Monday 15 June 1668

(Monday).

Up, and with Mr. Butts to look into the baths, and find the King and Queen’s full of a mixed sort, of good and bad, and the Cross only almost for the gentry. So home and did the like with my wife,
and did pay my guides, two women, 5s.
one man, 2s. 6d.
poor, 6d.
woman to lay my foot-cloth, 1s.
So to our inne, and there eat and paid reckoning, 1l. 8s. 6d.
servants, 3s.
poor, 1s.
lent the coach man, 10s.
Before I took coach, I went to make a boy dive in the King’s bath, 1s.
I paid also for my coach and a horse to Bristol, 1l. 1s. 6d.
Took coach, and away, without any of the company of the other stage-coaches, that go out of this town to-day; and rode all day with some trouble, for fear of being out of our way, over the Downes, where the life of the shepherds is, in fair weather only, pretty. In the afternoon come to Abebury, where, seeing great stones like those of Stonage standing up, I stopped, and took a countryman of that town, and he carried me and shewed me a place trenched in, like Old Sarum almost, with great stones pitched in it, some bigger than those at Stonage in figure, to my great admiration: and he told me that most people of learning, coming by, do come and view them, and that the King did so: and that the Mount cast hard by is called Selbury, from one King Seall buried there, as tradition says.
I did give this man 1s.
So took coach again, seeing one place with great high stones pitched round, which, I believe, was once some particular building, in some measure like that of Stonage. But, about a mile off, it was prodigious to see how full the Downes are of great stones; and all along the vallies, stones of considerable bigness, most of them growing certainly out of the ground so thick as to cover the ground, which makes me think the less of the wonder of Stonage, for hence they might undoubtedly supply themselves with stones, as well as those at Abebury.
In my way did give to the poor and menders of the highway 3s.
Before night, come to Marlborough, and lay at the Hart; a good house, and a pretty fair town for a street or two; and what is most singular is, their houses on one side having their pent-houses supported with pillars, which makes it a good walk. My wife pleased with all, this evening reading of “Mustapha” to me till supper, and then to supper, and had musique whose innocence pleased me,
and I did give them 3s.
So to bed, and lay well all night, and long, so as all the five coaches that come this day from Bath, as well as we, were gone out of the town before six.

9 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"...look into the baths, and find the King and Queen’s..."

The King's Bath
http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthrough/the_rom...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"...the Mount cast hard by is called Selbury, from one King Seall buried there, as tradition says."

Silbury Hill is less than a mile to the south of Avebury.

John Aubrey (‘Monumenta Britannica’): “No history gives any account of this hill; the tradition only is, that King Sil or Zel, as the countrey folke pronounce, was buried here on horseback, and that the hill was raysed while a posset of milke was seething.” http://www.dot-domesday.me.uk/henge.htm

L&M ascribe this quotation to Aubrey's *Topographical Collections*.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"So home and did the like with my wife..."

What, took her back and through?...Looked into her bath? Or is this some new Pepysian slang for connubial ... ?

***
"...where the life of the shepherds is, in fair weather only, pretty..." Excellent point. And in bad, pretty miserable...

Mary   Link to this

"having their pent-houses supported with pillars"

Thus creating a colonnade, I presume, which affords protection to pedestrians.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

Having moved to the West Country from London thirty years ago, it's been a pleasure seeing all the sights again for the first time through Sam's eyes.

His expenses are interesting as well, good to see his generosity to "the poor", but I wonder about the 'woman to lay my foot-cloth'. Anybody know what this entailed?

Adam   Link to this

‘woman to lay my foot-cloth’ probably refers to someone working in the baths. Maybe they get out and stand on a cloth so they don't go flying off on the slippery stones.

LKvM   Link to this

"how full the Downes are of great stones . . . most of them growing out of the ground so thick as to cover the ground, which makes me think less of the wonder of [Stonehenge], for hence they might undoubtedly supply themselves with stones . . . ."

True, but they aren't all local sarsens at Stonehenge, and maybe our modern knowledge that its bluestones came (somehow) all the way from Preseli in Wales might have kept Sam's "admiration" piqued, as it does today, with wondering how they got there.

Douglas Robertson   Link to this

“So home and did the like with my wife…”

He seems to mean that he visited the baths again, this time with Elizabeth instead of with Mr. Butts.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

SP, Esq. [so Evelyn to him], is certainly feeling his class-consciousness today

"the King and Queen’s [Bath] full of a mixed sort, of good and bad, and the Cross [Bath] only almost for the gentry." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentry#British

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