Annotations and comments

Carol D has posted 20 annotations/comments since 26 January 2019.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Tuesday 30 April 1661

Carol D  •  Link

See below from Wikipedia on Newington Butts ( now a section of the A3 road, still marked on Google maps, just south of Elephant and Castle). It occurs to me that if it were once a stand-alone hamlet it must have had a supply of water - a well or a pond if nothing else. As it was on the main road from London Bridge to Portsmouth, we can surely imagine horse troughs too.

From Wikipedia
The north end of the "Newington Butts" section of the A3 terminates at a roundabout of the Elephant and Castle junction, where the Elizabethan theatre stood.
Newington Butts is a former hamlet, now an area of the London Borough of Southwark, London, England, that gives its name to a segment of the A3 road running south-west from the Elephant and Castle junction. The road continues as Kennington Park Road leading to Kennington; a fork right is Kennington Lane, leading to Vauxhall Bridge. Michael Faraday was born in Newington Butts in 1791.
It is believed to take its name from an archery butts, or practice field.[1][2] The area gave its name to an Elizabethan theatre which saw the earliest recorded performances of some Shakespearean plays

About Saturday 9 February 1660/61

Carol D  •  Link

Regarding deforestation of Europe and then North America I highly recommend the excellent historical novel 'Barkskins' by Annie Proulx.

About Monday 5 November 1660

Carol D  •  Link

Seeing Jackie's comment from the First Reading makes me think that we perhaps had a shudder of the Gunpowder Plot "what if?" after the Jan 6th 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol. Institutions of government are not necessarily any safer now than they were 500+ years ago, even in long-established democracies.

About Saturday 5 May 1660

Carol D  •  Link

Does anyone know if Clarges Street in London, near Berkeley Square, is named after this Dr Clarges. Forty years ago there was a pub on Clarges Street called The Pepys Tavern (or similar).

About Monday 5 March 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

The unicorn is the (a?) national animal of Scotland, apparently because James II of Scotland (1430 - 1460) believed in the legend that only a king could keep a unicorn captive. When James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603, thereby uniting the two crowns and countries, the new royal coat of arms incorporated the unicorn of Scotland together with the lion of England.

About Wednesday 22 February 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

Re: the gates of the City of London - another famous literary Londoner (some 300 years before our Sam) lived in a (very modest) room over Aldgate. Geoffrey Chaucer wasn't such an active participant in London life as Pepys was, but he could certainly observe everything and everyone from his home. (I remember reading something about the decapitated heads of executed criminals mounted on spikes more or less outside his window!)

This description is from
"For the twelve years prior to his departure for Kent in October 1386, Chaucer had lived over Aldgate, the easternmost and busiest of the city’s seven gates. There, literally under his feet, passed royal and religious processions, spectacles of public humiliation, expelled convicts and sanctuary seekers, provisioners and trash haulers with iron-wheeled carts and vans, drovers, water and wood sellers, traders with Baltic and northern European luxuries, runaway serfs, Essex rebels flowing in on their way to burn Gaunt’s Savoy Palace in 1381, and all the rest of a busy city’s shifting populace. . . . Surely no residence more fitting could be imagined for a poet whose subject was soon to become, as Dryden would put it, “God’s plenty.”

"Departing, he almost certainly knew that he wouldn’t return. On October 4, the city’s common council would act to repossess his gatehouse. By October 5 Chaucer was out, and a new tenant had been named. When Parliament ended seven weeks later he would withdraw to Kent, a move that had been a year in the making. He would never again live continuously in the city of his birth. Preparing to leave the city with which we identify him, he would have had good reason to wonder whether he had ever well and truly been a Londoner at all. Yet his twelve years at Aldgate had immersed him intensively in London affairs. Nothing tags him as an unusually ardent participant in city life; some evidence suggests the reverse. But he was an inevitable sharer and beneficiary of the complex and enveloping experience a metropole offers to each of its residents."

About Carrots

Carol D  •  Link

Following on from S.D. Sarah - this article (link below) explains that while it was indeed the Dutch who bred the orange carrot, sadly it had nothing to do with royalist support for William of Orange as I had always believed. It was simply that orange carrots grew better in the Dutch climate than purple or white ones.…

About Saturday 11 February 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which made Big Ben and America's Liberty Bell (and, Glyn tells us, the Bow Bells) was still operating until recently. You can look up Whitechapel Bell Foundry on Wikipedia.

There are moves now to save it / reopen it.

About Thursday 2 February 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

According to, The Chequers is the 36th most frequently seen pub name in the UK today.

NB. I have no idea as to the provenance or reliability of the website. Also, sadly, a great many pubs in the UK have closed in recent years (Covid, tax on alcohol, social change etc etc) so any record of this nature is unlikely to be 100% accurate.

About Tuesday 31 January 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

"Here I met and afterwards bought the answer to General Monk's letter" - how would this have worked? I'm assuming that the correspondence between General Monk and the gentlemen of Devon was intended to be conducted publicly (cf. open letters published in newspapers, or Twitter exchanges). Would copies of the letters be posted up somewhere, or handed round in coffee shops? By whom? And from whom would Pepys have bought his own personal copy?

Whichever of the Devonian gentlemen was or were responsible for drafting this document.. Imagine how proud they'd have been to have known it would have an impact on the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution and that, more than 450 years after they wrote it, it would still be being published online by the University of Michigan with teaching notes on Google books? (Thanks to Terry F for the links).

About Sunday 29 January 1659/60

Carol D  •  Link

Nix / Alter - I found your post illuminating 20 years ago, and was very pleased to come across it again this morning! Many thanks.

About Supporting this site at Ko-fi

Carol D  •  Link

Hi Phil - this is entirely appropriate and long overdue. We can never repay you for your time and dedication in creating, maintaining and improving this astonishing resource, but we can at least make sure it's not costing you cash as well. Happy New Year and Happy New Diary!

Second Reading

About Monday 30 September 1661

Carol D  •  Link

Hi Terry Foreman - yes, that's the event I was thinking of. So it took about 3 days for the news to get to Cheshire - or at least for Henry Newcome to hear about it.

(For non-Brits, Cheshire is a northern county about 200 miles north of London.)

About Monday 30 September 1661

Carol D  •  Link

I've just come upon the diary of Henry Newcome, a non-conformist minister in Cheshire (in the north of England) and contemporary with Sam. This is from Newcome's diary entry of Thursday October 3rd 1661 (not sure if dates are synchronised with L&M version of Pepys): "In ye evening I went to Mr John Lightb [probably John Lightbourne, a lawyer] and yre wee heard yt yre had been a contest betw: ye followers of ye French and Spanish ambassadors at ye meetinge of ye Swedish ambassador, for the precedency, to ye losse of 8 men's lives, & wounding many others. Wt folly & pride rests in ye hearts of ye Sons of Men!"

News travels! We can of course understand that this incident would be much more immediate and exciting to London-based Sam. but clearly the scandal made nationwide news.