Sunday 8 July 1660

(Lord’s day). To White Hall chapel, where I got in with ease by going before the Lord Chancellor with Mr. Kipps. Here I heard very good music, the first time that ever I remember to have heard the organs and singing-men in surplices in my life.1 The Bishop of Chichester preached before the King, and made a great flattering sermon, which I did not like that Clergy should meddle with matters of state. Dined with Mr. Luellin and Salisbury at a cook’s shop. Home, and staid all the afternoon with my wife till after sermon. There till Mr. Fairebrother came to call us out to my father’s to supper. He told me how he had perfectly procured me to be made Master in Arts by proxy, which did somewhat please me, though I remember my cousin Roger Pepys was the other day persuading me from it.

While we were at supper came Wm. Howe to supper to us, and after supper went home to bed.

9 Jul 2003, 3:38 a.m. - Pauline

Master in Arts by proxy Anyone have a take on what this is about? An online diploma? And cousin Roger is a stickler for not muddying your reputation with such things?

9 Jul 2003, 4:12 a.m. - vincent

Pauline: I do believe just little extra income, just to have his name on the the "Letterhead", Prestige (ye know, drop a name here and there helps with business) . Still done to this day on all the correct the organisations of value. 'Tis nice have a man of substance give one a little recognition to those who need reassurance. Caveot emptor.

9 Jul 2003, 5:08 a.m. - chip

Yes, the buyer beware! This must have been something in the making, as Pepys seems to have known about it, by Roger, 'the other day'. I say it is some sort of honorary degree. Sam was undoubtedly the star of his family, and most assuredly on the rise.

9 Jul 2003, 6:48 a.m. - Dave Bell

This Master of Arts by proxy sounds to be something like what is still the normal process at Cambridge University. You get your Bachelor's degree and, after a year or two can upgrade it to an MA on payment of a fairly small fee. I think there's some sort of good behaviour clause in the University rules, and you shouldn't have any debts. I know a few Cambridge graduates. Some just don't bother with it, these days.

9 Jul 2003, 7:26 a.m. - Mary

Cambridge MA L&M note that it was no longer necessary at this date for Masters of Arts to reside in Cambridge if they had no ambitions to become Fellows of their college. The implication is that previously all MAs had to live within the university boundaries, whether they had academic ambitions or not. Perhaps Cousin Roger felt that the new system was rather infra dig. The reference to taking this degree 'by proxy' I take to mean the system whereby one is admitted to the degree 'in absentia'. This, today, usually involves the paying of a small, supplementary fee in addition to the MA fee but absolves one of the expense of hiring cap and gown for the ceremony.

9 Jul 2003, 8:14 a.m. - Arbor

Organs in Parish Churches... it was in fact, well into the 19th Century before organs were in common use everywhere. Thomas Hardy describes such a change (from church quire (sic) to organ) in his book Under the Greenwood Tree. A MOST entertaining (and important) book.

9 Jul 2003, 2:19 p.m. - Colin Gravois

"I did not like that Clergy should meddle with matters of state." Quiet prescient of Sam to take a stand against the mingling of Church and state (as he always seems to thank the lord above when something good befalls him). An issue that in some places today is still very relative (and rankling to many) -- and that's some sound mid-17th century advice we could pass on to the current US administration.

9 Jul 2003, 2:57 p.m. - Paul Brewster

Master in Arts by proxy Although SP does not use the word both the L&M and Wheatley foonotes refer to this as a "grace". So here goes an extract from the OED. Grace, n 9. In University language. a. Originally, a dispensation, granted by the Congregation of a University or by some Faculty in it, from some of the statutable conditions required for a degree. As in the English universities the full performance of such conditions ceased to be enforced, the "grace" came to be an essential preliminary to any degree. Hence the word has now the sense: b. The leave of Congregation to take a degree. c. Other decrees of the Governing Body, being very often dispensations from the permanent statutes, were sometimes styled graces, and at Cambridge every such decree is called a Grace of the Senate. d. In mod. use, the term is also applied to the permission which a candidate for a degree is required to obtain from his College or Hall.

9 Jul 2003, 4:32 p.m. - Nix

I've seen Samuel's M.A. referred to as "honorary", but it's obviously not in the same sense that term is used today -- as a recognition of distinguished lifetime achievement, either in academics or in public life, or service to the university (read: "endowed a new library"). Since Samuel is at the beginning rather than the culmination of his career, it looks like perhaps his friends at Cambridge are helping him to beef up his resume. Does Cambridge really grant the M.A. to any B.A. who pays the extra fee, without any additional course work or writing?

9 Jul 2003, 5:15 p.m. - Arbor

BA to MA -- Yes. An Oxford or Cambridge BA can be 'upgraded' after two years to an MA without further study. As has been explained (above by Mary), it was to recognise the work that continued in the academic environment, but was not examined. So Samuel was taking advantage of what generations of Oxon and Cantab graduates have done for centuries. My own degree from Oxford (B.Th) is not 'upgradable'! Mmmm, pity...

9 Jul 2003, 6:01 p.m. - Nigel Pond

At Oxford [and Cambridge?] holders of BA degrees (all first degrees are BA's at Oxford, even in sciences and law, not sure about Cambridge) can receive an MA by paying a fee provided that 21 terms have elapsed since the graduate matriculated ie joined the University. See the following link to my old college at Oxford for more information:

9 Jul 2003, 10:25 p.m. - Pauline

an MA by paying a fee Nigel, does it matter what the graduate is doing during those 21 terms? Can he be working in a field completely unrelated to his BA academic field? Or sitting on a park bench? As you see, this information is startling to us over here.

10 Jul 2003, 1:29 a.m. - Paul Brewster

John Evelyn's diary for July 8th, 1660 Mr. Hinchman on 5: Ephes: 15: From hence forth was the Liturgie publiquely used in our Churches, whence it ben for so many Yeaes banish

10 Jul 2003, 3:56 a.m. - vincent

Modern version of King James bible for chap 5 Ephes 15 reads as 15: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, from: I not being a follower of the Sundays Gathering ,but I hear that 15 minutes (or more ) would used to expound on this line. Thanks for M.A. fact sheet (it used be only a few pounds ). I had forgotten that minor deviation:

10 Jul 2003, 4:03 a.m. - vincent


10 Jul 2003, 8:08 a.m. - Jackie

I believe that the other condition for conversion of a Cambridge degree to an MA is to have been of good character and not to have insulted a bishop between graduation and getting the MA. It is fair to say, however that most people know how much this sort of MA is worth and it is not regarded in the same way as an earned MA.

10 Jul 2003, 9:04 a.m. - fimm

I'm very confused by the Wadham website as I'm sure that when I received my MA (I was at Somerville) I didn't have to pay a fee (just hire the gowns etc). It is usual to write MA(Oxon) or MA(Cantab) to indicate you haven't done any work to deserve the qualification! In my opinion it's just showing off that you are an Oxbridge graduate...

10 Jul 2003, 9:46 a.m. - Martin Richards

Oxbridge MAs... In my experience, most people have no idea that the MA(Cantab/Oxon) is a 'cheat'. I'd hope that recruiters would know the difference, but for the world beyond your CV, it seems that few people care that you've got any kind of degree these days - it's what you can do now that counts. Martin, MA(Cantab) ;-)

10 Jul 2003, 11:04 p.m. - GrahamT

Oxbridge MA/BAs: I always thought it was because a BA from Oxbridge was worth an MA from any other University... so why not call it an MA? (No, I am not an Oxbridge graduate!)

11 Jul 2003, 2:20 a.m. - Pauline

- a BA from Oxbridge was worth an MA from any other University - I too was wondering if this might be the case. Which brings us to the classes. First class? Does this indicate a much deeper study of the subject?

11 Jul 2003, 3:18 a.m. - vincent

Thanks Nigel Pond: I love the conditions for receiving one's Papyrus, especialy the payment of all debts(Debts (Important!)) and of course you must were socks. (socks in schoolcolors I trust). I still do wear sandals to the beach.

11 Jul 2003, 8:45 a.m. - Nigel Thomas

By my 1973 recollection (Christ Church, Oxford) Fimm doesn't remember paying the MA fee because it was collected from her first term's bill (ie as she *started* studying for her BA). By the time she came to collect, it was a sunk cost. Floreat!

11 Jul 2003, 8:47 a.m. - fimm

"a BA from Oxbridge was worth an MA from any other University" - possibly in the past?? I would think less so now. Admittedly they do (try) to take the very best students (as judged by the (predicted) results of exams taken at age 18), so you are 'competing' with other very able students. In the UK all degrees from any institution are classed as 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd. Its just a measure of how well you did in the exams! (relative to other students at your institution, not across the whole country. That's when it becomes a bit complicated).

14 Jul 2003, 2:12 p.m. - Nigel Pond

Oxford MA "Upgrades" Note to Pauline: No it matters not what the graduate does in the period between passing the BA exams and applying for an MA. Most BA's just carry on with their lives, though a few may remain at Oxford to study for a higher degree such as a BCL (Law), MPhil etc. Unlike most other universities, there is not the space to accommodate all the BA's who want to formally receive their degress in the year that they actually complete Finals (or Schools as they are referred to in Oxford parlance). So many (myself included) wait until they have qualified for an MA and then "take" both degrees together at the same ceremony. This requires some stage management so that the right people are in the right places at the right time, in the appropriate garb: apart from the traditional academic dress ("subfusc") of (for the men) dark suit, white shirt and white bow tie, this also includes academic cap (aka mortar board), the proper gown and the appropriate hood for the degree. For the BA the hood is black trimmed with white fur, for the MA, black exterior, red interior. Note that the hoods are not actually worn on the head, but allowed to hang down the wearers back. Also, it is not proper to wear the cap but rather to carry them. For the actual rules on Oxford academic dress see: and the link I posted earlier to Wadham College. Nigel Pond, M.A. (Oxon), Barrister.

14 Jul 2003, 2:21 p.m. - Nigel Pond

Oxford Degree "classes". A little off-topic here, so please bear with me. The ability to upgrade to an MA from a BA is nothing to do with the class of degree (first, second or third). The class of degree is just a grade scheme for how well you did in Schools (see above for definition) and, I guess, how hard you studied for the exams (or more likely how good you are at taking exams, not the same thing). While we are on the subject of degree classes: In the old days, there were four: first, second, third and fourth. It was typical for the sons of the wealthy and sporty types like rugby blues, and rowing blues (a "blue" being awarded to someone who represents the University at a particular sport, some are full blues, others half-blues) to end up with a "gentleman's fourth" -- ie they just scraped through because they were having such a good time being rakes or sportsmen. The fourth was abolished some years ago and for a while Oxford did not subdivide seconds into IIi's and IIii's, but at some point since I got my II second back in 1983 they began to subdivide.

15 Jul 2003, 4:43 a.m. - Paul Chapin

"The fourth was abolished ..." Does this mean that graduation standards were toughened, so that people who formerly received a fourth would henceforth get no degree, or that the scale was adjusted, so that the just-made-its now got a "gentleman's third"?

15 Jul 2003, 5:41 p.m. - Nigel Pond

"The fourth was abolished " Paul, I think the former — those who previously would have been awarded Fourths, would have received no degree. Not really as momentous a change as it might seem as most people knew that a Fourth was basically a reward for just showing up for the exams…

15 Jul 2003, 6:15 p.m. - Mary

And here's another wrinkle. When I was at Oxford in the sixties, it was still possible to have a Cambridge MA recognised and reciprocally recorded as an Oxford MA and vice versa. Does this concession still operate, I wonder?

16 Jul 2003, 5:11 p.m. - Keir

(Cousin Jasper, in Brideshead Revisited, advises Charles to aim for a 1st or a 4th, as anything inbetween is just a waste of effort.) For info on the Cambridge Master of Arts degree see and there's also a BBC report at I think there is a reciprocal Cambridge/Oxford recognition of MAs (and if I remember rightly Trinity College Dublin is also included). Cambridge recently passed an ordinance in which for the first time they recognise Ph.D.s from universities other than Oxford and Cambridge - until a few years ago if you had a Ph.D. from somewhere else and you were partaking a Cambridge academic ceremony you had to wear the MA gown. The University often gives 'honorary' MAs to visiting fellows, because there are some rights you acquire within the University or your college if you have an MA (my Ph.D. supervisor used to joke that he had a Cambridge MA in car parking - in actual fact being given it meant he was allowed to park his car in the fellows car spaces.)

17 Jul 2003, 10:52 a.m. - A retired academic

Fimm is prsumably well aware that the grade of a British degree, first, "two-one", "two-two", third, is meant to be the same across the country, and he is just yanking our chain. There are well-understood criteria for what distinguishes first-class degree work. Universities and university colleges which take fewer students with good starting grades do award fewer firsts. You will all also be able to work out that there is pressure for "grade inflation", which spreads throughout the sector (even to Oxbridge). And sadly, there are some degree courses that the rest of us would like to disown.

21 Jul 2003, 11:06 p.m. - Phil Gyford

The degree information has been an interesting diversion, but can we try not to stray solely into modern-day information. Please keep annotations relevant to diary and Pepys' time. Thanks.

10 Jun 2013, 9:17 p.m. - Bill

From the Diary on August 14: "I did also make even with Mr. Fairbrother for my degree of Master of Arts, which cost me about 9l. 16s."

10 Jun 2013, 9:41 p.m. - Bill

An early edition of Our Sam's Diary has this footnote regarding the Master of Arts degree: The Grace which passed the University on this occasion is preserved in Kennett's Register, and commenced as follows :—Cum Sam. Pepys, Coll. Magd. Inceptor in Artibus in Regia Classe existat e Secretis, exindeq. apud mare adeo occupatissimus ut Comitiis proxime futuris interesse non possit; placet vobis ut dictus S. P. admissionem suam, necnon creationem recipiat ad gradum Magistri in Artibus sub persona Timothei Wellfit, Inceptoris, &c.—June 26, 1660. ---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854 which Google translates (approximately, and with my help) as: With Sam. Pepys, Coll. Magda. Beginner in the arts in the Royal Navy exists as Secretary, thence so overwhelmed with work at sea so that the next election can not take part in the future, you agree to S. P. his admission, as well as the creation to receive the degree of Master of Arts in the role of Timothy Wellfit, Inceptoris

8 May 2017, 5:44 p.m. - Terry Foreman

August 1643: An Ordinance for the utter demolishing, removing and taking away of all Monuments of Superstition or Idolatry. Interesting read.

8 May 2017, 5:54 p.m. - Terry Foreman

"Mr. Fairebrother....told me how he had perfectly procured me to be made Master in Arts by proxy, which did somewhat please me, though I remember my cousin Roger Pepys was the other day persuading me from it." L&M note Roger Pepys had himself taken no degree from Christ's College, which was usual for anyone not needing a degree for professional purposes.

25 Jun 2021, 9:19 p.m. - Terry Foreman

"Here I heard very good music, the first time that ever I remember to have heard the organs and singing-men in surplices in my life." L&M: After the Restoration, these usages (together with the Book of Common Prayer) returned first in the chapels royal, cathedrals and college chapels. Cf. and

25 Jun 2021, 9:45 p.m. - Terry Foreman

"Dined with Mr. Luellin and Salisbury at a cook’s shop."" L&M: For London cookshops, see W. C. Hazlitt, Old cookery books , pp. 245+; F. T. Phillips, Hist. Company of Cooks, London. They were eating-kouses which akso srnt cookrf fishes out, but thet were not usually allowed to sell drunk.

21 Jun 2022, 3:24 a.m. - San Diego Sarah

Paul Brewster on 10 July, 2003 ABOVE beat me to the punch on posting Evelyn's Diary for today. What I discovered about Rev. Humphrey Henchman is this ... he too was involved in the Royalist politics of the day, Pepys is a bit late with his protest: After the Restoration, Rev. Humphrey Henchman became a leading clerical figure. He had probably been involved in royalist intrigue, as what little correspondence does exist concerning him ends in 1659. In that year he became active in schemes promoted by Chancellor Edward Hyde to fill vacant bishoprics in the proscribed Church of England. He was to approach likely candidates, and to tell others that Charles II would not bestow preferment on those who asked for it. [YOU NEED A SUBSCRIPTION]