Monday 26 March 1666

Sayes Court

26 March 16661


If to render you an account of the progresse of my late Proposal, be any testimony of my obedience to your Commands; be pleas’d to believe, that I most faithfully present it in these papers according to the best of my talent. And if you find the Estimate considerably to exceede the first Calculation, you will remember it was made to the meridian of London; that the Walles were, both by his Majestie and the directions of the Principall Officers to be made thicker, and higher; that the Materials, and Worke-men were presum’d to be found much cheaper in the Country; and that the Place and area to build on was suppos’d a Level: But it has fall’n out so much to our prejudice, and beyond all expectation in these particulars; that to commence with the ground, we could not in 4 or 5 miles walking about Chatham and Rochester, find one convenient spot that would bear a level of 200 foote square, unlesse it were one Field beyond the Dock, in the Occupation of Mr Commissioner Pett neare the bogg and marsh, which has neither solid foundation, nor fresh-water to it. There is a very handsome greene Close at the end of the Long Rope-house towards Chatham; but the declivity is so suddaine and greate to the West, that lesse than a ten-foote raising will not bring it to such a rectitude as that we can lay our plate upon the Wall, which will be a considerable trouble and charge to reforme, as may easily be demonstrated: For either the earth must be so much abated towards the East, or the Wall advanc’d to the height of neere 20 foote, whiles one Extreame of the roofe will touch the superficies of the earth: Besides, the field is not above 150 feet wide: But supposing all this might be encounter’d (as indeede it might with charge) it bordures so neere to the Rope-houses, the Dock, and that ample way leading to it from the Hill-house and Chatham, as might endanger his Majesties people in case of any Contagion; because it will be impossible to restraine them from sometimes mingling amongst the Worke-men and others, who have Employment in the Dock, when the Convalescent-men shall be able, or permitted to walk abroad. This, and some other difficulties made us quit the thoughts of that otherwise gracefully situated place. After many other Surveyes, we at last pitch’d on a Field call’d the Warren, just beneath the Mill, and reguarding the North towards the River. The Accesse is commodious; it has a well of excellent Water, ready dugg, and wanting only repaires; and though this ground be likewise somewhat uneven, yet, with helpe, it will carry about 240 feet in length, and 150 in breadth, allowing the filling up of some Vallies and depressures of about 4 or 5 foote deepe, to be taken from severall risings: This, for many reasons, I conceive to be the fittest for our purpose, it having also a solid foundation on the Chalke, and being at a competent distance from all dangerous commerce with the Towne, which will greately contribute to the health of the sick, and protection of the Inhabitants; but being at present in Lease to the Chest, leave must be obtayn’d, and the Tennant, who now rents it, satisfied; in all which Mr Commissioner Pet (whose direction and assistance I tooke, according to your injunctions) informes me, there will be no difficulty:

Upon examination of the Materials on the Place:

Bricks will not be deliverd at the place under00:18:00
Lime, per Load, containing 32 Bushels, per thousand00:16:00
Drift Sand, by Tonn00:00:14
Tyles, per thousand deliverd01:01:00
Heart-Lathes, per Load, containing 36 bundles02:10:00
Sawing, per hundred00:03:04
Workmen sufficient (in which was our greate mistake)00:02:06

Upon these Matirials we conceiv’d thus of the Scantlings.

Walls, at 1 Brick½
Wall-plates9 in.5
Parallel rafters96 middle16½ feet long
117 ends
Single rafters
Dore-cases, in brick-Worke: single-doores76628in
The two outward double, with Architrave76994
Ground-floor gist4418

And if stone-floores to the 4 Corner-roomes, as has been since judg’d more commodious, the


Besides Partitions, Posts, Interstise, Quarterage.

At these scantlings, together with the alteration of the Walles for height and thicknesse, etc.

Every rod of square Brick-worke, solid, at 1½ thick: containing in bricks of 9 Inch: about 12 bricks Long, to 16½ in height: 15 bricks to every 3-feet high, which to 16½ is about 83: so that 83 by 21 is 1743 bricks superficial: This, at the design’d thicknesse, is every square-rod 5229 bricks, which I suppose at 17 (the lowest we can expect) deliver’d at the place, is every rod square, £09 08s 01d. The total of brick-worke then, contains about 118 square rodd, without defalcations of doores, Windows (being 8 doors at 6 and 3-feet; windows 114 at 3 and 2-feet, reduc’d to measure, contains doores 24 feet by 48, which is 1152 square foot; windows, 342 feet by 228 feet is 77,976 feet square); both these reduc’d to square rodds, are almost 30 rodds square; whereof allow 10 square rods for inequality of the foundation and Chimnies (if upon the Warren ground), and then the Bricks of the whole (without lime and sand) will cost for 98 square rods, at £04 08 01

And every rod after the rate of of 18d for one foot high, in workmanship, to010409
Which for 98 rod,is1220600
So as the Brick-worke for the whole will come to6500000
Tyling, at 30s per square4500000
Timber, at 40s per square6000000
Glasse about 684 feet, at 6d per foote170000
Windoe-frames, at 4s each220000
Single doores and Cases, at 20s each; Double doores and Cases (for the more commodious bringing in of the sick, being frequently carried), at 36s with the casements, locks, hinges, etc300000
Stayres, per step, 3s., 76 in all110800
Levelling the ground, as computed upon view461000
But this Erection reduc’d to 400 Bedds, or rather persons (which would be a very competent number, and yet exceedingly retrench his Majesties Charge for their maintenance) and the whole abated to neere a 5th part of the Expense, which amounts to about3710000
The Whole would not exceede14871800
Whereoff the Timber and roofe4800000
The Timber alone to3600000
Which, if furnish’d from the Yard, the whole charge
of the building will be reduc’d to11271800
So as the number of Bedds diminish’d, Cradeles, and Attendance proportionable, the Furniture compleate will cost4800000

according to the formerly-made estimate, and which whole charge will be sav’d in quarters of 400 men onely, within 6 monethes, and about 15 dayes, at 6d per head, being no lesse than £10 per diem, 70 per Weeke, 280 per Moneth, 3640 per Annum;

Which is more then double what his Majestie is at in one yeares quarters for them in private-houses; besides all the incomparable advantages enumerated in the subsequent paper, which will perpetually hold upon this, or any the like occasion: The quartering of so many persons at 1s per diem amounting to no lesse than £7280 per annum.

If this shall be esteem’d inconvenient, because of disfurnishing the Yard, or other-wise a temptation to imbezill the Timber of the Yard:

All the Materials bought as above1487180
The whole Expense will be reimbours’d in 8 monethes:
viz. in 400 men’s diet alone, by 6d per diem£378 per Month
4536 per Annum
Whereas the same number at his Majesties
ordinary entertainement is6270400per month
75260800per annum
So as there would be saved yearely29900800

Note, that the Sallary of the stuard (who buyes in all provisions, payes, and keepes the Accompts, takes charge of the Sick when set on shore, and discharges them when recover’d, etc.) is not computed in this estimate: because it is the same which our Clearks and deputies do by the present Establishment:

Thus I deduce the particulars:

Chirurgeons 7: viz 3 Master-Chirurgeons, at 8s per diem each; Mates 4: at 4s; diet for 400 - £280; one Matron, per week, 10s; 20 Nurses, at 5s per week; Fire, Candles, Sope, etc, 3d per week

£378per Month
Cradle-Bedds, 200, at 11s per Cradle, at 4½ feet wide, 6 long1100000
Furniture, with Bedds, Rug, Blanquet, Sheetes, at 30s per bed3000000
Utensils for Hospitals, etc700000

But I do farther affirme, and can demonstrate, that supposing the whole Erection, and Furniture (according to my first and largest project, and as his Majestie and the Principall Officers did thinke fit to proportion the height and thickness of the Walles), for the Entertainement of 500 men, should amount to

Furniture to5821000

Then would be saved to his Majesty £332 18s per month, £3994 16s per Annum.

So that in lesse than 8 moneths time there will be saved, in the quarters of 500 men alone, more monye than the whole expense amounts to; Five hundred mens quarters at 1s per diem coming to £25 per diem, 175 per week, 700 per Month, 9408 per Annum.

Upon which I assume, if £3994, by five-hundred men, or £3640 in foure-hundred men, or, lastly, if but £2990 be sav’d in one Yeare in the quarters of 400 sick persons, etc., there would a farr greater summ be saved in more than 6000 men; there having ben sent 7000 Sick and Wounded men to Cure in my district onely, and of those 2800 put on shore at Chatham and Rochester, for which station I propos’d the Remedy. Now, five-hundred sick-persons quarter’d at a Towne in the Victualers and scattered Ale-houses (as the Costome is), will take up at least 160 houses, there being very few of those miserable places which afford accommodation for above 2 or 3 in an house; with, frequently at greate distances, employ of Chirurgeons, Nurses, and Officers innumerable; so as when we have ben distress’d for Chirurgeons, some of them (upon computation) walked 5 or 6 miles every day, by going but from quarter to quarter, and not ben able to visite their patients as they ought: Whereas, in our Hospital, they are continualy at hand: We have essay’d to hire some capacious empty houses, but could never meet with any tollerably convenient; and to have many, or more then one, would be chargeable and very troublesome: By our Infirmary, then we have these considerable advantages.

At 6d per diem each (in the way of Commons), the sick shall have as good, and much more proper and wholesome diet, than now they have in the Ale-houses, where they are fed with trash, and Embezil their monye more to inflame themselves, retard and destroy their Cures out of ignorance or intemperance; whiles a sober Matron governs the Nurses, lookes to their provisions, Rollers, Linnen etc. And the nurses attend the Sick, Wash, Sweepe, and Serve the Offices, The Coock and Laundrer comprehended in the number, and at the same rate, etc. By this Method likewise are the almost indefinite number of Chirurgeons and Officers exceedingly reduc’d; The Sick dieted, kept from drinke and Intemperance, and consequently from most unavoydably relapsing: They are hindred from Wandering, Slipping-away, and dispersion: They are more sedulously attended; the Physitian better inspects the Chirurgeons, who neither can nor will be in all places, as now they are scattered, in the nasty Corners of the Townes: They are sooner, and more certainely cur’d (for I have at present neere 30 bedds employ’d in a Barne at Graves-end, which has taught us much of this experience). They are receiv’d and discharg’d with infinitely more ease: Our Accompts better and more exactly kept: A vast, and very considerable Summ is saved (not to say gain’d) to his Majestie: The materialls of the house will be good if taken downe; or, if let stand, it may serve in tyme of Peace, for a Store, or Worke-house: The Furniture will (much of it) be useful upon like occasion; And what is to be esteem’d none of the least Virtues of it, ‘twill totaly cure the altogether intollerable clamor and difficulties of rude and ungratefull people; their Landlords and Nurses, rays’d by their poverty upon the least obstruction of constant and Weekely payes; for want of which they bring an ill repute upon his Majesties Service, Incense the very Magistrates and better sort of Inhabitants (neighbours to them) who too frequently promote (I am sorry to speake it) their mutinies; so as they have been sometimes menacing to expose our Men in the streetes, where some have most inhospitably perish’d: In fine, This would encounter all Objections whatsoever; is an honorable, Charitable, and frugal Provision; Effectual, full of Encouragement, and very practicable; so as, however for the present it may be consider’d, I cannot but persist in wishing it might be resolv’d upon towards Autumne at the farthest; Chatham and Rochester alone having within 17 or 18 monethes cost his Majestie full £13,000 in cures and quarters; halfe whereof, would have neere ben saved had this method ben establish’d: Add to this, the almost constant station of his Majesties shipps at the Buoy in the Noore, and river of Chatham; the Clamor of that place against our quartering these, this crazy tyme, and the altogether impossibility of providing else-where for such numbers as continualy presse in upon us there, more than any where else, after Action, or the returne of any of his Majesties fleete: which, with what has ben Offer’d, may recommend this Project, by your favourable representation of the premises, for a permanent Establishment in that Place especially, if his Majestie and Royal Highnesse so thinke meete. This Account, being what I have ben able to lay before you, as the Effects of my late Inspection upon the Place, by Commands of the Honourable the Principal Officers, I request through your hands may be address’d to them from,


Your most obedient servant,


We might this Summer burne our owne Bricks, and procure timber at the best hand, which would save a considerable charge.

Source: Bodleian MS Rawl. A195, f.251ff. Endorsed in E’s own hand, “Mr Evelyns Report touching Erecting an Infirmary at Chatham 1666”. This accompanied the previous letter of the same date (p.58) but was presented as a separate letter. The document is extremely complex and has required substantial adjustment of the layout.

  1. MS: “Sayes-Court 26:Mar:1666”.

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