Annotations and comments

Charles Miller has posted 13 annotations/comments since 10 August 2023.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th July 1661

Charles Miller  •  Link

“much troubled with my aunt’s base, ugly humours.”

I wonder if she had a UTI (urinary tract infection); I encountered one of these in my aged mother in law whose cogent sensible character was transformed into something a little mad and which in ‘ye olde days’ would have been left as such - happily this was correctly diagnosed and some pills restored her in a matter of hours, as amazing as it was striking..

About John Holland

Charles Miller  •  Link

The church provided some more info on this Rector:

1654/1661-1665 John Holland (lived 1626?-1690)
John was born around 1626 and became rector of St. Mary’s in 1650 and rector of Holy
Trinity in 1661, or probably from 1654, in the confusing years of the Commonwealth. He
was also rector of Albury from 1667-1691. In 1661 he noted in the parish register that he had
received the book from the churchwardens in April 1661, after the changes during the
Commonwealth. So he was perhaps already in post. He resigned from Holy Trinity in 1665.
He must have had curates helping him.
He was made master of Abbot’s Hospital in 1655 as well as being rector of the two churches,
and was very active in sorting out George Abbot’s manufacturing charity, which was not
working as intended. He also borrowed money from the charity to build a wall around the
rectory garden, which he paid back in 1663. He would have been born around 1630, so was
far too young to be master of the hospital, who should have been at least fifty. He had
married in the late 1650s, which again, was not allowed. His first wife died in 1660, three
months after giving birth to their first child Barbara, who died a few weeks later. In 1662 he
married Honour Westbrook of Stoke. Two sons called John died young, but three daughters
survived: Elizabeth, Honoria and Ann. All these entries were in the Holy Trinity registers,
rather than St. Mary’s. The family were presumably living in Abbot’s Hospital, which was
certainly more up-to-date than the medieval rectory.
Holland came from a landed family in Gloucestershire, and his will shows that he was
wealthy. He died in 1691, leaving books, money, rings and pictures to his daughters. He
asked to be buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity, with his wives and children.

About Saturday 6 April 1661

Charles Miller  •  Link

Renewed link for petticoat breeches - it’s easy to see how Mr Townsend fell victim to this fashion!…

With regards to his workmen taking their time, don’t forget these are government workers not paid by SP but probably seconded carpenters from the Deptford DY, and like government workers today, don’t have to exert themselves overly, especially when they’ve found a comfortable number indoors, they’ll spin it out for as long as they can - twas ever thus and is one of the great weaknesses of the State, sadly.

About Wednesday 27 March 1661

Charles Miller  •  Link

The chance’s are they did dances from John Playfords “The English Dancing Master” where music and dance instructions mainly for progressive longways sets are clearly described, a smash hit, it’s rare to find now, but ran to many editions, starting in 1651, the middle of the Commonwealth which doesn’t sit so well with our assumptions of Puritan behaviour as it wasn’t a secret publication. Well worth a look as some of the titles are a hoot:

About Friday 15 February 1660/61

Charles Miller  •  Link

Just to update SPs value, according to the Bank of England’s historical converter, £350 in 1660 is worth £57,915.47 as at January 2024.

About Wednesday 2 January 1660/61

Charles Miller  •  Link

I’m inclined to be a little more generous to Pall, ‘though I didn’t know about the scissors or book, were they stolen (and hidden away) or just borrowed without permission for instance. Certainly it was common for unmarried females to become semi-servants in middling class households and I see parallels with Parson Woodforde whose niece acted as housekeeper until he died although she was certainly at his table she was also in the kitchen. Her main “complaint” was probably as I suspect Palls was, a vibrant young woman rusticating in rural England without much prospect of marriage: too well born to be a laborers wife and too low to be gentry, a true middle class dilemma which must have been incredibly frustrating - living with elderly parents with no company of your own age, it must have been like living on Mars, no wonder she grew rebellious by her early 20’s, most women had started large families of their own by then.. She had my sympathy but SP is behaving perfectly correctly.

About Monday 31 December 1666

Charles Miller  •  Link…

A small point re Larry Bunce’s assertion that SPs £6200 would be worth £8.9m in 2010, according to the historic currency converter at Kew, £6200 in 1670 (the nearst year that can be selected) would be worth £705,426.70 in 2017, the present cut off year for the converter, a far more plausible sum..

About Friday 30 November 1660

Charles Miller  •  Link

The barrel in this instance would, I think, be similar to a costrel - a small portable container in use until the 19th century, and would probably contain 24-30 oysters, so enough to share as a mid-morning snack with office colleagues, perhaps 3-4 each. What I don’t know is whether the barrel was bought or returned.. SP mentions them so often, what did he do with them?

About The Royal Prince

Charles Miller  •  Link

Better still is the Admiralty Board model of Prince, held in store by the Science Museum, London: https://collection.sciencemuseumg…

This is highy accurate in scale and even the carved work, likely made by a talented shipwright at the yard. Let’s hope they put it back on public view one day.

About Tuesday 28 August 1660

Charles Miller  •  Link

According to the Bank of England, 2/6 in 1660 equates to about £20.59 today - but in 1955 was only the equivalent of £2.69 which, assuming they’ve kept it pre-decimal might not be too far off, but I wasn’t around to judge….

About Thursday 23 August 1660

Charles Miller  •  Link

I wonder if if could be one of a choice depending on taste and availability - chocolate was becoming available in the right places, and warmed milk with nutmeg or honey are also referenced elsewhere in the diary.

About Thursday 16 August 1660

Charles Miller  •  Link

I was on a group visit to Boston and environs this May, the tipping culture is almost aggressive, expected for the smallest service. The payment machines suggest three levels of tip, which are then taxed along with the rest of the bill. The rather gruff coach driver apparently expected a tip north of $1000 for his three part days work - he didn’t get it, but still had one I’d call generous. Contrast this to France where the opposite has occurrd and tipping is disappearing..

About Thursday 9 August 1660

Charles Miller  •  Link

Bit of nautical trivia re the 'Plymouth': Capt. John Hayward was only in command of her between 14th June to 24th August 1660. She was a Third Rate (or 'Middling Ship') built by John Taylor at Wapping, ordered 1652 and commissioned 1654. She was 139.5 ft long and displaced 741 tons, carried a crew of 260 with 52 guns, completed at an initial cost of £5,372.5.0d. She had quite a long life and was re-built as a Fourth Rate at Blackwall in 1703-5 - but foundered with all hands in Channel 11th August 1705.