Sunday 18 November 1660

(Lord’s day). In the morning to our own church, Where Mr. Powel (a crook legged man that went formerly with me to Paul’s School), preached a good sermon.

In the afternoon to our own church and my wife with me (the first time that she and my Lady Batten came to sit in our new pew), and after sermon my Lady took us home and there we supped with her and Sir W. Batten, and Pen, and were much made of. The first time that ever my wife was there. So home and to bed.

15 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

A nice Sunday : I notice that in the morning 'tis the men that go to the Services while the dear little wives are Home organising. Then the evening (afternoon?) service gets the attention of the Ladies. Is it True that the two services are different in substantial ways ? Content and length and meaning? If this was standard practice then "We" do see major difference between then and now?

Mary  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys' position.

For the second time in a short period Pepys makes special mention of Elizabeth's acceptance into his own, burgeoning sphere of influence. Some purely uxorious pride here, but it's also possible that Sam is catching early hints that women are going to have more influence in this court and this administration than had ever been the case under the Commonwealth. An 'acceptable' wife may well prove to be an advantage to a rising man.

Christo  •  Link

The services are Mattins in the morning, Evensong in the evening: 'In Mattins and Evensong the medieval daily offices (Mattins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline) were compressed into two. What had previously been seen as primarily the business of clergy, monks, and nuns was now available in English and recommended for all.'…

bruce  •  Link

Can someone explain to me how the system of "owning" church pews worked? Did you rent a pew at a yearly rate, or did you buy the space outright? I understand that in some cases the private pews were elaborately boxed in and in some cases might even have had a coal fire in them to heat them. Could you sell "your" pew to someone else?

And what would be the main reason for someone like Sam having a private pew - to show off his wealth, or to protect him and his wife from the diseases / fleas / prying eyes of fellow-worhsippers?

Mary  •  Link

Private pews.

These were usually rented by the year, and the income from such rentals could form a significant portion of any church's income.

Those renting pews, which were often boxed in with quite high 'walls', were usually folk who either were, or felt themselves to be, of a superior class to the majority of the congregation. These pews afforded a degree of privacy that could be very welcome in an age when sermons could be extremely long and the necessity of relieving oneself could become urgent. How much more seemly for milady to be able to slip her specially shaped, portable piss-pot discreetly under her skirts within the protecting walls of the private pew. You wouldn't want to conduct that operation in full view of the hoi polloi, would you?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

The pews were built at the expense of, and for, the Navy Board, whose members, including Sam, lived in Seething Lane, adjacent to St. Olave's Church. There is further information at:… See those annotations.

vincent  •  Link

Pews- mans weakness for being in the Lime light [no lime must not poured on] We like to mark a spot and be noticed for the success . Many Pews were Made for the local "Mucky Muck" or Squire, so that "me Lady" is shown off. The Rental was a small price to pay for receiving the touch of the forelock, "One" must Know ones place. How easily one forgets the inter -Regnum and why it came to be.

language hat  •  Link

Thank you, Mary!
The things one learns from this site...

Larry Bunce  •  Link

Private pews were in use in America in colonial times. King's Chapel in Boston still maintains the Royal Governor's pew, which is surrounded by curtains. Parishioners who could not afford to pay for a pew were given benches in the front, so that the more "responsible" members of the congregation could keep an eye on them.

Cum grano salis  •  Link

pews.According to the OED another name was also associated it be Stool.

1b. A church pew Obs.

1. a. Any kind of seat for one person; often, a chair of authority, state, or office; esp. a royal or episcopal throne. (Hence occas. = SEE n.1 2b.) Obs.
porphyry stool: cf. porphyry chair, PORPHYRY 5b.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

'...milady to be able to slip her specially shaped, portable piss-pot discreetly under her skirts ...'

"A bourdaloue or ladies traveling chamberpot, which is an eighteenth-century slipper-shaped portable urinal for a lady, sometimes known as a coach-pot. It is an oblong shaped pot with a handle on one end. ... It took its more general name from a Jesuit father, one Louis Bourdaloue, whose long sermons, preached at Versailles, were extremely popular, especially with the ladies of the court who, in order to secure a seat, used to arrive hours before the scheduled time of the sermon."

For photograph:-…

Louis Bourdaloue .Born at Bourges, 20 August, 1632; died at Paris, 13 May, 1704. He is often described as the "king of preachers and the preacher of kings." ...


Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Though it seems too early for the use of the word "loo'"I can't help wondering if the word came from Bourdaloue.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


The origin of the (chiefly British) term loo is unknown. According to the OED, the etymology is obscure, but it might derive from the word Waterloo. The first recorded entry is in fact from James Joyce's Ulysses (1922): "O yes, mon loup. How much cost? Waterloo. Watercloset".

Other theories are:

- That it derives from the term "gardyloo" (a corruption of the French phrase gardez l'eau! (or maybe garde l'eau!) loosely translated as "watch out for the water!") which was used in medieval times when chamber pots were emptied from a window onto the street. However the first recorded usage of "loo" comes long after this term became obsolete.
- That the word comes from nautical terminology, loo being an old-fashioned word for lee. The standard nautical pronunciation (in British English) of leeward is looward. Early ships were not fitted with toilets but the crew would urinate over the side of the vessel. However it was important to use the leeward side. Using the windward side would result in the urine blown back on board: hence the phrases 'pissing into the wind' and 'spitting into the wind'. Even now most yachtsmen refer to the loo rather than the heads.
- That the word derives from the 17th century preacher Louis Bourdaloue. Bourdaloue's sermons at the Saint Paul-Saint Louis Church in Paris lasted at least three hours and myth has it that wealthier ladies took along "travelling" chamber pots that could be hidden under their dresses whenever the need arose to avoid the need to leave. Due to the popularity of the myth the bowls became known as Bourdaloues after the preacher and the name became corrupted to portaloos and sometimes just plain loos due to the habit of shortening words in slang.[citation needed]
- That the word comes from the French word lieu (place), as in lieu d'aisance (literally: "place of ease", a common euphemism for lavatory) or lieu à l'anglaise (literally: "English place"). From around 1770 the term lieu à l'anglaise began to appear in France, referring to this English invention which was sometimes installed for the benefit of English visitors. (Ashenburg p. 138)…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and were much made of."

I get the feeling the Sir Williams are flattering their young colleague for their own purposes.

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