Annotations and comments

Dai Aqua has posted four annotations/comments since 11 November 2023.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Thursday 28 February 1660/61

Dai Aqua  •  Link

Copper-bottoming ships, especially naval vessels, became a serious strategic issue during the years after Pepys where the British navy increased in importance.

Continuing the subject, the port of Swansea in South Wales during the 18th/19th centuries became a centre of copper-plate production for naval purposes to the extent that it was unofficially termed" Copperopolis" at the time.

Copper ore was a short sea-journey away in Cornwall and the availability of cheap, local coal in the surrounding valleys contributed to its commercial success in this area. It also specialised in tin-plate production at the same time.

Apart from the obvious metal coating on hulls below the water-line preventing boring worms, there's evidence that a continuous mild electrolytic process on the metal's surface, where the copper is in contact with sea water, prevents the accumulation of barnacles and other growths in tropical seas that can radically slow down and effect a war-ships speed and maneuverability in the water. At the same time this removed the necessity for bare-hulled wooden ships to be regularly beached and careened - where they were at a great vulnerability of attack.

A layering of copper wire or thin sheet is often used by gardeners for the same reasons around the outside of plant-pots to dissuade slugs and snails climbing the sides.

About Tuesday 26 February 1660/61

Dai Aqua  •  Link


I think that he means 14-quid, or pounds, as we would term it nowadays.....

The 'L' in old-school LSD-money was an abbreviation of 'Librae'.

Certainly not 14-bob.... or shillings ... or 'Solidi'

I presume that 12 or even 14 pounds was a sizeable sum of money in 1661 for a substantial piece of kit.

About Wednesday 20 February 1660/61

Dai Aqua  •  Link

Welsh terms and pronunciation have been mangled by non-speakers for centuries….. Google carries on the tradition with some absurd translations as I write.

Going through the past 20-odd years, the term ‘little Luellin’ has raised a few questions.
Anyway, Mr Llewellyn, being of Welsh origin, was most likely a speaker of the language and being an acquaintance of Pepys may well have referred to him as ‘Sam Bach’ in their cups; they were, after all well into a couple of midday-bottles.

Bach, (pronounced exactly as the composer Johann Sebastian’s name), is a typical Welsh form of arm-in-arm conviviality between trusted friends…..notwithstanding his (or Llewellyn’s) height.

Taken literally in Welsh, the word means simply ‘little’ or ‘small’ , but never 'diminutive' as a pejorative. (It may also mutate in pronunciation and spelling to ‘Fach’).

If someone calls me ‘Bach’ in greeting or conversation in Wales, I’m well-pleased – it shows trust.

Pepys, picking up on this, may be literally sending it back with his compliments.

About Saturday 10 November 1660

Dai Aqua  •  Link

Your goose would be alive and kicking at the point of sale.

It would be wrapped-and-strapped for you to take it with you to be fattened and fed until needed at a later date. The servants would know what to do.

Alternatively, the goose-merchant would do the needful there and then.... pot-ready, as it were..

There’s a long history in England and Wales of animals intended for the table of all kinds - cattle, pigs including Geese - being driven (by ‘drovers’) long distances to be sold for further fattening or eventual market.

Geese could be walked long distances, typically from the farms in Kent or Norfolk to London. To protect their feet from lameness, they could also be shod with protective strips of leather.