Thursday 15 March 1659/60

Early packing up my things to be sent by cart with the rest of my Lord’s. So to Will’s, where I took leave of some of my friends. Here I met Tom Alcock, one that went to school with me at Huntingdon, but I had not seen him these sixteen years. So in the Hall paid and made even with Mrs. Michell; afterwards met with old Beale, and at the Axe paid him this quarter to Ladyday next. In the afternoon Dick Mathews comes to dine, and I went and drank with him at Harper’s. So into London by water, and in Fish Street my wife and I bought a bit of salmon for 8d. and went to the Sun Tavern and ate it, where I did promise to give her all that I have in the world but my books, in case I should die at sea. From thence homewards; in the way my wife bought linen for three smocks and other things. I went to my Lord’s and spoke with him. So home with Mrs. Jem by coach and then home to my own house. From thence to the Fox in King-street to supper on a brave turkey of Mr. Hawly’s, with some friends of his there, Will Bowyer, &c. After supper I went to Westminster Hall, and the Parliament sat till ten at night, thinking and being expected to dissolve themselves to-day, but they did not. Great talk to-night that the discontented officers did think this night to make a stir, but prevented. To the Fox again. Home with my wife, and to bed extraordinary sleepy.

30 Annotations

First Reading

Keith Wright  •  Link

"old Beale" appears to be Francis Beale, Pepys's landlord in Axe Yard from 1658 through 1660, collecting rent.

Pauline  •  Link

"...bought a bit of salmon..."
Does anyone know which is most likely: that they took the salmon into the Sun Tavern and had it cooked for them; or bought the salmon cooked (or brined or smoked) on the street and took it in to eat? Or other possibilities?

Susanna  •  Link

Lady Day

This was the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25. "Known popularly as Lady Day in honour of the Virgin Mary, it was a favourite date for the payment of quarterly rents and dues. From the twelfth century to 1752 it also marked the formal beginning of the year..." (Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun) So on the 25th of March 1659/60 becomes 1660, and Pepys is paying his quarterly rent early, as he will be at sea when it is due.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'...but prevented.' Anybody know any more details of this?

Pauline  •  Link…
With thanks to Roger Miller on the Monk background page. A great link.

"On 15 March a meeting of officers demanded that [Monck] should send to the parliament to re-enact the engagement against a monarchy, but he told them "that he brought them not out of Scotland for his nor the parliament's council; that for his part he should obey the parliament, and expected they should do the same" (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 696; BAKER, p. 716).

"He then ordered them to their regiments and forbade them to assemble again, and finally obtained from the whole army an engagement to submit to whatsoever the Lord should bring forth from the consultations of the coming parliament (9 April; BAKER, p. 719)."

David Bell  •  Link

Lady Day

As annotated earlier this year, in discussion of the calendar differences, the date of the formal year-end for accounting, etc, shifted to the current April date when the calendar was changed in the middle of the next century.

However, in Britain at least, Estate Agents will still refer to "Lady Day" for this particular quarter day, though in contracts they use the calendar date.

j a gioia  •  Link

I did promise to give her all that I have in the world... in case I should die at sea

Stick close to your desk
And never go to sea,
And you might become the ruler
Of the Queen's navy.

sorry. couldn't resist...

David Quidnunc  •  Link


CHARD, Adam -- the Pope's Head Alley shopkeeper who on 7 March sold Pepys the catcall.This is the second of only three appearances Chard makes in the diary.…

Pepys may or may not have been a guest in Chard's home before the beginning of the diary. On 11 February 1661 Chard makes his last appearance, when Pepys and Henry Moore socialize with him. On that occasion, Pepys says it was "the first time I ever was at his [Chard's] house since he was married." That either means Pepys was at his house before the time of the diary or, if Pepys means in the building where Chard's home and shop may both have been located, the first time he saw him since buying the catcall.

MICHEL -- Miles and Betty Mitchell, booksellers in Westminster Hall who were friends of Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys. Their bookstall is the one the Pepyses sometimes use as a rendezvous.

OLD BEALE -- Francis (d. 1662) -- he collected (or at least accepted) rent on Pepys's Axe Yard house. Beale also lived in Axe Yard in a house owned by Valentine Wanley. There's a note in the Latham and Matthews edition (for 3 January) saying that Wanley lived in Lambeth (making Beale more convenient to arrange payments with). L&M also call Beale the "landlord" and Wanley the "owner" of the house Pepys paid rent on. Was Beale Wanley's unnamed "man" who accompanied Pepys to the Exchequer on 4 January when Pepys borrowed some rent money from that office? Beale's role in rent payments is confusing to me. In America, the "landlord" must be the owner. Perhaps the definition is different in Britain?…

MATHEWS -- Richard Matthews -- a soldier and Mountagu's servant in 1659-60. An army captain, possibly in Mountagu's regiment, he was last seen getting money from Pepys on 30 January.…

-- L&M edition of the diary, Vols. 1 (1660), 2 (1661), 10 (Companion), 11 (Index)

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Thomas Alcock and Huntingdon School

If this is the same "cousin Thomas Alcocke" that Pepys successfully recommends as a ship's carpenter in 1675, then this is a relative of Pepys. This is the first of two appearances of Alcock in the diary (the last appearance is on Saturday, 17 March).

According to a note in L&M for this date, this passage is the only source of our knowledge that Pepys attended the Huntingdon grammar school.

-- L&M Vols. 1, 10, 11

David Quidnunc  •  Link

More on Beale and Axe Yard

The L&M Companion volume (10) says (p 16, "Axe Yard: Pepys's house" entry) that Beale and his wife formerly occupied part (perhaps a third) of Pepys's house, but by the time the diary begins, the Beales had moved to the tavern on the same street. Wanley owner of the "freehold" received rent from Pepys, as did Beale, the "leaseholder." (Companion, Wanley entry, p 466)

According to the Cambridge dictionary website (link below):

"freeholder" essentially means owner
" of a piece of real estate;

"leaseholder" is someone with "the legal right to live in or use a building, piece of land, etc. for an agreed period of time."

Roger Miller  •  Link

Beale and Vanley

The payment made today to Beale is the rent for a quarter. The payment made by Pepys to Vanley on 4th January was for a half year. This seems more than usually complicated.

A half yearly payment could be a ground rent which is a payment from a leaseholder to a freeholder. Is it possible that Pepys had a lease on part of the house and was renting the remainder from Beale who had a lease on the other part?

(Is it Vanley or Wanely? I though Wanley was someone else.)

David Quidnunc  •  Link


Vanley is Pepys's spelling and adhered to in Wheatley's edition of the diary.
Wanley is how L&M spell it, I assume because they have some evidence the man himself spelled it that way.

Pepys must have had documents with the landlord's name on them. Maybe Wanley pronounced his name with a "V" and spelled it both ways.

L&M say Wanley was an alien. Does anyone have any idea what country he was from? Is Wanley a common name somewhere? I just bet it was a country where "W" was pronounced like the English "V."

Pauline  •  Link

"Humfrey Wanley,
brilliant young palaeographer befriended by SP in old age."
Will not be mentioned (or yet born) in the diary years. But could be part of the above name confusion?

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

I refer to David Quidnunc's question about Humfrey Wanley. It is possible Wanley was from Dutch stock. Names with 'van' are abundant in the Netherlands (see mine) and in Anglo-Saxon countries these names with 'van and 'van der' tend to be spelled as one word. Also the first syllable is stressed in that case (in Dutch the last part of the name is the important part; 'van' or 'van der' simply mean 'of' resp. 'of the'). Vanderbilt
is an example. Also Dutch 'V' is pronounced "softer" than English 'V', so it might be mistaken for a "W".
My guess is Wanley was: Van Ley.

Glyn  •  Link

Minding your Vs and Ws

A lot of English words were pronounced either way, it seems. If you read your Dickens, for example, you'll come across Londoners saying "wery nice" rather than "very nice" and so on. I think Pickwick Papers servant Sam Weller also called himself Sam Veller, for example?

So this man need not have been a foreigner.

Mary  •  Link

Wanley again

More than likely that Wanley was of Dutch stock, as L&M also note that on his death in 1666 he left bequests to the Dutch church in Austin Friars. (Also to the university of Basel, though it seems unlikely that he was an alumnus, given that he started out as a tailor).

According to Dobson (English Pronunciation 1500-1700) the variation in initial V/W was already characteristic of vulgar London speech at this date. One might argue that a Dutch van Ley possibly over-corrected the pronunciation of his own name to accord with 'better' London speech.

Today the surname Wanley is fairly common in the north of England and the Midlands, much less so in the southern part of the country.

mary  •  Link

that bit of salmon

looks quite expensive at 8d.

Picard quotes various contemporary fish prices as follows:-

1d. for three herring, either fresh or red
2d. for a flounder
1s.3d (controlled price) for 12lbs of cod, which works out at a penny-farthing per pound.

I can find no specific references to either salted or smoked salmon earlier than the Nineteenth Century, though salted /dried/smoked salt-water fish are cited from early times. It seems likely that Sam's fish was fresh and that he took it to the tavern to be cooked (perhaps paying the equivalent of today's corkage for the service?)

Glyn  •  Link

Presumably you could take food to the tavern who would cook it for you - does that mean that there was some sort of barbecue or griddle that you would just throw your food onto. I've never heard of this before.

OK - I'm going to prove I'm not a fisherman here. I know that there were salmon in the River Thames at this time (and they have now come back). What I don't know is if there were fresh salmon in February/March. Can anyone give a definite answer?

Professor Laura Wright talks on the radio about the origins of words every Monday:…

In fact, the Robert Elms Show is the best London radio show around (IMHO).

Pauline  •  Link

Not definitive, but this for The River Tay today:
"Salmon can be found in the river in all months of the year. The main runs take place in May/June and September/October...The salmon season runs from January 15th to October 15th."

At 8d, a special treat for Elizabeth. He has shown a lot of consideration and affection for her as he prepares to be away. I think Mary is on the mark, S & E bring the salmon in and it is cooked for them for a "corkage" fee. I have heard of this being done, usually for a regular customer--and if that ain't Sam....

michael f vincent  •  Link

Wanley = "Van Ley" like in Van Leydon the anglos love to reduced sounds to one sylable as Wilm van de meij says:
b's v's w's come hard to some tongues
benson v Vincent caused problems;

"salmon" meat(fish?) ready for the belly, according to Pickard P 153 They had Takeaways even then. Could have been Lent too?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"After supper I went to Westminster Hall, and the Parliament sat till ten at night, thinking and being expected to dissolve themselves to-day, but they did not."

The House of Commons Journal for 15 March 1659/1660…

Prisage of Wines. Confirming Ministers. Browne's Claims. Peck's Claims. Long and Jermyn. Grant to Gen. Monck. Publick Debts, &c. Delinquents Estates. Army Pay. Thursday, March 15th, 1659; Afternoon. Chief-Register in Chancery. Long and Jermyn. Council of State. Candles. Negociations with Sweden. Irish Courts of Justice. Impresting Seamen. Council of State. Assessments. Colonel Lambert. Dr. Wren. Discharging Prisoners. Acts to be considered. Printing. Irish Adventurers. Allowance to Balfore. Serjeant at Arms. Stationers. Printers. Clerk of the House. ClerkAssistant. Housekeeper. ProvostMarshal. Pensions. Marquis of Winchester's Estate. Commrs of Assessment. Ld. Craven's Estate.

Lots to do! They will meet again tomorrow.

Lisa  •  Link

Aha! I just noticed this. Today he says he's giving Elizabeth everything but his books but amends that tomorrow (tiny spoiler -- its already tomorrow). Elizabeth is a native French speaker, and a smart cookie to boot, so of course she would want the books written in French! And Sam thus shows his deep regard for her.

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

At the top of the steps in Westminster Hall, turn left, that is the hall where Parliament would have been sitting. I think it is called St Stephens Chapel. Too narrow for debating, hence the two red lines down the modern chamber, two sword lengths apart.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
15.3.1660, 16.3.1660, 18.3.1660, 20.3.1660, 21.3.1660, 24.3.1660 (Thursday 15 March 1660)
document 70012375

Worcester journey.

15. Mrs Harlakenden and I. with her kinswoman and manservant, set out in her fathers coach for Wittam where we came safe, yet our ways excessively dirty. and our coach from London came into our inn before the return of the other, two mercies god afforded us, safety and protection on the road, conveniences and quiet at our inns, whither we came always in good time, no rain to trouble us but one day which I desire to acknowledge as gods great goodness:

16. we dined at Burntwood, that day afforded a providence not to be forgotten of me but esp. of Mrs H. we came early to London, and then to business, all which I dispatched at London not only to our content, but to our delight, but the weather was so stormy, that it was thought our journey was not to be performed.

18: I preached twice dined with the Lord Mayor. lord give a blessing to the word.

20th. a day that lighted my heart in its providence, though I apprehended hazard to me by cold. and I was in great danger at Stow to have been spoiled by the coach, yet god preserved me, and none of us took any considerable cold in the journey: our law trial put off,

21th. we set out for our journey our coachman encouraged by the stage coach for Worcester, we arrived at our journeys end

March. 24th and found all well.

Third Reading

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“I did promise to give her all that I have in the world... in case I should die at sea.”

We live longer and healthier lives, yet we are less able to accept the reality of death than Samuel Pepys. When we get to the plague in London, it will be interesting to hold up the narrative and effects of Lockdown during and after the Covid pandemic against Samuel’s more realistic age.

Scube  •  Link

Love the way Sam describes food throughout the diary. Today was no exception. "A brave turkey!"

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Great talk to-night that the discontented officers did think this night to make a stir, but prevented."

They were dangerous times; rioting and fighting could have broken out at any moment.

Even under normal circumstances, respectable women did not/could not live alone.
People lived together for economic and security reasons: cooking 3 meals a day was a full time occupation; doing the laundry took at least 3 days (including drying); someone had to bring enough water from a communal pump for the household every day; someone had to bring up the coal or wood from the basement for all the fires, every day; someone had to go shopping every day; they needed to clean and mend everything themselves all the time.
Elizabeth and Jane could keep it together at home for the 3 of them, but as we've seen, Pepys rarely eats at home. They were living on the Mickey D's of the day.
As for security, respectable women did not leave the house alone. They are targets if they do. There will be examples of street crime later in the Diary later, so I won't speculate.

So, yes, go to an established house with servants in the country and have a change of pace. Elizabeth will observe how to run a house with servants while she's there, making Pepys some new smocks. She didn't experience these things growing up in the impoverished St.Michel household or the convent. I doubt she'll be conscious of these lessons, but what she experiences will come in useful. Teenage Jane will learn useful tips from experienced maids on how to do Elizabeth's hair and be efficient, so she becomes a more valuable employee.

Pepys has experienced these things, having lived around the Montagus all these years.

A time of growth for all.

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