Thursday 13 December 1660

All the day long looking upon my workmen who this day began to paint my parlour. Only at noon my Lady Batten and my wife came home, and so I stepped to my Lady’s, where were Sir John Lawson and Captain Holmes, and there we dined and had very good red wine of my Lady’s own making in England.

27 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

"...had very good red wine of my Lady's own making in England…." Interesting ‘tis december too.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

What would paint be in this period? Would the workmen boil linseed oil on the premises and then mix pigment with it? What pignments were used - perhaps white lead? Not a good time of year for paint to "dry", I think.

vincent  •  Link

Painting ? : most likely good old white wash [lime from limehouse] with some wood stains for the hi lights follow'd by carpets [or other hangings see previous upgrades ]for the walls.

vincent  •  Link

previous discourse on the color of the closet
Friday 5 October 1660
Saturday 29 September 1660

Roger Arbor  •  Link

"... very good red wine of my Lady's own making in England." Lady Batten Vintage wine… wonder where is was grown and made. Sunny Kent perhaps? To made a "very good red" needs rather a lot of sunshine. Prizewinning white wines are made all over England now (indeed the Romans grew vines in Northern England), but reds in 1660? Where O where?

Mary  •  Link

English red wine

In a good summer, provided that the vine is planted in a warm and sheltered spot, it's by no means impossible to ripen black grapes in England. I have drunk a perfectly passable red wine produced by friends in Kent from the fruit of a large vine grown over a pergola. Presumably Lady Batten would have taken advantage of a good fruiting year (not necessarily 1660) to make wine for the household.

As for its excellence, let's not forget that much of the continental wine imported into England at this date was of very doubtful quality and Lady Batten's vintage may have tasted pretty good by comparison.

Harry  •  Link

English red wine

In carrying out research on English medieval cathedral priories I came across a number of references to vineyards, which is not surprising since, even though (weak)ale was the staple beverage of the monks, on feast days and special occasions they were entitled to wine, most of it originating from the priory estates.

Certain current place names bear witness to this, such as Vineyard House on the site of the Abbot's vineyard in Peterborough and Vintry Garden at St Albans. At Ely and Bury St Edmunds the vineyards seem to have been quite extensive, covering several acres of land.

Lawrence  •  Link

Sam will soon own some nice wall paintings, there are some frescos at His House at Brampton. I think that the paint used there is water based.

dirk  •  Link

English wine - cont'd

It's important to note that "wine" doesn't necessarily refer to wine made from grapes. Home made wines were (and are) traditionally made from many kinds of fruit or berries (elderberries etc.). Such "wines" were also occasionally used for medicinal purposes - although I don't imagine this is the case here!

dirk  •  Link

House painting

There may have been more colour in 17th century houses than most people think. For interesting pictures of a well restaured house from this period, have a look at the following site:…

The 2nd photograph on the 2nd row is particularly interesting in our context...

Bradford  •  Link

Good site, Dirk. Stencils would have been used to produce the effect. Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell was doing the same on the walls of her house, Charleston, in Sussex, during the 1930s.

vincent  •  Link

No.10 pic. of Dirks lead to Stuart times is also of great interest. The chimney bits.

Charlezzzzz  •  Link

A lived-in house

Thanks, Dirk, for the URL. One thing we always need to add to "display" houses like these is the beloved clutter that living adds to every room: the mess. When (at some future date) Sam designed his bookcases, didn't he comment on the books that lay about everywhere in his rooms? (Like many of us, I imagine.) I doubt that Stuart rooms were as sterile as we often see them shown. Think baroque. Beat the maid. Walk the dog. Launder seldom. Smell London and the river just outside the door. Glory!

Christo  •  Link

The wine certainly didn't come from grapes grown in England, as 1660 is right in the middle of the Little Ice Age: 'The Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) environments (the most recent analogs for conditions cooler and warmer, respectively, than the present century) can be characterized by interpreting the multi-parameter GISP2 series (Figure 1). The LIA appears to span the period AD1350 or 1450 to AD1900, depending upon measurement type (since each may respond to climate change differently), and the MWP includes the milder few centuries prior to the LIA. '…

dirk  •  Link

"The wine certainly didn't come from grapes grown in England"

There is really no reason why it shouldn’t have come from English grapes. Vines can stand some frost - it all depends on how much sun they get in summer, and the prevailing winds (the microclimate really).

In 1661 Sam will visit a big English wine producer - cfr previous annotation:…

Harry  •  Link

The wine certainly didn't come from grapes grown in England"

I would tend to agree with Dirk. Vines can stand quite a lot of frost. My son is currently studying at Reims, plum in the centre of the Champagne area, and he complains that it is bitterly cold there, well below freezing for stretches during the winter months. I would imagine the situation would be much the same for Rhenish and Hungarian wines.

Jim  •  Link

The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York produces some very good wines (yes, and some rather ordinary stuff as well) and you would never confuse the climate in that area with that of the Mediterranian -- they have long, cold winters with heavy snowfall -- but vineyards on hillsides with southern exposure through long summer days can produce fine crops of high quality grapes -- so I have to agree with Dirk and Harry on this.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"where were Sir John Lawson and Captain Holmes"

We have heard recently of the disabling of two ships designated for the "Guiny" expedition. Captain Holmes is in charge of that expedition and it will leave in January.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"had very good red wine of my Lady’s own making in England."

L&M: Sc. at Walthamstow, Essex, her country house.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary – he and Mary Browne Evelyn live at Saye's Court, Deptford.



13th December, 1660.
I presented my son, John, to the Queen-Mother, who kissed him, talked with and made extraordinary much of him.


“My son John” (the second of this name) was born 19 January, 1655, so he’s almost 6.

Queen Mother Henrietta Maria --…

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

Enough about the wine. "Only at noon" is telling: had Liz gotten home sooner, she might have had time to prepare a decent dinner. But since there's nothing to eat but some leftovers, he skedaddles over to my Lady's, where there's always good food and he appears to be welcome anytime. Liz probably hopped over to the Battens', where the larger household must have had a good repast ready.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

MartinVT, it's true Pepys doesn't specify which "my Lady" he is referring to, and it is normally Lady Sandwich. In this case Phil (and therefore L&M) have not linked the reference to Jemima, meaning they think "I stepped to my Lady's" refers to stepping next door to Lady Batten's.

No mention of Elizabeth going with him; I would be surprised if she didn't given the context.

I also suspect Lawson and Holmes were more likely to be friends of Adm. Batten's who was probably at lunch as well, and although they were colleagues of Sandwich in the early days of the Commonwealth, his support of the Restoration probably cooled that intimacy. Plus he's out of town and my guess is Lady Jemima wouldn't have them to lunch without him.

You could be right. Pepys is obscure.

MartinVT  •  Link

Sarah, upon review I think you are correct, the my Ladies are confusing but this must be Lady Batten. Liz had just spent two days in her company so maybe she did not tag along for that reason.

RLB  •  Link

Not only can vines withstand frost, for the production of ice wine (…) it is essential that the grapes themselves are frozen. Modern ice wine production only started after Pepys' life, but producing good red wine in England was therefore quite possible in his days.

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