Wednesday 25 March 1668

Up, and walked to White Hall, there to wait on the Duke of York, which I did: and in his chamber there, first by hearing the Duke of York call me by my name, my Lord Burlington did come to me, and with great respect take notice of me and my relation to my Lord Sandwich, and express great kindness to me; and so to talk of my Lord Sandwich’s concernments. By and by the Duke of York is ready; and I did wait for an opportunity of speaking my mind to him about Sir J. Minnes, his being unable to do the King any service, which I think do become me to do in all respects, and have Sir W. Coventry’s concurrence therein, which I therefore will seek a speedy opportunity to do, come what will come of it. The Duke of York and all with him this morning were full of the talk of the ‘prentices, who are not yet [put] down, though the guards and militia of the town have been in armes all this night, and the night before; and the ‘prentices have made fools of them, sometimes by running from them and flinging stones at them. Some blood hath been spilt, but a great many houses pulled down; and, among others, the Duke of York was mighty merry at that of Damaris Page’s, the great bawd of the seamen; and the Duke of York complained merrily that he hath lost two tenants, by their houses being pulled down, who paid him for their wine licenses 15l. a year. But here it was said how these idle fellows have had the confidence to say that they did ill in contenting themselves in pulling down the little bawdyhouses, and did not go and pull down the great bawdy-house at White Hall. And some of them have the last night had a word among them, and it was “Reformation and Reducement.” This do make the courtiers ill at ease to see this spirit among people, though they think this matter will not come to much: but it speaks people’s minds; and then they do say that there are men of understanding among them, that have been of Cromwell’s army: but how true that is, I know not. Thence walked a little to Westminster, but met with nobody to spend any time with, and so by coach homeward, and in Seething Lane met young Mrs. Daniel, and I stopt, and she had been at my house, but found nobody within, and tells me that she drew me for her Valentine this year, so I took her into the coach, and was going to the other end of the town, thinking to have taken her abroad, but remembering that I was to go out with my wife this afternoon, … and so to a milliner at the corner shop going into Bishopsgate and Leadenhall Street, and there did give her eight pair of gloves, and so dismissed her, and so I home and to dinner, and then with my wife to the King’s playhouse to see “The Storme,” which we did, but without much pleasure, it being but a mean play compared with “The Tempest,” at the Duke of York’s house, though Knepp did act her part of grief very well. Thence with my wife and Deb. by coach to Islington, to the old house, and there eat and drank till it was almost night, and then home, being in fear of meeting the ‘prentices, who are many of them yet, they say, abroad in the fields, but we got well home, and so I to my chamber a while, and then to supper and to bed.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

What the ellipsis suppressed

"...in Seething Lane met young Mrs. Daniel, and I stopped; and she had been at my house but found nobody within, and tells me that she drew me for her Valentine this year; so I took her into the coach, and was going to the other end of the town, thinking to have taken her abroad; but remembering that I was to go out with my wife this afternoon, I only did hazer her para tocar my prick con her hand which did hazer me hazer; and so to a milliner at the corner shop...."

L&M text.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the ‘prentices, who are not yet [put] down, though the guards and militia of the town have been in armes all this night, and the night before; and the ‘prentices have made fools of them, sometimes by running from them and flinging stones at them. Some blood hath been spilt"

Apparently this guerrilla warfare raged for five days, an unwelcome post-Easter reign of misrule punished harshly, "fifteen of the ringleaders were tried for high treason, on a rather dubious interpretation of the law, and four were eventually hanged, drawn and quartered.” http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/24/#c32...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

London Gazette...All the news the government allows you to know...

"Extra! Extra! Radical youths on rampage in London! Lawless mobs threaten 'entertainment district'! Duke scoffs at threat! Roundheadists suspected behind violence! Lord Craven to use all force to crush the apprentices! Vows ringleaders will be subject to harshest penalties! Read our commentator on whether the sinister hand of the Bishop of Rome #as if you didn't know# is at work again here!"

Terry Foreman   Link to this

RG, I'm glad someone's reporting these events for the Gazette: there's lots of news in today's Gazette about the Pope, but his hand in this is not mentioned (censorship, no doubt). http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/344/pages/1

Indeed there's no mention of the riots in the next few issues of the Gazette (check it out).

Carl in Boston   Link to this

these idle fellows have had the confidence to say that they did ill in contenting themselves in pulling down the little bawdyhouses
This is a mystery to me. How could a crowd pull down a house, being timber framed? I suppose they had a big rope, (from a ship) looped it through an upper window casement, and the crowd pulled, huffing and puffing until the wall came down. I would think there was some sway bracing from the floor and ceiling. There must have been too much lack of diagonal bracing in the houses. Quite a mystery.

Mary   Link to this

These bawdy houses in Moorfields were not necessarily the more solidly built constructions that would have been expected (before the Fire, at least) closer to the heart of the city and so may have been comparatively easy to vandalise or pull down.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Is "pull down" a house or other building an idiom?

Here's a sturdy building standing still. "There was an attempt to pull down the Red Hall in 1892 when the railway company needed more space to build freight sidings but the public outcry that ensued...forced the company to shelve its plans and the building was saved." http://www.bourneunitedcharities.co.uk/red_hall...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

@Carl in Boston's question

Here are some Timber-frame Houses in the Historic American Buildings Survey (many 17c English-technique)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/100_tim.html

@Mary's reply: I wonder how a house could stand w/out such framing?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I'd wonder if pull down actually meant tear them down in this context. Perhaps just defacing and damaging them enough to force closure, as opposed to what poor Sir John Robinson and his overwhelmed boys were doing during the Fire?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

When does a place like Sam's favorite hang-out the Swan cross the bawdy house line for the apprentices? Surely they're not all that inclined to draw careful distinctions...

"Oh, Sarah..."

"Oh, Mr. Pepys...We'd best stop before...Oh! My!"

Howls from outside, leering faces at window.

"Mr Pepys!"

"Smith! My name is Smith!" Sam retains that presence of mind we all love him for.

More cries...

"Look, Fred! There's another un!! Get the torches!! Fetch the hooks and ropes, we'll pull'er down with the fornicators themselves in 'er!!"

"Go and tell them this is a tavern, not a bawdy house!"

"Me, Mr. Pepys?!"

"Smith! Girl, I just tole you...Oh, very well..." frowning Sam makes for doorway.

"Toss that hook over here, lads! We'll have 'er down in a min!"

"I say, see here, boys! This is not..." ducks hurled stone...

"Kill the fornicators!! Down with the house!"

"Oh, we're going to die!" Sarah howls.

"What? AFter I've just made a speech that could change the whole course of my already astonishing career? The most brilliant oration heard in Parliament...Let me get...Ah, yes..." Pulls out sheet... "Here...'The most brilliant oration heard in Parliament in the last forty years...' and this gentleman ought to know..."

"They're smashing the windows and they've hooked the roof! Stop them, Mr...."

Sam gives stern glance...

"...Smith..." Sarah frowns. "Enough about your speech, do something!"

"Give it the ole heave-ho, lads!!! One...Two..."

Sighing, Sam to doorway... "Now lads, I want you to stop this. You're frightening the young lady, Mistress Sarah..."

"Kill the...What?" "Sarah...?" "Sarah?" "'ey, Sarah?"

"Lads, this be the Swan, our favorite tavern..." "The Swan?" "It's Mistress Udall inside. Haul down, leave off, lads!" "How'd we get to the Swan?" "'ey, Sarah?!"

"Mistress Sarah...? With the little bug-eyed fellow?" "Tain't right." "'ey, Sarah..."

"All right, then..." Sam sighs...Turning back to...Business at hand. Sarah sighing with relief as well.

Renewed calls...

"How's about a drink then, bug-eyes!" "Ay, one for the lads like a gent, Smith, or maybe we'll string ye up for fornication!" "String him up anyway!" "'ey, Sarah?! Answer a fellow, will ye?" Crowd makes for tavern door... "It's all on Mr. 'Smith', Sarah!" shoving Sam aside.

"What!"

Paul Chapin   Link to this

It belatedly occurred to me that this was Lady Day (and thus the first day since January 1 when the year appears as 1668 simpliciter). In past years Sam has been all astir to settle his accounts on this day, but no mention of that at all today. A few days ago he made a passing comment about settling a couple of accounts, so he must be all caught up. And the excitement of the 'prentice riot, and the liaison with Mrs. Daniel, and the evening out, crowded out any thoughts of the calendar.

Bryan M   Link to this

Is “pull down” a house or other building an idiom?

Possibly not. The link below shows "firehooks" being used by 17th C firefighters to pull down burning buildings. Young people are naturally such lateral thinkers and the 'prentices might even had the opportunity to hone their technique during the late conflagration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Firehooks.161...

Mary   Link to this

pulling down the bawdy houses.

We lack evidence, but I'm not sure that these were houses in the full, permanent, domestic sense of the word. You wouldn't need a massive timber frame to enable a wooden structure to stand sufficiently well to cope with this kind of passing trade. My fairly capacious garden tool-store is a wooden structure that has stood for years, but it wouldn't take a huge effort to pull it down if one were bent on mischief yet it's weatherproof. It doesn't afford a huge amount of headroom, but the Moorfields clients might not have been troubled by that lack.

Bryan M   Link to this

Below is an extract from a paper by Tim Harris that sheds a little more light on this fascinating topic. (I think they really pulled those houses down.)

THE BAWDY HOUSE RIOTS OF 1668*
by TIM HARRIS
The Historical Journal (1986), 29: 537-556

"The riots broke out on Easter Monday, 23 March 1668, when a group attacked bawdy houses in Poplar. The next day crowds of about 500 pulled 'down similar establishments in Moorfields, East Smithfield, St Leonard's, Shoreditch, and also St Andrew's, Holborn, the main bawdy house districts of London. The final assaults came on Wednesday, mainly in the Moorfields area, one report claiming there were now 40,000 rioters - surely an exaggeration, but indicating that abnormally large numbers of people were involved. … On all days the crowds were supposedly armed with ' iron bars, polaxes, long staves, and other weapons', presumably the sort of tools necessary for house demolition. The rioters organized themselves into regiments, headed by a captain, and marching behind colours."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Thanks, Bryan, for the lede:

Bawdy House Riots of 1668
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The 1668 Bawdy House Riots took place in 17th century London following repression of a series of annual Shrove Tuesday attacks against brothels.

Samuel Pepys records the events in his Diary 24th to 25th March mentioning that they were perceived as an anti-Royal demonstration of working class apprentices centre on Moorfields with echoes of the Puritanism of the Cromwellian era and specifcally targeted at the immoral behaviour of King Charles II and his court, who had been engaged with a series of extra-marital affairs with high profile courtesans, noting; " how these idle fellows have had the confidence to say that they did ill in contenting themselves in pulling down the little bawdy-houses, and did not go and pull down the great bawdy-house at Whitehall." Nine of the ringleaders were sentenced to death.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bawdy_House_Riots_...

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