Sunday 5 August 1660

Lord’s day. My wife being much in pain, I went this morning to Dr. Williams (who had cured her once before of this business), in Holborn, and he did give me an ointment which I sent home by my boy, and a plaister which I took with me to Westminster (having called and seen my mother in the morning as I went to the doctor), where I dined with Mr. Sheply (my Lord dining at Kensington).

After dinner to St. Margaret’s, where the first time I ever heard Common Prayer in that Church. I sat with Mr. Hill in his pew; Mr. Hill that married in Axe Yard and that was aboard us in the Hope. Church done I went and Mr. Sheply to see W. Howe at Mr. Pierces, where I staid singing of songs and psalms an hour or two, and were very pleasant with Mrs. Pierce and him. Thence to my Lord’s, where I staid and talked and drank with Mr. Sheply. After that to Westminster stairs, where I saw a fray between Mynheer Clinke, a Dutchman, that was at Hartlibb’s wedding, and a waterman, which made good sport. After that I got a Gravesend boat, that was come up to fetch some bread on this side the bridge, and got them to carry me to the bridge, and so home, where I found my wife.

After prayers I to bed to her, she having had a very bad night of it. This morning before I was up Will came home pretty well again, he having been only weary with riding, which he is not used to.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

I got a Gravesend boat that was come up to fetch some reed on this side the bridge
L&M: says it is "reed" and not "bread". They go on to explain in a footnote that reed is "used for sheathing ships and (in war-time) for loading fireships"

It should be noted that the symbols for the two words would have been nearly identical in the Shelton system. The 'r' is a lower case sans serif 'r' and the 'br' is a single symbol based on the same 'r' with the vertical line continuing up beyond the mid point (as in the lower case, sans serif 'b'). The remainder of the word should have stayed the same (there being no distinction between long and short vowels).

I can only guess that L&M's choice might have something to do with the implausibility of a boat fetching 'bread' to Gravesend in the 17th century.

vincent  •  Link

Diurnal entry: It appears that he makes his notations, sometimes before he takes off his nightshirt? thanks for the bread/reed clarification, very interesting.

chip  •  Link

I wonder if he asks his mother anything concerning Elizabeth's condition, if she had any experience with the same 'business'. Did people actually have their own pew at service as Mister Hill today? Would this be a pew that he donated to the church? I, too, try to figure out when Sam jots down his shorthand. Tomalin describes him doing it standing up I believe. I agree, Vincent, Paul's the best, by comparison we are all but split reeds.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

According to L&M: Mrs. Shaw was buried in St. Margaret's Westminster on 5 August
SP mentions her death in the entry yesterday but seems to have missed today’s burial at St Margaret’s.

vincent  •  Link

One's own pew Oh yes ? I had a few relatives who Enjoyed that privyledge of having their own Pew: a Maaaark of distinction, yenoe: Every one waited until they entered and seated themselves then us lesser mere mortals traipsed in: 'tis a strange world we live in.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Pew Rents
From an Anglican web site:
'My next instance is from the parish-accounts of S. Margaret, Westminster. In 1509 this item occurs, "Of Sir Hugh Vaughan, Knight, for his part of a pew, 6s. 8d." And again, in 1511, "Of Knight the courtier, for his wife's pew, 2s." But there were no pues in our sense of the words in S. Margaret's church till after the fire of London, when it seems to have been pued in imitation of the then newly-erected churches of Sir C. Wren; hence it follows that the pues of Sir Hugh Vaughan and Mistress Knight must have been seats.'…

My Episcopal parish church in Washington, DC was founded in 1854 and is known as the first free church in the city not because it was open to all people (Washington was after all a southern city in the grip of slavery) but because it was free of pew rents.

vincent  •  Link

"...and he did give me an ointment which I sent home by my boy , and a plaister which I took with me to Westminster ..."
"...After prayers I to bed to her, she having had a very bad night of it. This morning before I was up Will came home pretty well again, he having been only weary with riding, which he is not used to..."
Curious he gets the ointment and sends it home keeps the plaister: has fun all day finally he is a worried: and there is little Will saddle sore; I guess thats sympathy. oh! well! "say la vee"
maybe a plaister is not a plaster?

Sam Sampson  •  Link

Webster's Dictionary gives the word as an old spelling of 'plaster'.
"1. (Med.) An external application of a consistency harder than ointment, prepared for use by spreading it on linen, leather, silk, or other material. It is adhesive at the ordinary temperature of the body, and is used, according to its composition, to produce a medicinal effect, to bind parts together, etc.; as, a porous plaster; sticking plaster."…
Dictionary of Thieving Slang has a reference to "PLAISTER of hot guts", but I don't think Sam would have carried that round all day, even though it would have been fun for him *grin*…
It seems the conventional 'plaster' is correct, but it is curious Vincent.

Mary  •  Link

The late delivery of the plaister.
Perhaps the ointment was for daytime use and the plaster (not so easy to keep in place when moving about during the day) was directed to be applied at night?

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

"..I saw a fray between Mynheer Clinke, a Dutchman, that was at Hartlibb’s wedding, and a waterman, which made good sport.." Sometimes our boy Sam can take the low road (oft times on a Sunday stroll it seems) dallying to watch poor Clinke having an argy-bargy with a member of the lower classes. Hmm, maybe it's because Clinke has been associating with Sam's old neighbour from Axe Yard, the intellectual Hartlibb, longtime hobnobber of luminaries like Milton, Wren and Rene Descartes .. OK, I suppose most of us would get a bit of schadenfreude out of that!

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"One's own pew" That was some kind of progress; a century or so before you could buy your way to Heaven

Ken Fowler  •  Link

"..I saw a fray between Mynheer Clinke, a Dutchman, that was at Hartlibb's wedding, and a waterman, which made good sport.."

There was mention, a few days back, that boats were not available on Sundays with rare exceptions. Perhaps Sam is enjoying the contrast between his own position which allows him to hire a boat and the position of a foreigner who doesn’t understand the rules.

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

Pew Rentals

The pews that were installed in the older churches (as in Paul Brewster's quote)and could be rented were in the form of boxes, that is they had walls as high as the seat-back and little doors for entry. This arrangement can perhaps still be seen in a few places in the US, like Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps also (I am not sure) in St. John's, Lafayette Square, opposite the White House.

'James Madison, in office in 1815, was a communicant. Every Chief Executive since has attended regular or occasional services. Hence, St. John's has become known as the "Church of the Presidents." Pew 54 is the traditional President's Pew. There is a 1789 Prayer Book in the Church's archives bearing in gold letters the inscription "President's Pew." '

Brian McMullen  •  Link

Could it be possible that SP is 'killing two birds with one stone'? The mention of the plaister appears to coincide with the mention of his mother (who he saw before going to the doctor). Is it possible that the plaister is for his mother or has his mother suggested that the plaister be gotten for Elizabeth?

Glyn  •  Link

Affray/fray between the Dutchman and the waterman. Good and subtle point Ken: that's what I like about these annotations because I would never have thought of that myself. Of course, travel is restricted on Sundays, and foreigners might not realize that. I can just see the locals standing back and enjoying the quarrel/fight.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

L&M spell it 'plaster'. I don't believe there would have been any difference in the shorthand.

Over the course of the Wheatley's transcription of the diary the spelling of the word is split roughly half and half. The base word is used more frequently than one might imagine. SP uses the word in three senses: medicinal, architectural, and artistic (plaster masks). Wheatley(or SP) mixes up the spelling without seeming distinction. This may be the result of Wheatley's tendancy to try to give the diary an antique feel with respect to spelling. Then again in a short search of L&M volume I, I found it spelled in three ways, playster, plaister and plaster and only a couple of them agreed with the Wheatley spelling. Given L&M's avowed desire to limit spelling variation with respect shorthand, this may indicate that the word was sometimes written out. As they have said, SP was most likely to do this when the word was seen in its longish (in short hand form) variations, e.g. "playsterers".

Per the OED: The collateral form plaister, which has been current since 14th c., and has sometimes been more common (as a written form) than plaster, occurs also in 14th c. in OF. (plaistre), but it was not the normal OF. form even in Norman or Picard, and its history is obscure. Although still frequent in the 18th c., and found in Dr. Johnson's writings, it was not recognized by him in his Dictionary. In mod. dial. plaister is the form in Sc. and north. Eng.

Carolina  •  Link

Plaister - English v Pleister - Dutch
Both are pronounced the same and pleister is the modern name for a sticking plaster in the Netherlands.
I am of the opinion that, at Sam's time, English and Dutch had a lot of common words and some have remained to this day.

Rick Ansell  •  Link

Reference 'Reed' vs. 'Bread'. If the boat was for the ships at Gravesend then Bread seems more likely to me. In the (post-Pepys) 18th and 19th centuries 'Ships Bread' and 'Ships Biscuit' were synonymous. 'Bread' was a hard, long lasting, composition specially prepared. It would be quite reasonable for a boat to collect 'Bread' from a bakery or warehouse above the bridge for a ship provisioning for sea.

Retearivs  •  Link

If ships were maintained at Gravesend, then “reed” is increased in possibility. Ships being breamed at a careenage would have fires built under them to burn off marine growth and faggots of reeds would be in demand for the purpose and might well have been sent down river in boat load quantities.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Contra Paul Brewer above, Dr. J. does indeed include "plaster" in his dictionary. In other definitions he spells it "plaister."

2. A glutinous or adhesive salve. Shakes.
A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

It was a common Episcopal financing system: One might buy a pew. The money would go to the church's endowment fund, and earnings of the fund used to pay current operating expenses. Or, one might rent a pew, with the rent being used to pay current operating expenses. Or, neither -- there were places to sit, or to stand, during services. Sinners of all stations were welcome. Many parish churches had "Glebes" -- farm fields which could be rented out for money to defray expenses, or which a poor curate might work himself.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The usually reliable Paul Brewster's conjecture today begins with the notion that L&M "go on to explain in a footnote that reed is 'used for sheathing ships...." and continues through a fanciful reading of Shelton's shorthand and a remark about the implausibility of carrying bread to Gravesend.

Retearivs takes a better tack. Here is the actual L&M footnote to "reed":
"Used for breaming ships (cleaning their bottoms by burning off tar) and (in war-time) for loading fireships."

to clean (a ship's bottom) by applying burning furze, reeds, etc., to soften the pitch and loosen adherent matter.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

At Court today Charles II continues his "thank you's" per L&M Companion:

Rother / Roder / Roth / Rothe, Johannes / Jan / John, a merchant of Utrecht who, with his father (Burgomaster of Amsterdam) had befriended Charles II in exile.
Wheatley: John Roder, knighted August 5, 1660.
Le Neve calls him Roth and says he was of Utrecht.

So Nan Hartlib Roth seems to have married well, except Johannes was a Millenarian evangelist, and at some point during the 1660s he returned to the United Provinces, preaching the Second Coming and hoping to unite the Protestant churches of Europe in preparation for it.
Gratitude only went so far.

RM  •  Link

Paying to rent a pew and thus having priority when arriving for service sounds rather like the Speedy Boarding arrangement that certain airline companies use today to harvest a bit of extra revenue.

RLB  •  Link

@Carolina: pleister and plaister are pronounced *almost*, but not quite the same. The "ei" sound doesn't exist in English, but the version of "ai" in plaister is relatively close.

In fact, pleister means plaster in both meanings: it's not just the thing you stick on a wound, but also the stuff you spread on walls.

Also, if you think Pepys' English is closer to Dutch than modern English, you should try Chaucer's. (No really. You should try Chaucer. Anyone should.) Not so much Beowulf; both English and Dutch have changed too much since then.

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