Monday 28 January 1660/61

At the office all the morning; dined at home, and after dinner to Fleet Street, with my sword to Mr. Brigden (lately made Captain of the Auxiliaries) to be refreshed, and with him to an ale-house, where I met Mr. Davenport; and after some talk of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw’s bodies being taken out of their graves to-day,1 I went to Mr. Crew’s and thence to the Theatre, where I saw again “The Lost Lady,” which do now please me better than before; and here I sitting behind in a dark place, a lady spit backward upon me by a mistake, not seeing me, but after seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it at all. Thence to Mr. Crew’s, and there met Mr. Moore, who came lately to me, and went with me to my father’s, and with him to Standing’s, whither came to us Dr. Fairbrother, who I took and my father to the Bear and gave a pint of sack and a pint of claret.

He do still continue his expressions of respect and love to me, and tells me my brother John will make a good scholar. Thence to see the Doctor at his lodging at Mr. Holden’s, where I bought a hat, cost me 35s. So home by moonshine, and by the way was overtaken by the Comptroller’s coach, and so home to his house with him. So home and to bed. This noon I had my press set up in my chamber for papers to be put in.

50 Annotations

First Reading

Michael L  •  Link

"A lady spit backward upon me by a mistake, not seeing me, but after seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it at all."

Well, this certainly gets my vote for the funniest line in the diary to date.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a lady spit ...upon me.....I was not trouble at it at all" I wonder if he is into spanking as well!

Michael L  •  Link

One of the (several) funny things about the line is that the event was considered significant enough to write down in his diary several hours later. If this accidentally happened to me, I probably would have forgotten all about it after 15 minutes. But apparently it made a bigger impression on Pepys. Yes, it's evidence of his careful observation. But there seems to be something deeper as well that makes it also worth his further consideration.

Bradford  •  Link

If said expectorator had been ill-favored, squint-eyed, with a liverish cast to the countenance . . . wot then?

The Bishop  •  Link

Cromwell - leader of the faction who had Charles I tried and executed.

Henry Ireton - the #2 after Cromwell

John Bradshaw - judge who presided over the trial of charles I

Thomas Pride - the minor officer who forced the less radical members of Parliament out so that the remaining 'rump' could go forward with plans to try the king.

Emilio  •  Link

The Lost Lady

Disagreeable things do tend to happen to Sam at this play: caught by his own clerks on the 19th, when they were in a better seat than his own, and now actually spat upon. However nice it might have been to make the lady's acquaintance, maybe it's time for him to find another play and cut his losses.

Emilio  •  Link

L&M has a couple of differences in the text for today

"to an ale-house, where I met Mr. Davenport": Sam apparently wrote the name as Damport rather than Davenport, although L&M do think he refers to John Davenport of Brampton, Hunts. He only shows up in the diary this year before stepping back into the mists of history.

More significantly, Mr. Moore actually "came lately to towne" rather than "to me". "Lately" is also a longhand correction over shorthand "yesterday". Mr. Moore was last seen on 4 Jan., and in the last 3 weeks perhaps he has been travelling on business for Montagu.

daniel  •  Link

how important would the hanging of criminals' corpes be in the eyes of all the people of London at this time, I wonder? was it but a legal requirement justifiable by law or something every citizen would have bayed for out of a sense of vendetta?

Emilio  •  Link

"had my press set up"

This is a sense of the word "press" I hadn't been aware of, so here's the definition from the OED and some of the earlier example sentences:

IV. 15. A large (usually shelved) cupboard, esp. one placed in a recess in the wall, for holding clothes, books, etc.; in Scotland, also for provisions, victuals, plates, dishes, and other table requisites. Cf. clothes-press I. Also attrib.

c 1386 Chaucer Miller's T. 26 His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed. 1398 Trevisa Barth. De P.R. xviii. cv. (1495) gg iv/I Whanne the cloth is to longe in presse & thicke ayre. a 1533 Ld. Berners Huon cxi. 384 There were presses . . in the whiche presses were gownes and robes of fyne golde, and ryche mantelles furryd with sabyls. 1552 in Bury Wills (Camden) 142, I gyve her my newe cubbord with the presse in yt and too great books the Bybyll and the New Testament, with the Booke of the Kings Statuts. 1598 Shaks. Merry W. III. iii. 26 In the house, & in the chambers, and in the coffers, and in the presses.

dirk  •  Link

1£ value today

(see background info - values today):
“£90.54 in the year 2002 has the same purchasing power as £1 in the year 1660.”

Admittedly this kind of conversion has its flaws - it’s usually based on averages and doesn’t take into account shifts in relative values between products in the consumption package - but it gives a usable general indication.

dirk  •  Link

"the hanging of a criminal's corpse"

Usually referred to as "gibbeting" (the word "gibbet", originally just another word for gallows, came to refer to the custom made steel cage sometimes used for this purpose).

This "post mortem" punishment was part of the normal procedure for some crimes (i.a. regicide).

"Prior to 1834, where the courts wished to make a particular example of a criminal they could order the additional punishment of gibbeting. After the hanging the prisoner would be stripped and their body dipped into molten pitch or tar and then, when it had cooled, be placed into an iron cage that surrounded the head, torso and upper legs. The cage was riveted together and then suspended from either the original gallows or a purpose built gibbet. The body was then left as a grim reminder to local people and could stay on the gibbet for a year or so until it rotted away or was eaten by birds etc."

Some more details on the gibbeting of Cromwell's body:
"Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, died in 1658, was embalmed and buried in Westminster Abbey after a lavish funeral. After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, his body was disinterred and taken to Tyburn where it was gibbeted* until sundown. The Public Executioner cut down the body and cut off the head which was then impaled on a 25 foot pole on the roof of Westminster Hall. It remained there for over 24 years until 1685 when it was dislodged during a gale. A soldier found the head and hid it in his chimney. On his deathbed, he bequeathed the relic to his daughter. In 1710 the head appeared in a 'Freak Show', described as 'The Monster's Head'! For many years the head passed through numerous hands, the value increasing with each transaction until a Dr. Wilkinson bought it."

andy  •  Link

Good job the very pretty lady wasn't the one-eyed Frenchman he met in a Hansom cab....

Firenze  •  Link

'press' - what would now be called an airing cupboard was always referred to in our house as the 'hot press'.

PHE  •  Link

Interesting reference here. Does the term refer exclusively to red Bourdeaux as it does today? Bourdeaux was certainly a principal supplier of wine to England at the time. (very mild spolier...) Sometime later in the diary, Sam refers to drinking Haut Brion (still an available Bourdeax wine), this being reported as the first ever written reference to a French wine by its chateau. (more comment on wine in background info).

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

"...with my sword to Mr. Brigden ... to be refreshed...

Sam bought his sword from Brigden only ten months ago, on 22nd. March, 1659/60, so how much 'refreshing' it would now need I'm not sure. I suspect refreshing means resharpening, perhaps a wise move in light of recent goings-

David Duff  •  Link

Does anyone know if spitting was accepted behaviour amongst the gentry? In other words was the "lady" really a lady or was Sam being generous?

David  •  Link

Press - this word for cupboard is still in fairly common use in some parts of Ireland today.

Orrin  •  Link

Value of money.
I was just watching a documentary on the History Channel last night, and the statement was made that at the beginning of the 18th century (40 years after today's entry). a middle class family could live in London for about £100 per annum

Orrin  •  Link

Sam's sword edge. I was reading a novel about Napoleonic cavalry, and the protagonist would wince when swords were drawn from metal scabbards. That metallic shriek you hear as the sword comes out is the edge of the sword being dulled. (This doesn't apply to wooden or leather scabbards of course, or at least not to the same extent.)

On the other hand, did Sam ever have it sharpened in the first place?

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Value of money

"£90.54 in the year 2002 has the same purchasing power as £1 in the year 1660."

That’s a bit too precise, don’t you think? Nevertheless, the observation that 100L a year was a middle-class income in London c. 1700 would seem to validate the relative scale of 60(per Vincent) to 90 (see above) to 1.

These comparisons are fascinating, and well worth pursuing, but more is involved than than shifts in relative values: you couldn’t puchase electric light at any price in 1660, for example. In that respect, and in others, relatively poor people may be better off today than the middle class, or even the rich, in 1660.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"... at Mr. Holden’s, where I bought a hat, cost me 35s."

Another data point. Using the scale of 60-90 to one for the value of the pound in 1661 relative to 2004, this hat cost Sam L105 to L157/6 in today's prices. By way of comparison, Bates in Jermyn St. advertises felt hats for L98 to L132, and bowlers at about L150. Going slightly up-market, James Lock of St. James's St. offers felt hats for about L140 and bowlers for L195. The pricey hat seems consistent with Sam's dandified taste in clothing. The Economist magazine promotes its "Big Mac Index" to estimate relative prices across the contempoary world. Perhaps we could propose a "Pepys Index" to look at the same question over the centuries?

vincent  •  Link

Value of money. It changes your life style:this time last year he did plays : but they were cards and his " flagolotte" now he spends his spare time watching others play. 'Tis the power of money:" the Theatre, where I saw again "The Lost Lady," which do now please me better than before; and here I sitting behind in a dark place, a lady spit backward upon me…” and of course there mans oldest sport[or game]enjoying the scenery.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Claret - "Sometime later in the diary, Sam refers to drinking Haut Brion (still an available Bourdeax wine), this being reported as the first ever written reference to a French wine by its chateau."

Bang goes my fancy that "Haut Brion" was simply a Frenchified way of spelling O'Brien, and referred to one of the Wild Geese. I looked up the Chateau site, which relates that
while visiting the Royal Oak Tavern in London on April 10, 1663 Pepys wrote "There I drank a sort of French wine called Ho-Bryan (sic) which hath a good and most particular taste which I never before encountered....." (At least Pepys picked up the Irish sounding name.) Alas, the main Irish exodus to France came after the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, and the chateau had been in the hands of the Pontac family since the 16th century at the time Pepys had a swallow.…

vincent  •  Link

"...a lady spit..." Popular until a fine of five pound sterling was enforced {that could be a weeks wages for the ordinary sort}.
Re: Index of value. lets Pick an Item of importance then and now. May be a horse vs loaf of bread. Many things that had great value then, now are so common are deemed worthless. A portrait by a great Artist is still a special item. [untouched by mass production][Real estate(land) is still unprintable by governments][no! not the language]

Eric Walla  •  Link

Re: Spitting into a dark place ...

... I'm trying to look for clues as to the cost of Sam's theatre ticket. It would seem to me that the ability to be "sitting behind in a dark place" would be putting him in a box (thus more expensive than before), but on the other hand he may have sat in a dark place so no one else would see him getting by on the cheap! The question about with this interpretation is whether there WERE any out-of-the-way dark places among the lowest cost seats ...

The investigation continues.

dirk  •  Link

"if spitting was accepted behaviour?"

Spitting was certainly accepted behaviour, but spitting on somebody was of course not considered a polite thing to do. There is a cute reference to a historical "spitting problem" on the website of the Church of St Mary, Welshpool:
"... the gallery was still in situ in 1737 when it 'was alleged that a great number of the very common sort of people sit in it (under the pretence of psalm singing) who run up and down there; some of them spitting upon the people's heads below'"

Spitting would become an even more serious problem when the use of tobacco (smoking AND chewing!) became more generalised. Sailors reputedly became the worst "spitters"...

ssdfroeramsdflersafosofslaerosjrfer  •  Link

I don't think he was in a box. Indoor theatres were lit by candles and the lighting was uneven, so some parts of the audience were darker than others.

language hat  •  Link

The OED says (or rather said in the late 19th century -- note the appalling last phrase!):
"A name originally given (like F. vin clairet) to wines of yellowish or light red colour, as distinguished alike from 'red wine' and 'white wine'; the contrast with the former ceased about 1600, and it was apparently then used for red wines generally, in which sense it is still, or was recently, dial[ectal]... Now applied to the red wines imported from Bordeaux, generally mixed with Benicarlo or some full-bodied French wine."

This was a period of rapid change in the French wine industry; I'll add some material on this to the wine page:…

Ruben  •  Link

I remember, in the 1950' signs asking not to sppit on the floor (in public places). Instead, there were special vessels in a corner.

Grahamt  •  Link

Spitting images:
Spitting in public was first proscribed in the 1880/90's when its link with the spread of tuberculosis became known. (1882) I was told in the 1960s at school that it was the primary vector of TB in Victorian times (and probably before) especially in winter. The infected sputum hitting a sub-zero pavement/sidewalk would instantly freeze, preserving the bacteria. It would then be carried indoors on people's shoes, where the heat of the house would reactivate the bacteria and evaporate the sputum into the atmosphere. Long Victorian/Edwardian dresses would also pick up the sputum as they swept the pavement/sidewalk - nice. TB, or Consumption, seems to be a Victorian, or industrial revolution, disease: rat flea spread plague appears to be more important in the 17th century.

Rainer Doehle  •  Link


Like drawing and quartering, this is another pre-enlightenment aspect of 17th century jurisdiction. Made me think of the notorious Cadaver Synod when Pope Stephen VI ordered the corpse of his predecessor Formosus to be taken out of the grave and put on trial after which the convicted cadaver was thrown into the Tiber. Displaying the dead bodies of political enemies for reasons of deterrence and not allowing them a decent burial is an age old practice, cf. Creon and Polyneices. The last case of gibbeting in Britain took place in 1832.

Neil Benson  •  Link

You give up your "fancy" too easily! If a Mr. Lynch arrived from Ireland - as he did - to create a vineyard near the town of Bages in the late 17th Century, I am entirely comfortable with the thought that his contemporary compatriot, Mr. O'Brien, achieved a similar distinction.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Château Haut-Brion
Although grapes are thought to have been grown on the property since Roman times, the earliest document indicating cultivation of a parcel of land dates from 1423. The property was bought by Jean de Ségur in 1509, and in 1525 was owned by the admiral Philippe de Chabot.

The estate Château Haut-Brion dates back to April 1525 when Jean de Pontac married Jeanne de Bellon, the daughter of the mayor of Libourne and seigneur of Hault-Brion, who brought to him in her dowry the land. In 1533 bought the mansion of Haut-Brion, while construction of the château was begun in 1549.

1649, Lord Arnaud III de Pontac became owner of Haut-Brion, and the wine's growing popularity began in earnest. The first records of Haut-Brion wine found in the wine cellar ledger of the English king Charles II in 1660. During the years 1660 and 1661, 169 bottles of the "wine of Hobriono" were served at the king's court. Indeed, as Prof. Charles Ludington stated in his article, "The re-establisment of a royal court and of court culture generally required an increase in luxury goods. This demand inspired Pontac to launch the prototype of top-growth claret in London. The wine was called Haut-Brion, after the name of the estate from which it came."

Samuel Pepys wrote in The Diarist, having tasted the wine at Royal Oak Tavern on April 10, 1663, to have "drank a sort of French wine called Ho Bryen that hath a good and most particular taste I never met with". Pepys provided what Prof. Ludington called "the first tasting note of Haut-Brion".

Therefore both Charles II's cellar book and Pepys' note "provide the first mention in any language of estate-named claret and are among the many proofs that Haut-Brion was created specifically for the English market."[3] Pontac went even further in developing the notoriety of his wine: "By improving and "branding" a product, [...] he created and named a wine that came from a small, circumscribed area of land for the purpose of enhancing its value in t he minds and on the palates of discerning English customers."…

Bill  •  Link

"a pint of claret"

CLARET [Clairet, F. of Clarus, L. clear] a general Name for the red Wines of France.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

joe fulm  •  Link

I see SP has changed from referring to local man 'Oliver' (Dec 4th last when Parliament decreed to dig up Cromwell and his comrades to mutilate them), to 'Cromwell' in today's entry. Despite being from the same locale Sam has a career to expedite and being too familiar with Republic traitors won't fill the carafe with good sack.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Until the end of the diaries, Pepys continues to use 'Oliver' as well as 'Cromwell', and even 'the late Protector' to denote Cromwell in his diary. He's more likely to use 'Cromwell' if associating him with other Commonwealth men as today, or if reporting what others say.

joe fulm  •  Link

Thanks for the info

StanB  •  Link

On the 26th January Cromwell and Ireton were removed and taken to the Red Lion Inn at Holborn, where they were joined a few days later by Bradshaw's coffin (the delay was caused by the fact that Bradshaw's body had not been embalmed like the others and smelt badly)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to an ale-house, where I met Mr. Davenport; and after some talk of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw’s bodies being taken out of their graves to-day,"

L&M: ....The work of exhumation had begun on the 26th; on the 28th the coffins were taken to the Red Lion in Holborn. Pride's body seems to have escaped the fate of the others: M. Noble, Lives Engl. regicides (1798), ii. 132-3. For the story that Cromwell's corpse had been exchanged for that of a king, see… and…

Third Reading

Josh Crockett  •  Link

Growing up in Australia, our linen cupboard was also referred to as the "linen press". But no other cupboards were referred to as a "press". Never thought about it before...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Daniel asked: "how important would the hanging of criminals' corpes be in the eyes of all the people of London at this time, I wonder?"

I suspect it was done for the shock value more than anything. If the corpses had been left buried at St. Margaret's, Pepys and company would have had nothing to talk about.
This was a further reminder that the Stuarts were not happy about the execution of their father; people will be asked to remember that on the Fast Day on the anniversary of his death at the end of the month. Church services are planned to memorialize "St." Charles the Martyr, who was killed for defending the Church of England (from Charles II's point-of-view).

LKvM  •  Link

Re spitting, I recall reading somewhere that Queen Anne Boleyn had a gentlewoman seated beside her at meals whose duty it was to raise a napkin to hide the queen's face "if she list to spit."

Tonyel  •  Link

Oranges were sold to theatre patrons so perhaps spitting in this case was not too unpleasant - merely ejecting a pip from the lady's (pretty) lips.

Archie Toppin  •  Link

My mid terrace 3 bedrooms, two public rooms house in Glasgow was built in 1926. All the rooms except the maid’s bedroom had a fireplace and to the side of each chimney breast a ‘press’. Each press has a full size door (with a lock) behind which is a full height shallow cupboard with shelves. In the 1960’s it was the fashion to remove the doors and facings and wallpaper over them. Those that remained were used in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to store books, video cassettes etc…. The trend now is to restore the hidden presses, plywood covered doors and staircase bannisters to their original condition. What goes around comes around!

Christopher Boondoc  •  Link

Curious, how many of you keep a diary? The people of the future may find such interesting things in what you think common: spitting, passing our oranges, for example.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hi Christopher -- I'm going to field your question for Phil. These annotations are supposed to be for comments about today's episode of Pepys' Diary only. Background information goes into the Encyclopedia.

For personal stuff, debates, links to current events, etc, are supposed to go on our group email blasts:

For instance, someone has posted pictures of last Sunday's memorial march for King Charles I.

In the heat of the moment it's hard to remember what to post where. We all fail from time to time!

徽柔  •  Link

Since the monarchy was restored in May in 1660 and there being no reason to dig out the remains of cromwell out of its grave before that I believe the diary must be written down in 1661?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I believe the diary must be written down in 1661?"

You are correct. Pepys didn't always write his Diary on the same day, but kept notes from which he'd spend a few hours on a quiet day catching up. It's not unusual to see him say something like "I went to my office to write the last 5 days of my journal". This is his record of activities for Monday, 28 January, 1661.

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