Tuesday 1 May 1660

This morning I was told how the people of Deal have set up two or three Maypoles, and have hung up their flags upon the top of them, and do resolve to be very merry to-day. It being a very pleasant day, I wished myself in Hide Park.

This day I do count myself to have had full two years of perfect cure for the stone, for which God of heaven be blessed. This day Captain Parker came on board, and without his expectation I had a commission for him for the Nonsuch frigate (he being now in the Cheriton), for which he gave me a French pistole. Captain H. Cuttance has commission for the Cheriton. After dinner to nine-pins, and won something. The rest of the afternoon in my cabin writing and piping.

While we were at supper we heard a great noise upon the Quarter Deck, so we all rose instantly, and found it was to save the coxon of the Cheriton, who, dropping overboard, could not be saved, but was drowned. To-day I put on my suit that was altered from the great skirts to little ones.

To-day I hear they were very merry at Deal, setting up the King’s flag upon one of their maypoles, and drinking his health upon their knees in the streets, and firing the guns, which the soldiers of the Castle threatened; but durst not oppose.

32 Annotations

WKW  •  Link

The "Dress" page is innocent as yet on this topic:
"To-day I put on my suit that was altered from the great skirts to little ones."
Would "skirts" refer to the lower portion of the coat? or to the flared legs of the breeches? The Companion on "Men's Dress" advises that breeches "were of different types; the grandest, edged with ribbon, might well measure more than yard about at each knee," and thus were known as "petticoat breeches": skirts by another name indeed (pp. 98-99).

gerry  •  Link

L&M text uses French pistoll but the note says "pistole;gold coin worth 17s6d".

Roger Miller  •  Link

"The term pistole sometimes also referred to the French gold louis d'or, minted in the late seventeenth century and worth anywhere from 18 shillings to slightly more than a pound (and also called a French guinea)."

I found this here: http://www.wise.virginia.edu/history/runaways/cur…

vincent  •  Link

"Pistolres " also mentioned by John Evelyn on The trip from Roma to Venice
cost 7:Pistoles & 13 Julios.( end of May?1645 ) paid by bills of exchange with a merchant in Leghorne nr. Pisa

chip  •  Link

Curious that SP does not note how much he won, considering how at times he is meticulous about money affairs. I have thought that at times he is using the diary to keep track of his ledger.

robin  •  Link

He's very casual about the poor coxon (presumably the coxswain).

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/bb/bb_naut.html lists the coxswain (circa 1797) as "The person who has charge of the boat and crew in the absence of officers. On a man-of-war, the Captain's coxswain ranked high among the petty officers and had charge of the Captain's boat and attends him."

http://www.usnavalreserve.com/textsite/glossary_t… explains that "A coxswain (pronounced cocks'n) or cockswain was at first the swain (boy servant) in charge of the small cock or cockboat that was kept aboard for the ship's captain and which was used to row him to and from the ship. The term has been in use in England dating back to at least 1463. With the passing of time the coxswain became the helmsman of any boat, regardless of size."

Mary  •  Link


According to the OED, when the term 'Skirt' is used of men's clothing, it refers either to the lower portion of a robe or gown, or to the part of a coat or jacket that falls below the waist. It does not appear with application to breeches. It looks as if Sam is having a full-skirted jacket taken in.

Glyn  •  Link

Death of the coxon (or coxswain)

Chip: Pepys had probably never met the coxswain of the Cheriton, but I agree that he does seem to treat death more casually than we would do today. I can understand how people would die from disease or war, but I'm a little surprised at how many people he knows that die in accidents. There have been at least two so far in this diary (maybe more?): the seaman today and a man killed by a horse back on March 1st. Presumably, if you did have a serious accident, but survived it, you would be as likely to be killed by the doctor.

Incidentally, most British seamen couldn't swim at this date: it was felt that they should stay away from the water; and if they did fall overboard, better to die quickly rather than prolong the suffering.

sharon  •  Link

Great skirts:
Sam earlier referred to his suit with "great skirts" in the January 1 and February 2 diary entries. In each case, Susanna very usefully provided us with discussion and wonderful illustrations of "petticoat breeches" at
I suspect he will be paying a fair bit of attention to dress these days in anticipation of fetching the new king, so it would be lovely if anyone can add further information (especially pictures) to the Background section.

j a gioia  •  Link

After dinner to nine-pins, and won something.

this says to me that sam did not win nearly so much as he'd lost the night before.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

L&M Footnote:
"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 much 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).

Paul Brewster  •  Link

A different light on the uses of Hyde Park
Wheatley Footnote: "In 1656 was published The Yellow Book, or a serious letter sent by a private Christian to the Lady Consideration, the first day of May, 1656, which she is desired to communicate in Hide Park to the Gallants of the Times a little after sunset. Also a brief account of the names of some vain persons that intend to be there."

Ann  •  Link

Out of sight, out of mind?

An what of Sam's "poor wife?"
April 3 -- "My heart exceeding heavy for not hearing of my dear wife."
April 9 -- He writes her two or three letters.
April 11 -- He gets two letters from her.

And nary a word about her since. Just a month ago, he was in the throes of melancholy, now he's gambling, playing ninepins and dressing in his best, wishing he were in Hyde Park. Methinks our Sam is fickle.....

Alan  •  Link

Is this the Nonsuch that Henry Hidson used to explore Hudsons Bay in Canada?

Jaie  •  Link

Alan - Hudson's Nonsuch ( http://seagifts.com/seagifts/nonsuch.html ) and the ship Pepys refers to are almost certainly not the same. Hudson’s Nonsuch was rather small and an appointment to it would probably not have merited mention in the Diary. While Charles II “lent” a ship, Eaglet, to Hudson, a group of private supporters donated Hudson’s Nonsuch. (See http://www.hbc.com/hbc/e_hi/historic_hbc/beginnin… ).

The replica of Hudson's Nonsuch, today at the Manitoba Museum, is purportedly a full-size model, and is a 17-meter (app. 56-foot) vessel with 8 guns. Hudson's ship is certainly not the Nonsuch given in the 1651 list of active ships ( http://pc-78-120.udac.se:8001/WWW/Nautica/Naval_H… ). That ship was a 98-footer with 34 guns.

A neat link on the history of British navy ships named Nonsuch: http://www.navres.forces.ca/noh/a/a_e.htm , see list about a quarter of the way down the page.

Just don't ask me why I spent an hour online figuring this out; Friday afternoon boredom I suppose.

Emilio  •  Link

Cuttance's new commission
I wonder if anyone can shed light . . .
Cuttance's commission for the Cheriton looks like a demotion, since up to this point he's been flag captain aboard the Naseby. I wonder if, like vicars of the time, he was allowed to keep his commission for the Naseby in addition to the new one, and to hire another captain (for less than the money of the commission) to actually command the Cheriton for him.

Emilio  •  Link

Cuttance redux
On further research, the flag captain is Roger Cuttance, and this is his son Henry. This sudden commission must be a favor to Roger, just of a different kind.

Susanna  •  Link


There doesn't seem to have been any violence over them at Deal. At Oxford today one was set up at the Bear Inn, "to vex the Presbyterians and Independents"; when the university's vice-chancellor tried to chop it down, he was beaten up by the crowd.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

May Day seems to have been a big occasion for celebration in the 17th century. I thought we might all enjoy seeing a contemporary poem that gives a flavour of the joyfulness of it.

The poet, Robert Herrick (1591-1674), was deprived of his living in Devon after the execution of King Charles I because of his Royalist sympathies. During this time, he lived in Westminster, depending on the charity of friends and family. He spent some time preparing his poems for publication, and had them printed in 1648 under the title 'Hesperides; or the Works both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick', with a dedication to the Prince of Wales.

When Charles II was restored to the throne, Herrick petitioned for restoration to his living. Perhaps King Charles felt kindly towards this genial man, who had written verses celebrating the births of both Charles II and his brother James before the Civil War. Herrick became the vicar of Dean Prior again in the summer of 1662 and lived there until his death in 1674, at the ripe age of 83.

Corinna's Going A-Maying

Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air:
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept, and bowed toward the East
Above an hour since; yet you not dressed,
Nay! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said,
And sung their thankful hymns: 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green;
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown, or hair:
Fear not, the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept:
Come and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night,
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best, when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, mark
How each field turns a street; each street a park
Made green, and trimmed with trees: see how
Devotion gives each house a bough,
Or branch. Each porch, each door, ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn, neatly interwove,
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street,
And open fields, and we not see't?
Come, we'll abroad, and let's obey
The proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.

There's not a budding boy, or girl, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatched their cakes and cream,
Before that we have left to dream:
And some have wept, and wooed, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth.
Many a green-gown has been given;
Many a kiss, both odd and even:
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament:
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks picked, yet we're not a-Maying.

Come, let us go, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short; and our days run
As fast away as does the sun:
And as a vapour, or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again:
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.

vicenzo  •  Link

'...Instructions for the Commissioners going to the King.
"You are to begin your Journey towards His Majesty on Friday next, and make a speedy Repair to such Place where His Majesty shall be, and humbly to present the Letters wherewith you are respectively intrusted by both Houses of Parliament............"

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 10 May 1660. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compi…
Date: 12/03/2005

cgs  •  Link

re-reading knees:
"...setting up the King’s flag upon one of their maypoles, and drinking his health upon their knees in the streets, and firing the guns, ..."
rereading dothe give me a sense of not 'uman but trees bees knees?
any thoughts?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Commons Journal : Resolution re-establishing the Government

The Letter written by the King's Majesty, directed, "To the Speaker of the House of Peers, and to the Lords there assembled," Given at his Court at Breda, this * Day of April, 1660, with his Majesty's Declaration therein inclosed, were read.

Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree with the Lords; and do Own and Declare, That, according to the antient and fundamental Laws of this Kingdom, the Government is, and ought to be, by King, Lords, and Commons.


Bill  •  Link

"This day I do count myself to have had full two years of perfect cure for the stone, for which God of heaven be blessed."

He celebrated the two year anniversary of the actual operation on March 26. Five weeks of recovery from a bladder operation.

Tonyel  •  Link

Slightly shorter than Herrick,

On May morning my mother always declaimed, in a squeaky Yorkshire accent:
"Wake me early moother, for I'm to be queen of t' may!"

Not so elegant, but it has the same sense of excitement.

Linda  •  Link

Thank you for the Herrick poem. The excitement of May is palpable in it, well worth celebrating. I saw the May dancers, each one with his personal "Maypole," at Portsmouth by the HMS Victory in 2011 -- very ribald, surprising to this American.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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

Cf. Paul Brewster's post above, which notes in part: "During the revolution, May Day had continued to be celebrated as a holiday, and Londoners had still gone in their finery to Hyde Park much as usual."

Among other Londoners, going to Hyde Park in their finery were the Pepyses. Here Samuel Pepys is yearning for his wife!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The meaning of "setting up the King’s flag upon one of their maypoles" at Deal

In current terms: The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is flown when the Queen is in residence in one of the royal palaces and on her car, ship or airplane. It may be flown on any building, official or private, during a visit by the Queen, if the owner or proprietor so requests. The Royal Standard was flown aboard the royal yacht when it was in service and the Queen was on board. The only church that may fly a Royal Standard, even without the presence of the Sovereign, is Westminster Abbey, a Royal Peculiar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Standard_of_t…

The King is here at Deal!

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