Friday 10 February 1659/60

In the morning I went to Mr. Swan, who took me to the Court of Wards, where I saw the three Lords Commissioners sitting upon some cause where Mr. Scobell was concerned, and my Lord Fountaine took him up very roughly about some things that he said. After that we went to the Exchequer, where the Barons were hearing of causes, and there I made affidavit that Mr. Downing was gone into Holland by order of the Council of State, and this affidavit I gave to Mr. Stevens our lawyer. Thence to my office, where I got money of Mr. Hawly to pay the lawyer, and there found Mr. Lenard, one of the Clerks of the Council, and took him to the Swan and gave him his morning draft.

Then home to dinner, and after that to the Exchequer, where I heard all the afternoon a great many causes before the Barons; in the end came ours, and Squib proved clearly by his patent that the house and office did now belong to him. Our lawyer made some kind of opposition, but to no purpose, and so the cause was found against us, and the foreman of the jury brought in 10l. damages, which the whole Court cried shame of, and so he cried 12d.. Thence I went home, vexed about this business, and there I found Mr. Moore, and with him went into London to Mr. Fage about the cancer in my mouth, which begins to grow dangerous, who gave me something for it, and also told me what Monk had done in the City, how he had pulled down the most part of the gates and chains that they could break down, and that he was now gone back to White Hall. The City look mighty blank, and cannot tell what in the world to do; the Parliament having this day ordered that the Common-council sit no more; but that new ones be chosen according to what qualifications they shall give them. Thence I went and drank with Mr. Moore at the Sugar Loaf by Temple Bar, where Swan and I were last night, and so we parted. At home I found Mr. Hunt, who sat talking with me awhile, and so to bed.

25 Annotations

Paul Miller  •  Link

"Mr. Swan, who took me to the Court of Wards," The Court of Wards was abolished officially by Charles II in 1660 but I believe the Long Parliament had really ended it a few years earlier. So I wonder at Pepys being there.

Eric Walla  •  Link

So do we have Squib to thank ...

... for Downing Street? Having lost his house and office Downing had to have some place to hang his hat. Do we have a Downing Street timeline ... (oops, just checked. Built in 1684).

David Quidnunc  •  Link


According to Robert Latham's index volume (11) to the Latham & Matthews edition of the diary:

SCOBELL, Henry -- clerk of the Parliament. He was mentioned in 9 January in a story about some members of Parliament criticizing him, this time the rough handling is by . . .

FOUNTAINE, John -- a commissioner of the Great Seal.

MOORE, Henry -- both a lawyer and Montagu's "man of business." Pepys sees quite a lot of him. (This is the only Moore in the diary for the first two years.)

language hat  •  Link

Court of Wards (OED):
A court established by Hen. VIII for the trial of causes relating to wardships; subsequently called Court of Wards and Liveries; abolished by Stat. 12 Car. II. cap. 24 (1660).
[Seems to have been functioning the year before:]
1659 Burton's Diary (1828) IV. 438 The Committee thought it reasonable to..adjourn to the Inner Court of Wards, he being scandalized to stand at that bar where he had been judge of the Court.

Pauline  •  Link

"...what Monk had done in the City.."
For a timeline of these times of transition:

I think this has already been offered, so let me also introduce you to a consortium of independent booksellers from every corner of the English-speaking world--for books such as Liza Picard's "Restoration London":

George Feldan  •  Link

There is also a Downing Street in New York City's Greenwich Village and George Downing is possibly the eponym. "The Street Book, an Encyclopedia of Manhattan's Street Names and Their Origins" by Henry Moscow (1978) says that one candidate was an oyster house named "Downing's". It then continues: "Another possible namesake is the Sir George Downing whom London's Downing Street commemorates....His possible claim to immortalization here--in the naming of Downing Street--is based on the fact that he was Britain's envoy in the Netherlands when the Dutch handed over New Orange (New Amsterdam) to the British in 1674 in exchange for Surinam. Although he was not the chief negotiator of the deal, historians suspect that he played an influential part."

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"From rotten members preserve our wives!
From the mercy of a Rump, our estates and our lives!
For they must needs go whom the Devil drives,
Which nobody can deny."

-- last stanza of "A New-Year's Gift For The Rump" a Cavalier ballad, apparently written for New Year's Day 1659/60. By this point, regular readers of this website should actually understand most of the references in the ballad. Full text here:

Derek  •  Link

Thanks for the ballad reference, David! It's wonderfully robust in the expression of its sentiments (albeit sadly Royalist!) and repays reading in its entirety.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'the foreman of the jury brought in 10l. damages, which the whole Court cried shame of, and so he cried 12d'
Was it normal procedure in a trial in those days for the jury to set damages? And to change them according to the response of people in the court? It's a long way down from £10 to 12d!

Keith Wright  •  Link

Perhaps it was a token judgment? Even now one hears of cases where the plaintiff wins, and is awarded $1 damages---either because the suit was brought to make a point and made it, money not being the issue; or as if to say, "Yes, you made your point, but we don't think much of it"?

gerry  •  Link

A fairly recent case of token damages occured when the author Leon Uris was sued over references in one of his books to a doctor who had supposedly worked in a concentration camp.(My memory is a bit hazy). The plaintiff was awarded a farthing in damages by the jury.

Paul Miller  •  Link

The Court of Wards was a financial institution, responsible for collecting these feudal revenues. However, it also had to cope with the practical and legal consequences arising from wardship and livery. When feudal tenures were abolished by the Long Parliament in 1645, the Court also came to an end. The abolition of the Court was confirmed by Charles II in 1660 (12 Charles II c. 24). ---- UK Public Record Office Online

Derek  •  Link

Today's entry deals with two separate entities in the complex English legal system. Sam attends first the Court of Wards - simply as an observer. As Language Hat has noted, this was set up by Henry VIII. Its function was not dissimilar to the current courts of Probate:

"Until 1660, when a landholder died, his heir, if of age, had to pay a fee called livery to the Crown before taking possession of the land. If under age, the heir became a ward of the Crown. Crown jurisdiction was determined by an inquisition post mortem. Records of inquisitions may list heirs, their relationships to the deceased, and land holdings. The practice of selling the Crown’s guardianship to a third party led to the Court of Wards and Liveries, which was a source of funds for the government."

Then Sam goes (twice) to the Exchequer to deputise for his employer Mr Downing in the case against Squibb. This is one of the three royal courts established in Westminster by Edward I c. 1278:

"The Court of Exchequer, presided over by the Barons, dealt principally with matters pertaining to the royal revenues but also handled some civil issues
* The Court of King's (or Queen's) Bench, presided over by Chief Justices or Judges, handled cases in which the King was deemed to have an interest
* The Court of Common Pleas, presided over by Chief Justices or Judges, handled civil cases

There were also other courts, for example, the Court of Chancery (i.e. the Court of the Lord Chancellor) which was supposed to provide some kind of alternative to the harshness of common law - to provide what was known as "Equity" - but became the bureaucratic nightmare that Dickens depicts in "Bleak House".

Sam is angry when the judgement goes against Downing but it is indeed a remarkable adjustment in damages from £10 to 1 shilling!

Nix  •  Link

The point of "wardship" --

and hence of the Court of Wards -- was, of course, money. The guardian got the income from the ward's estate until the ward reached the age of majority; the only cost was supporting the ward as one more member of his household. We may presume that, in the case of a wealthy ward, the guardian also got something extra to marry the ward off to a grateful and grasping family.

j.simmons  •  Link

Thank you David for the ballad and Derek for that thorough listing of the various courts...very interesting. But Derek, don't repine re the ballad, Cavaliers are suppose to have more fun!

steve h  •  Link

puisne barons

Why are the judges of the court of the exchqeuer called barons, I wondered, thinking they couldn't be real barons in 1660?

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica to the rescue.
"the upper exchequer, which was a court sitting twice a year to settle accounts ... The constitution of the court was that of the normal Frankish curia. The king was the nominal president, and the court consisted of his great officers of state and his barons, or tenants-in-chief, and it is doubtless due to the fact that the exchequer was originally the curia itself sitting for a special purpose that its unofficial judges retained the name of 'barons' until recent times. "

According to the 1913 Webster's Dictionary, online, "The judges of this court were one chief and four puisne barons, so styled ." Puisne is related to puny, but meant lesser in rank, junior (not undersized, but it's tempting to think of them as weaklings). Isn't English a great language?

The Webster unabridged 1913, another top online resource, is at:

steve h  •  Link

More on Monk's entry into London

The suspense about what Monk would do next is palpable. This is seconded by this passage from Macaulay's masterful history of England, another great online resource.
"In the mean time Monk was advancing towards London. Wherever he came, the gentry flocked round him, imploring him to use his power for the purpose of restoring peace and liberty to the distracted nation. The General, coldblooded, taciturn, zealous for no polity and for no religion, maintained an impenetrable reserve. What were at this time his plans, and whether he had any plan, may well be doubted. His great object, apparently, was to keep himself, as long as possible, free to choose between several lines of action. Such, indeed, is commonly the policy of men who are, like him, distinguished rather by wariness than by farsightedness. It was probably not till he had been some days in the capital that he had made up his mind. The cry of the whole people was for a free Parliament; and there could be no doubt that a Parliament really free would instantly restore the exiled family. The Rump and the soldiers were still hostile to the House of Stuart. But the Rump was universally detested and despised. The power of the soldiers was indeed still formidable, but had been greatly diminished by discord. They had no head. They had recently been, in many parts of the country, arrayed against each other. On the very day before Monk reached London, there was a fight in the Strand between the cavalry and the infantry. An united army had long kept down a divided nation; but the nation was now united, and the army was divided."

You can read more (plot spoilers if you don't want to know what happens next):

Pauline  •  Link

...the exchequer was originally the curia itself sitting for a special purpose...

From the same dictionery link; a curia is "The court of a sovereign or of a feudal lord." And clear in context.

"Frankish curia" must mean that the setup was an import from the Franks (germanic, extending to The Netherlands and down the Rhine valley).

Thanks, Steve, for the Monck annotation. The more I understand what Monck is doing, the more I understand what Sam is seeing and hearing during these days.

Derek  •  Link

'"Frankish curia" must mean that the setup was an import from the Franks…’
That’s right, Pauline. For more on development of English systems of justice, see for instance the 1911 Brittanica’s entry on the role of Chancellor:

’..The barbarian kingdoms which arose on the ruin of the empire in the West copied more or less intelligently the Roman model in all their judicial and financial administration. Under the Frankish kings of the Merovingian dynasty the cancellarii were subordinates of the great officer of state called the referendarius, who was the predecessor of the more modern chancellor…The model of the Carolingian court was followed by the medieval states of Western Europe.’

michael f vincent  •  Link

Name of the game, from a cynic .
Which team to be on.

language hat  •  Link

"1911 Encyclopedia Britannica to the rescue"
Indeed! What a great reference book. Thanks, steve h. and Derek, for the timely quotations; they add greatly to understanding of what's going on.

Bob Gregory  •  Link

I beleive the Squibb referred to is a Lawrence Squibb, a teller for the Royal Exchequer. Does anyone know anything about Mr. Squibb's background and history as I am doing some research related to him.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"In the morning I went to Mr. Swan, who took me to the Court of Wards, where I saw the three Lords Commissioners sitting upon some cause where Mr. Scobell was concerned, and my Lord Fountaine took him up very roughly about some things that he said."

L&M note this was a Chancery case: the Commissioners of the Great Seal sat in what had been ntil 1646 the Court of Wards by Westminster Hall.

The Court of Wards and Liveries was a court established during the reign of Henry VIII in England. Its purpose was to administer a system of feudal dues; but as well as the revenue collection, the court was also responsible for wardship and livery issues....In February 1646 (New Style), during the English Civil War, the Court of Wards and Liveries lost its principal function, due to the abolition by the Long Parliament of feudal tenure. The court was formally abolished soon after the Restoration of the monarchy by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660 (12 Charles II c. 24).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I beleive the Squibb referred to is a Lawrence Squibb, a teller for the Royal Exchequer. Does anyone know anything about Mr. Squibb's background and history as I am doing some research related to him."

L&M say National Archives records show this is not the Squibb you seek. The case concerned possession of a house in Westminster owned by Arthur Squibb (once Teller of the Exchequer) and occupied by William wan. William Beaver, Squibb's tenant, brought an action of trespass and ejection: PRO, E13/637, m.25; E 12/19, p.21.

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