Saturday 13 June 1668

(Saturday).

Up at four o’clock, being by appointment called up to the Cross Bath, where we were carried one after one another, myself, and wife, and Betty Turner, Willet, and W. Hewer. And by and by, though we designed to have done before company come, much company come; very fine ladies; and the manner pretty enough, only methinks it cannot be clean to go so many bodies together in the same water. Good conversation among them that are acquainted here, and stay together. Strange to see how hot the water is; and in some places, though this is the most temperate bath, the springs so hot as the feet not able to endure. But strange to see, when women and men herein, that live all the season in these waters, that cannot but be parboiled, and look like the creatures of the bath! Carried away, wrapped in a sheet, and in a chair, home; and there one after another thus carried, I staying above two hours in the water, home to bed, sweating for an hour; and by and by, comes musick to play to me,
extraordinary good as ever I heard at London almost, or anywhere: 5s.
Up, to go to Bristol, about eleven o’clock, and paying my landlord that was our guide from Chiltern, 10s.
and the serjeant of the bath, 10s.
and the man that carried us in chairs, 3s. 6d.
Set out towards Bristoll, and come thither (in a coach hired to spare our own horses); the way bad, but country good, about two o’clock, where set down at the Horse’shoe, and there,
being trimmed by a very handsome fellow, 2s.
walked with my wife and people through the city, which is in every respect another London, that one can hardly know it, to stand in the country, no more than that. No carts, it standing generally on vaults, only dog-carts.1 So to the Three Crowns Tavern I was directed; but, when I come in, the master told me that he had newly given over the selling of wine; it seems, grown rich; and so went to the Sun; and there Deb. going with W. Hewer and Betty Turner to see her uncle [Butts], and leaving my wife with the mistress of the house, I to see the quay, which is a most large and noble place; and to see the new ship building by Baily, neither he nor Furzer being in town. It will be a fine ship.
Spoke with the foreman, and did give the boys that kept the cabin 2s.
Walked back to the Sun, where I find Deb. come back, and with her, her uncle, a sober merchant, very good company, and so like one of our sober, wealthy, London merchants, as pleased me mightily.
Here we dined, and much good talk with him, 7s. 6d.
a messenger to Sir John Knight, who was not at home, 6d.
Then walked with him [Butts] and my wife and company round the quay, and to the ship; and he shewed me the Custom-house, and made me understand many things of the place, and led us through Marsh Street, where our girl was born. But, Lord! the joy that was among the old poor people of the place, to see Mrs. Willet’s daughter, it seems her mother being a brave woman and mightily beloved! And so brought us a back way by surprize to his house, where a substantial good house, and well furnished; and did give us good entertainment of strawberries, a whole venison-pasty, cold, and plenty of brave wine, and above all Bristoll milk, where comes in another poor woman, who, hearing that Deb. was here, did come running hither, and with her eyes so full of tears, and heart so full of joy, that she could not speak when she come in, that it made me weep too: I protest that I was not able to speak to her, which I would have done, to have diverted her tears. His wife a good woman, and so sober and substantiall as I was never more pleased anywhere.
Servant- maid, 2s.
So thence took leave, and he with us through the city, where in walking I find the city pay him great respect, and he the like to the meanest, which pleased me mightily. He shewed us the place where the merchants meet here, and a fine Cross yet standing, like Cheapside.
And so to the Horseshoe, where paid the reckoning, 2s. 6d.
We back, and by moonshine to the Bath again, about ten-o’clock: bad way;
and giving the coachman 1s.
went all of us to bed.
  1. They draw all their heavy goods here on sleds, or sledges, which they call ‘gee hoes,’ without wheels, which kills a multitude of horses.” Another writer says, “They suffer no carts to be used in the city, lest, as some say, the shake occasioned by them on the pavement should affect the Bristol milk (the sherry) in the vaults, which is certainly had here in the greatest perfection.” An order of Common Council occurs in 1651 to prohibit the use of carts and waggons-only suffering drays. “Camden in giving our city credit for its cleanliness in forming ‘goutes,’ says they use sledges here instead of carts, lest they destroy the arches beneath which are the goutes.

    Chilcott’s New Guide to Bristol, &c.

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

""...sleds, or sledges, which they call 'gee hoes,' without wheels....""

gee-ho[†], »• [< gee-ho, v.] A kind of heavy sled. See the extract.
....They drew all their heavy goods here [to Bristol] on sled* or sledges, which they call Gee-hoes, without wheels. Defoe, Tour through Great Britain, II. 314.
.....Ply close at inns upon the coming in of waggons and yee-ho-coaches. Tom Brown, Works, II. 262.
http://goo.gl/bZfWg

gee 2 (jee)
interj.
Used to command an animal pulling a load to turn to the right.
intr.v. geed, gee·ing, gees
To turn to the right.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Gee

Cp. THE DIARY OF CELIA FIENNES (1685): "South-hampton is...a very neate clean town and the Streets well pitch'd and kept so, by their Carrying all their Carriages on Sleds as they do in holland, and permit no Cart to go about in ye town, and keep it Clean Swept ­"
http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/fiennes/...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"above all Bristoll milk"

PROVERBS. "Bristol milk.'']

Though as many elephants are fed as cows grased within the walls of this city, yet great plenty of this metaphorical milk, whereby xeres or sherry sack is intended. Some will have it called milk, because (whereas nurses give new-born babes in some places pap, in others water and sugar) such wine is the first moisture given infants in this city. It is also the entertainment of course, which the courteous Bristolians present to all strangers, when first visiting their city.
The history of the worthies of England By Thomas Fuller http://goo.gl/cm2yH

Bristol Cream
Bristol Cream is a brand of Spanish sherry that has been imported into and bottled in Bristol, England since 1796 by John Harvey & Sons of Bristol. Contrary to popular belief, the term "cream sherry" does not reflect the use of any dairy ingredients in the recipe. The popular story is that in the 1860s, a visitor to the Harveys' cellars was given a taste of a new blend of sherry. When compared to Bristol Milk, she said, "If that be Milk, then this is Cream." The enterprising Harveys named the new blend "cream sherry" accordingly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_%26_Sons

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Quite a reception for our shy Willet... I wonder if it played any role in subsequent events by raising her in Sam's estimation. In any case it's neat to see another servant of Sam's showing the wide range of dimensions and social mobility such people could have. Jane with her book and feisty spirit...Mercer with her easy transition from independent, no-nonsense-taking (from Bess anyway) servant to beloved family friend...Had Sam remained a junior clerk, minus Sandwich's patronage, he would probably be doffing cap to Miss Willet and her wealthy uncle as their carriage passed the poor clerk and his wife on their way to the cheaper visitors' lodgings.

Mary   Link to this

At last we see the official justification for Sam's West Country jaunt. He's on a business trip. In an age when roads could be in very bad state and travel a somewhat risky business, it shouldn't be too difficult for Sam to justify the length of his time away from the office if the Duke of York starts to ask awkward questions.

Peter Taylor   Link to this

Sam and his entourage are having a wonderful holiday.

NJM   Link to this

I was born and brought up in London and later moved to the West Country and worked in Bristol for 7 years. I always said that I found it to be a smaller version of London - with the river, the docks and the financial/banking district. How good to find that Sam thought the same so many years before me !
I am going to Dr. Johnson's House in London on Thursday evening to see a dramatisation in costume of "Pepys & the Playhouse". Looking forward to it - should be enlightening & entertaining ! About as close as it is probably able to be back in the period !

GrahamT   Link to this

I remember my mother buying a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream each Christmas. Now I know where the name came from.

tonyt   Link to this

Marsh Street, Bristol still exists but it must be many a year since a little girl was born there as it is now made up entirely of office buildings. The 'Marsh' itself was soon to disappear - built over to form Queen's Square, notorious as the site of the 1831 Bristol Reform Riots.

Will Norton   Link to this

As a native of Bristol (Bristolian), I am happy to read about Sam's trip to my hometown. I wonder how Bristol would have looked in 1668. It was heavily bombed in the second world war, and not much of the medieval city remains now (apart from the area around Corn st. with the famous Bristol nails).

I had never heard of the sleds used to transport goods though. I wonder why we were not taught that in history lessons in primary school!

My parents still live between Bristol and Bath; the country is still good but the roads quite bad...

JWB   Link to this

goutes ?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"goutes ?"

Good Q, JWB: I didn't notice that.

A search of etymologyonline,com for "goute" yields gutter (n.)
late 13c., "watercourse, water drainage channel along the side of a street," from Anglo-Norman gotere, from O.Fr. guitere, goutiere (13c., Mod.Fr. gouttière) "gutter, spout" (of water), from goute "a drop," from L. gutta "a drop." Meaning "furrow made by running water" is from 1580s. Meaning "trough under the eaves of a roof to carry off rainwater" is from mid-14c. Figurative sense of "low, profane" is from 1818. In printers' slang, from 1841.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gutter

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I wonder how Bristol would have looked in 1668. It was heavily bombed in the second world war, and not much of the medieval city remains now...."

Will Norton, the 126 pics flickr has today of "pre-war bristol" aren't all 1668, but....
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=pre-war+bristol...

Geoff Hallett   Link to this

We still buy a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream each Christmas. They still sell Bristol Milk.

PHE   Link to this

Like NJM, I am also from London and South East. I lived in Bristol for about 7 years, and also had the same sense that it felt like a smaller version of London. I think that also helps to explain why many other south easterners have settled there for good and feel quite at home. Another factor is that Bristol doesn't seem to show an 'anti-southerner' feeling that we southerners often feel 'up north'.

I also worked in Bath during the same period, and did some work on Cross Bath. This is the smallest of the baths and I can totally appreciate Sam's concern that too many people in it "canot be so clean". But his comment comes some 200 years before the risk of water borne disease began to be understood.

tonyt   Link to this

To see how Bristol looked in 1668 you need look no further than the superb 1673 Plan of Bristol by Jacob Millerd : 'AN EXACT DELINEATION OF THE FAMOUS CITTY OF BRISTOLL AND SUBURBS thereof together with all the High wayes, throughfares, streets, lanes and public passages therein Contained,Composed by a Scale Ichnographically Described,Engraven and Published by Ia: Millerd, Cittizen and Inhabitant there'

I have a full size #about 60cm x 60cm# print of this Plan on my wall and refer to it frequently. You really need this size to appreciate the detail but smaller versions can no doubt be found on the internet. Various archeological digs have shown this Plan to be remarkably accurate

language hat   Link to this

Smaller indeed -- the best I can do is this unusably tiny version:
http://museums.bristol.gov.uk/emuweb/php5/media...

Why hasn't someone put online a full-sized version that you can zoom in on, as has been done with so many maps? Or am I just unable to locate it?

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