Annotations and comments

has posted 57 annotations/comments since 23 March 2015.


About Wednesday 24 December 1662

John York  •  Link

Terry Foreman points out that the Bills of Mortality were the "mortality statistics in London, designed to monitor burials ... The responsibility to produce the statistics was ... the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks."

The wikipedia link he gave includes a picture of the one for 1665…
In fact this is an annual summary for the year ended 19 December 1665. This makes me believe that an annual edition was produced each year and that this was what Pepys was buying from the Parish Clerk, not a weekly one.

About Friday 19 December 1662

John York  •  Link

in Aqua Scripto says:
"Only Queens and those that have real control of purse strings, could control the wanderings of the Master. "

Certainly Queen Catherine had no control over the wanderings of her Master, King Charles, but that may just reflect that she had no control over the purse strings.

About Thursday 4 December 1662

John York  •  Link

There is a saying History is written by the victors. It could be more accurately said the survivors. Maybe Elizabeth did keep a diary, but Samuel found it, read it, didn't like what it said and destroyed it. He wouldn't read Elizabeth's letter last month because he didn't like what it might contain.

About Saturday 29 November 1662

John York  •  Link

It makes sense that Balty is sent to find out Gosnell's true intention as he introduced the sisters to Elizabeth "by my wife’s appointment came two young ladies, sisters, acquaintances of my wife’s brother’s" (
and he was answering for them again two days later
"and her brother (Balty) coming I did tell him my mind plain, who did assure me that they were both of the sisters very humble and very poor"

Whilst accepting that spellings are variable in the days of the diary I do not think the use of Marmote as a small girl, brat or jade would be a useage between Pepys and his wife for someone they were about to bring into the household as a companion for Elizabeth.

About Thursday 27 November 1662

John York  •  Link

"the Conduit in the Quarrefowr"
The Standard was a conduit, with four spouts, made by Peter Morris, a German, in the year 1582, and supplied with Thames water, conveyed by leaden pipes over the steeple of St. Magnus' Church. It stood at the east end of Cornhill, at its junction with Gracechurch Street, Bishopsgate Street, and Leadenhall Street. The water ceased to run between 1598 and 1603, but the Standard itself remained long after. It was much used as a point of measurement of distances; and Cunningham says that several of our suburban milestones are still inscribed with "so many miles from the Standard in Cornhill." There was a Standard in Cornhill as early as the 2nd of Henry V.…
Clearly the water was running again in 1662, but I presume all was destroyed by the Great Fire.

About Friday 21 November 1662

John York  •  Link

I am with Mary K on Spitting Sheets. The description by Judith Flanders in her book makes more sense and fits the description we have in the diary.
Quoting from Charlotte Moore's review:
"Where in those calm, tile-floored 17th- century interior paintings can we see a ‘spitting-sheet’ — fabric attached to the wall behind a spittoon to protect valuable wall-hangings or pictures from splashback? It’s rare enough to see the spittoon itself. Yet both items were commonplace."…

About Monday 10 November 1662

John York  •  Link

Thank you Bill, you are correct in saying I should have looked at the Encyclopedia and that refers to Bishop John Bridgeman. According to VCH “the oldest part of the present building being the work of Bishop Bridgeman, who rebuilt the house about 1630. “

His eldest surviving son was Orlando Bridgeman Lord Keeper of the Great Seal 1677-1674. The link in this entry goes to this person.

My problem is that Bishop John Bridgeman was the father, not the brother of Orlando. I guess Pepys was not infallible in his recollection.

About Monday 10 November 1662

John York  •  Link

Bishop Bridgeman
From Burke's Peerage and Wikipedia
Henry Bridgeman, DD was an Anglican clergyman who served in the Church of England as the Bishop of Sodor and Man being consecrated on 1 October 1671, he died in office on 15 May 1682. He was appointed Dean of Chester 16 July 1661. He married Katherine daughter of William Lever of Kersall by whom he had one daughter and by a second marriage he had a further daughter.…

So at the the time of the diary he was not a Bishop having only just become Dean of Chester.
Having no sons he clearly expected his property to pass down through his daughters to a new family name which is why his window tells the story of the house in heraldry as:
Lever “Olim” - Once
Ashton “Heri” - Yesterday
Bridgeman “Hodie” - Today
No coat of arms “Cras nescio cujus” - tomorrow, I don't know for whom...
Thanks to Dirk for the translation.
According to VCH
"Samuel Pepys, writing under date 10 November 1662, refers to some heraldic glass in the windows at Great Lever, but this, if it were ever placed there, has now disappeared. There is now no painted or heraldic glass in any of the windows of the house. "…

About Saturday 1 November 1662

John York  •  Link

"in Holland and Flanders"

Thank you Mary for the gloss from L&M. For the first time I understood what was happening in Flanders. They made the carts and wagons have their animals arranged abreast to pull the heavy wagons and carts. The usual tandem arrangement leads to many hoof prints in a line and pulling heavy loads this churns the mud even deeper. There is no intention to build anything or to put stone down on the road. It costs nothing except in new harness. This is the way that carriages are harnessed in Pepys's and our time. Originally I, like xjy, thought this was a mess or that Pepys had not understood Mr Oudant.

Michael Robinson
Thank you for the excellent link to Macaulay's - "The Condition of England in 1685." I shall read more of this in time.
It was interesting that Macaulay in the piece you reference then refers back to Pepys's Diary.
"Pepys and his wife, travelling in their own coach, lost their way between Newbury and Reading. In the course of the same tour they lost their way near Salisbury, and were in danger of having to pass the night on the plain. (Pepys's Diary, June 12 and 16,1668)".

About Friday 31 October 1662

John York  •  Link

"I have no crosses"
I thought this was just as in the "modern" English idiom:
a cross (somebody has) to bear (or to carry)
an unpleasant situation or responsibility that you must accept because you cannot change it
Usage notes: In the past, criminals were made to carry crosses as a form of punishment.
Source: Cambridge Idioms Dictionary…

About Wednesday 22 October 1662

John York  •  Link

Terry - "being there about Tangier business, for which the Commission is a taking out.."
I don't think the Commission is yet in favour of anything.
Its membership is still being debated and re-arranged. The "taking out" here is, I believe, referring to agreeing the terms and wording of the Commission. It will not be in existence and instructed until 1 December 1662.

About Wednesday 1 October 1662

John York  •  Link

Australian Susan "Was accounting not a spearate trade/profession in those days? Was it all simpler, so any mathematically educated person could cope? Had the era of "creative" [sic] accounting not yet arrived?"
In those days the occupation was a bookkeeper. Taxation was as Cumgranissalis says levied on things which were easily determined. Income Tax, which required determination of profit was only introduced in Great Britain in 1799. It was the assessment of tax on income that gave rise to all the wonderful accounting "rules". In 1662 most bookkeping was in the form of simple ledgers showing amounts owed (for merchants and shopkeepers) and amounts paid. The introduction of jointly funded merchant ventures was beginning to increase the need for better accounting because the subscribers were not involved in the business and needed to see how there profits or losses had accrued. But these are relatively infrequent.

About Wednesday 17 September 1662

John York  •  Link

Unfortunately Australian Susan's link to the Arms of The Royal Society has been lost. The current link is to a modern drawing only of the shield without the supporters and crest.
A coloured representation of the full arms may be found at:…
but this is still a modern representation.
The Royal Society's own web-site states:
"Our origins lie in a 1660 ‘invisible college’ of natural philosophers and physicians.....The very first ‘learned society’ meeting on 28 November 1660 followed a lecture at Gresham College by Christopher Wren. Joined by other leading polymaths including Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, the group soon received royal approval, and from 1663 it would be known as 'The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge'."
An early representation of the Arms can be seen on the fronticepiece of John Evelyn's "Sylva", the first book published by the Society (in 1664).…
In neither of these representations are the talbots shown as other than white (argent).
The only suggestion I can make as to why the talbot supporters were chosen is that talbots were hunting dogs and the Society was hunting for the truth.

About Monday 15 September 1662

John York  •  Link

In Mary's post above she quotes from the L&M Companion that No representation of the house is known to survive.

In the Encyclopedia under Seething Lane there is a link to a picture that may be the house, or it may be the later rebuild of 1674/5 (the house survived the Great Fire of 1666 but was destroyed by a later fire of 1673).…

There is a print produced in 1714 which appears to be based on this picture

The picture of the house works for me when I try to understand the various entries referring to the house. However I doubt that Tho. Taylor would issue a print in 1714 dedicated to the Board of the Navy showing the old house.

About Navy Office (Seething Lane)

John York  •  Link

Brian, the Wikipedia entry for Crutched Friars will answer your questions.
Whilst your contention of the name derivation could be correct, it is suggested that they were named from a crutch or staff that the carried with them.
"They settled in London in 1249, where they gave their name to the locality, near Tower Hill, still called Crutched Friars."

About Sunday 14 September 1662

John York  •  Link

"drank a cup of ale and a toast"
It would appear that it was very common to drink warm or hot beer in the 17th century. This is sometimes called mulled ale or Wassail. In fact there were quite a few annotations on mulled ale on February 16 (1661/62 )
Whilst we now consider these to be winter drinks various refernces suggest this was much more common all year round. An excellent article on the subject can found at…
From which I have quoted below:

"In 1641 Henry Overton echoed the same thoughts in a short pamphlet entitled "Warme Beere." It maintained that consumption of heated beer and ale was "...farre more wholesome than that which is drunk cold.""

"Simplest of the mulled beers was "Aleberry" made by heating beer to boiling, then adding sugar, spices, and topping all with floating sops of bread."

"Most well known of all the mulled beers was Wassail...... Sugar was placed in the bottom of a bowl, one pint of warm beer was then poured in along with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. After all ingredients were infused the mixture was allowed to stand for several hours. When ready to serve it was heated and topped with several thin slices of toast."

In both of these recipes the bread or toast is integral to the preparation of the warm ale. Unfotunately I have no idea how you would manage to drink it.