Longer articles on broader topics that might not fit in regular annotations or the Encyclopedia.



Sunday Lunch with Mr and Mrs Pepys

Tuesday 1st April 2014

By Sue Nicholson

We are sitting in St Olave’s church, in the navy pew, a gallery on the south side with its own entrance from Seething Lane. Precedence is important and as guests of Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys, we are seated in front, with servants and clerks behind us. The vicar, Mr Mills, is just concluding the service. Wives are discreetly elbowing sleeping husbands and we wait for more senior officers, Sir John Mennes and Sir William Coventry, to rise before making our exit down the canopied staircase and out into the churchyard. Going through the gate we cross Seething Lane. The cobbled surface is sticky with black, tarry London mud. Will Griffin the doorkeeper opens the heavy wooden gate and bows as we enter the Navy Office site.

Continue reading…


The Garden at the Navy Office

Sunday 2nd March 2014

By Sue Nicholson

There was a large garden at the Navy Office where Pepys lived and worked during the diary years. It stretched from behind the Office buildings down to the “Merchant’s Gate” or tradesman’s entrance, on Tower Hill.

The premises on Seething Lane (where Pepys lived during the diary years) had been acquired by the Navy Office in 1654 and had once been the home of Sir John Wolstenholme. Adjacent to this was a house and gardens belonging to Lord Lumley, which can be seen (middle right, north of Tower Hill) in the Agas map of 1591.

Continue reading…


The Bagwells

Wednesday 18th July 2012

By John Phillips

[John has written this essay about the Bagwell family of Deptford. Latham & Matthews describe William Bagwell as “ship’s carpenter and the complaisant husband of one of Pepys’s mistresses.” P.G.]

Continue reading…



At home with Mr and Mrs Pepys

Friday 23rd September 2011

Sue Nicholson

Samuel Pepys was anxious. He had been promised a house to go with his new job at the Navy Office, at the extraordinary salary of £350 per annum. The newly restored Monarchy meant a complete changeover of staff in all areas of the administration. The Commonwealth mandarins were being superseded by the King’s Men and Samuel Pepys, having played an active role in returning Charles to the throne alongside his cousin and patron Sir Edward Mountagu, was rewarded with the position of Clerk of the Acts.

Continue reading…


John Evelyn's Fire of London

Wednesday 2nd September 2009

John Evelyn also kept his diary during the events of September 1666 and, given their length, it seems appropriate to give them a home here. The diary entries below are taken from this source (mirror). I’ve included all of Evelyn’s relevant entries, so, if you know nothing about what happens during the Fire, some of the below might count as SPOILERS!

Continue reading…


Evelyn to Pepys, 26 March 1666

Thursday 26th March 2009

As you know, on days when John Evelyn and Pepys exchanged letters, there’s now a link to the relevant letter on this site. The letters are also often posted in the annotations for that day’s diary entry, but as one of Evelyn’s letters to Pepys for 26 March 1666 is long and has a lot of tabular data, Terry Foreman had the good idea of posting it in the In-Depth Articles section. So here is the exchange of four letters for today:

Continue reading…


Legends of British History: Samuel Pepys

Friday 12th December 2008

The author Andrew Godsell recently got in touch having written Legends of British History and he offered the book’s biographical sketch of Pepys for publication here. It covers his whole life (and beyond) so there are “spoilers” towards the end if you don’t know what’s coming. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this overview of Sam’s life. You can buy Legends of British History at Amazon.co.uk.

Continue reading…


Sam’s N-A-V-Y

Tuesday 25th December 2007

By Jeannine Kerwin

In the year 1664 we celebrated the mid-point of Sam’s Diary, perhaps with a mixture of happiness for all of the time shared together and a touch of sadness too, as we know that in a few years the Diary will end.

Continue reading…


'The Plot Against Pepys' by James Long and Ben Long

Thursday 16th August 2007

Reviewed by Jeannine Kerwin

[Disclaimer: The publishers sent me a free copy of the book, which I passed on to Jeannine to review; we were under no obligation to say something good about it! Phil.]

'The Plot Against Pepys' coverThis magnificent piece of work by Long and Long explores the outlandish charges of treason brought against Sam during the Popish Plots, and then brilliantly unfolds the mysteries, men and motives fabricating those accusations. This true story is based on a vast collection of facts, letters and notes from widely diverse and seemingly unrelated sources, which have been analyzed and synthesized to reveal an amazingly intricate network of lies, fraud, forgeries, espionage, swindles, etc. directed to bring about the downfall of Sam as a step towards destroying the Duke of York. The narrative style moves through the complex intrigues in a fashion that is highly readable and thoroughly engaging.

Continue reading…


Carteret and the King

Sunday 22nd July 2007

By Jeannine Kerwin

Sam’s diary affords us the wonderful opportunity to see his world and view the individuals surrounding him through his eyes. The men and women that he writes of have been uniquely recorded and preserved for prosperity. Years before Sam kept his diary, on a small island that lies between England and France, another diarist, the Jersey born, Jean Chevalier, kept a diary of his own. In the book, Jean Chevalier and His Times1 the author Arthur Charles Saunders tells us that Chevalier was the “Pepys” of the island, and that “self”, which is so significant in Sam’s diary, is very minor in this diary. Quite like Sam, Chevalier was very interested in “his fellow men and, as incident followed incident during those eight troublous years 1643 - 1651” (Saunders, p. 13.) he recorded the details:

Continue reading…


Inventory of the tailor shop

Saturday 31st March 2007

By Jeannine Kerwin

The following letter of acknowledgement and inventory of the items in the tailor shop are from Helen Truesdell Heath’s “The Letters of Samuel Pepys and His Family Circle” (See at Amazon UK, US). In this inventory are the details of the items which Tom acknowledges have been ‘lent’ to him by his father for his accommodation. All information and quotations set forth herein come from Heath’s above referenced book.

Continue reading…


Twas the night before New Years!

Friday 29th December 2006

By Jeannine Kerwin

Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem “Twas the night before Christmas” in 1822. I “borrowed” some delightful lines from that poem and added a few Pepysian style lines in thanks to all of our friends for writing about 1663! May our New Year bring blessings to all of you and may 1664 be a wonderful year for Sam and Elizabeth!

Continue reading…