Monday 30 April 1660

All the morning getting instructions ready for the Squadron of ships that are going to-day to the Streights, among others Captain Teddiman, Curtis, and Captain Robert Blake to be commander of the whole Squadron.

After dinner to ninepins, W. Howe and I against Mr. Creed and the Captain. We lost 5s. apiece to them. After that W. Howe, Mr. Sheply and I got my Lord’s leave to go to see Captain Sparling. So we took boat and first went on shore, it being very pleasant in the fields; but a very pitiful town Deal is. We went to Fuller’s (the famous place for ale), but they have none but what was in the vat. After that to Poole’s, a tavern in the town, where we drank, and so to boat again, and went to the Assistance, where we were treated very civilly by the Captain, and he did give us such music upon the harp by a fellow that he keeps on board that I never expect to hear the like again, yet he is a drunken simple fellow to look on as any I ever saw. After that on board the Nazeby, where we found my Lord at supper, so I sat down and very pleasant my Lord was with Mr. Creed and Sheply, who he puzzled about finding out the meaning of the three notes [L&M say “holes”. P.G.] which my Lord had cut over the chrystal of his watch. After supper some musique. Then Mr. Sheply, W. Howe and I up to the Lieutenant’s cabin, where we drank, and I and W. Howe were very merry, and among other frolics he pulls out the spigot of the little vessel of ale that was there in the cabin and drew some into his mounteere, and after he had drank, I endeavouring to dash it in his face, he got my velvet studying cap and drew some into mine too, that we made ourselves a great deal of mirth, but spoiled my clothes with the ale that we dashed up and down. After that to bed very late with drink enough in my head.

45 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

"Mounteere" = montero, "A cap of a type formerly worn in Spain for hunting, having a spherical crown and (freq. fur-lined) flaps able to be drawn down to protect the ears and neck. Also montero cap." OED

I'm surprised he remembered all of this that well when he wrote it down the next morning.

gerry  •  Link

Fullers ale, 30 years ago when I lived in Kent Fullers was still a going concern. Don't know if it still is.

WKW  •  Link

"We lost 5s. apiece to them" at ninepins. Did Sam and Will have the money on them to pay up Creed and Cuttance?
The playing of the harper is such that "I never expect to hear the like again, yet he is a drunken simple fellow to look on as any I ever saw." Not the first time, nor the last, that the Muses' rep.s belie their looks.
"and among other frolics"---maybe, Nix, he could not remember all of them after all! The just-pre-Restoration version of a water pistol/balloon fight.

gerry  •  Link

Per L&M "a watch at this period might be a pocket-or pendant-watch,or a non-striking clock. Crystal was normally used for the face,and sometimes for the whole case. The holes may have been the means of suspending it from cords in order to minimise the ship's motion."

Judy Bailey  •  Link

Sam seems to be having a great time recently! Interestingly, with all this merriment and frolics, he has not mentioned his longing for his wife left behind.

Glyn  •  Link

Fullers is a prosperous London brewery and is going strong - and I can vouch for the quality of its beers - but has no connections with Kent. I think that the name here is only a coincidence.

So 5 shillings (a crown) appears to be the standard wager when playing skittles.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Holes vs notes:
The L&M footnote on the watch makes more sense when one sees that L&M has the following variance from the Gutenberg "meaning of the three holes [not notes] which my Lord hath cut over the Chrystall of his watch"

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I have emailed Fuller, Smith and Turner to tell them about this and ask them how far back in history the Fullers name goes. I will report back with any information that emerges, though I suspect it won't be as old as this.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Holes vs. notes

Thanks, Paul ... buy why were Creed and Sheply "puzzled about finding out the meaning of the three [holes] which which my Lord hath cut over the Chrystall of his watch"? This sounds like a customization of Montagu's, perhaps for a covert/personal purpose...?

That asked, it does indeed sound like a fun day and night for Our Boy. Would that I were living a life that carefree!

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Thanks, Jenny!

Nice to know that we can count on you for ale research ... something tells me you and Sam would have gotten along just fine... ;^)

Tim Nolan  •  Link

I am new to this site,and I'm sure it's been asked before,but could not find the answer in the background info. Are the dates listed in each posting the Old style dates as listed in his calendar, or have they be changed to new style?? WOuld today's posting be April 30 or May 10th in correspondence with the days??

Bert Winther  •  Link

Tim, The dates here are according to the Julian calendar that was used in Great Britain until 1752

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

We lost 5s. apiece to them.
Glyn-I don't think 5s. was by any means a standard wager, pretty rich for a regular game (around $200,if my rambling perspective on Background, Value of Money is halfway correct) but it was maybe the reason the Captain came down for a game, hmm here's a guy who doesn't mind risking a few a few bucks, and so once again SP makes a calculated investment to remain in top drawer company.

mary  •  Link

Three holes in a watch-glass

L&M (note) suggests that this may have been done with the idea of suspending the watch from 'cords' in an effort to minimise the effects of the ship's motion upon it. Not sure how effective that would have been, if so.

andy thomas  •  Link

The three notes cut into the crystal - I remember seeing an exhibition of Longitude at the Greenwich obeservatory a few years ago, which had a number of timepieces in it, the argument being that there was a drive to get accurate timepieces in order to calculate longitude, although I don't remember the details.

I think the watch would be used on board ship for navigation, so these might be three markings or etchings into the watch glass, perhaps used to measure the angle between the two fingers of the timepiece compared with the position of the sun or a star (you might repeatedly point one of the markings at the star and note the angle between the hour and minute hands and the other two points).

We need an astro-navigator to think about this!

andy thomas  •  Link


I have found the following source on that Greenwich exhibition on the use of time measuring devices to measure longitude. The problem was known but hadn't been solved at Sam's time so I wonder if he was reporting some piece of new technology?…

Colin Gravois  •  Link

Now these daily diary dates (ex. today, Monday 30 April 1660) and other dates found in the Diary, are they given in the Julian calendar, as was in use during Pepyes day, or have they been converted to the Gregorian calendar, which Britain did not formally use until the middle of the 18th century? What was a Monday then would not necessarily be one today to a researcher, unless conversion was made. Believe some of us would be interested in knowing that.

Matthew  •  Link

Montagu is a musician - could the "Three notes" be a musical allusion that he had had engraved on his watch?

Mary  •  Link

Fuller's Brewery

If Jenny's researches show the modern Fullers to be connected historically with Pepys' Fullers, then that will upset Shepherd Neame, a Kentish brewery based at Faversham, which claims to be the oldest brewery in the country, established 1698.

Vera  •  Link

I keep seeing annotations asking about the calendar - would it be worth making a 'once and for all statement' under the 'Background Info' section?

Phil  •  Link

There is already a page for calendar-related information:… It was put there so we didn't have to keep discussing the calendar in the daily diary entries.

j a gioia  •  Link

finding out the meaning of the three notes which my Lord had cut over the chrystal of his watch

is 'my lord' here refering to montegu or the capatin of the nasby? and it seems to be that 'my lord' is asking the men himself to puzzle over the meaning of the marks.

and note that they are cut 'over' the chrystal, not 'into'. suspending a timepiece from holes in the chrystal seems a bit odd anyway. i am inclined to think that they are musical notations (did the watch chime?) or perhaps of more mysterious (masonic perhaps?) origins.

Simon Cox  •  Link

I actually come from Deal and there was a local brewery at the top of the hill in Walmer, a village two shakes of a lambs tail up the road but has long been part of Deal, called Thompson & Son Ltd. the pub opposite the site changed its name from the George to the Thompson Bell when the brewery was demolished. At one time Deal was reputed to have one pub per 14 head of population. You may have heard of Walmer castle - its where the Duke of Wellington died and is the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (formally teh Queen Mother).
Sheperd Neames is the oldest brewery in the Country and a fine drop od ale too.

Glyn  •  Link

Bullus Hutton (incidentally good name): I agree that five shillings would be too expensive for a regular game (it's certainly expensive enough for SP to notice it when he's not paid his winnings). But it might be what you pay out when you settle up at the end of the evening after having played a series of games (e.g. first team to win 9 games or something like that, so they play (perhaps) 15 games but only one sum of 5 shillings changes hands).

I've been around Fullers Brewery in Chiswick a few times, and am pretty sure they began some 150 - 200 years after this period.

Nix  •  Link

The Fullers website --

-- indicates that a John Fuller joined a 200 year old brewery in Chiswick in 1829. The prior name of the brewery isn't given. So it looks like this was not the Fuller's brewery that Pepys patronized. It's possible that John came from the Fullers of Deal, but no indication to that effect.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I had a reply from Fullers as follows:

Fuller's (the Griffin Brewery) history only began in the 1680's when Thomas Mawson came to Chiswick and created the foundations of the brewery we have here today. Fuller Smith & Turner as a partnership began in 1845. The Fuller's first involvement was in 1829, when John Fuller came to the rescue of the brewery. I am afraid that this indicates that the 'Fuller's' mentioned in the diary cannot be the same as the Fuller's we know today.

So that seems to settle it!

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

One has to wonder what the ordinary seamen thought of these doings. Their work was hard, as they watched their betters playing games. They got to sit in the boat while the swells went to sample the ales ashore. They had their grog ration, but if that ever led to throwing drinks on each other, someone would be flogged for it. One wonders what they thought, and realizes, that their opinions did not matter one iota.

william wright  •  Link

I do not think grog was introduced until the 1740s, but I may be wrong on that.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the Squadron of ships that are going to-day to the Streights, among others Captain Teddiman, Curtis, and Captain Robert Blake to be commander of the whole Squadron."

A squadron of four sailed this day to convoy a fleet of merchantmen to the Mediterranean: Sandwich, pp. 74-5. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"After that to Poole’s, a tavern in the town"

Mountagu's letters to Deal were directed to Poole's,say L&M, evidently a postal stop, where they were held until the mail was carried to London.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

'"but a very pitiful town Deal is."

L&M: Much new building had been done by the time of Celia Fiennes's visit in 1697, when she admired the prosperous look of the 'neate brickwork': Journeys (ed. Morris), p. 128.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" After that on board the Nazeby, where we found my Lord at supper, so I sat down and very pleasant my Lord was with Mr. Creed and Sheply, who he puzzled about finding out the meaning of the three notes [L&M say “holes”. P.G.] which my Lord had cut over the chrystal of his watch."

L&M: A 'watch' at this period might be a pocket- or pendant-watch, or a non-striking clock. Crystal was normally used for the face, and sometimes for the whole case. The holes may have been the means of suspending it from cords in order to minimise the effects of the ship's motion.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"It being a very pleasant day, I wished myself in Hide Park."

L&M: This was the first May Day on which the erection of maypoles had been allowed since their suppression by the Puritans in 1644 and 1654. During the revolution, May Day had continued to be celebrated as a holiday, and Londoners had still gone in their finery to Hyde Park as usual: cf. The yellow book: or A serious letter sent by a private Christian to the Lady Consideration, the first day of May, 1656 . . . (1656). The Park had been open to the public since the 1620's: James Shirley, Hyde Park (dedication).

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My L&M says "Montagu’s letters were directed to Poole’s at this time. Cf Carte, 73, f 376r."

Nothing about holding letters for pickup to London. Pepys seems to use messengers for government communications with London; they arrive one afternoon, stay overnight, and return next morning.

Maybe this L&M comment referred to personal communications with Montagu from his family? The Poole's public system would not be secure, considering the delicacy of the times. Without looking at Carte, I cannot guess their context.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

It's correct: The House of Commons did not meet today.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The "Squadron of ships that are going to-day to the Streights" is a fairly major piece of business. Only two days ago, on April 28, the Council of State ordered the Admiralty to "speedily" provide 20 ships, for patrol duties that had long been neglected (no doubt to the Barbary pirates' endless joy), and to escort the ambassador of Portugal. And two days later, voilà: the ships are sailing.

20 ships, out of Montagu's fleet that only 10 days ago (…) was made up of 32 ships? But wait, undated State Paper No. 133 for the now-ending month of April includes a "list of 40 ships designed for the Sound, under Gen. Montague, Vice-Adm. Wm. Goodson, and Rear-Adm. Rich. Stayner".

A serious scramble for the Streights, anyway: nearly a quarter of the entire fleet. For future reference, the same paper helpfully puts England's naval strength at "total, 180" ships (plus civilians that can always be hired or mobilized); including 105 under admirals Penn and Lawson with 16,269 men and 3,840 guns.

So around 28,000 men for the full navy, which Sam will soon be in charge of supplying with just the right quantity of biscuits (and, ah yes, money). Montague's orders of the 28th also discussed monthly wages, putting them at £7 for a captain, £4 for a master, and 20s. for ordinary seamen (£1, not so bad, except of course it's paid years in arrears, if ever). 5s, a week's wages, seems a reasonably crazy sum to gamble at dice for a drunk seaman in a Deal tavern, so Sam and the other high-rollers weren't doing anything too alien.

The end of each month is when the State Papers' compilers stashed the undated miscellana. This time around there's a huge pile of more or less grovelling requests for favors to the king. Among those we like the "Petition of Jacobus Brower, Walker and Dancer on the ropes": "I and my company" are "the rarest", and had the honor of walking the wire for your majesty's entertainment, and twice, in Antwerp and Breda. Now "our fortunes here [Holland] being small", we'd like a passport to take the circus to England. Cute.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Deal, however, is one of these dismal little ports where the fleet has offloaded its sick and injured, care of the local poor in the absence of any naval hospital. On April 16, Montague wrote to the Admiralty after the folks in Deal petitioned him after getting not one penny for that service in 2 years. It's in the State Papers, and conceivably for any fancy-pants landing at Deal from Montague's ship, it could be in his face should some of the sick-and-injured or their hosts happen to wander by, or to be imbibing in the same tavern.

David  •  Link

Interesting to see that John Creed has managed to worm his way back into the action, I wonder if he has finally managed to secure a cabin somewhere or if he is just there to pick up the last mail for London before the ships leave to cross the channel?
Either way I don't think Sam would have appreciated losing five bob to his nemesis!

Eric the Bish  •  Link

I’m fascinated by Pepys’ drunken behaviour. A man of great ability and promise … if he can avoid becoming a sot. It will be interesting to see how things develop. I sense that the diary here, more than sometimes, is both a mirror, by which he can assess his behaviour, and something of a confessional.

David  •  Link

Pepys' drunken behaviour. He had form, in 1653 he was publicly admonished by the Cambridge university authorities for having been "scandalously overseene in drink"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Why do Pepys and his entourage want to go see Captain Thomas Sparling?

A chance to get away from the ship for awhile? -- whatever the quality of the sights where he is?! There have been others onshore, why Sparling? Did he invite them? What was his connegshion?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Why do Pepys and his entourage want to go see Captain Thomas Sparling?"

I agree, Terry. Apparently he was at anchor sufficiently far away from the Naseby that the time taken for a side trip ashore would not be too obvious.

And Sparling had a harpist. Music be the nectar of the gods, or something. Apparently he was good enough for a later engagement. But Pepys had to audition him first.

I doubt Pepys et al would go uninvited -- but maybe there were standard invitations from all the Captains, and Pepys just had to let the lucky host know ahead of time that it was their turn?
Who knows at this point ...

Alter Kacker  •  Link

Let’s not be censorious — I can’t be the only one following this diary who can look back on being “scandalously overseene in drink” at 20 and crawled into bed after a drinking game at 27.

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