Sunday 30 December 1660

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed, and being up, I went with Will to my Lord’s, calling in at many churches in my way. There I found Mr. Shepley, in his Venetian cap, taking physique in his chamber, and with him I sat till dinner.

My Lord dined abroad and my Lady in her chamber, so Mr. Hetly, Child and I dined together, and after dinner Mr. Child and I spent some time at the lute, and so promising to prick me some lessons to my theorbo he went away to see Henry Laws, who lies very sick.

I to the Abby and walked there, seeing the great confusion of people that come there to hear the organs. So home, calling in at my father’s, but staid not, my father and mother being both forth.

At home I fell a-reading of Fuller’s Church History till it was late, and so to bed.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Joe  •  Link

Anyone care to guess what Will's diary entry for today might look like?
Would he just sit and wait for his master in the kitchens, or would he go off on other errands?

SQ  •  Link

Anyone knows what was meant by "taking physique"?

vincent  •  Link

My guess:" Will rites: bin here over 6 months, no raise, seen in side more churches, enough to last a life time. I' ve lit the way, tasted goose and udder, The Mrs is nice, and that girl has not given me a peck but me ears are aked, yet oh! well"
just a thort.

vincent  •  Link

"..taking physique.." Ugh! taking a concoction like Daffy's Elixir [still the rage even 1929] a quote of a quote Restoration London Liza Picard P. 92 "... preparing and the administration of phisick to the poore......"

Ruben  •  Link

"taking physique"
is a nice way to say "taking a purgative": drinking or eating a substance that have the effect to empty the bowels.
A way considered to clean or purify your "humours" that were "disturbed" by eating or drinking who knows what, or because you felt ill or weak.
In conclusion: superstition still around us.

SQ  •  Link

...taking physique...
It seems that one needed to stay in after "taking physique". Back in 15 January 1659/60, Sam wrote that "I slept late, and then in the morning took physic, and so staid within all day." Today Sam sat all morning with Shepley who "took physique". Emptying of the bowels would explain whay they had to stay in. Many of the substances taken were no doubt toxic?

Robert Hooke took many toxic substances which made him very sick.

Ruben  •  Link

taking physique
Read Evelyn's description of the way King Charles II was treated some years later. That was the thing to do those days.
They knew nothing about dehidration (one of the consequences of "taking physique") or other nasty effects of a purgue.
They treated the body like we treat a carburator: if it does not work well, lets clean it.

Ruben  •  Link

Evelyn's account on how the King made it to Heaven in spite of the excellent treatment he received:
February 1985: I went to Lond, hearing his Majestie had ben the moneday before surpriz’d in his bed chamber with an Apoplectical fit, & so, as if by Gods providence, Dr. King (that excellent chirurgeon as well as Physitian) had not ben accidentaly present [to let him bloud] (with his lancet in his pocket) his Majestie had certainely died that moment, which might have ben of direfull consequence, there being no body else with the King save this doctor & one more, as I am assured: It was a mark of the extraordinary dexterity, resolution, & presentnesse of Judgment in the Doctor to let him bloud in the very paroxysme, without staying the coming of other physitians, which regularly should have ben don, & the not doing so, must have a formal pardon as they tell me: This rescued his Majestie for that instant, but it prov’d onely a reprieve for a little time; he still complain’d & was relapsing & often fainting & sometimes in Epileptical symptoms ’til Wednesday, for which he was cupp’d, let bloud againe in both jugularies, had both vomit & purges &c: which so relieved him, that on the Thursday hops of recovery were signifiedin the publique Gazett; but that day about noone the Physitians conjectur’d him somewhat feavorish; This they seem’d glad of, as being more easily alaied, & methodicaly to be dealt with, than his former fits, so as they prescrib’d the famous Jesuits powder; but it made his Majestie worse; and some very able Doctors present, did not think it a feavor, but the effect of his frequent bleeding, & other sharp operations used by them about his head: so as probably the Powder might stop the Circulation, & renew his former fitts, which now made him very weake:
Thus he pass’d Thursday night with greate difficulty, when complaining of a paine in his side, the drew 12 ounces more of blood from him, this was by 6 in the morning on friday, & it gave him reliefe, but it did not continue; for being now in much paine & strugling for breath, he lay doz’d, & after some conflicts, the Physitians desparing of him, he gave up the Ghost at halfe an houre-after Eleaven in the morning, being the 6 of Feb: in the 36t yeare of his reigne, & 54 of his age:

J A Gioia  •  Link

physic and the stone

for those remarking a while back at the apparent prevalence of kidney stones in that era; if in addition to the salt and chalk in the diet we add the dehydrating properties of the widespread application of laxitives, one wonders if most people in london didn't rattle when they walked.

Tom Carr  •  Link

"taking a physique"
In the 1970's my grandmother here in the USA would give us children a “physic” if we exhibited signs of being unwell. It was usually in the form of Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate). Indeed, one does need to stay in all day after ingesting the concoction to be as close to the bathroom as possible! She would also make sure that we drank plenty of water throughout the day. Thankfully our mother finally convinced her that this was not necessary. At the age of 91, she no longer takes them herself either.

Emilio  •  Link

Venetian cap

I'm struck with the contrast of Shepley wearing his (presumably exotic or fancy?) Venetian cap while sitting around "taking physique". Can any of those who know something about fashion give us an idea of what such a cap might have looked like?

Just from the phrase I imagine something like an elaborate stocking cap, or something vaguely middle eastern due to Venice's trade connections? Or maybe it's simply a stock name for a plainer-looking type of headwear.

Katherine  •  Link

Despite some of the incredibly toxic compounds used back in the day "to take physic", flushing out the intestines and colon forms the basis for many modern day detoxifying fasts. If done in moderation (and correctly) flushing your intestines aids digestion and overall health.

If you want to put a modern spin on all this physicking, it's the colonic irrigation of its day. ;)

Ruben  •  Link

"detoxifying fasts" are the same old "physic" with a modern, fancy name. There is nothing to "detoxify" in the contents of the intestines (except, of course, if you ingested a poison).
The same nonsense as in SP's days, justified by incredible claims and the credulous ignorance of many.

language hat  •  Link

taking physic:
It's worth remembering that the medical profession did more harm than good (think of all the people pointlessly bled over the millennia!) until the discoveries of antisepsis and (especially) antibiotics. It's especially worth remembering when your doctor is acting omniscient; just picture him as Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber:…

"Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter's was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach."

daniel  •  Link

Pity about old H. Lawes being so ill; he would live on for a couple more years though. to the record, to "prick a tune" or such means to set in down on paper in notation, as opposed to playing it only be ear

Second Reading

joe fulm  •  Link

No mention of Christmas until the day before Christmas day (or santa/reindeer jingles in mid October), and still no mention on the 30/12 of New Year celebrations. Just went into my local shop and they already have St Valentine day cards displayed (for Feb 14th). The rise of Markets may have eliminated European wars but it has led into a bland duller age.

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

"I to the Abby and walked there" -- wouldn't it be wonderful today to be able to just walk in and mosey around?

LKvM  •  Link

Right at the top of today's annotations "Joe" wondered in 2003 what Will's diary would say for today. Will was Pepys's "boy" and was for Pepys what a footman is for the king or queen, someone in the background, always silently on hand to do whatever is needed, and not noticed if nothing is needed. Will was probably with Pepys the whole time. (As for his diary, he probably didn't have one because he undoubtedly couldn't write.)

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“… calling in at many churches in my way“.

Not to attend worship as such, but I guess simply to take the theological and liturgical temperature and see how well the new services and culture are taking root. What are the clergy wearing? About what are they preaching? Are they preaching intelligently and engagingly? This is Pepys being his eclectically curious self. It would allow him to judge the statements of others who pontificate about “how things are“ against his own observations.

RLB  •  Link

@LKvM (are you Dutch, too?) - "I to the Abby and walked there" -- wouldn't it be wonderful today to be able to just walk in and mosey around?

Last time I was there, you actually could - and St. Paul's, too. After all, they may be monuments and major works of architecture, but their main function is still what it always was: a church! Poets' Corner in the Abbey is there because Chaucer was the first famous author buried there, but he wasn't buried there because he was a famous author; but because he was a regular member of the congregation.

All these churches, for all we may think of them as important works of architecture, were first and foremost *churches* in Chaucer's time; first and foremost churches in Samuel's time; and maybe not first and foremost, but very much still are churches in our time. And yes, you can attend service there.

Mountain Man  •  Link

For the record, Geoffrey Chaucer held a tenement at the Abbey in the former Lady Chapel area beginning in 1399 and so was an Abbey resident. He had been Clerk of the King's Works and so probably had an insider's opportunity to get a nice apartment for his retirement. However, he died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey, possibly for convenience and/or because he was a resident. He was the first writer buried there, not because he was a well-known writer but because he was a royal bureaucrat.… Like Pepys, Chaucer led an active and well-documented life as a royal administrator, his day job.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Not much joy in finding a Venetian Hat. I think it probably looked something like a stocking cap with a pom. Scroll down for the pattern for a crochet cap in 1880s style but do it quickly before the link is stale.…

RLB  •  Link

@Mountain Man: and like Pepys, Chaucer was an astute observer of his fellow man.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

RLB, since LKvM probably won't find your question now ["@LKvM (are you Dutch, too?"], and I've also wondering that, so I clicked on his blue initials (all current annotators names are in blue -- it's a quick link to finding one of your efforts when you want to refer back). I found he had answered the question a couple of years ago:…

Also Phil has created "Roll Call" where annotators can write about their involvement and background. LKvM's post is at…

I may have done you a disservice by making the answers too easy to find -- poke around: there's more gold in the search than in the exact finding.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.