rose and called W. Hewer, and he and I, with pails and a sieve, did lock ourselves into the garden, and there gather all the earth about the place into pails, and then sift those pails in one of the summer-houses, just as they do for dyamonds in other parts of the world; and there, to our great content, did with much trouble by nine o’clock (and by the time we emptied several pails and could not find one), we did make the last night’s forty-five up seventy-nine: so that we are come to about twenty or thirty of what I think the true number should be; and perhaps within less; and of them I may reasonably think that Mr. Gibson might lose some: so that I am pretty well satisfied that my loss is not great, and do bless God that it is so well,1 and do leave my father to make a second examination of the dirt, which he promises he will do, and, poor man, is mightily troubled for this accident, but I declared myself very well satisfied, and so indeed I am; and my mind at rest in it, being but an accident, which is unusual; and so gives me some kind of content to remember how painful it is sometimes to keep money, as well as to get it, and how doubtful I was how to keep it all night, and how to secure it to London: and so got all my gold put up in bags. And so having the last night wrote to my Lady Sandwich to lend me John Bowles to go along with me my journey, not telling her the reason, that it was only to secure my gold, we to breakfast, and then about ten o’clock took coach, my wife and I, and Willet, and W. Hewer, and Murford and Bowles (whom my Lady lent me), and my brother John on horseback; and with these four I thought myself pretty safe. But, before we went out, the Huntingdon musick come to me and played, and it was better than that of Cambridge. Here I took leave of my father, and did give my sister 20s. She cried at my going; but whether it was at her unwillingness for my going, or any unkindness of my wife’s, or no, I know not; but, God forgive me! I take her to be so cunning and ill-natured, that I have no great love for her; but only [she] is my sister, and must be provided for. My gold I put into a basket, and set under one of the seats; and so my work every quarter of an hour was to look to see whether all was well; and I did ride in great fear all the day, but it was a pleasant day, and good company, and I mightily contented. Mr. Shepley saw me beyond St. Neots, and there parted, and we straight to Stevenage, through Bald Lanes, which are already very bad; and at Stevenage we come well before night, and all sat, and there with great care I got the gold up to the chamber, my wife carrying one bag, and the girl another, and W. Hewer the rest in the basket, and set it all under a bed in our chamber; and then sat down to talk, and were very pleasant, satisfying myself, among other things, from John Bowles, in some terms of hunting, and about deere, bucks, and does. And so anon to supper, and very merry we were, and a good supper, and after supper to bed. Brecocke alive still, and the best host I know almost.

  1. About the year 1842, in removing the foundation of an old wall, adjoining a mansion at Brampton, always considered the quondam residence of the Pepys family, an iron pot, full of silver coins, was discovered, and taken to the Earl of Sandwich, the owner of the house, in whose possession they still remain. The pot was so much corroded, that a small piece of it only could be preserved. The coins were chiefly half-crowns of Elizabeth and the two elder Stuarts, and all of a date anterior to the Restoration. Although Pepys states that the treasure which he caused to be buried was gold exclusively, it is very probable that, in the confusion, a pot full of silver money was packed up with the rest; but, at all events, the coincidence appeared too singular to pass over without notice. — B.

4 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary

11th October, 1667. I went to see Lord Clarendon, late Lord Chancellor
[ ] and greatest officer in England, in continual apprehension what the Parliament would determine concerning him.

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

This looking for the lost gold is a wonderful story, which evokes spooky scenes in a movie. I wonder if it rained during the night :-)

Geoff Hallett   Link to this

I have to echo what Wim says, this is wonderful stuff. These kind of stories make the Diary what it is. How could an insignificant serving girl like Deb have known that we would be reading about such small events in her very ordinary life in 350 years time?
I have been away have I missed something. One annotator mentions the last entry on this site, or have I misunderstood.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"One annotator mentions the last entry on this site...."

But it wasn't the last, fortunately, though there will be one at the end of May, 1669.

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