Sunday 6 January 1660/61

(Lord’s day).

My wife and I to church this morning, and so home to dinner to a boiled leg of mutton all alone.

To church again, where, before sermon, a long Psalm was set that lasted an hour, while the sexton gathered his year’s contribucion through the whole church.

After sermon home, and there I went to my chamber and wrote a letter to send to Mr. Coventry, with a piece of plate along with it, which I do preserve among my other letters.

So to supper, and thence after prayers to bed.

21 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

"...My wife and I to church this morning,..." is this not the first mention of SP and his significant other, attending the first Morning Service together. {now that they have a responsible person in charge of the kitchen.}

vincent  •  Link

"...To church again, where, before sermon, a long Psalm was set that lasted an hour, while the sexton gathered his year's contribucion through the whole church…”
I wonder how many contributed , any Ideas of how many filled the pews and and standing areas. Of course this would a special day, especial for they are collecting the years dues[fees]

In the fourth century, December 25 was finally adopted by the Western Christian Church as the date of the Feast of Christ’s birth. It is believed that this change in date gave rise to the tradition of the “12 Days of Christmas.” While the Western Christian Church celebrates December 25th, the Eastern Christian Church to this day recognizes January 6 as the celebration of the nativity. January 6 was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem. In the Teutonic west, Epiphany became the Festival of the Three Kings (i.e. the Magi), or simply Twelfth day.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'which I do preserve among my other letters' - have other papers of Sam's come down to us, where these letters might be held?

Patrick Blake  •  Link

I wonder which Psalm it was whose setting lasted an hour. Maybe it only seemed so to Sam. I can remember some pretty longish (and tedious) ones from those days when I sang in an Anglican choir. What was likely the setting? Plainsong, Anglican version, or some more baroque rendition?

Mary  •  Link

' among my other letters.'

(per L&M footnote). Preserved in a book of drafts or copies, but neither the book nor the letter has come to light.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Probably Psalm 119, the longest in the Psalter with 176 verses finishing "I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands." No doubt there would have been some 'lost sheep' who had lost the plot over the previous 175 verses. Most likely sung, as Psalms still are in the more traditional of situations.

PHE  •  Link

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas today (7th Jan)which remains 25th Dec in their calendar (Julian calendar?)- the same as used in England at Pepys's time. We changed to the Greogorian calendar in 1750 - (see Background info/Gen ref/Calendar)at which time the shift was about 10 days, now slipped to 13. Thus Sam's Christmas would have fallen on about our 4th Jan.

Christo  •  Link

Not 10 days but 11: 'England (and its colonies) did not adopt the new calendar until 1752, and the fuss was even more massive than it had been on the Continent. Mobs gathered, shouting "Give us back our eleven days" - having waited long enough to change over that an extra day had to be dropped. Lest this strike you as needless fuss, Clio would like to point out that landlords, for example, were insisting on charging a full month's rent on a nineteen-day month. Human nature never changes.'…

daniel  •  Link

still, a psalm setting of an hour's elngth is extreme even by longer-winded 19th century standards. having performed quite a bit of mid-17th century church music, a typical "full-anthem" style setting runs about 15 minutes at most.
perhaps S.P.had listened to several psalms that all being so indifferently set, seemed to be one unending piece!

vincent  •  Link

Question: Why the the big collection then? if this was not special day.

Mary  •  Link

The sexton's collection.

Today marks the feast of the Epiphany, kings bringing gifts etc. Perhaps adjudged a suitable day for the sexton to receive his contributions too.

dirk  •  Link

The lost days of the calendar

Just to clear up a few points...

When pope Gregory XIII reformed the calendar in 1582 (or rather had it reformed) the spring equinox, the astronomical beginning of spring, fell on March 11th - whereas it should have fallen on the 25th according to calendar usage at the time (as in the Roman calendar). Gregory ordered a correction by 10 days though - and not 14 - so that spring would now begin on the 21st of March. The official reason for this change was that in 325 AD, during the Nicaea Council the spring equinox fell on March 21st, and this was supposed to honour that vitally important church council.

It has been suggested that his motivation may (i.a.) have been to finally break the link between Christmas (December 25th - previously the beginning of winter) and the new beginning of winter (now on the 21st), traditionally an occasion for a long period of feasting (cfr. the "12 days"), going back to heathen times. If that was the case, he didn't fully succeed!

So, when Gregory ordered a correction by 10 days in stead of 14, four days were really "lost", astronomically speaking. When England finally conformed to the continental calendar in 1752, it actually "lost" four days more than everybody thought, 15 days in stead of 11 - these four days were "hidden away" in the difference between the original beginning of winter (Dec.25th) and the new beginning of winter (Dec.21st).

vincent  •  Link

"lost time" we are still tinkering with the the odd second here and there. Why can't the earth rotate at nice mathematical pace?

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Vincent, but as we know, mathematics is an art not a science, so let's just call it artistic license...

Doug Atkinson  •  Link

Could it be that the sexton was just collecting today because it's the first Sunday of the year? (Popularly if not legally or liturgically.)

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Rev. Ralph Josselin of Earls Colne, Essex, writes his first diary entry for the year:

Jan: 6: God good to me and mine in manifold outward mercies for which my soul praises him, this lords day morning a troop of horse marched by. gods worship is nothing with them I fear, lord settle truth and peace in this nation. god was good to me in the word, though my heart very dead and unprepared to meet with and follow him, the lord accept me and do me good. my dear wife ill with a pain in her side, which put me in fear, but I hope in god its only a wind that troubles her to quicken us in the sense of our weakness.


Cryssa Bazos has published an article which explains why the good Rev. Ralph's observations during the coming years are important, which I highly recommend:


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thank you, Terry -- it took me months to get the hang of posting links. Everyone was very patient with me, so feel free to do likewise.


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


6 January, 1661.

Dr. Allestree preached at the Abbey, after which 4 Bishops were consecrated, Hereford, Norwich, ... [I THINK THIS MEANS EVELYN INTENDED TO ADD THE OTHER NAMES, BUT NEVER GOT AROUND TO IT]

This night was suppressed a bloody insurrection of some FIFTH-MONARCHY ENTHUSIASTS. Some of them were examined at the Council the next day; but could say nothing to extenuate their madness and unwarrantable zeal.

I was now chosen (and nominated by his Majesty for one of the Council), by suffrage of the rest of the members, a Fellow of the Philosophic Society now meeting at Gresham College, where was an assembly of divers learned gentlemen. This being the first meeting since the King's return; but it had been begun some years before at Oxford, and was continued with interruption here in London during the Rebellion.

There was another rising of the fanatics, in which some were slain.


This was Venner’s Uprising; Pepys tells more about it tomorrow.…

Dr. Richard Allestree (1619-1681) =…

Edward Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich =…

Herbert Croft, Bishop of Hereford =…

Fellow of the Philosophic Society, he’s made a member of what will be referred to as the Royal Society for the rest of the Diary =…

Fanatics =…

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

The pictures and other information about diarist Josselin were most welcome.
In 2023 the Eastern Orthodox [Catholic] Church officially changed the date of their Christmas (the Feast of the Nativity) to December 25th.

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