Annotations and comments

Peter Johnson has posted 19 annotations/comments since 13 June 2021.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Maps of London

Peter Johnson  •  Link

The November 2023 Newsletter of the London Topographical Society gives notice of a new project by the Historic Towns Trust to map London as it was just before the Great Fire in 1666. It will be in atlas form, and the work will start next year, hoping to complete in 2026, after which the atlas will be on sale. Copies will be distributed to LTS members.

It seems it will be a comprehensive and authoritative exercise, based on existing maps, hearth taxes, rebuilding records and other sources, and the map will be superimposed on a faded-down modern OS map.

It looks like something well worth saving up for - or perhaps another reason for joining the LTS.

About Hinchingbrooke House

Peter Johnson  •  Link

It's worth noting that the school which has taken over Hinchingbrooke House - Hinchingbrooke School - is the renamed Huntingdon Grammar School which Pepys and Cromwell attended before going on to St Paul's School in London.

About Wednesday 3 October 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

What was the "Winter Guard"? Presumably something significant to warrant the attention of the very top table. Perhaps they were settling on Navy and Army deployments for the coming months, to guard against any unfriendly incursions?

As well as the iron chest,
" Mr. Sheply and all my Lord’s goods came from sea, some of them laid of the Wardrobe and some brought to my Lord’s house."
Could these have been bulky items my Lord was sending around the coast from Hitchingbrooke for his official and domestic apartments in London? It's an established water route (I recall a vessel being sent from the south into the estate), and easier and cheaper for furniture and suchlike than hauling them overland. Much later, in 1899, my grandparents moved from Middlesbrough to London and sent their household goods by coastal steamer.

About Thursday 27 September 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

And if they were Navy Board employees, I suspect he'd welcome the opportunity to learn more about what made them tick (in both senses), for a better insight into what he'd have to deal with in his job.

About Sunday 23 September 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

We shouldn't steer too far off course on this site, so I'll just say that the 19th/20th century craft could drop their masts to navigate bridges, having a pivot and counter-weight, though I entirely agree Old London Bridge could have been one too far. But shooting any bridge would have been challenging - imagine several hundred tons being propelled by wind and water, and two men and a boy having to get the massive masts down and then back up, while keeping enough steerage way on her.

Some sailed far from their home waters, and were at Dunkirk in 1940. There's lots on the web about them and a wide literature - a useful small paperback in the 'Shire' series is "Sailing Barges" by M Hazell, and Bob Roberts "Coasting Bargemaster" gives a good insight. He's also recorded a number of sailing songs and shanties which I think our SP would have enjoyed. I wonder if there are any shanties in SP's collections of ballads.

End of diversion.

About Sunday 23 September 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

Barges - the word covers a variety of vessels.

"Pepys tells us they went by barge to Margate, which would probably have been a difficult river/sea voyage. They used shallow barges on the River Thames when they needed access to the banks and inlets.
(Think of the beautiful barges we saw at the Queen's Jubilee with rowers and a capony covered seating area at the back, which is over a cabin in case of "inclement weather".)"

Before our imaginations get too fixed, may I say that they wouldn't have taken a State or ceremonial barge, rowed with oars, for the trip to Margate and back, which was on the main route for London traffic down the Estuary, using the tide and whatever weather there was, and of no particular difficulty in normal circumstances.

The Palace must have had a flotilla of vessels of various shapes and sizes for all its needs, and I envisage something like an early version of the traditional Thames sailing barge, flat-bottomed with lee-boards rather than a keel, commodious, doubtless made reasonably comfortable for Himself. These were the regional workhorses for the movement of bulk goods - grain, coal, gravel - over the following 300 years, evolved for the shores and inlets of the Estuary and the Sussex and Essex coasts, and a few still working into the 1950s. They abound in photos of the Victorian Thames, and a handful still sail, I think, as private or heritage craft. A great sight under full canvas and traditionally crewed by two men and a boy.

I fondly remember a jolly party aboard one at Maldon in the early '60s..... Ah, nostalgia....

About Sunday 9 September 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

I think the matter concerning Pepys' position in the Montagu Regiment of Horse, Major Hart, and the payments becomes clearer from the various footnotes in the L&M 1960 volume (pp 7, 242, 295, 304) and the account of that regiment on the British Civil War Project site:……

I see no connection at all with the HAC or the trained bands, and think the 9 Sep Wheatley footnote is therefore a juicy red herring on this point.

Edward Montagu, later Lord Sandwich, was appointed in September 1658 as Colonel of what was originally Colonel Sheffield's Regiment of Horse, a substantial Parliamentarian regiment much involved in the civil war campaigns from 1645. He was then a General at Sea, heavily involved at sea in naval warfare, and embroiled in the death of Oliver and the succession of Richard Cromwell that month, and his appointment may have been political, to strengthen Richard's position among the military.

When the Regiment was disbanded in Shropshire in November 1660, Samuel Pepys was on the books as a trooper, and entitled to pay as such, and he claimed to have had the role of the Colonel's secretary. It seems to me that there was a role for him - with pressing concerns elsewhere, Montagu would want a trusted protege to act as a channel and filter between him and the senior officers running the Regiment which had been dumped on him, and also to warn him about conflicts of loyalty or if things were starting to go amiss. It could also be a good way to test the competence of an up and coming young man, and a useful perk to keep him on side. I think he was brought in as a trooper to fit into the military system and get on the pay list, but with a status and access to the senior officers, and an influence on them. I wonder if he was formally attested and if any of the regimental records survive. Perhaps he was given a little basic training, though I can't envisage him as a convincing cavalryman charging with a raised sword and a bloodthirsty screech.

When Montagu was removed from the regiment in August 1659, Pepys was left on the regimental muster and stayed there till disbandment, entitled to a trooper's pay and receiving a final payment of £23-14-0 on 28 Nov 1660. Major Hart could have been the 2 i/c of the regiment at the time, consulting Pepys as a man of influence whom he knew, or another whose perks were at risk.

That seems reasonable to me and not too fanciful, but others may disagree - it could, of course, have been only a straightforward piece of favour to a follower. Brickbats and nitpicks welcomed....

About Sunday 9 September 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

What evidence is there for the rather bald assertion at the third contribution to this thread that "Peyps was a member of the Honourable Artillery Company....", and which has led to a fair amount of comment? From the search button on this site, SP doesn't seem to have mentioned the HAC in the diary or his letters, I can't see anything in the L&M index, and the HAC Museum website doesn't mention him in a list of former notable members.

It's also suggested (more in hope than knowledge, perhaps) that "Peyps name will be recorded in.... the 'Ancient Vellum Book' of the HAC which records the names of members from 1611 to 1682 ...." Anyone with a spare hour in the City might like to drop in on the Museum to check the records?

The HAC info is interesting in itself (an uncle of mine served with them in WW1), but I wonder if it's another example of "what if-ery" and imaginative speculation - good in historical fiction, I guess, and sometimes entertaining, but tending to obfuscate if we're trying to understand what was going in SP's life at the time.

About Saturday 25 August 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

As I read it, SP and Turner went from the City to Whitehall by coach, with SP stopping off at Dr Walker's office near St Paul's on the way to pick up the documents he had left with Walker two days before - see the first paragraph on 23 August. These papers concern My Lord's powers as a Vice Admiral, and the Duke's lawyers had changed some of the provisions.

There's no indication that Walker went along to today's finance meeting - he was a lawyer, not a financial administrator, anyway - or that the papers he gave to SP had any relevance to the money matters SP, Carteret and Turner discussed.

That's what the brackets indicate to me, but I may be missing something - I often do, ho-hum....

About Friday 13 July 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

Pedro mentiones upstream:
" "and some money, with which I paid Mr. Beale 9l. in all, and took my patent of him and went to my wife again"
From Liza Picard's Restoration London..

"He (Sam) had, unknowingly, an indirect contact with the most prominent woman artist of the time...he had to pay £9 to a Mr. Beale whose wife Mary became the family breadwinner in 1670, charging £10 for a three-quarter portrait in oils, £5 for a head and shoulders.” "

Mary Beale is remembered at West Lodge Park, an up-market hotel in Enfield on the northern outskirts of London, just inside the M25 and within walking distance of the end station on the Piccadilly Line. It has a Mary Beale Restaurant and is run by a prosperous Beale family, who acknowledge Mary as a namesake rather than an ancestor, and has a number of paintings from our period on display, including by some by her. Not the cheapest place to stay, but reasonable in the London context.…

About Charles Beale

Peter Johnson  •  Link

Mary Beale is remembered at West Lodge Park, an up-market hotel in Enfield on the northern outskirts of London, just inside the M25 and within walking distance of the end station on the Piccadilly Line. It has a Mary Beale Restaurant and is run by a prosperous Beale family, who acknowledge Mary as a namesake rather than an ancestor, and has a number of paintings from our period on display, including by some by her. Not the cheapest place to stay, but reasonable in the London context.…

About Tuesday 22 May 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

"Two guns given to every man while he was drinking the King’s health, and so likewise to the Duke’s health"

Any ideas about what exactly this means? I envisage a grand meal in the largest cabin/stateroom, with a small signal/saluting cannon on deck nearby, firing on instruction as the Lords in turn made their toasts. Or something else?

About Monday 14 May 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

"... to see how to dispose thereof for himself and us that belong to him, to give order for our removal to-day."

I read it simply that my Lord and his immediate staff are having to downsize in expectation of the arrival of an even more prestigious person and his people, so space in the ship will be precious. Some days earlier when in the Downs, an instruction had gone to the fleet to get rid of all unnecessary bodies from the ships. So before getting formally dressed, Montague goes to arrange with Sam how the cabin space in the cuddy will be arranged, presumably leaving him to oversee the move of their possessions and papers there.

About Wednesday 2 May 1660

Peter Johnson  •  Link

"Deal is 69 miles from London by train, which is a pretty straight line. Say 90 miles on horseback, because they did not enjoy a direct route."

According to the 1829 edition of "Paterson's Roads" (pre-railways and the AA Book of its day) the recommended route is 72.5 miles, via Canterbury, Bramling and Knowlton. I wouldn't have thought the main routes would have changed significantly over the previous 170 years, but am happy to be corrected..

Second Reading

About Thursday 11 June 1668

Peter Johnson  •  Link

About 120 years later another characterful diarist went on a tour through Salisbury - the Hon. John Byng, later and briefly 5th Viscount Torrington. He'd spent 10 days or so sampling the social life of Weymouth with his wife and friends, leaving quite a full account of the place, ending -

'" I shall leave Weymouth, as I should any place of this sort, with pleasure, because I am like a fish out of water at them, and think they are, for a healthy person, a miserable way of killing time, and spending money; with new acquaintance for whom we care not a jot, and toss'd about in bad company, and bad conversation; divested of quiet and comforts; the fortune-hunter, and the dancing would-be-married miss, may admire these pretty haunts of folly, and freedom."

He then went off on his own from Weymouth.

"Sept. 7th [1782]. .... I was on my horse by half past six o'clock.

" Most refreshing was the ride to Sarum, the air was so cool and so sweet; and by the way I saw several deer upon the edge of the chase. I was at Sarum in time for the hot rolls, and was receiv'd at the White Hart, civiilly and attentively; there shaved, and dressed; drank coffee; and then went to survey the cathedral which I had seen before and of which I resumed my old remarks. The close is comfortable, and the divines well seated; but the house of God is kept but in sad order, to the disgrace of our Church, and of Christianity. Whenever I see these things I wish for a return of the authority and Church government of a land. The church-yard is like a cow-common, as dirty and as neglected, and thro' the centre stagnates a boggy ditch. I wonder that the residents do not subscribe to plant near, and rowl the walks, and cleanse the ditch. which might make an handsome canal.

" I hope that when the new bishop arrives, who is a scholar, and a gentleman; he will be shocked at the delapidations of the beautiful old chapter house; and the cloisters; thro' the rubbish of which they are now making a passage for his new Lordships installation in the chapter house.

" Salisbury has the advantage of a stream running thro' every street of the town; which must conduct to comfort, health and cleanliness; but I should fancy, from its being deeply brick'd up, must be often productive of accidents. From Salisbury the road continues very open, steep and unpleasant, without any object to amuse the attention.

" I arrived at Basingstoke at 7 o'clock. where I found an into f good fare, and had a sole and a rabbet for supper....... "

From "The Torrington Diaries; A Selection....", Eyre & Spottiswood, 1954, "Ride into the West: 1782", pages 83 and 84.

Some of the tours are available on line, though not this one, at…

Apologies if anyone thinks I'm straining the bounds of this site too far.