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Elisabeth has posted 15 annotations/comments since 11 May 2018.

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About Monday 26 April 1669

Elisabeth  •  Link

Hungerford House and Hungerford Market

Hungerford House and some surrounding properties belonged to Sir Edward Hungerford (1632-1711), described by the ODNB as “politician, merchant, and spendthrift”. In 1677 he obtained permission to hold a market in the area, prompting this piece of wit:

“Thriftless himself, but lyke the goode manure,

His rotten waste did fertilise the lande,

And others' thriftye toile hath wrought the cure,

A goodlie mercatt joines the busie Strand.”
(Quoted in “Survey of London: Volume 18, St-Martin-in-the-Fields II: the Strand”, London County Council, 1937;…)

However the market was not a success and passed through other hands, including, for a time, Sir Christopher Wren. A new market building was erected in 1833 and was delightfully described by Henry Mayhew in 1862 on the eve of its destruction (Henry Mayhew and John Binny, “The Criminal Prisons of London”, 1862;…). The area is now covered by Charing Cross Station.

About Saturday 27 March 1669

Elisabeth  •  Link

“Did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness!”

— the Dormouse, “Alice in Wonderland”

About Thursday 31 December 1668

Elisabeth  •  Link

Happy 2022 from San Francisco, where Omicron has cancelled most public gatherings. May this year see the end of the plague.

About Thursday 3 December 1668

Elisabeth  •  Link

Dr. Pope & Mr. Hooke said tht Sr And. King had seen divers amphisbenae in Spaine.

The amphisbaena has been described since antiquity as a serpent with a head at either end of its body (see Pliny, “Natural History”, 8:35). The modern classification Amphisbaenidae describes a family of legless burrowing reptiles found in South America and Africa which have, alas, just one head.

About Wednesday 19 August 1668

Elisabeth  •  Link

On Pineapples

According to Margaret Willes, the first pineapples raised in Europe came from the hothouse of a Dutch woman, Agneta Block, in 1687. The first English pineapple was not cultivated until the early eighteenth century, despite the painting Terry Foreman mentions above, of royal gardener John Rose presenting a pineapple to Charles II. Margaret Willes, “The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn” (2017), 209-210.

About Sunday 29 March 1668

Elisabeth  •  Link

Five Women Barbers

John Heneage Jesse, Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts (1857)

“[Anne Clarges’, later Anne Monck, Duchess of Albemarle’s] mother was one of the five women-barbers, and a woman of ill-fame. A ballad was made on her and the other four; the burden of it was, -

‘Did you ever hear the like,
Or ever hear the fame,
Of five women barbers,
Who lived in Drury Lane?’

In a curious memoir of one Mul-Sack, a celebrated highwayman, there is a notice of these ladies. ‘They were five noted amazons in Drury Lane, who were called women-shavers, and whose actions were then talked of much about town; till being apprehended for a riot, and one or two of them severely punished, the rest fled to Barbadoes.’ The writer of this memoir mentions a disgusting and brutal act of cruelty on the part of these wretches towards another woman, the particulars of which are too gross for publication.”

About Monday 30 December 1667

Elisabeth  •  Link

“I had been at both my booksellers and there laid out several pounds in books now against the new year.”

Ah yes, the year-end book-buying spree. I’ve just been doing the same thing myself.

About Thursday 17 October 1667

Elisabeth  •  Link

“My people had forgot to get wine ready, I having none in my house, which I cannot say now these almost three years, I think, without having two or three sorts.”

On July 7, 1665, Sam wrote: “It hath pleased God to bring me that at this time I have two tierces of Claret, two quarter casks of Canary, and a smaller vessel of Sack; a vessel of Tent, another of Malaga, and another of white wine, all in my wine cellar together; which, I believe, none of my friends of my name now alive ever had of his own at one time."

About Monday 19 November 1666

Elisabeth  •  Link

“Here had six bottles of claret filled, and I sent them to Mrs. Martin, whom I had promised some of my owne, and, having none of my owne, sent her this.”

On July 7, 1665, Sam noted that he had two tierces of claret (about 84 gallons). Where has it all gone?

About Wednesday 14 November 1666

Elisabeth  •  Link

So to the Exchange for some things for my wife...

Despite the fire and anxiety about the state of the nation, business seems to be good at the site of the Royal Exchange. I can only assume that merchants there are successfully improvising shops and stalls in what remains of the building.

About Saturday 14 July 1666

Elisabeth  •  Link

It’s amazing to me that four or five tons of cork were apparently just sitting around somewhere, ready to be “agreed for” at a moment’s notice,

About Wednesday 25 April 1666

Elisabeth  •  Link

“Mr. Hooke showed by a terrella...”

Terrella is a nice word. The OED records its first use in 1613, so it was a fairly new word when Hooke used it. According to Alan Gurney (“Compass”, 65), these spherical magnets were also known as “earthkins”, another nice word that does not appear in the OED.

About Wednesday 16 August 1665

Elisabeth  •  Link

A fine lady -- Elizabeth Malet

On May 28, 1665, Sam recorded the attempted kidnapping of Malet by the notorious Earl of Rochester. Spoiler: Malet and Rochester married in 1667.

About Friday 7 July 1665

Elisabeth  •  Link

For the lowdown on claret, sack, canary, etc., I recommend Henry Jeffreys' entertaining book "Empire of Booze: British History Through the Bottom of a Glass" (London: Unbound, 2016).

About Wednesday 10 May 1665

Elisabeth  •  Link

The variation of the needle at Whitehall.

Possibly a measurement of magnetic variation, the needle being a compass needle. Magnetic variation changed a lot over the course of the 17th century. In his book "Compass", Alan Gurney writes: "Magnetic variation at London in 1580 was 11°15' East. By 1773, it had swept through 32 degrees to 21°09' West. By 1850, it had increased to 22°24' West. A hundred years later it had decreased to 9°07' West. It is still declining today."