Annotations and comments

JayW has posted 133 annotations/comments since 7 August 2015.


Second Reading

About Wednesday 27 March 1667

JayW  •  Link

San Diego Sarah. I understood this as a form of ‘going to rack and ruin’ which isn’t a common phrase now, but used to mean something was falling apart.

About Friday 15 February 1666/67

JayW  •  Link

“Terry Foreman on 15 Feb 2016 • Link

"'I moved for allowance for a house for Mr. Turner, and got it granted."

Not simple. L&M note on 10 June the Treasurer paid a fine [?] of £108 to Joseph Batelier, the owner of a house in Crutched Friars, for this purpose. “

Possibly the ‘fine’ was the premium paid to a landlord for granting a lease for a specific time. Then there would have been an annual ground rent, sometimes a small payment in cash, sometimes just a peppercorn, so the property reverted to the landlord at the end of the lease which could be for any period, sometimes as long as 999 years. An outright sale of land could require an Act of Parliament but a long lease would not.

About Sunday 18 November 1666

JayW  •  Link

Re Puzzled’s comment, I read the passage about Sir W Batten being in a huffe and thought it was because Sam had taken so long to write up the letter. Sir W Pen was tired of waiting but Sam made light (or slight) of it - maybe said his signature wasn’t that important. And the letter was not signed by Pen in the end.

About Friday 5 October 1666

JayW  •  Link

Matt Newton: Sam’s father and brother arrived on 3 October and will stay with him for a while. I expect it would have taken them 2 or 3 days to travel from Brampton.
Larry Bunce: I hadn’t noticed the phrase ‘more work cut out for me’ referred to above as it’s an idiom I’m familiar with. Given that Sam’s father was a tailor it seems possible that this was a phrase in common use in his house as Sam grew up so perhaps this is the first time it was written down?

About Monday 3 September 1666

JayW  •  Link

From John Evelyn’s account for 3 September, with thanks to Terry:
The Fire having continud all this night (if I may call that night, which was as light as day for 10 miles round about after a dreadfull manner) ... so previous annotations about sunrise and starlight wouldn’t have been relevant to what was happening during the fire.

About Friday 31 August 1666

JayW  •  Link

"...then the boy and I to the office, and there he read while I writ it fair..." Alta fossa 10 years ago asked what the boy read. He would have been reading the transcribed letter out loud from the letter book or the fair copy made with Mr Poynter’s help, and Pepys would have been carefully writing it down word for word as the final letter to be sent to Sir William Coventry, in his best handwriting. No carbon paper then!

About Saturday 25 August 1666

JayW  •  Link

Matt Newton Note from yesterday:
These presses still exist, and, according to Pepys’s wish, they are placed in the second court of Magdalene College in a room which they exactly fit, and the books are arranged in the presses just as they were when presented to the college.

There are some photos online which show large spaces between the presses, but would give you a rough idea of the space needed.

About Friday 17 August 1666

JayW  •  Link

David G. Traditional wedding cake is still very popular - made of heavy fruitcake with white icing, two or more tiers using pillars for the upper one(s). Modern alternatives are now available including piles of individual cupcakes, lighter sponge cake, chocolate cake and many others. Lots of options online.

About Thursday 9 August 1666

JayW  •  Link

See her on the bridge at midnight,
the water cold she stands above.
First a cry, a splash, Good Heavens!
Oh what is she a doing of?

Given what we’ve seen of Sam’s treatment of women, this old Music Hall song is very appropriate. It’s called ‘She was poor but she was honest’ and there are several versions on YouTube.

About Wednesday 30 May 1666

JayW  •  Link

When I walk along Ware High Street this morning I shall look at the old houses and think of John Pepys riding through. The milestones now in Ware show it’s still 22 miles to London.

About Sunday 6 May 1666

JayW  •  Link

“So after evened I have gone”
I read ‘evened’ as a reference to the settling of monies owed between Gauden and Sam.

About Friday 27 April 1666

JayW  •  Link

The Henery. The Cockney pronunciation of Henry as in the music hall song I learned as a child from my mother:
I'm 'Enery the Eighth, I am,
'Enery the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an 'Enery
She wouldn't have a Willie nor a Sam
I'm her eighth old man named 'Enery
'Enery the Eighth, I am!
For a version by Herman’s Hermits:…

About Tuesday 27 March 1666

JayW  •  Link

I sympathise with Sam, having had many late nights trying to balance a set of accounts!

About Thursday 1 February 1665/66

JayW  •  Link

David G , the servants would have been aware that Sam had been in. That’s probably how he discovered that Bess had gone to see her parent. As no dinner had been made ready, it wa to be expected that he would seek food elsewhere. It doesn’t seem as if people expected to know where everyone was then in the same way we do now.

About Wednesday 18 October 1665

JayW  •  Link

Bess has come to stay overnight and has now gone home! Or rather, to her lodgings for the time being. No mention of Mercer today though.

About Thursday 24 August 1665

JayW  •  Link

For another example of moving government offices, the colonial government in India used to move every year from the heat of Delhi up to Shimla, in the hills. Eventually they built a railway but at first they (and their files) travelled by carts or on horseback.

About Saturday 29 July 1665

JayW  •  Link

SDS - I think it’s more of an insight into the effects of the plague than ‘Pepys' [lack of] character’. The disease could kill in hours. The house could have been shut up with everyone inside it, probably a death sentence for all of them. If it was just a headache he could go home. If worse, better he died there than in Sam’s bed!
Interesting that he bought new linen for it.