Annotations and comments

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

The most recent first…


Third Reading

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.