Tuesday 1 January 1660/61

At the end of the last and the beginning of this year, I do live in one of the houses belonging to the Navy Office, as one of the principal officers, and have done now about half a year. After much trouble with workmen I am now almost settled; my family being, myself, my wife, Jane, Will. Hewer, and Wayneman,1 my girle’s brother.

Myself in constant good health, and in a most handsome and thriving condition. Blessed be Almighty God for it. I am now taking of my sister to come and live with me. As to things of State.—The King settled, and loved of all. The Duke of York matched to my Lord Chancellor’s daughter, which do not please many. The Queen upon her return to France with the Princess Henrietta. The Princess of Orange lately dead, and we into new mourning for her.

We have been lately frighted with a great plot, and many taken up on it, and the fright not quite over. The Parliament, which had done all this great good to the King, beginning to grow factious, the King did dissolve it December 29th last, and another likely to be chosen speedily.

I take myself now to be worth 300l. clear in money, and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.

Called up this morning by Mr. Moore, who brought me my last things for me to sign for the last month, and to my great comfort tells me that my fees will come to 80l. clear to myself, and about 25l. for him, which he hath got out of the pardons, though there be no fee due to me at all out of them.

Then comes in my brother Thomas, and after him my father, Dr. Thomas Pepys, my uncle Fenner and his two sons (Anthony’s only child dying this morning, yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry) to breakfast; and I had for them a barrel of oysters, a dish of neat’s tongues, and a dish of anchovies, wine of all sorts, and Northdown ale. We were very merry till about eleven o’clock, and then they went away.

At noon I carried my wife by coach to my cozen, Thomas Pepys, where we, with my father, Dr. Thomas, cozen Stradwick, Scott, and their wives, dined. Here I saw first his second wife, which is a very respectfull woman, but his dinner a sorry, poor dinner for a man of his estate, there being nothing but ordinary meat in it. To-day the King dined at a lord’s, two doors from us. After dinner I took my wife to Whitehall, I sent her to Mrs. Pierces (where we should have dined today), and I to the Privy Seal, where Mr. Moore took out all his money, and he and I went to Mr. Pierces; in our way seeing the Duke of York bring his Lady this day to wait upon the Queen, the first time that ever she did since that great business; and the Queen is said to receive her now with much respect and love; and there he cast up the fees, and I told the money, by the same token one 100l. bag, after I had told it, fell all about the room, and I fear I have lost some of it.

That done I left my friends and went to my Lord’s, but he being not come in I lodged the money with Mr. Shepley, and bade good night to Mr. Moore, and so returned to Mr. Pierces, and there supped with them, and Mr. Pierce, the purser, and his wife and mine, where we had a calf’s head carboned,2 but it was raw, we could not eat it, and a good hen. But she is such a slut that I do not love her victualls.

After supper I sent them home by coach, and I went to my Lord’s and there played till 12 at night at cards at Best with J. Goods and N. Osgood, and then to bed with Mr. Shepley.

68 Annotations

First Reading

martha wishart  •  Link

Wow, what a year it was for Pepys. He had the good luck to fall in with the right crowd at the time of the Restoration, and has come up in the world enormously since the start of the diary. I'm looking forward to the chronicles of the next nine years.

Paul Miller  •  Link

Pepys on this first day sums up the current condition of the country and himself, upbeat on both counts.

"we had a calf's head carboned, but it was raw, we could not eat it”

It being the tradition in divers places to feast on blackeyed peas or raw calf’s head on the first day, this shows our Sam to be a fussy eater.
Just 9 more!

dirk  •  Link

"Anthony's only child dying this morning, yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry.”

And a few lines later: “We were very merry (…)”

This should remind us of the crude fact that in Sam’s time there was hardly any family where all children had survived. Some sources even suggest that on average (rich and poor families together) up to 50% of all children didn’t make it to the age of seven. This must have been so much part of life that Anthony can still be described as “pretty merry” and “merry” this morning.

By the way, 1 January was considered by virtually everybody to be the real beginning of the new year (cfr. info elsewhere on this weblog) - we see here that the family comes together for breakfast on this January 1st, so it’s obviously very much a special occasion for them too.

dirk  •  Link

"Anthony's only child dying…”

On the subject of dead siblings:

“While there are few accurate statistics for child mortality in the preindustrial world, there is evidence that as many as 30 percent of all children died before they were 14 days old. Few families survived intact. All parents expected to bury some of their children and they found it difficult to invest emotionally in such a tenuous existence as a newborn child.”


“When the loss of a child was commonplace, parents protected themselves from the emotional consequences of the death by refusing to make an emotional commitment to the infant. How else can we explain mothers who call the infant “it,” or leave dying babies in gutters, or mention the death of a child in the same paragraph with a reference to pickles?”

Both from:

Also worth a look, a more general text on the history of death in England:

E  •  Link

Sadly, in 2001 there were 10 countries with childhood mortality rates above 20% -- just think how high it must be amongst the most disadvantaged sections of their populations. We should not confuse the fact that premature deaths may be an ordinary part of life for some people with the idea that they love their families less. Would you, could you, love your child less because you knew it was likely to die?

Deaths in the precarious world of Pepys' England, just as those in the developing world now, might have a crueller edge because of the terrible hardship that could follow. The loss of a contributing adult brings the rest of the household closer to disaster. The loss of a child is the loss of part of your old-age insurance. But people's grief is for the emotional loss.

I guess that the death of Anthony's child was not unexpected, so that part of the grieving was already done. And the "pretty merry" may be meant as 'in the circumstances' and not as an absolute measure of jollity.

john lauer  •  Link

Note 2. above
refers to Henry IV - Part I, not L, of course.

vincent  •  Link

A wee bit blase about losing spilled money , I do think."..and there he cast up the fees, and I told the money, by the same token one 100l. bag, after I had told it, fell all about the room, and I fear I have lost some of it. That done I left my friends and went to my Lord's, but he being not come in I lodged the money with Mr. Shepley, and bade good night to Mr. Moore…”

vincent  •  Link

Sams Family: 11 children in 14 yrs : deaths in the family 4 alive now 7 passed on:
Mary(1627) died 13 yrs old: Pavilina died 1-2 yrs old:
Hester 2 wks old: John 9 yrs old.
Samuel survives " to tell us "wot it was like to live then".
then came Thomas "Tom" 24 1661/2 now:
Sarah 7 yrs old: Jacob ? mths old: Robert 20 yrs?:
Paulina "Pall" now 20 yrs old. registered as Phelina Peepes dau. of John Peepes and Margaret c.1840
Finally the Rev John:(1641) now 19yrs old: John was employed as Clerk of the Trinity House

language hat  •  Link

yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry
I agree with E: greater likelihood of death did not mean indifference towards one's children. I would be very surprised if Anthony's wife were merry that day. I suspect this is a case of traditional male suppression of emotion and putting up a brave front. That, or he was simply a jerk.

Harry  •  Link

yet he was so civil to come, and was pretty merry
In recent years I have attended funerals of elderly relatives, both in France and England. The reception which followed generally seemed to turn into quite a jolly cocktail party, a family reunion which gave us an opportunity to renew acquaintance with distant relatives and catch up with latest news of children etc. I don't find this shocking, and believe the dead parent would approve. For the closest relatives, having to deal with the logistics, passing round the drinks, making introductions,was a way a way of turning their minds away from their grief and a start to returning to normal life.

Mary  •  Link

The breakfast table.

The family breakfast looks like a cold collation. I wonder if these neats' tongues are the same ones that were sent as a gift on 19th December. If so, they may have been cooked, pressed and possibly preserved beneath a layer of fat (e.g. like potted shrimps) for them still to make good eating at this date.

Emilio  •  Link

Was pretty merry

My own 2d: As Vincent notes, Pepys's own family was included many many children, the bulk of whom died young. Producing many children was another effect of high mortality, of course, and the sheer strain of so many births, so many deaths, not to mention worry about Sam's own sickliness during childhood, could not have been easy on his mother. As Tomalin describes her, "Pepys's mother must have been always busy, tired, distracted or grieving for the deaths of his brothers and sisters when he was a child: soon worn out, physically and emotionally" (6).

In such a roller-coaster environment, I don't imagine anyone in the family could have been unaffected by death.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Anthony's only child dying"On the subject of infant mortality in England in the XVII century, there is a famous painting by Van Dyck,the biggest he ever painted(Lord Pembroke's Family?)in which he portrayed the family's dead children as angels on the left upper corner of the canvas.
www.geocities.com.jp/silk road

J A Gioia  •  Link

But she is such a slut that I do not love her victualls.

what a perfect holiday. roistering at breakfast; most of the party meets again down the lane for dinner. then to work, where he screws up. no worry, though, 'cause it's off to supper, with an unkind thought for the hostess, then playing cards late and crashing at the friend's pad.

i am guessing that the meaning of 'slut' has not changed much in 350 years.

MK McIntyre  •  Link

JA, actually 'slut' means something different in N America than it does in the UK. Some years ago, my boss (from Nottingham) and I were standing at the window of her jewellery store (in Toronto) as a neighbourhood regular walked by. "She's such a slut," my boss remarked absently. When she saw my eyes standing out on stalks, she laughed and explained that in England, 'slut' means a woman who is slovenly, not sexually loose.

I guess Sam is disgusted with the uncleanliness of the hostess and is having unsettling visions of the state of the kitchen.

Nothing like drinking out of an indifferently cleaned wineglass... feh.

Michael T.  •  Link

Aha! Thanks, MK McIntyre, for the info on "slut". This makes much more sense than my (American) definition of the word.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"factious, the King did dissolve it ... another to be chosen speedily"
How quickly we forget!
Three days ago Sam's diary failed even to note Parliament's dissolution (proroguing?), yet even as Sam so concisely takes stock of his and the nation's rollercoaster ride, sudden wild success brings its own problems. Less than seven months earlier (May), the distraught nation was begging for Charles to return, but evidently so much power and money have changed hands there's already infighting. Does Sam's entry mean he shrewdly suspects this will only get worse?

PHE  •  Link

Despite the scandal of the Duke of York's marriage to the Lord Chancellor's daughter, it was one that produced two future monarchs - Mary as in 'William & Mary' (1688 to 1694) and then Queen Anne, her sister (1702 to 1714). [Note: W & M - only English monarchy where both King and Queen were joint heads of state. Mary died in 1694, leaving William to rule alone. ]

Glyn  •  Link

I told the money ... after I had told it, fell all about the room, and I fear I have lost some of it.

"Tell" in the old sense meaning "to count". See David's annotation from almost exactly a year ago:


I suppose he couldn't find all of the gold sovereigns because they had rolled into the cracks between the floorboards. This is an amusing incident - I'm surprised he didn't do an immediate recount, but perhaps it was only a very little amount missing.

Nigel Pond  •  Link


I think the "slovenly" meaning has now fallen from common usage in the UK. The US meaning seems to have won the day, at least in my experience (!)

Mary  •  Link

more sluts.

The OED cites both 'slattern' and 'woman of low or loose character' as senses of the word in use since the 15th Century. Interestingly, a slut was also (but more rarely) a kitchen-maid or drudge and could also be used to indicate a female dog.

Nigel may be right about the current trend towards the US interpretation of the word in UK, but I would guess that this is more common amongst the young than it is (yet) a general shift of meaning. 'Slut' and 'slag' are not quite equivalent terms yet.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Slut" and "slag" are not quite equivalent terms yet.

‘Slag’ in the sense that I infer (a woman of low or loose character) is a new term to me, an American who is only familiar with the word as describing a byproduct of metalurgy.

Grahamt  •  Link

Wow! A year already.
Doesn't time fly when you are enjoying yourself. Bring on the next 9.
So far I have followed Sam's adventures from London, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco and various places in Switzerland. Thank goodness for Internet cafés. I couldn’t survive without my fix, even if I have a few days to catch up sometimes.
Re: Slut. Yes, there is a definite move in meaning in my lifetime from slattern -> slag in British English. Sluttish still means slovernly, dirty rather than morally loose, I think.

helena murphy  •  Link

Sam now takes coaches more often,has come to be quite a connaisseur of good food and drink,mingles with lords and ladies,Lauderdale,Inchiquin,Sandwich,never fails to mention the proximity of a royal presence,reaches out to the extended family and enriches himself as lfe is still uncertain and precarious in which one could also end up in disgrace."We have been lately frightened with a great plot"underlines the tension felt by ordinary people at the prospect of political and social upheaval,similar to our own fears when countries are on red and orange alert albeit from a different kind of threat.He dresses well,has a tasteful house with fine furniture and books ,a pretty wife who speaks French and a couple of servants.This meteoric rise is well deserved and owes as much to his parents,his school and his university as it does to the patronage of Sandwich and the climate of the Restoration .

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

And, when called for, late hours and plenty of them hard at work whether in the office, at sea or on an inspection trip to the boatyards, etc.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

Regarding the joint monarchy of William and Mary - don't forget that William III of Orange had a reasonable claim to the crown in his own right, being nephew of Charles II through Charles' sister Mary's marriage to William II of Orange. He was therefore the nearest thing to a legitimate male heir, since neither Charles II, his sister Henrietta (wife of Philippe duc d'Orleans) nor James II left one. William's wife Mary, daughter of James II, was thus also his cousin.

john lauer  •  Link

infoplease: slag -n. Brit. Slang. an abusive woman.

dirk  •  Link

Anthony's dying child

I certainly don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but reactions to my previous annotations seem charged with emotion - and understandably so, but we should refrain from judgment by 21st century standards, and try to approach this with some sense of historical distance. While mothers (AND fathers!) will of course have grieved for a child that didn't make it, this grief may (I think) have been dampened to a considerable extent by the presence of death as a **very real** possibility at the time of birth, or shortly after. I can imagine this could trigger a psychological defense mechanism: something which might be described as "delayed bonding".

This would't mean that parents didn't love their babies, or didn't grieve for them at all if they died, but in a sense that they delayed the **full** implications of the love for their child until they were reasonably certain that it would live. The known fact that at or around the time of birth there was a 30% probability of the baby dying within days would leave the parents in a completely different "frame of mind" than parents in our time.

Let's not forget that nowadays when a baby is born, there is nothing farther from our mind than the idea that the child might die (except in the very rare cases where there are severe medical complications). This implies that if the baby then **unexpectedly** does die the shock of being confronted with a fact of life we had **not at all** taken into account is far greater.

Is there somebody around on the Pepys blog with sufficient professional psychological knowledge to confirm or reject my interpretation?

dirk  •  Link

dead children portrayed as angels

It was quite customary to do this in 16th and 17th century family portraits. The association of young children who had died and angels is an old tradition, probably derived from the notion that a young child's soul would obviously not (yet) be loaded with any serious sins, and therefore pure like an angel.

In Roman catholic rites a funeral mass for a child is still sometimes called an "Angelic Mass". I don't know about anglican ritual, but maybe there is an equivalent?

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

I think Dirk is right here. I remember reading, when I was pregnant, that even today situations such as premature birth, recovery from caesarean, or medical complications may delay bonding. I also remember a friend whose second baby was very premature saying to me that, during the time when there was such an imminent danger that he might die, she felt she somehow had to put her maternal emotions 'on hold' until it was clear that he would pull through.

Nix  •  Link

Slut vs. Slag --

OED definitions (minus the citations, with one notable exception):


1. a. A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern.

b. A kitchen-maid; a drudge. rare.

c. A troublesome or awkward creature. Obs.1

2. a. A woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade.

b. In playful use, or without serious imputation of bad qualities.

1664 PEPYS Diary 21 Feb., Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily.

3. A female dog; a bitch. Also attrib., as slut-pup. ?orig. U.S.

4. a. A piece of rag dipped in lard or fat and used as a light.

b. The guttering of a candle.

5. Special collocations, as slut's corner, a corner left uncleaned by a sluttish person; also fig.; slut-, slut's-hole, a place or receptacle for rubbish; also fig.; slut's-pennies, hard pieces in a loaf due to imperfect kneading of the dough; slut's wool, the fluff or dust left on the floor, etc., by a sluttish servant or person.


1. A piece of refuse matter (see 2) separated from a metal in the process of smelting.

2. a. A vitreous substance, composed of earthy or refuse matter, which is separated from metals in the process of smelting, often used in the construction of roads; any similar product resulting from the fusion or distillation of other substances. (Cf. SCORIA 1.)

b. With specific epithets, as basic, grey, sharp.

3. Geol. A rough clinker-like lump of lava (see quot. 1879); lava in this form. (Cf. SCORIA 2.)

4. local. (See quots.)

5. slang. a. A worthless or insignificant person (freq. used as a term of contempt): spec. (a) a coward; (b) a rough or brutal person; (c) any objectionable or contemptible person; (d) a vagrant or a petty criminal; also, such persons collectively; (e) (the most usual sense) a prostitute or promiscuous woman; a slattern.

b. Worthless matter, rubbish; nonsense.

6. attrib. a. In sense "consisting or composed of slag", as slag-bed, -brick, -cement, slag-dump, -heap (also fig.), inclusion, -mound, -tip, wool, etc.

b. In other uses, as slag-car, -furnace, etc. slag notch, a hole in a furnace, above the level of the molten metal, which can be unstopped to let out slag.

7. Comb., as slag-burner, etc.; slag-molten adj.

helena murphy  •  Link

James II did have a son born in June 1688 from his marriage to Mary of Modena ,thus invalidating Mary of Orange's claim to the throne from Jame's first marriage to Anne Hyde. As the birth of his son guaranteed a Catholic succession to the throne,certain elites in England found this unacceptable and therefore turned to his daughter Mary and her husband as the alternative, if not the legitimate heirs.Their acceptance of the crown was to have profound repercussions throughout the British Isles in the centuries that followed leading to bloodshed and sectarianism.Claire Tomalin deals with the birth of the legitemate heir in "Samuel Pepys The Unequalled Self."

Laura K  •  Link

infant mortality rate and parents' emotional investment

I have read in many places (though I can't site anything now) that the belief that in past centuries people were less emotionally invested in their children (because there was the great possibility of their death) is a modern myth with no basis in reality.

Many accounts from American pioneers and immigrants, who of course experienced a very high rate of infant and child mortality, tell of tremendous grieving. The analogy to third world countries - and, horribly, to poor communities in otherwise wealthy countries - is very apt.

I agree with E and LH. This man Anthony may have been merry under the circumstances, or a total jerk, or perhaps the loss hadn't sunk in yet (denial). Sometimes a death doesn't seem real until some time passes.

Glyn  •  Link

Anthony's dead child

I'm going to assume that he is keeping a stiff upper lip and restraining his emotions to attend what is a semi-official occasion.

Two things to note are that his wife didn't attend - so perhaps it was in or soon after childbirth, or perhaps she was more affected.

And that this is Anthony's and his wife's ONLY child. They would have invested a lot of hope in anticipating their first-born with no guarantee that there would be another - or perhaps this is not their first-born and the others have also died. Childlessness (as in the case of Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys) was something to be feared, so I think that he would have been hit by this event even if was not something particularly unusual.

Glyn  •  Link

But is Anthony's wife one of the "bad wives" mentioned on December 29?

Pauline  •  Link

his wife didn't attend
Doesn’t sound like any wives attended. A breakfast for the men in the family.

Mary  •  Link

Glyn, it certainly looks like it.

Two Fenner girls (nieces of Sam's mother) married the Joyce brothers, Anthony and William. Sam had no great opinion of the brothers and his father plainly didn't think much of their wives either. Happy families!

Gar Foyer  •  Link

sluttish, slatternly, such a slut, etc....

Nix's OED slang summary caught most of the most common uses:

5. slang. a. A worthless or insignificant person (freq. used as a term of contempt): spec. (a) a coward; (b) a rough or brutal person; (c) any objectionable or contemptible person; (d) a vagrant or a petty criminal; also, such persons collectively; (e) (the most usual sense) a prostitute or promiscuous woman; a slattern.

'Remember Dickens' (and his characters') use of the term in Oliver Twist particularly in lieu of drudge...lowborn, menial women were often (ill) used for many purposes and addressed with contempt--both by themselves and their immediate associates as well as others who dealt with them socially.

I'd say that the only two legitimate non-demeaning slang uses of slut were for a female dog and in jest or affection, as in 'she's such a slut'

Daniel  •  Link

Nasty, brutish, and short:

Well, it is not that hard to find a citation to support dirk's comments regarding family bonding in the 17th century:

"Even if the parents had been around, it doesn't appear that it would have mattered very much. The parents basically ignored them. They were rarely sung to, and never played with. Mothers did not even refer to their children by name. They would call them "it" or "the creature." They typically did not know their children's ages.

Sure, we can explain some of this by high infant mortality: parents will be reluctant to form strong emotional bonds with children who are probably going to die. But it goes way beyond this.

1. Parents would typically not attend an infant's funeral (an older child's they would, however).

2. Dead and even dying infants (possibly illegitimate) were often simply discarded like refuse and were frequently noticed "lying in the gutters or rotting on the dungheaps"-while still alive, mind you.

3. Many legitimate infants were abandoned outside churches or foundling homes. Possibly one half of infants abandoned in France in the 18th century were abandoned by intact families."


vincent  •  Link

Remember the adage "children may be seen but not heard."
Some children are wanted, some are tolerated, some are there by accident, and others fill the streets and byways.

Katherine Sturtevant  •  Link

I don't see how a categorical statement such as "children were never sung to" could possibly be true. The OED says the word "lullaby," used in the sense "a song or soothing refrain to pacify or put a child to sleep" entered the language in the late 16th c.

Carolina  •  Link

Never sung to;
Again, the mistake is being made of 20-21C sensibilities being applied where they do not belong, 17C.
I suspect that, harsh as it may sound, a lot of poor peasants were not unhappy that their infants died. Fewer mouths to feed and worry about. The rich had their nannies and wet nurses and extra places at the table; they probably invented the lullaby.

dirk  •  Link

children in the 17th century

It was not my intention to divide the annotators into two opposing camps. Let's not generalize either way, but just allow for the possibility that our modern 21st century view may not always hold in the 17th century. Even in Sam's time though no two individuals or families were exactly alike. There will have been parents who cared as much for their children as modern parents do (most of the time, that is - even today we can't generalize), but sources seem to suggest that the opposite also was true in many cases. There's no way to know where Anthony fits in, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

Xjy  •  Link

Value of kids and lullabies
The need to breastfeed would mean immediate bonding if the mother herself did it.
Discarding babies (infanticide) is an act of extreme desperation. People vary enormously in their self-judgements with respect to such acts, some are crushed by guilt, others discount it as due to external compulsion.
Lullabies are universal in human society -- preliterate societies have plenty of documented examples (the one I have in mind is the Finnish Kanteletar collection of folksong, documented in the mid-19th century, but there are eg Serbian examples too).
As for "sentimental" scenes involving small kids and parents, try the Hector/Andromache/Astyanax scene (on the wall of Troy before the great final battles) on for size (Iliad VI 466-489, end of Book 6). This is from at least 2,800 years ago.
Callous attitudes to kids abound in our own society, too. It's just that we have more euphemistic ways of leaving people to rot in the gutter.

Thierry Depaulis  •  Link

"played till 12 at night at cards at Best..."

Best = la beste (17th-c. spelling), a French card game then fashionable also in England.

Also described by Willughby.

ruud govers  •  Link

through downloading I find it most enchanting to relive my first aquaintance with Pepýs' diary!

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

A SLUT, a nasty, slatternly Woman
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

[the only definition]

Bill  •  Link

"where we had a calf’s head carboned"

CARBONADO [Carbonate, F.] a Stake broiled on the Coals.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

Another carbonado reference from Shakespeare (King Lear):

KENT: Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part against the royalty of her father: draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks: draw, you rascal; come your ways.

arby  •  Link

Thanks and Happy New Year to Phil and all the Pepys peeps, both past and present.

Louise  •  Link

After supper I sent them home by coach, and I went to my Lord’s and there played till 12 at night at cards at Best with J. Goods and N. Osgood, and then to bed with Mr. Shepley.


I take myself now to be worth 300l. clear in money, and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.

In 2012, the relative value of £300   0s   0d from 1661ranges from £35,950.00 to £7,206,000.00.
A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is £35,950.00. This answer is obtained by multiplying £300.00 by the percentage increase in theRPI from 1661 to 2012.


Looks as if he was soung pretty well. Probably closer to the  £7,206,000.00 figure.

Tonyel  •  Link

The attitude towards infant mortality was common many years later. In the 1911 census my grandparents' entry shows two children plus seven deceased children. The fact that they were required to list the number of dead children shows the official attitude that still applied and which was, presumably, accepted as normal.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Thank you Louise for this useful link. The important number to remember is the Retail Price Index multiplier which = x110 to 2 significant figures for 1660-2011. So it would cost c. £33,000 to buy now £300-worth of 1660 goods.

Accumulating the £300 then was much much harder than getting £33,000 is now. Average money earnings have increased x1700, so getting £300 then can be compared to getting £510,000 now - if you find this helpful.

Average ‘real’ earnings have x1700/110 = x15 to 2 significant figures thanks to the Industrial Revolution now 250 years old and still going strong. This multiplier is so large that it makes comparisons of this sort impossible to interpret with any confidence.

Remember that these averages conceal huge variations over short periods relative to the 350 years 1660-now, house prices being one here in the UK: I live in a London flat valued now at c. x45 what I paid for it in 1973, whereas the RPI multiplier is c. x10.

joe fulm  •  Link

I noticed when Pepys was going through his household he does not include the newly acquired cat. Moreover when he is listing work improvements to the house, the mouse catcher still doesn't get a nod. Perhaps in that era of high infant mortality, felines didn't acquire nominal mention nor were ever entered in the familial circle of inclusion. Lets just hope it was fed well (perhaps a bit of uncooked calf's head as a treat) and lived long.

Pandora  •  Link

Cats: People most likely did not treat pets or animals the way they do these days. Cats were for catching mice and dogs were generally for protection. I suppose people developed a fondness for them and gave them a scratch behind the ears now and then but they were still a utility, an animal. Even the human servants were not treated as equals, so that is enough to tell us that it is highly unlikely that an animal would be better treated as family than a servant.

Plus, a well fed cat is less likely to want to catch mice, so I doubt very much they gave him too many table scraps.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"The Parliament, which had done all this great good to the King, beginning to grow factious, the King did dissolve it December 29th last, and another likely to be chosen speedily."

I read this as Pepys saying that BECAUSE the Parliament had begun to grow factious it was dissolved (not "prorogued"): http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…

L&M note elections were held the following spring, and the new parliament met on 8 May. The old parliament's offense was not its factiousness (which the Government mostly controlled) but its illegal origin as a convention summoned before the return of the King.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To-day the King dined at a lord’s, two doors from us."

He had just attended the christening of the Duke of York's child (Charles, Duke of Cambridge) at Worcester House in the Strand: Kingd, Intell., 7 January, p.2. In the first few months of his restoration the King often dined or supped at the London houses of the nobility. See Rugge, i, passim. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... in our way seeing the Duke of York bring his Lady this day to wait upon the Queen, the first time that ever she did since that great business; and the Queen is said to receive her now with much respect and love; ..."

On New Year's Day, 1661, Anne Hyde, the clandestine bride of James, Duke of York, was formally received at court. Rupert and Edward dined with the rest of the Royal family, in public; and on this occasion there was a most unseemly contest between the Roman chaplain of Queen Mother Henrietta Maria, and the Anglican chaplain of Charles II, for the honor of saying grace. In struggling through the crowd assembled to see the King dine, the Anglican priest fell down, and the Roman gained the table first and said grace. His victory was greeted by the disorderly courtiers with shouts of laughter. "The King's chaplain and the Queen's priest ran a race to say grace," they declared, "and the chaplain was floored, and the priest won."[8]

[8] Strickland's Henrietta Maria, Queens of England, VIII. p. 232. From MSS. of Père Cyprian Gamache.

Excerpted from Rupert, Prince Palatine
Late Scholar of Somerville College, Oxford

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"We have been lately frighted with a great plot, and many taken up on it, and the fright not quite over."

L&M: This was Overton's Plot: see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…
The Privy Council was still busy taking countermeasures: R. S. Bosher, Making of Restoration settlement, 205-6.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Called up this morning by Mr. Moore, who brought me my last things for me to sign for the last month, and to my great comfort tells me that my fees will come to 80l. clear to myself, and about 25l. for him, which he hath got out of the pardons, though there be no fee due to me at all out of them."

L&M: Pepys and Moore acted as Sandwich's deputies at the Privy Seal;: for their fees, see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/… In December 1660 Pepys had signed 'a deadly number' of free pardons: see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

BREAKFAST: One of only 46 mentions of this meal in the entire diary. Most of the time Pepys either ignores the subject or mentions drinking a morning draught.

In the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas identified “eating too soon” as one of the six subtypes of gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, and those who indulged in breakfast may have been assumed to nurse other “lusty appetites” as well, …

There were some exceptions: Children, the elderly, and sick people got a pass, and laborers who needed calories for the workday would’ve eaten bread, cheese, and ale. But the healthy and well-to-do either abstained or lied about their boorish breakfast habits, possibly getting their fix inside bedchambers with only servants as witnesses.

In time, the prohibition softened. By the late 1500s, Queen Elizabeth was known to eat a breakfast of ale and oat cakes. Coffee and tea — introduced to Europe through trade in the 17th century — became wildly popular, and the Church ultimately loosened breakfast restrictions which most people were already ignoring anyways.

Coincidentally, the 15th and 16th centuries were a boom time for egg recipes, when those who couldn’t afford meat could raise hens on little land. The Church even removed eggs from the list of animal foods not to be eaten during Lent.

By 1620, English medical writer Dr. Tobias Venner* was recommending two poached eggs sprinkled with vinegar as a healthy breakfast — although still with the caveat that this wasn’t strictly necessary for sedentary people, students, or anyone between the ages of 25 and 60.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that breakfast came into its own as a distinct and openly celebrated meal.

* Tobias Venner (1577–1660), an English physician and medical writer born near North Petherton, Somerset. He was known for writing books aimed at the general public, and his promotion of thermal bathing, particularly in the city of Bath.

Excerpted from: https://www.health.com/syndicatio…

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

With regard to all the comments above regarding infant or child mortality, it is worth noting that James, Duke of York, and Anne Hyde had eight children, and today King Charles II attended the christening of the first one, a boy, Charles, Duke of Cambridge.
That child died, and only two of their eight children lived to be adults. Both were girls, and both became queens: Mary and Anne.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In Tudor and Stuart times, personal gifts were given at New Year rather than at Christmas.
This is a 17th Century dance called "New Year's Gift" from Thomas Middleton's Inner Temple Masque, or "Masque of Heroes", 1619. The composer is unknown.

From BL Add. 10444
Alison Kinder: bass viol
Tamsin Lewis: violin

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

At least one of the Thomases Pepyses (the Dr., we surmise) has cause to be merry tonight: On its last day, one of the many pieces of business that Parliament dispatched was to "report a List of Debts, charged by this Parliament, and yet unsatisfied", toward their repayment out of Excise revenue. A "Thomas Pepis" is in there, along with 577 other people (list at https://www.british-history.ac.uk…), with £203 19s. 2d. to his name. It's the 287th largest amount, so nothing extravagant and he'll probably have to take a ticket to be paid out, but, even if he never sees the cash, there's always something to be made out of being officially owed money by the State. And hey, it's two thirds of Sam's net worth. So Tommy should pay the drinks.

This should also not keep us from wishing everyone a happy new year. This to apply both to Old Style in the Pepys frame of reference, and New Style for anyone on the different plane of the Universe where we seem to find ourselves.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

£300 in 1660 would be worth about $70,000 today.

A father could be much more cavalier about a dead child than a mother who would have been physically close to the child from birth. Fathers probably paid very little attention to babies and children until perhaps when they were ready for school, and then only sons.
Apparently it didn’t occur to Anthony to stay with the mother of their only child to comfort her in her grief.

RLB  •  Link

It is possible that Anthony is only keeping a brave face. Being, apparently, a man of not always mentally happy disposition in the first place, he may well have learnt to be quite good at that.

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