Wednesday 29 August 1660

(Office day). Before I went to the office my wife and I examined my boy Will about his stealing of things, but he denied all with the greatest subtlety and confidence in the world. To the office, and after office then to the Church, where we took another view of the place where we had resolved to build a gallery, and have set men about doing it. Home to dinner, and there I found my wife had discovered my boy Will’s theft and a great deal more than we imagined, at which I was vexed and intend to put him away.

To my office at the Privy Seal in the afternoon, and from thence at night to the Bull Head, with Mount, Luellin, and others, and hence to my father’s, and he being at my uncle Fenner’s, I went thither to him, and there sent for my boy’s father and talked with him about his son, and had his promise that if I will send home his boy, he will take him notwithstanding his indenture.

Home at night, and find that my wife had found out more of the boy’s stealing 6s. out of W. Hewer’s closet, and hid it in the house of office, at which my heart was troubled. To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber. But after we were all a-bed, the wench (which lies in our chamber) called us to listen of a sudden, which put my wife into such a fright that she shook every joint of her, and a long time that I could not get her out of it. The noise was the boy, we did believe, got in a desperate mood out of his bed to do himself or William [Hewer] some mischief. But the wench went down and got a candle lighted, and finding the boy in bed, and locking the doors fast, with a candle burning all night, we slept well, but with a great deal of fear.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

House of Office

Nothing to do with officework – it is, in fact, the privy (or rest room, comfort station, toilet, lavatory). It was for centuries known as the “house of office” because it was where people went “to do their business” (which is a phrase that they used).…

The House of Office must have been an outhouse in the yard, away from the house, so would have been a better place to hide stolen goods than inside a crowded home.

Incidentally, Pepys has used the phrase “house of office” at least one before, back on January 20th, when he was on a drinking spree before meeting Betty Lane (Martin):…

Paul Brewster  •  Link

about his stealing of things, as we doubted yesterday; but he denied all
L&M add the phrase "as we doubted yesterday;".

chip  •  Link

He goes to the uncle's house and then sends for the boy's father. There must have been urchins in the street ready to run errands for a farthing or two. I still find it strange that the wench sleeps in the same room. I would rather empty my own chamber pot. Now when I read L&M I expect the names to be underlined and in blue, as a link. I think Phil is associating these for us.

vincent  •  Link

"... , where we took another view of the place where we had resolved to build a gallery, and have set men about doing it. ..." 'tis raw power and nice piece of grandisement. Oh! that vulgar common herd. No longer does he have to suffer standing elbow to elbow and (not seeing those pretty head scarfs) and Kneeling on the hard stone . That swing of the head etc., or Am i wrong He just wants to hear every enunciated word of the sermon. 'Tis a long long way from St Brides.

Roger Miller  •  Link

The Will confusion - an explanation

1) The boy Will (surname unknown) is one of Pepys' servants and is in trouble today.

2) William Hewer is another of Pepys' servants.

3) Wayneman Birch is the brother of Jane Birch, Pepys' maid.

4) William Birch is another older brother of Jane Birch.

5) William Wayneman is a confusing combination of 1 and 3 created by Wheatly.

Mary  •  Link

..if I will send home his boy...
Pepys is being compassionate here; at a time when the theft of any goods to the value of 12d. (one shilling) was a capital offence and this lad has stolen at least six times that amount, he is is being let off very lightly.

This boy was apparently an indentured servant to Pepys. I take the reference
'notwithstanding his indenture' to mean that the father will take him back immediately and make no bones about the fact that the contract of indenture between Pepys and the father of the boy Will is being summarily broken.

Roger Miller  •  Link

It wasn't very gallant of Sam to let the wench confront the possible intruder rather than go himself!

S. Spoelstra  •  Link

On this same day,Ralph Josselin vicar of Earls Colne, put down in his diary:

"this day the King passed the act of pardon, I was glad I was so well employed on a day when so memorable an act was passed."

What with all those things that go "bump" in the night, you tend to lose the overall perspective ?

Glyn  •  Link

Chip's comment re "I still find it strange that the wench sleeps in the same room."

This was completely commonplace at that time, they seem to have had less ideas of maintaining personal space - and we know that men would regularly share beds together without a second thought.

I am sure that Sam and Elizabeth are sleeping in what is called a "tester bed"…

It would be like the above, but would have curtains or drapes around it to close it off from the rest of the room: they did need at least some seclusion!

Jane the servant would have slept in the same room but on a smaller bed which would have been on small wheels or castors. During the day, this smaller bed would be rolled underneath the double bed to free up more floorspace.

An example of these two beds can be seen in one of the bedrooms at Marble Hill House, Twickenham.

So when Sam said yesterday that he was going to call for the girl to get him a drink of water in the night, he wouldn't have needed to call very far.

vincent  •  Link

"tis all in the mind" and the economics of the times. In the Hospitals, 10 to 30 shared a room , living and dieing , the fitter would help the nurses with the chores etc., In the military they were 3 or 4 beds to an 7ft x 3ft (Barracks)floorspace with 2 ft between bunks('twas fun to be had coming less than sober on Saturday night). The sailors slept in Hammocks wherever they could sling them (on the smaller ships), Orderly like. In 12ft x 12ft tent 4 men would share that space for months at a time. Schools had long dorms open to view. Only now that their is more affluence, that privacy has come to lesser sort (i.e.than a squire).

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber."


Terry Foreman  •  Link

"this day the King passed the act of pardon," and other Bills the Commons and the King had wanted passed:

Bills passed.…

Then His Majesty was graciously pleased to give His Royal Assent to these Bills following; the Titles whereof were read by the Clerk of the Crown; and the Royal Assent was pronounced by the Clerk of the Parliaments:

The Titles of the said Bills are as follow; (videlicet,)

"An Act for Confirmation of Judicial Proceedings."

"An Act for restraining the taking of excessive Usury."

"An Act for a perpetual Anniversary Thanksgiving on the 29th of May."

"An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion."

To all these Bills, the Royal Assent was pronounced in these Words,

"Le Roy le veult."

Robin Peters  •  Link

"To bed, and caused the boy’s clothes to be brought up to my chamber."
Was this because the boy's clothes were supplied by the master and would be kept back if he was dismissed? or just to stop him doing a runner with his ill gotten goods?

Bill  •  Link

As per Terry, I think he's been grounded. What's more interesting to me is that he must have very few clothes.

Mirabai Knight  •  Link

Is saying "the wench which" as opposed to "the wench who" as dehumanizing in Sam's dialect as it would be in ours?

Bryan  •  Link

"the wench which"

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
which (pron.) ... In Middle English used as a relative pronoun where Modern English would use who, as still in the Lord's Prayer.

So, Mirabai, this is one sin we can say that Sam is not guilty of.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"about his stealing of things, as we doubted yesterday; but he denied all
L&M add the phrase "as we doubted yesterday;"."

DOUBT : to fear, to suspect; to wonder, be perplexed as to

L&M Large Glossary in the Companion (Vol. 10), etc. Pepys uses the word "doubt" frequently, with connotations now lost.

Third Reading

Jude Russo  •  Link

In re "which" above: The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has the wording "Our Father, which art in heaven"---still a perfectly acceptable use of the time, irrespective of the social standing of the antecedent!

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

While the kingdom heaves a huge sigh of relief at the Act of Oblivion finally being passed, king Charles also devotes half of his speech before Parliament to the "Act for a speedy Provision of Money to pay off and disband all the Forces of this Kingdom, both by sea and land", the "pole bill" also voted upon today and which, in all probability, is the reason why Sam had to work so hard of late at tallying the Navy's debt.

What the king has to say, as reprinted in the Parliamentary Intelligencer (No. 36, August 26-September 3 but with newes through August 29 onely) is interesting: "I do thank you as much as if the Money were to come into My Own Coffers (...) I pray very earnestly, as fast as Money comes in, discharge that great burthen of the Navy, and disband the Army as fast as you can". He doesn't quite add 'and take their guns away', but probably he needs not. Then, "the weekly expence of the Navy, eats up all you have given me by the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage." Too bad, as Charles is about to expand it with one of Europe's largest programs of naval construction.

The rest has to be one of the most tear-jerking demonstrations of modesty on record, from someone who just arrived loaded with mountains of gold plate from Holland and on whom the whole country has showered more gifts: "I am not richer, that is, I have not so much money in my Purse, as when I came to you. The truth is, I have lived principally ever since upon what I brought with me (...) Nor have I been able to give my Brothers one shilling since I came into England, nor to keep any Table in my House, but what I eat my self. And that which troubles me most, is, to see many of you come to Me to Whitehall, and to think that you must go some where else to seek your Dinner." O the poor brothers, I can hear their tummies rumbling, O the humiliation of having to turn friends out to the tavern next door. Maybe Sam could help with some leftover cold chicken?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

This week's Parliamentary Intelligencer also has a few ADVERTISEMENTS, including for this interesting book: "Jews in America, Or, Probabilities that those Indians are Judaical, made more probable by some Additionals to the former Conjectures. By Thomas Thorowgood, S. T. B Norfolciensis." Sold "H. Broom at the Gun in Ivy-lane", where we'll presently rush to find how these Additionals make jews of the Cherokee; we find at… that the idea is currently in vogue.

And with this, that's it for the publick holdings of the Parliamentary Intelligencer at…. Many thanks to the University of Michigan (in Potawatomi territory). Anyone knows where to find issues after No. 36, please leave us a note at the Gun in Ivy-Lane.

Sam Ursu  •  Link

A few notes about why the boy's clothes were brought up to Sam's chamber.

First, it's almost inconceivable to us in the modern era what clothes were like back then. I'm not referring to the fit or the fashion but to the availability of clothes. Everything was literally hand-sewn, often abroad.

Thusly, clothes were extremely expensive, even for the simplest of shirts. There's a lot of debate on HOW expensive they were, so let's just throw a ballpark figure out there and say a single shirt might've cost the equivalent of £1000 in modern prices (for a modern worker at a minimum wage job). So yes, the boy's clothes were extremely valuable.

However, that being said, "clothes" in those days came in two parts - the outer stuff that the public would see, and a kind of "underwear" (top and bottom) that only the wearer would see. This "underwear" was almost always linen. These would be MUCH cheaper than "outer" clothes and were what was washed, while the "outer" garments were rarely washed, and were worn until threadbare (and often mended several times).

Therefore, the boy's "clothes" in this case would've referred to his "outer" clothes, whatever they were.

Secondly, as Sam's indentured servant, it was likely that Sam provided AND owned the clothes of his apprentices, so bringing them up to the chamber was probably to stop a "disgruntled former employee" from stealing more items (the clothes).

Interestingly enough, the sheer expense of (outer) clothes played a huge role in the Black Death/Plague that struck a few years after this diary entry. Even at the height of the plague, most of the people who died from the plague had their clothes removed and then SOLD.

There's a village in the north of England called Eyam which holds a grisly record during this plague outbreak as having suffered the highest mortality rate.

Because of this, and the small size of the village (800 people), and the extensive documentation kept, we know for sure that the plague outbreak in Eyam began after a local man received a shipment of USED CLOTHES from London, which obviously were infected with the plague. To be more precise, it was the surviving body lice in the clothing which spread the plague.

Today, lice are only found in people's hair, and it's a minor nuisance. But in previous eras, there was a separate species of lice called "body" lice, which is a bit of a misnomer as they actually lived on people's clothing, not their bodies. And it was this totally separate species of lice that spread the Black Plague.

So yeah, in Sam's time, people like Will generally only had one (or maybe two, but usually one) pair of outer clothing, which was very, very expensive, so much so that, even if you died of the plague with sores oozing all over the fabric, and the garment was infested with body lice, it was still profitable to sell the clothes on to some other poor soul.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"the "pole bill" also voted upon today"

Peers Poll money:
ORDERED, That John Clutterbuck is appointed, by this House, to be Receiver General for all those Monies that are to be paid by the Peers upon the Poll Bill.

Lords Commissioners for it.
¶ORDERED, That the Lords that are Commissioners for to assess the Peers upon the Poll Bill do meet Tomorrow in the Afternoon, at Three of the Clock, in the Prince's Lodgings, to put the Act into Execution, for the speedy bringing in of the Money.…

The "Poll" in Poll Tax is an old (Saxon?) word for "head" -- the tax collector made no allowance for infirmity or poverty. Everyone specified pays [e.g. over 15].…

To take a poll, or to poll a subject, means to take a survey from anyone who happens to randomly wander by, or is organized to be in a specific place at an allotted time to answer known questions.

We have a link to the Poll Tax of 1660 -- it contains spoilers at this point, as it deals with Pepys paying it.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"But the wench went down and got a candle lighted, and finding the boy in bed, and locking the doors fast, with a candle burning all night, we slept well, but with a great deal of fear."

Jane Birch (born 1647) locked the front door -- Pepys sent a 13-year-old girl downstairs alone to confront the burglars, only to find the front door unlocked. He doesn't seem to be peturbed by this, so maybe that was normal. No -- I don't think so either.
Plus leaving an expensive candle burning all night was a known fire hazard.

He and Elizabeth were right to have a great deal of fear. I would too -- Jane, Will and the burglars could easily have been in cahoots.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The House of Commons today:

"Protestants in Piedmont.
A Bill for securing the Payment of Five thousand Pounds, with Interest, collected for Relief of the poor Protestants in Piedmont, was this Day read the First time.
Ordered, That this Bill be read the Second time, Tomorrow Morning."

This must refer to the Easter 1655 massacre of the Waldensians in Piedmont, which had an enormous affect on Cromwell. Anyone know why the House of Commons is getting involved now???

Read the whole story at

In part it says:

"Pastor John Läger, a leader of the Waldensians during their ordeal, traveled about Europe testifying to his peoples’ woes. The gazzettes of Paris, London, and Amsterdam denounced the unjust massacre. The House of Savoy was put on the defensive, both on ideological and diplomatic fronts. Puritan England, and her Protestant “Lord Protector,” Oliver Cromwell, were shocked by the event; Cromwell soon sealed a pact with France for a solution to “the Waldensian problem” [see the article on Cromwell, “A Friend in the Lord Protector”]. ...

"The Right of Freedom and Freedom Lost
The war was over. A compromise was negotiated at Pinerolo. The French ambassador and the Swiss cantons acted as mediators. The so-called Patent of Grace gave the Waldensians back practically all their rights.
The agreement was reached the 18th of August, before the English and Dutch ambassadors were able to throw the weight of the Protestant republics into the balance and exact an agreement more in accord with the moral and military victory of the Waldensians and their allies.

"The Waldensians, however, had seen death face to face. They preferred a low-profile settlement, one that did not needlessly humiliate the House of Savoy.

"The compromise satisfied no one. Weighed down after having conceded so much, the Duke of Savoy went back on his promise not to rebuild the Fort of Torre Pellice; instead he reinforced the garrisons. He sentenced Giovanni Läger to death 5 times, but in his absence.

"Läger had departed for Holland, where in 1669 he wrote his history of the Waldensians. He prepared the way for the “Dutch Connection” which would prove decisive at the moment of the “Glorious Return.”

"Under constant pressure, the Waldensians, a patient but ever-ready people, responded with guerrilla war tactics as before. Once again, Gianavello led the way. Accused of serious crimes and summoned to Turin, he refused to appear in court and in 1658 was given the death penalty.

"Forty-two other Waldensian leaders were declared outlaws and were not to set foot in the Piedmont. They were considered banished and thereafter known as “bandits.”

"In 1663, full-scale war broke out. ..."

The Cavalier Parliament was funding the Waldensian resistance?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Cavalier Parliament was funding the Waldensian resistance?

Yes they were. The English were keen to support the on-going Protestant resistance in Europe.

However, in COLONEL JOHN SCOTT OF LONG ISLAND 1634(?) - 1696

On page 49 it says that the chief business of the Regicides who were hiding in the Dutch Republic in 1668 was fermenting disturbance against the government of Charles II; their chief hope was to overthrow that government; their chief means of support lay in contributions taken up among the faithful in England under the guise of sending aid to the Waldensians, the persecuted Vaudois, or the "Poles"; and there is evidence that Col. John Scott benefitted by this "Polish fund."

I'm not reading this as saying the Partliamentary resources voted for today were diverted to these Cromwellian plotters -- I suspect that fund-raising was done by fraudsters who went to wealthy widows and told them horror stories of burned babies, etc., and then took their money and valuables under false pretenses.
But you never know -- I suppose it's possible this was sometimes diverted into a slush fund for the Stuart Brothers escapades.

Either way, it shows the outward-looking awareness of the people of England that they were voting to support overseas religious causes, even when the cupboard was bare.

More about Col. John Scott at -- but beware, lots of spoilers:…… -- many of these annotations have information about Scott's escapades.

This book available free on-line, and is a good source of information, if you have the time. Lots of details which explains Pepys and his times and the Diary going forward.

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