Friday 7 August 1668

Up, and to coach, and with a guide to Petersfield, where I find Sir Thomas Allen and Mr. Tippets come; the first about the business, the latter only in respect to me; as also Fitzgerald, who come post all last night, and newly arrived here. We four sat down presently to our business, and in an hour despatched all our talk; and did inform Sir Thomas Allen well in it, who, I perceive, in serious matters, is a serious man: and tells me he wishes all we are told be true, in our defence; for he finds by all, that the Turks have, to this day, been very civil to our merchant-men everywhere; and, if they would have broke with us, they never had such an opportunity over our rich merchant-men, as lately, coming out of the Streights. Then to dinner, and pretty merry: and here was Mr. Martin, the purser, and dined with us, and wrote some things for us. And so took coach again back; Fitzgerald with us, whom I was pleased with all the day, with his discourse of his observations abroad, as being a great soldier and of long standing abroad: and knows all things and persons abroad very well — I mean, the great soldiers of France, and Spain, and Germany; and talks very well. Come at night to Gilford, where the Red Lyon so full of people, and a wedding, that the master of the house did get us a lodging over the way, at a private house, his landlord’s, mighty neat and fine; and there supped and talked with the landlord and his wife: and so to bed with great content, only Fitzgerald lay at the Inne. So to bed.

5 Annotations

sbt   Link to this

Location and fate of the Red Lion, on the corder of Market Street and the High Street in Guildford

http://tinyurl.com/3zywcor

I am surprised he didn't simply move to another of the several Coaching Inns in the High Street. As a common stopping point on the London to Portsmouth road the town had many. The Angel still exists and the White Lion is remembered in the White Lion Walk shopping centre, at one time there were 5 large Coaching Inns and 25 smaller Pubs and Inns in the High Street alone.

The towns and villages along the Portsmouth Road, roughly the route of the modern A3, had many many inns and hostelries to serve travellers. The Red Lion in Milford, the village my parents live in, is infamous as the meeting point, in 1786, between an unknown Seaman and three robbers. He was killed for his back pay on the approach to Hindhead. The murderers where caught and hanged and a memorial stone still stands by the roadside.

The point of that digression is that Pepys should have been less worried about finding the way than robbers, the stretch between Milford and Hindhead was a known haunt of highwaymen until quite late in history. Groups of travellers used to team up in Milford, Godalming or Guildford before making the trip across the sparsely populated (its very poor agricultural land) area of sandy heath and woodland.

Whether this was the reason for meeting there I don't know, but Pepys, his horses and Coachman would have been glad to have stopped there. It avoided the hilly country, the South Downs, between there and Portsmouth. This includes the steep climb and decent of Portsdown Hill, a major ridge that overlooks the harbour (and is the site of the office where I work).

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the Red Lyon so full of people, and a wedding, that the master of the house did get us a lodging over the way, at a private house, his landlord’s, mighty neat and fine; and there supped and talked with the landlord and his wife:"

I get the feeling the master of the house has done this many times before. "Mr. Pepys, I have a deal for you!" And the "landlord" gets a cut.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

To reinforce sbt's point about the Hindhead area

Near Hindhead is the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a site of special scientific interest. This area was notorious in times past for highwaymen and lawlessness and was only “tamed” in the 19th century when the London to Portsmouth railway line removed much of the freight being transported by road. Gibbet Hill above the Devil’s Punch Bowl is where murderers and robbers were hung in chains to warn others. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbet_Hill,_Hindhead
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/12777/#c...

Jenny   Link to this

I love the Red Lyon being "full of people for a wedding". I can imagine exactly the same thing happening today. Arriving at your favourite pub and finding it's been booked for a private function.

Robin Peters   Link to this

Did he get to Portsmouth? Seems not as he mentions getting to Liphook late and to bed after supper. Today he travels on to Petersfield and meets with Sir Thomas Allen and Messrs Tippets and Fitzgerald who had come up from Pompey, then he returns northwards back to Guildford for another overnight stop.

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