Monday 15 April 1661

From my father’s, it being a very foul morning for the King and Lords to go to Windsor, I went to the office and there met Mr. Coventry and Sir Robt. Slingsby, but did no business, but only appoint to go to Deptford together tomorrow. Mr. Coventry being gone, and I having at home laid up 200l. which I had brought this morning home from Alderman Backwell’s, I went home by coach with Sir R. Slingsby and dined with him, and had a very good dinner. His lady seems a good woman and very desirous they were to hear this noon by the post how the election has gone at Newcastle, wherein he is concerned, but the letters are not come yet.

To my uncle Wight’s, and after a little stay with them he and I to Mr. Rawlinson’s, and there staid all the afternoon, it being very foul, and had a little talk with him what good I might make of these ships that go to Portugal by venturing some money by them, and he will give me an answer to it shortly. So home and sent for the Barber, and after that to bed.

16 Apr 2004, 12:56 a.m. - Paul Brewster

how the eleccion has gone at New=castle - wherein he is concerned. L&M footnote: "The Duke of York had recommended Slingsby to the corporation of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in a letter of 5 March ... But two townsmen, Sir Francis Anderson and Sir John Marley [not the ghostly one], were returned on 10 April, a third candidate, George Liddell, unsuccessfully petitioning."

16 Apr 2004, 1:12 a.m. - Susan

No mention at the end of the day of going back to his father's to be with Elizabeth and no mention of regret at not having Elizabeth with him at home. Oh dear! What would the 200 pounds have been that he had got from the banker? Money for the Navy? Money owed him? And where would he have "laid up" the money safely? It seems a huge amount to casually stow away in his house somewhere, though presumably he had a guard dog to bark at strangers.

16 Apr 2004, 1:17 a.m. - Paul Brewster

what good I might make of these ships that go to Portugall, by venturing some money by them; L&M Footnote: "It was common and allowable at this time for the King's ships to carry private cargoes (usually plate or bullion), and for naval officers to receive payment for their services. Limits were imposed in 1686."

16 Apr 2004, 3:02 a.m. - Vicente

Ah! more delightful English spring weather" being a very foul morning... " Surely just the day for good dose of strong water, Aqua fortis [ I hope not ] A good sniffer of Spanish Brandy [would be more appropiate], is called for,in order to remove that cold & damp from the marrow of bones.All the clothes would seep of dampness like they did pre- central heating and those coalless days. " venturing some money by them,..." My guess is that He asked a good Kapitan to purchase some fine silks and Levant items that he could flog[sell] to his Friends in return for a nice prophit, as many have done thru the ages, before the Internet did offer direct sales.I remember Tangiers for cheep fags and sold in Italy for a nice return on investment, as long the bogie man did not catch thee.

16 Apr 2004, 3:19 a.m. - Vicente

Down by the Stour, the weather reported yesterday by the Rev. Jossyn "...A sweet showery, growing day for which and all mercies my soul blesses him, ..."

16 Apr 2004, 8:10 a.m. - Wim van der Meij

Warrington gives this on R. Slingsby's wife: "Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Radclyffe of Dilston Northumberland, and widow of Sir William Fenwick, Bart. of Meldon. Sir R.Slingsby's first wife was Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Robert Brooke of Newcells.

16 Apr 2004, 12:40 p.m. - Emilio

"the King and Lords to go to Windsor" This was for a meeting of the Order of the Garter, according to an L&M footnote.

16 Apr 2004, 12:58 p.m. - Emilio

"the King's ships to carry private cargoes" As chance would have it, I was just listening to a book about 16th-century Portuguese Jesuit Matteo Ricci last week, and the book talked a bit about shipboard conditions of the period. Taking on private cargoes could be a big problem--not just the holds but deck space as well could be filled with loot or even passengers that the crew took on to make an extra buck. This could not only make it difficult to move around on deck but also be dangerous in bad weather: imagine the effect of 50 lb of plate that has come loose and is being thrown around on deck during a storm. This is the reason why Portugal, and probably England as well, finally had to set limits on how much private cargo ships could take on.

16 Apr 2004, 1:37 p.m. - Rich Merne

Emilio' Not familiar with your source, but as a boatie my observation. Along with what you say, there's the element of centre of gravity, or more exactly the vessel's metacentric height over the water. So the more mass you accumulate high in the boat (on deck for instance) the more inherently unstable the boat becomes. Sudden capsize is always on the cards if you overdo it. Heavy stuff to the hold or the orlop.

16 Apr 2004, 3:56 p.m. - Ruben

- Matteo Ricci was Italian, but from Portugal sailed to Goa and then to China. - Rich Merne's contribution can be appreciated with a visit to the Wasa tallship in a ad hoc museum in Stockholm. This ship was ordered by the Swedish King to have one more line of guns, and it capsized inmediatly after being launched. That happened in 1628.

16 Apr 2004, 7:08 p.m. - Lawrence

Henry VIII Maryrose flipped over I believe because the King had to many Men on the upper decks, see this site, See the picture of the ship on the site, its from the Anthony rolls, Pepys owned half of the rolls given to him by Charles II, I think? They are kept at his Library at Magdalene college Cambridge, I hope somebody will correct me if I'm in error.

16 Apr 2004, 7:50 p.m. - Ruben

The Maryrose: I looked at a few sites and there is no definitive explanation for the reason of the ships sinking. All the interpretations go more or less like this: "It appears she was overloaded or mishandled and not, as the French claim, holed by one of their cannon".

16 Apr 2004, 7:54 p.m. - Ruben

The Maryrose The painting was done two years after the ships sinking.

16 Apr 2004, 8:43 p.m. - Vicente

'Tis why they Invented the Plimsole line. To prevent, [only one more thing, Preety Please]. There are still people like to squeeze that extra "small item " in on plane or ship[boat] with dire consequences. The Guy who controlls the the gold can have his way as long as he is on board too.

16 Apr 2004, 10:12 p.m. - Susan

The ill-fated airship the R101 crashed in the 30s because of overloading, in particular the fine carpet added for the important passengers. As well as being a warship, the Mary Rose had a large complement of marines or soldiers - she was being used partly as a troopship to get men over to the French mainland. Most of those were on deck probably raising the centre of gravity too high.

16 Apr 2004, 11:48 p.m. - Peter

Ah, the Plimsoll Line. We're back to Sellar and Yeatman and their sublime illustration of Mr. Plimsoll's invention.

17 Apr 2004, 12:55 p.m. - Lawrence

Pepys' love of books soon took its toll as he cut the Anthony Rolls up and made them into a book for his library.

17 Apr 2004, 3:29 p.m. - Jenny Doughty

Lovely picture here of the Vasa (mentioned above) and a guide to the Vasa museum. It's fascinating - well worth a visit if you happen to go to Stockholm.

18 Apr 2004, 11:44 a.m. - Susan

Thank you, Jenny for this fascinating link! Excellent to compare with the Mary Rose exhibit.

19 Apr 2004, 9:26 a.m. - Rich Merne

Plimsole; Sorry to dog the subject but, the Plimsole line will register the depth in water of the vessel which in calm conditions will give *no* indiction of the inherent stability or the tendency to turn turtle. This tendency is again a function of metacentric height. ie. in calm conditions the vessel could be grossly overladen with weight low down (in the hold), thus sinking well below the plimsole line. She would then actually become even more 'stable' against turning turtle though likely to founder or sink directly (ie. just go down) Incidentally, a vessel which has an overburden of 'high', or deck cargo; in turning turtle, may well spill some or all of the offending material or (men) (or cannonry)overboard and actually then right herself. Can we hear from somebody who actually knows more about the business, (a naval artichoke mayhap), or is it all too digressive. Sam might have had his tuppence worth.

19 Apr 2004, 5:34 p.m. - GrahamT

Re: Plimsole Better to have a naval artichoke aboard than a bunch of leeks :-) (sorry Rich, couldn't resist)

19 Apr 2004, 6:29 p.m. - Vicente

Rich, great insight. It was c of g that can create a roll over. The plimsole[Nike?] that stopped the overloading to the gunwhales and the first heavy seas plough the boat in to the Davy Jones Locker. Still careless loading and equalising of weight in Holds, and closure of hatches, bow doors left not quite shut, and incorrect distribution of cargos containers on box carriers still plague the Shipping Industry with disappearance of shipping upsetting LLoyds. A loading master is still a very responsible position .

19 Apr 2004, 9:21 p.m. - Jenny Doughty

The Vasa sank because the Swedish king came along and asked for another row of gunports to be put below the existing row, and the shipbuilders didn't dare argue with him. Come the launch, the vessel sailed out into Stockholm harbour, heeled over, and because the gunports were all open immediately shipped so much water through the lower rank of gunports that it sank like a stone in the harbour, where it remained until the 1950s when it was raised and restored. It had been beautifully preserved because it was very quickly covered in silt. Much interesting stuff was recovered from it (and can be seen in the Vasa museum) because it was fully equipped for a maiden voyage.

19 Apr 2004, 10:03 p.m. - tc

Plimsole line... Even a ship loaded at dockside down to her "fully laden" Plimsole mark might come to grief when at sea if the cargo shifts due to poor packing in the hold, or even shifts due to rough weather. Read the great, great story by Joseph Conrad entitled "Youth" to learn more about the dangers of shifting cargo (especially, in Conrad's case, a cargo of coal...)

20 Apr 2004, 10:07 a.m. - Susan

Another ship which foundered through becoming top heavy was the SS Normandie which caught on fire whilst being converted into a troop ship in the US in 1942. The ship was filled up with water to put the fire out. It was suggested she was in danger of turning over and should be allowed to sink slightly (open the seacocks) to allow the centre of gravity to be lowered. This was not heeded and she capsized. Website with pictures at

20 Apr 2004, 11:05 a.m. - Rich Merne

Ship stability; Boating fanatic as I am, I can't leave it go. Susan's water story. The most dangerous of all because of it's immense weight and even more so, it's mobility. One minute you may have a huge overturning moment to port and the next, with a roll, an even greater (live and impactive) one to stbd. Oscillations of this magnitude are usually fatal and catastrophically quick. Tell me if I'm wrong, but even recently, the ill-fated Herrald of Free Enterprise shipped vast quantities of unwanted water which caused sudden foundering.

20 Apr 2004, 1:04 p.m. - Susan

The Herald of Free Enterprise disaster happened because the car port bow doors were left open as the ship left the harbour. Water thus flowed in and once it had begun rolling back and forth, the ship was doomed. It was an entirely preventable tragedy. The design of roll-on, roll-off ferries has been changed now to include more baffles and also I think the ferries have been made so that they cannot be moved unless the doors are shut safely. I used to live in Kent and regular annotator Mary still does, so probably this tragedy is well known to her too. Human error, greed and haste still leaves people on ships as vulnerable in recent times as in the 17th century

20 Apr 2004, 6:41 p.m. - Vicente

no more broaching and lets get back on tack.

4 Oct 2004, 6:29 p.m. - shannon lund

i would like how the plimsole line bacame what it is, who it is, and why? plz send me info a.s.a.p. from Shannnon Lund. xxx

4 Oct 2004, 7:16 p.m. - vicente

Plimsoll [plimsole] was for ships instituted by Sir Samuel Plimsoll's Merchant Shipping Act of 1876, up to this time, greed vs common sense ruled.

4 Oct 2004, 8:03 p.m. - vicente

See this site for definition of plimsoll line: further reading finds that ship owners were putting the line on the hull [they be thought of as sub marines?]

15 Apr 2014, 2:29 p.m. - Terry Foreman

A Cheer for Samuel Plimsoll (via rb) The waterline on a ship

15 Apr 2014, 4:34 p.m. - Bill

I went home by coach with Sir R. Slingsby and dined with him, and had a very good dinner. His lady seems a good woman. R. Slingsby's wife Elizabeth has her own encyclopedia page.

8 May 2014, 3:07 p.m. - Phil Gyford

Good point Bill - I've added a link.