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San Diego Sarah has posted 2641 annotations/comments since 6 August 2015.

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About Thursday 6 December 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Aussie Susan's comment surprised me: "Royalty and Courtiers have always changed outer clothes frequently, often during the same day, but not the undergarments." She cites Napoleon, so maybe habits changed over the decades?

Dr. Thomas Moulton's "This is the Mirror or Glass of Health" (1545) recommends: ‘Also use no baths or stoves; nor swet too much, for all openeth the pores of a man’s body and maketh the venomous ayre to enter and for to infect the blood.’

His advice was to avoid places where the air was stagnant, or vapors rose (marshes, pools, tan yards and muck heaps); keep the air fresh and sweet-smelling; keep the pores of the skin tightly sealed, and to fully cover the body.

Sickness was viewed as an imbalance within the body, but infection was seen as an outside agency that arose from places of putrefaction and drifted in the air, like seeds or spores.

There were several ways noxious fumes could enter the body, the main infection route being through the mouth and nose. The pores of the skin were a secondary route, but one could guard against this by adopting a sensible personal hygiene routine that maintained the skin as a solid barrier.

Clean clothes were essential for health, in particular the layer that touched the skin.

Ideally no wool, leather or silk would be in direct contact with your body, as these items were difficult to clean. Linen shirts, smocks, under-breeches, hose, ruffs, cuffs, bands, coifs (skull-caps) and caps could be combined by the two sexes to give total coverage in a form that permitted regular vigorous laundry.

Every time this linen layer was changed (or ‘shifted’), accumulated dirt, grease and sweat was removed. The more you changed your underwear, the healthier and cleaner you would be.

Especially effective for this was linen, as it was absorbent, and drew the grease and sweat away from the skin into the weave of the cloth, like a sponge soaking up liquid.

Linen was also employed to clean the body. Sir Thomas Elyot’s "The Castel of Helth" (1534) recommends the morning routine include a session when a man should ‘rub the body with a course lynen clothe, first softly and easily, and after to increase more and more, to a hard and swyft rubbyng, untyl the flesh do swelle, and be somewhat ruddy, and that not only down ryght, but also overthwart and round’. This ensured ‘his body is clensed’.

Vigorous rubbing, especially after exercise, drew out the body’s toxins through the open pores, with unwanted bodily matter being removed away by the coarse linen cloth. ‘Rubbing cloths’ or ‘body cloths’, despite low financial value, can be found in the inventories of people’s goods.

Someone tried this regime for a month, and reported no one complained:…

I think the King changed outerwear to show off his wealth, not for hygiene.

About Paulina Jackson (b. Pepys, "Pall", sister)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the 17th century single women (particularly those over 25) began to be labelled 'spinster' or 'old maid'.

Pepys' unmarried sister, Pal, was 20 when the Diary opens.

A demographer in the 1960's identified the “Northwestern European Marriage Pattern,” in which people in 17th century northwestern European countries began marrying in their 30s and even 40s. A significant proportion of the populace didn’t marry at all. Traditionally couples start a new household when they marry, which requires accumulating either money or owning property. His theory was that that became more difficult at this time, which delayed marriage. If people couldn’t accumulate enough wealth, they might not marry at all, or the older men married the much younger child-bearing aged women.

Before the 17th century, unmarried women were called maids, virgins or “puella” (Latin word for “girl”), words that imply youth and chastity, and presumed that girls would only be single for the short period of “pre-marriage.”

By the 17th century terms like “spinster” and “singlewoman,” emerged. The numbers of unwed women – and women who never married – grew. "Spinster" now became a legal term for an unmarried, independent woman.

Amy Froide, Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County says, "Single women made up, on average, 30% of the adult female population in early modern England. My own research on the town of Southampton found that in 1698, 34.2% of women over 18 were single, another 18.5% were widowed, and less than half, or 47.3%, were married." ... "my work shows that in 17th-century England, at any given time, more women were unmarried than married. It was a normal part of the era’s life and culture. In the late 1690s, the term ‘old maid’ became common."

'Old maid’ expressed the paradox of being old, virginal and unmarried. Literature also poked fun at ‘superannuated virgins.’ In 1713 an anonymous pamphlet, “A Satyr upon Old Maids,” referred to never-married women as “odious,” “impure” and "repugnant." Another common trope was that old maids would be punished for not marrying by “leading apes in hell.”

When did a young, single woman become an 'old maid'? Jane Barker (1652–1732), a single poet, wrote in her 1688 poem, “A Virgin Life,” that she hoped she could remain
“Fearless of twenty-five and all its train,
Of slights or scorns, or being called Old Maid.”

In the 1690s and early 1700s, population decline prompted the House of Commons to levy a Marriage Duty Tax, requiring bachelors, widowers and some wealthy single women to pay a fine for being unmarried.

Information from

Interestingly enough, Pepys never writes "spinster" or "old maid," and the only "unmarried" reference is to the requirement of a male clerk to be unwed. But his concern about marrying off Pal, aged 25 in 1665, is clear.

About Friday 7 December 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"But I was in mighty pain lest I should be seen by any body to be at a play."

I think he was in such a fit he went to the theater to "punish" Elizabeth and the mayds for messing up, hense arriving in the third act. Having thus made a spectacle of himself, he became ashamed of himself for being there.

Pepys has gone through this desire not to be seen before: One Christmas (1663?) he and Elizabeth stayed in Sandwich's Whitehall apartments, and he hid behind pillars making efforts not to be seen for several days.

London was a small place ... he takes a lot of risks with his womanizing. Being invisible to his betters must be getting more and more difficult. Or maybe he was worried about an unpaid sailor seeing him ... or a widow ... or a victualler. He has no protection detail.

Present-day 'personalities' must identify.

About Wednesday 5 December 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

We have it so easy these days!

"Now we need some eager, data-seeking Pepysian to trawl back through every mention of our man's two-minute ditty and see just how often he mentions its high quality "without flattery." Might we even get the score on the site here? Is that possible, Phil?"

Bradford should be annotating today. All we have to do is go to the search bar (upper right) and type in "Beauty Retire" and press GO. Voila, every Diary entry for it is displayed.

OR, since the song's name is in blue, we can tap through to the Encyclopedia, and read the 3 Annotations, or go to the References page and see that is mentioned 7 times and on which dates, and can easily click through to any of those Diary entries.


About Friday 23 November 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Stuarts influence on the writing of America's Constitution was profound.

'John Viscount Mordaunt "was appointed Constable of Windsor Castle, keeper of Windsor Great Park and Lord Lieutenant of Surrey upon the Restoration, but played little role at court. In 1666, he was charged in the House of Commons with having imprisoned William Taylor, surveyor of Windsor Castle, and raped Taylor's daughter.[1] He was impeached by the Commons in December, ..."'

If you were listening to testimony today in the Impeachment Hearings for President Trump, one of the citations given was to this case against John, Viscount Mordaunt of Avalon.

Today they also stated that the President of the USA is not a King. We know how hard Cromwell and cohorts found it to rout out a Stuart King they considered not acting in the best interests of the country.

About Betty Mitchell (a, b. Howlett)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm happy to say it isn't so, either way ... per Phil Gyford.

Lettice Kite Howlett is Pepys' aunt ... and Mrs. Howlett, Betty's mother, is no relation.

I am relieved.

About Lettice Howlett (b. Kite)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Say it isn't so."

It isn't so ... per Phil Gyford.

Lettice Kite Howlett is Pepys' aunt ... and Mrs. Howlett, Betty's mother, is no relation.

I am relieved.

About Lettice Howlett (b. Kite)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Say it isn't so:

from L&M Companion – Lettice (Lissett) Howlett was sister of Pepys' mother. She married firstly, ____ Haines, and secondly ____ Howlett.

Lettice Kite Haines Howlett’s sisters = Margaret Kite Pepys (Sam's mom), Katherine Kite Fenner (married Thomas Fenner), and Ellen Kite (who appears to have been unmarried).

SO Betty Howlett Mitchell is Pepys’ cousin?


About Betty Mitchell (a, b. Howlett)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

from L&M Companion – Lettice (Lissett) Howlett was sister of Samuel Pepys' mother. She married firstly, ____ Haines, and secondly ____ Howlett.

Lettice Kite Haines Howlett’s sisters = Margaret Kite Pepys (Sam's mom), Katherine Kite Fenner (married Thomas Fenner), and Ellen Kite (who appears to have been unmarried).

SO Betty Howlett Mitchell is Pepys’ cousin?

Or it Lettice young Betty's grandmother, in which she is Pepys' cousin-once-removed.

Yikes either way.

About Sunday 2 December 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... that all our New England fleete, which went out lately, are put back a third time by foul weather, and dispersed, some to one port and some to another; and their convoys also to Plymouth; and whether any of them be lost or not, we do not know."

Does anyone have information about this? It's a dangerous time of year to be setting sail for New England ... but perhaps that's the point? The Dutch and French fleets are safely in continental harbors.

There were no targets left in New England; the English had taken Manhattan/New York already. But come summer the fighting ships would have refueled and be free to attack the French and Dutch at will from unexpected quarters?

Maybe the remains of the fleet is escorting much-needed supplies for the American plantations? I don't think Pepys would be so dispondent if this was the case.