Annotations and comments

Nate Lockwood has posted 59 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.

The most recent…


About Sunday 18 June 1665

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Caulking, oakum, etc.
When sailors had ought to do they would be placed on deck far enough apart so it would be hard for them to converse. They'd then painstakingly unravel old hawsers that were no longer strong enough to be used and roll the fibers for caulking. No one is idle shipboard.

About Saturday 25 March 1665

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I agree with MR and AS and note that a great driving force for very accurate clocks was to solve the longitude problem which was of great interest for navigation especially for the merchant navy; and the search was on, but not solved, in the 17th century.

About Wednesday 1 March 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"townsend 18th century cooking" has videos on 18th century American cooking and living on YouTube and that's only roughly 50 to 100 years after these diaries.

"French" bread is described. It's made with extra ingredients (oil and egg? Can't remember) that results in a thick hard flakey crust, it looks as if one could tap it with a spoon and get a drum sound.

The interesting part is that the brown crust is removed by cutting and reserved for other cooking leaving a sorry looking but apparently really tasty loaf of bread.
I mention this because the recipe quite possibly came from England and might have been used in Pepys time.

Do we have any bread recipes from this era?

About Saturday 25 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

When I was first in Brazil in 1991 I did some reading to prepare myself. One author said that 'the Portuguese brought Christianity to the Indians and the Indians gave the Portuguese the habit of bathing: The Portuguese got the better deal'.

About Friday 24 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Re: Navigation. Estimating the ship's latitude by the altitude of the sun at local apparent noon (LAN) or at twilight by Polaris would have been a welcome factor in dead reckoning especially if the desired course should along a meridian or parallel. It's really hard to take a good sight when the ship is in tropical waters.

Using the sun one takes a sight around 9 am and another at LAN, say 3 and half hours later and 'advances' the 9 o'clock line along the track by the distance that they reckon the ship traveled in that time using their best guess for speed (dead reckoning). The Captain now has the important noon position (more or less)j.

BTW 20 years ago, around 1988, I discovered that the California Maritime Academy was no longer teaching celestial navigation. At some point neither was the Annapolis Naval Academy but I've heard that they have recently reinstated the course.

About Monday 20 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

" Basically you sing repeatedly the sentence 'Oh sir Jasper do not touch me' and at each iteration leave off one of the words. ..."

Try this with a rising pitch for each word the contrast by starting with a high pitch and lowering the pitch for each word. There's a world of difference (neglecting that pesky 'do').

About Tuesday 3 January 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"Light houses". The lights, 'leading lights' in the British Isles, were arranged with the low one some distance from out, toward the channel, from the higher rear light. When the lights were seen one over the other the vessel would be in the channel. Some skill was required even then as often there were currents that would push the vessel to port or starboard unless it crabbed.

Since the vessel needing the light had to enter the harbor it could easily be identified and billed.

Today, or 50 years ago when I was was in the US Navy, we called them 'range lights'.

This link should be good for a few years before it rots: