Monday 30 July 1660

Sat at our office to-day, and my father came this day the first time to see us at my new office. And Mrs. Crisp by chance came in and sat with us, looked over our house and advised about the furnishing of it. This afternoon I got my 50l., due to me for my first quarter’s salary as Secretary to my Lord, paid to Tho. Hater for me, which he received and brought home to me, of which I am full glad.

To Westminster and among other things met with Mr. Moore, and took him and his friend, a bookseller of Paul’s Churchyard, to the Rhenish Winehouse, and drinking there the sword-bearer of London (Mr. Man) came to ask for us, with whom we sat late, discoursing about the worth of my office of Clerk of the Acts, which he hath a mind to buy, and I asked four years’ purchase. We are to speak more of it to-morrow. Home on foot, and seeing him at home at Butler’s merry, he lent me a torch, which Will carried, and so home.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Judy Bailey  •  Link

So far, money seems to be transferred in cash person-to-person and kept track of in account books. What kind of banking system was in place in London at this time and what services were used? Could one borrow money, for example? Did many people use banks? Why or why not?

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Butler's merry -> Butlersbury
According to L&M the last sentence is “Home on foot; and seeing him at home in Butlersbury, he lent me a torch, which Will carried; and so home.”
I guess this wording implies that he saw Mr. Man to his home at Butlersbury and then went home from there.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

It's beginning to look like any government job could be bought or sold in Pepys' day! William Man appears interested in purchasing Sam's new position, and Sam has come up with an asking price. It seems to me that four years' pay (if I read it correctly) would have been a fairly rich amount, and probably out of Man's range.

vincent  •  Link

"...he lent me a torch, which Will carried.." I just wonder why ? no mites or no boy to light the way?
Buying and selling of Commissions was a natural feature of life at that time as selling futures on the grain market today. It was rummoured that it was a 20th century habit too for certain military positions:
Any body! Know where Butlersbury would be?
Cash was king until 1960's. When banks & bank transfer systems robberies were the rage for transfering cash from Legitimate organisations to the under world.
Opening a Bank account in the 60's was a major operation, To open an account at a bank and deposit monies, one had to know a person of substance like the local JP to vouch for your character.

chip  •  Link

I found the first line extraordinary, how Pepys interchanges the plural possessive pronoun for the singular. Note it is our office that then becomes my new office. And again, Mrs. Crisp looked over our house. And did anyone else notice that 50l is a quarter of 200l. Was not Pepys' salary either 100l or 350l? The numbers just do not add up. I was astonished that Pepys was willing to sell the commission so rapidly, whether at the 800l or 1400l rate. Of course he sees himself worth 120l at the moment as we learned last night. Incidentally, Vincent, cash is still King, much used by the underworld.

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Butlersbury = Bucklersbury?
A search on Butlersbury gave 25 sites, all in the US, but Google kindly suggested I try Bucklersbury. Top of that list was a place in Hitchin, near Luton, but that's a 38 mile walk, a bit long even for SP. The site is worth a visit for photos of existing medieval building.…
A London real estate agent site gave "Bucklersbury is situated at the junction between Queen Victoria Street and Walbrook, near the Mansion House" and a link to a map:…
IMHO - there have been a few transcrition errors, and this is the place Sam is talking of.

Sam Sampson  •  Link

If my above assumption is correct, we may need a Bucklersbury link in "Places" please Phil. A few appropriate links include.

Museum of London - "The Bucklersbury Pavement" {Roman). Access from:…

London Ancestor - "Cheapside, Poultry, & Bucklersbury" - an etching…

The Tertullian Project - "John Clement and his Books" - Bucklersbury as the 'Apothecary Quarter' ca 1520…
Shades of SP "In 1518, having been promoted to the service of Cardinal Wolsey, Clement was warned by Erasmus against studying at night, and advised to learn to write standing when on duty, an unusual occupation for a gentleman-in-waiting."
More to come...

Pauline  •  Link

"I was astonished that Pepys was willing to sell the commission so rapidly"
Two things, Chip:
He hasn't said he was willing.
He has always appeared hot and cold about this job.

And then there is the house and Montagu/Sandwich's persuasiveness.

Matthew  •  Link

Wages adding up.
S.P. specifies that the 50 l. is payment as secretary to "my lord", which is presumably in addition to his payment as Clerk of the Acts.

Mary  •  Link

Banking in 17th Century London.

For a brief but interesting note on banking during this period, see In 1660 most folk did not use any form of banking as we understand it. Money could be kept at a goldsmith's (secure premises) or otherwise at home or business premises in a heavy chest or well hidden about the house. No such things as cheques existed, but money could be transferred both as cash in hand and by promissory note, or note of hand.

helena murphy  •  Link

Had Pepys ever wished to sell his position as Clerk of the Acts it is unlikely that he would have done so without consulting Lord Sandwich,to whom he owes the post, who is not only his patron but also his relative which further binds the relationship.The job also connects him to a wider world such as the aristocratic milieu of the Montagues, The House of Lords ,and the Stuart Court through the Lord High Admiralty of James, Duke of York. This however may not be always evident as Pepys generally tends to be rather self effacing about the office.

vincent  •  Link

Banking has changed radically: no longer pay envelopes full of coins for working masses (they did not trust banks especially after the 1929 fiasco ):

A great status symbol to be known by the local bank manager. A 5l note was very rare too, when a living wage was 30 shillings and a cuppa of tay was a 1d.

john lauer  •  Link

Sam S, We're confused now --
are you saying Bucklersbury is not any 38 miles, but just blocks away, so it is walking distance for a man and boy with torch??

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Sorry for the confusion John, I didn't explain that well. I found two Bucklersbury's in the UK.

1. Bucklersbury - Hitchin, which is 38 miles from London. I linked to it, as medieval buildings which have survived to the present day. Slightly off-topic, but interesting.

2. Bucklersbury - London, which the map link locates. It's only 0.8 miles from Pepys' home. The other Bucklersbury links are to that location.

Barbara  •  Link

Bucklersbury still exists, just south of the Bank of England. It would be about a third of the distance between St Paul's Churchyard and Seething Lane and not out of the way. I assume Will returned the torch the next day!

Glyn  •  Link

I've just noticed that Hoare's Bank in Fleet Street has a blue plaque on the front of the building saying that it is on "the site of the Mitre Tavern". This is the Mitre Tavern that Sam visited on 21 January and 18 February.

Linda Camidge  •  Link

Neall Stephenson's Baroque trilogy is good on early banking (at least, I assume it's good. It's certainly coherent) and a fantastic read - I'd recommend it to anyone interested enough in the period. and lierate enough, to follow SP.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the sword-bearer of London" known by his uniform?!

The coat of arms [of the City of London] is "anciently recorded" at the College of Arms.... The crest and supporters came into use in the 17th century, but were used without authority until 30 April 1957, when they were confirmed and granted by letters patent from the College of Arms. / The crest is a dragon's wing bearing the cross of St George, borne upon a peer's helm. A primitive form of the crest first appeared in 1539 on the reverse of a new common seal. This showed a fan-like object bearing a cross. Over time this evolved into a dragon's wing, and was shown as such in 1633 when it appeared above the city's coat of arms in the frontispiece to the fourth edition of John Stow's Survey of London. It has been speculated that the use of a peer's helmet (rather than that of a gentleman, in other civic arms) relates to the use of the honorific prefix "The Right Honourable" by the Lord Mayor. The helm was confirmed in 1957. However, there are various representations of the arms being surmounted by a 'Muscovy Hat' as worn by the City Swordbearer over the Stuart and Georgian period most notably as carved on the George Dance Porch of the Guildhall.…

The Esquires at the Mansion House; The City Marshall, the Sword Bearer and the Common Crier/ Mace Bearer; these run the Lord Mayor's official residence, the office and accompany him on all occasions, usually senior military officers with diplomatic experience.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Mrs. Crisp by chance came in and sat with us, looked over our house and advised about the furnishing of it. "

Probably solicited advice: L&M note Pepys had remarked on the fine furnishings of her house in Axe Yard 17 March
[see the entry's end]:…

Dick Wilson  •  Link

In today's English, the British call a "torch" what Americans call a "Flashlight". Presumably, the borrowed "torch" was some kind of device to hold fire. Has the term "lantern" changed over time?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

In this case SP, sans electricity, called a torch a torch:

‘torch, n. Etym: Middle English < Old French torche < late popular Latin *torca . . The primary sense is taken to have been ‘a twist’, ‘something twisted’, torches having been made of twisted tow dipped in pitch, or the like . .
1. a. A light to be carried in the hand, consisting of a stick of resinous wood, or of twisted hemp or similar material soaked with tallow, resin, or other inflammable substance . . now also = electric torch n. 2.
c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 467/187 With-oute liȝht of torche.
. . 1609 Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida v. i. 82 Follow his torch, he goes to Calcas tent.
1721 N. Bailey Universal Etymol. Eng. Dict., A Torch..a Staff of Deal on which Wax-Candles are
. . 1906 Daily Chron. 14 July 5 The ordinary tarred-rope torch . . ‘ [OED]

What do Americans call them - if they have them?

Bill  •  Link


Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

Bucklersbury is now reduced to being an arch in a building that leads to the Bank underground station. I've passed it countless times. If you look at the street view on Google maps, it is part of the reddish and whitish striped building and behind and obscured by the red bus in the photo.
According to the Encyclopedia of London, Bucklersbury was "an ancient City street first mentioned in the 14th century. It was named after the Buckerel family who were powerful in the City in the 12th century. Their fortified house (bury) stood back from the street in Poultry. In 1183 this was sold to Hasculf de Tania. From 1505 to 1511, Sir Thomas More lived here in a large house where his four children were born. Erasmus stayed with him in 1506 and 1508, when he wrote 'Moriae Enconium.' The title is a pun on More's name. In Shakespeare's time the street was known for its apothecaries, and in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' he mentions the peculiar smell of Bucklersbury. In 1863 the street was cut in two by Queen Victoria Street."
P. 111, The Encyclopedia of London, Ben Weinreb, Christopher Hibbert, Julia Keay, John Keay (great book, by the way).

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

Bucklersbury, Part 2: More about the Google Street View. Initially, you see an Iron Mountain truck, You have to rotate to the right to see the other side of the street to find Bucklersbury. I've just realized that the street sign reading "Bucklersbury Passage" is on the wall just to the left of the bus, though it's not really legible in the photo. If you click on it and move in, you see a group of a few people standing just outside the entrance to the passage - a woman in a black skirt and white blouse, two guys in suits. A man in a white shirt and carrying a backpack appears to be headed for the passage and presumably the underground.

Mary K  •  Link

Bucklersbury still exists as the short street that runs between Queen Victoria Street and Walbrook.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

As noted above, it does seem odd that Pepys would even contemplate selling the job he has just obtained and begun. Remember that a nice house comes with the position! Plus, if he sold the job that Montagu pulled strings for him to get, he would also be jeopardizing his continuing position as Montagu's clerk. So he'd be throwing away two jobs and a house in exchange for 1400 pounds. That Rhenish wine seems to make you kind of stupid. My bet is that tomorrow he comes to his senses and tells Mr. Man to forget it.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I suspect that the Will Pepys is taking around with him these days is actually Will Hewer. Recently, he specified Will "the boy" was Elizabeth's boy.…

Plus he's taken on Hewer as his help in the office. Since Pepys isn't in the office, there's not much for an untrained teenager to do. Having him along for conversation and exposure would be more efficient -- plus he can provide protection if walking around at night.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the sword-bearer of London"

The City of London swords are five two-handed ceremonial swords owned by the City of London, namely the Mourning (or Black) Sword, the Pearl Sword, the State (or Sunday) Sword, the Old Bailey Sword and the Mansion House Justice Room Sword. A sixth sword, the Travelling Sword of State, replaces the Sword of State for visits outside the City. They are part of the plate collection of Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London....…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Sat at our office today, and my father came this day the first time to see us at my new office."

Chip: "I found the first line extraordinary, how Pepys interchanges the plural possessive pronoun for the singular. Note it is our office that then becomes my new office."

I think "Sat at our office today" is missing "We sat ..." meaning the Navy Board was in session.
Then his father stops by to see where his son's new desk is located.

Later it will be additionally confusing because Pepys has an office at the Navy Board AND an office in his house for his non-Navy work and accounts. My office and our office become, while Elizabeth sat home eating b quite confusing.

It's our house, because he shares it with Elizabeth and the two Wills and Jane. I think that's generous, because men owned everything in those days, unless you were a wealthy widow with a good lawyer.

But it's his money because he earned it with all these late nights at Westminster, while Elizabeth sat home eating bon-bons.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"My office and our office become, while Elizabeth sat home eating b quite confusing."

SHOULD READ: My office and our office become quite confusing.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"This afternoon I got my 50/., due to me for my first quarter’s salary as Secretary to my Lord, ..."

That settles yesterday's idea from David Smith that Pepys was an independent contractor, much as I liked the explanation.

But where's the second quarter's money?

The settling up on 27 July must have been the official accounts from The Hague trip, which Sandwich approved. Pepys' salary was over and above that.

Pepys needs the money -- they've got to buy beds now Willoughby has taken his away, They must be sleeping on the floor????

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A man who is a Sword Bearer thinks he's qualified to be Clerk of the Acts? Pepys seems to think he's out of his depth, and he's a recent University grad. How would a sword bearer handle it?
Doesn't bear thinking about what would have happened if Pepys had taken the money!

Neil Wallace  •  Link

Interesting comments about money and banking, it was a different world back then - bits of paper and metal flying about - it certainly was a different world. in 2003 and 2013.
Some things don't change though, except that Vincent would have to amend his 2003 comment "To open an account at a bank and deposit monies, one had to know a person of substance like the local JP to vouch for your (then - character) (now - views on a range of political and social issues, including Brexit, and appropriate genitalia for men and women)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm tempted to ask you what on earth you're talking about, Neil, but it will draw us into a conversation that has zilch to do Pepys or the text. I suspect you're frustrated by a local problem. It will be resolved, and 10 years from now we will have to annotate about that instead of Pepys or the text.

You mention bits of paper and metal flying around. Don't forget the wooden tally sticks --…

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