Sunday 8 January 1659/60

(Sunday) In the morning I went to Mr. Gunning’s, where a good sermon, wherein he showed the life of Christ, and told us good authority for us to believe that Christ did follow his father’s trade, and was a carpenter till thirty years of age. From thence to my father’s to dinner, where I found my wife, who was forced to dine there, we not having one coal of fire in the house, and it being very hard frosty weather. In the afternoon my father, he going to a man’s to demand some money due to my Aunt Bell, my wife and I went to Mr. Mossum’s, where a strange doctor made a very good sermon. From thence sending my wife to my father’s, I went to Mrs. Turner’s, and staid a little while, and then to my father’s, where I found Mr. Sheply, and after supper went home together. Here I heard of the death of Mr. Palmer, and that he was to be buried at Westminster tomorrow.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Nicholas Laughlin  •  Link

Mr. Palmer, according to Latham-Matthews, was James Palmer, former vicar of St. Bride's in Fleet Street, who had baptised Pepys at his church in 1633. He died on 5 January.

language hat  •  Link

Robert Mossum, at this point "a poor, sequestered clergyman... at the little chapel of St Peter's by Paul's Wharf," later became Bishop of Derry.

language hat  •  Link

"Aunt Bells" should be Aunt Bell (perhaps the s is a misscanning of a comma?).

Susanna  •  Link

Coals from Newcastle

Most Londoners in Pepys' day burned sea-coal, which contained a lot of sulphur and other impurities. This sea-coal was mostly shipped into the city from Newcastle (hence the expression "like coals to Newcastle"). It was a major source of London's air pollution problem.

Charles Weng  •  Link

The Pepys apparently did not have a pleasant stay at their father's on this Sunday. Not only was it coal-lessly cold, but the contents of the unremarkable meal were not even mentioned at all...perhaps, for once, there was no meat served. I find this a petulant contrast to the sermon our writer just heard in church, referring to Jesus' taking up carpentry after his earthly father Joseph.

Wooden Rivet  •  Link

RE:Coals from Newcastle

According to David Urbinato[EPA Journal - Summer 1994]:
"Until the 12th century, most Londoners burned wood for fuel. But as the city grew and the forests shrank, wood became scarce and increasingly expensive. Large deposits of "sea-coal" off the northeast coast provided a cheap alternative. Soon, Londoners were burning the soft, bituminous coal to heat their homes and fuel their factories. Sea-coal was plentiful, but it didn't burn efficiently. A lot of its energy was spent making smoke, not heat. Coal smoke drifting through thousands of London chimneys combined with clean natural fog to make smog. If the weather conditions were right, it would last for days.

Early on, no one had the scientific tools to correlate smog with adverse health effects, but complaints about the smoky air as an annoyance date back to at least 1272, when King Edward I, on the urging of important noblemen and clerics, banned the burning of sea-coal. Anyone caught burning or selling the stuff was to be tortured or executed. The first offender caught was summarily put to death. This deterred nobody. Of necessity, citizens continued to burn sea-coal in violation of the law, which required the burning of wood few could afford.

Following Edward, Richard III (1377-1399) and Henry V (1413-1422) also tried to curb the use of sea-coal, as did a number of non-royal crusaders. In 1661, John Evelyn, a noted diarist of the day, wrote his anticoal treatise FUMIFUNGIUM: or the Inconvenience of the Aer and Smoake of London Dissipated, in which he pleaded with the King and Parliament to do something about the burning of coal in London. "And what is all this, but that Hellish and dismall Cloud of SEACOALE?" he wrote, "so universally mixed with the otherwise wholesome and excellent Aer, that her Inhabitants breathe nothing but an impure and thick Mist accompanied with a fuliginous and filthy vapour..."

Laws and treatises failed to stop citizens from burning coal, however. Too many people burned it and there were no real alternatives. Anthracite coal was much cleaner but too expensive."

Jenny  •  Link

I'm very pleased with this site; I can now get a daily fix of Pepys with a triple fix on a Monday morning when I get to work. Which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma - what do I do when I am on holiday? Save up 2 weeks-worth of diary entries when I return or make sporadic visits to an internet cafe? And on the subject of meat, I think you'll find there is still a large proportion of people in Britain that eat rather a lot of meat, especially in weather like this. It's the Northern European culture I think; fattening yourself up on meat and root veg to keep the cold out in winter.

darly  •  Link

my partner spent 3 months in the Antartic - he made a comment that if they didn't eat 'fat' they found it hard to sleep at night and also felt the cold more. food for thought!

PHE  •  Link

Why were 'sermons' taking place in peoples' homes? Was it anything to do with restrictions on the practice of certain regligions due to a Puritan government?

Susanna  •  Link

Sermons and Twelfth Night

If Pepys had wanted to attend a service using the old Book of Common Prayer, he would probably have had to attend a private service at someone's home; it was illegal under the Commonwealth. Pepys and his family and friends were also all technically breaking the law in their celebration of Twelfth Night on the 6th, but by this point in 1659/60, so were a great many other people, especially in London, where the Puritan side was losing the "battle for Christmas." There is an interesting discussion of this battle in Ronald Hutton's "The Rise and Fall of Merry England."

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

In response to the question from PHE, I had assumed that when Pepys refers to going to "Mr Mossum's" in the afternoon, he means attending evening service at the church where Mr Mossum was Vicar. Similarly, he speaks of going to "Mr Gunning's" in the morning. Maybe I am mistaken? I also have the impression that going to both morning and evening prayer on Sunday was customary at that time.

language hat  •  Link

Jon Tom is correct.
Bryant says "These [forbidden Anglican services] Pepys now began to patronize, setting out on a Sunday morning from Westminster to hear Mr Gunning at Cary House by Exeter 'Change... And in the afternoon, if he could escape from the rather formidable task of listening to Mr Herring, the Presbyterian incumbent of St Bride's, he would slip away to hear the eloquent Robert Mossum... thrill his auditory at the little chapel of St Peter's by Paul's Wharf. Occasionally he would even attend Mr Gunning's Friday fasts."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I heard of the death of Mr. Palmer, and that he was to be buried at Westminster tomorrow."

James Palmer had been Vicar of St Bride's, Fleet St, 1616-45, and had baptised Pepys there in 1633. He had died on 5 January, and was buried at St Margaret's, Westminster. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Why was there a shortage of coal from Newcastle in London?

In LAWSON LIES STILL IN THE THAMES by Gill Blanchard, he states that Admiral John Lawson is strangely ignored in the documentation of the time, and he left no documentation. We know it took Monck a month to march south from Scotland. There was confusion in London about what to do, which led to “ill effects” on trade. And there was Lawson and his part of the fleet, moored in the Thames. No one knew why – and no one wanted to find out. By February 1660 a Royalist spy, John Heath, tells Chancellor Hyde that it appears Lawson will declare for the King.

“… it was John [Lawson]’s decisive action in positioning his fleet in the Thames that forced the army to yield in 1659, while Monck was hundreds of miles away. While the domino effect this created was not something John ever wanted or anticipated, he was ultimately as responsible for the restoration as” [Edward Montagu and George Monck].

And that’s why Elizabeth and Samuel are very cold. As are many Londoners.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
8.1.1660 (Sunday 8 January 1660)
document 70012195
Jan: 8. God good in his mercies to me and mine for which my soul blesses him. things in the nation quiet, the soldiers submitting to the Parliament. oh that my heart in a submitting frame to god, a very great general snow, god good to me in the word, warm my heart by it, I humbly entreat thee.

Hampshire Dave  •  Link

I've returned to this site in 2021 having greatly enjoyed it in the mid 2000s. I love reading the contributions. In contrast to how strikingly familiar much of Samuel's daily routine sounds from 360 years ago, some of the comments here from just 18 years ago are almost alien, such as Jenny worrying how she will cope without this site on holiday and considering finding an internet café. Our world is changing faster than I fear we know how to cope with.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

How true; and welcome back.
One thing we have that the annotators didn't have 10 years ago is pandemic experience.

As a Californian, I get the fire, having been as close to two as Pepys was to one.
And the current strange political uncertainties Pepys experiences at the end of the Diary are reminiscent of almost current events on both sides of the pond.
I am wondering what our Treaty of Dover/Popish Plot will look like.
We've just had Charles I storming Parliament wanting to arrest MPs.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Only different.
Lack of reliable information was Pepys' problem; we have too much unreliable information.
I suspect the result is the same: People cope the best they can with incremental adjustments.
And a large dose of Robert Gertz' sometimes gallows humor.
So stay home, read the Diary, and please annotate some more.

Third Reading

EyeOnMadisonStreet  •  Link

Though I know little of English history, when I read the line "Lawson lies still in the Thames" I had a sense that there was something more to it than its superficial meaning, and it turns out I was right, since someone wrote a whole book based on it. Even those mere six words, when both senses of "still" are considered, convey a menacing ambiguity: Lawson is still there, as if he's been a long time loitering; and Lawson lies still—quiet for now, but possibly not for long, possibly waiting for the moment to pounce ...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Considering the ambiguities of the times, EyeOnMadisonStreet, Adm. Lawson and the people of London behaved themselves admirably. They allowed things to play out, which creates loads of tension because we humans hate ambiguity.

Lawson was also protecting London from pirates and unwanted intervention from abroad. He just knew that having the Navy there would help people feel more peaceful -- if cold.

The lack of documentation for his orders is a bit odd. Perhaps he didn't have any? I'll have to consult my copy of the book and see if it clarifies things.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.