Tuesday 30 April 1661

This morning, after order given to my workmen, my wife and I and Mr. Creed took coach, and in Fishstreet took up Mr. Hater and his wife, who through her mask seemed at first to be an old woman, but afterwards I found her to be a very pretty modest black woman.

We got a small bait at Leatherhead, and so to Godlyman, where we lay all night, and were very merry, having this day no other extraordinary rencontre, but my hat falling off my head at Newington into the water, by which it was spoiled, and I ashamed of it.

I am sorry that I am not at London, to be at Hide-parke to-morrow, among the great gallants and ladies, which will be very fine.

47 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and his wife,who through her mask" It is not Venice at Carnival time and the plague has not arrived yet, so why is she wearing a mask?

Glyn  •  Link

From the "neral Reference/Other General Reference Sites" page:

An exact Description of the great Roads from LONDON to all the considerable Cities and Towns in England and Wales, together with the Cross Roads from one City or eminent Town to another, in measured miles.
SOURCE: REMARKS ON LONDON, being an Exact Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, Borough of Southwark… By W. Stow., London, 1722.

"From LONDON to PORTSMOUTH 73 Miles, thus reckoned.
To Wandsworth 6, to Kingston 6, to Cobham 7, to Guildford 10, to Godalmin 4, to Lippock 12, to Petersfield 8, to Harnden 5, to Portsey Bridge 6, to Postsmouth 4, a large well built Town in Hampshire, defended by 2 strong Castles, and other Works to secure the Haven; and into this well fortified Garrison and Seaport, which is the usual Station of the Royal Navy, you must enter over 4 Draw Bridges."

In other words, they've travelled 33 miles (50 km) in a day and are almost exactly halfway to their destination. But does anyone know where Newington is on this route? I can't think of anywhere with that name that is near a river.

As to his being sorry not to be in Hyde Park tomorrow (perhaps for May Day celebrations such as dancing around the maypole), this sounds at most only like mild regret that he can't be in two pleasant places at once, because we know that he spent last week making sure that he could go on this trip to Portsmouth. And it must be good, English springtime weather (i.e. no rain).

Bradford  •  Link

"my hat falling off my head at Newington into the water, by which it was spoiled, and I ashamed of it."

Another instance of Pepys using the verb not to indicate feeling shame, but registering that something IS "a shame," analogous to "I regretted it very much."

Many words shift sense over time---for instance, L&M's glossary tells us
that "shag" means "worsted or silk cloth with a velvet nap on one side," no less.

Pauline  •  Link

"...my hat falling off my head at Newington..."
Thanks Glyn for this great and "exact Description of the great Roads from LONDON." So they leave home by coach and head south. Crossing London Bridge, they would likely have then passed through Newington enroute to Wandsworth. It's not on the river, but it could have been marshy or there could have been a pond or lake? Or even a gutter.

Mary House  •  Link

The account of the coronation was of course wonderful but it is these small and vivid details of life... losing one's hat crossing a river or marsh... that give me the most delight. History always preserves the great events; bits of everyday life such as this are almost always lost.

dirk  •  Link

Sorry not to be in Hyde park tomorrow...

Maybe a slight spoiler, but I don't think so.

Evelyn's diary speaks of tomorrow May 1st in the following terms:
"went to Hide Park to take the aire, where was his Majestie & an inumerable appearance of Gallantry & rich Coaches &c: it being now a time of universal festivity & joy: &c:"

Obviously Sam knows about this, and would like to be there. I wonder if this is some kind of regular May celebration, or a special event maybe linked to the coronation?

dirk  •  Link

May 1st

I'll answer my own question. I checked last year's entries in Sam's diary, and found the following for May 1st 1660:
"It being a very pleasant day, I wished myself in Hide Park."

So apparently this is a regular thing.

Vicente  •  Link

Newington not far from the bridge, he being curious, probably was sticking his neck out to get a view of St Pauls and London from the South bank. Newington now merged into Walworth, two churches still use Newington in the title. Now in Southwark, now lost in the archives. The new 'at most likely fell in to one of the streams now lost in a cover up. Wot a B***** embarrasment to show his new status to folks of the Navy with a messy titfer.
[tit for tat hat].

Vicente  •  Link

Newington in 1746 was mostly fields and my guess he could see Westminster to the north: {'twas why he thought of all THEE finer things in life [thinking of hide-parke], than off to work shake , rattle & bumps}.
No observations of what mistress thought of the trip.

George  •  Link

Strange to think of him staying in my home town of Godalming after a hard day's travel at little more than walking pace.(now an hour by car or train) Many of the houses in the town from his day are still there but most were re-fronted in Georgean times. When I walk past milestone 33 on the old Portsmouth road at Milford this morning I will tip my hat to his memory

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Must agree wholeheartly with Mary. The 'large' events are interesting of course, perhaps crucial to our understanding of the times; but the idea that we can know the emotions of a civil servant who lost his hat into the water in 1661 is just wonderful.

Glyn  •  Link

A. De Araujo: perhaps women wore veils on journeys, to protect them from the dust and dirt kicked up by the horses. Would he call it a "mask" rather than a "veil"? That's just a guess, it would be useful if others could give us all an explanation.

Dirk: I don't understand your entry! Is not the whole purpose of their journey to meet the king and his entourage at Portsmouth? Does the King have a secret double that we are all the first to discover?

Pedro.  •  Link

The Mask.

Could this be Mask: Theatrical accessory in ancient times, it was adopted in the 16th and 17th century by women, to protect the wearer's complexion and preserve her incognito. See also vizor.

Glyn, I read this as a trip on Naval business. The King must go to Portsmouth next year to meet his new Mrs?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Pedro, muito obrigado(=thanks)pelo site; very poetic:"Maia,later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades" but to identify Bel with Baal I think it is a bit of a stretch.

Rich Merne  •  Link

“pretty modest black woman” I don’t fully conceed the
L&M definition; that’s to say, I think the jury’s
definitely still out on this; unless someone can dig
out something persuading. Cf. my annot. in glossary
above re. W.Ss. dark lady, “woman coloured ill, dun
breasts, black wires, blah-de-blah.” Surely one of
ye’all can find something really tight on this! By
the way, has P. never met Hater’s (given in L&Ms
sellect list of persons as Hayter) wife before; he
seems mighty surprised to meet her. If she actually
was of foreign descent; then there could be an
intrinsic social commentary here, in that he didn’t
know in advance that she was a sic. “black woman”.
Hmmmmm!, he never mentioned her being ill.

Harry  •  Link

"pretty modest black woman"

I thought I read in an annotation some months ago that “black lady” meant simply that she was a brunette.

Peter  •  Link

I believe Harry is right. I think I once read somewhere that when Charles was a wanted man on the run, the description circulated was "a black man, two yards high".

daniel  •  Link

in my penguin "shorter pepys" the glossary defines

"black" as a brunette. i do not know the their source but by the context this seems to fit.

helena murphy  •  Link

Pepys does not express surprise at Mrs Hater being masked,therefore she is probably wearing what was then a fashion accessory much as patches were worn for a similar purpose. The idea of the mask was to attract discreet attention ,by adding mystique and allure to the wearer while preserving her identity intact. If it were multifunctional by preserving one from the elements then so be it,but this was not its primary aim. In Claude Berri's film LA REINE MARGOT, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, Isabelle Adjani wears this mask through the streets of Paris after leaving her husband on her wedding night.(Cannes 1994 Prix du Jury & Best Actress-Virni Lisi) The closest we have to it today is the black face cover worn by middle eastern ladies, but here as a mark of modesty and not to protect from the sun either.
Sam continued his imaginings until Mrs Hater reveals herself as a "pretty modest black woman". Black here refers to hair colour and possibly complimentary brown eyes and olive skin,or mediterranean type looks such as Charles II inherited from his Latin ancestry. He was indeed referred to as a" black man " in notices for his capture while in hiding after the battle of Worcester.

dirk  •  Link

to Portsmouth

Glyn, I don't find any indication in the last couple of entries that the trip to Porstmouth would be to meet the king, but I may have overlooked something? - It seems to me that Pedro's suggestion that this is merely a (naval) business trip makes sense.

Clearly it's just physically impossible for Evelyn to see "his majestie" in Hyde Park on 1 May, and Sam to meet the very same king in Portsmouth, so that seems to confirm the interpretation above. Tomorrows diary entry may clear matters up a bit...

Vicente  •  Link

"Must agree wholeheartly with Mary" it is why history is such boring & dull stuff, when it is only names and dates.This Diary brings a pulse and BLUD to how & why we are where we are to-day. We should and do see the lines written in so many different ways, that can help our understanding of ourselves and the times we live in. Sum of us seek perfection in spelling, some in ac[t]ion, but in all understanding of life.

Pedro.  •  Link

twas orders from the upper levels;

From the 29th
"and there spoke with Sir W. Pen and Sir George Carteret and had their advice as to my going, and so back again home, where I directed Mr. Hater what to do in order to our going to-morrow"
Seems the man with the Purse Strings OK'd the expenses for the wives. Did Sam ask if the wife could go? Keep her away from the "Gallant sparks" at the May Day parade?

Pauline  •  Link

from the 26th
"...having some thoughts to order my business so as to go to Portsmouth the next week with Sir Robert Slingsby..."

Rich Merne  •  Link

"Black woman",
Harry et al; you did,...and I'm there too with the same question. I'll have to remain the *lonely unconvinced*, but I think that it should be borne in mind that, merely because L&M give the brunette definition, this does not necessarily *make it so*. We'll never actually know, but Pauline in her glossary annot. is probably closest in saying, it can mean both.

Emilio  •  Link

Glyn, Pedro

The full L&M supports your reading of the mask--a footnote says it's specifically designed to protect the complexion during travelling. If these masks were common, this is no doubt how Lady Montagu all those months ago hoped to surprise Sam in London without being recognized by the navy officers.

As for the purpose of the visit, just navy business as Pedro and others suggest. They're selling old provisions and paying off a ship in a couple days' time, which will no doubt be dealt with in due course.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"pretty modest black woman"

Rich Merne, have ye not heard of and wondered about the "black Irish"? 'Tis "a reference to a dark-haired phenotype appearing in people of Irish origin...." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iri…

Bill  •  Link

"his wife, who through her mask"

MASK sometimes means only an instrument for the ladies to wear over their faces, in hot weather, &c.; and sometimes means an entertainment, or sort of ball ...
---A New General English Dictionary. T. Dyche, 1760.

As they were talking, they spy'd coming towards them two Monks of the Order of St. Benedict mounted on two Dromedaries, for the Mules on which they rode were so high and stately that they seem'd little less. They wore Riding-Masks, with Glasses at the Eyes, against the Dust, and Umbrella's to shelter them from the Sun.
Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1725.

Bill  •  Link

"We got a small bait at Leatherhead"

To BAIT, to take some Refreshment on a Journey.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"I am sorry that I am not at London, to be at Hide-parke to-morrow, among the great gallants and ladies, which will be very fine."

Monday May 1 was more observed by people going a-maying than for divers years past, and indeed much sin committed by wicked meetings with fidlers, drunkenness, ribaldry and the like. Great resort came to Hyde Park, many hundreds of rich coaches and gallants in attire, but most shameful powdered hair; men painted and spotted women, some men played with a silver ball, and some took other recreation. But his Highness the Lord Protector went not thither, nor any of the Lords of the Council.—Severall Proceedings, April 27 to May 4, 1654.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

There is an encyclopedia entry for May Day: http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…

Robin Peters  •  Link

I see my annotation from ten years ago (then as George). I was so pleased when the diary came round again and is still my first read every morning, thank you Phil. The road to Portsmouth is still further improved with a new tunnel under Hindhead but parts of the old route across the common at Milford, beside the modern road, must be very similar to Sam's days.

john  •  Link

"This morning, after order given to my workmen"

Methinks this entry hints at why Sam was so much amongst his workmen, namely to arrange for the day's work in the absence of architectural plans.

Mary K  •  Link


This is an area of Southwark, just south of modern-day Waterloo and north of Kennington. Part of the A3 there (main road from London to Portsmouth) is actually named Newington Butts to this day. However, I can't think offhand of any "water" there (either pond or river) that might have spoiled Sam's hat.

Weavethe hawk  •  Link

I Haven't lived in London for many years, but I'm having difficulty trying to figure out how a location which is south of Wateroo can be north of Kennington.

Mary K  •  Link

Google maps will show you. Just enter Newington Butts and look both north and south from there.

Tim  •  Link

"However, I can't think offhand of any "water" there (either pond or river) that might have spoiled Sam's hat"
One of the many streams paved over as London expanded?

Victoria  •  Link

According to my copy of 'London Under London', which has a chapter on lost rivers, if Pepys did drop his hat in a river here it would be the Neckinger. Newington Butts runs up one side of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre, and the Neckinger, now paved over, runs under the Imperial War Museum, Elephant and Castle roundabout and New Kent Rd.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

'black . . 2. Characterized in some way by this quality or colour.
  a. Having black hair or eyes; dark-complexioned . . Now rare. In early use chiefly with reference to the (descriptive) surnames or nicknames of particular individuals.
eOE   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) v. xi. 414   Wæs ðis tosceaden hweðre, þætte for hiora missenlice feaxes hiwe oðer wæs cueden se blaca Heawald, oðer se hwita Heawald
. . 1661   S. Pepys Diary 30 Apr. (1970) II. 91   Took up Mr. Hater and his wife..I find her to be a very pretty modest black woman . .
2001   G. Ryman Lust (2003) 74   He was not at all bad-looking, what Michael called a black Celt: slightly sallow skin, a heavy beard and black eyes.

. . black Irish adj. and n. sometimes derogatory (a) adj. describing an Irish person, or one of Irish ancestry, having dark hair and a dark complexion or eyes . .
1875 Amer. Bibliopolist Dec. 260/1 The same usage still prevails among the vulgar as in the phrases, ‘black Irish’, ‘black Dutch’, describing certain well known types of Celts and Teutons (Hollanders, probably), differing widely from the prevailing type of either race in respect of their black eyes and hair, and gypsy-like, tawny complexions . . ‘

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

According to this map, SP would have crossed a tributary of the Neckinger going south from London bridge and then the Effra, which flowed north from Brixton to the now Kennington Oval and then west into the Thames. This area, the south part of Lambeth, is where the mishap occurred, I think.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

To further protract the "black" discussion: My grandmother's family was from province Zeeland in the Netherlands where family tradition and some genealogical evidence had it that they had Huguenot roots, and that those Huguenot ancestors were responsible for their generally dark hair and eyes. Allegedly, this streak of "blackness" came from Moorish roots of some Huguenots, something that was also part of the oral tradition in my family.

Carol D  •  Link

See below from Wikipedia on Newington Butts ( now a section of the A3 road, still marked on Google maps, just south of Elephant and Castle). It occurs to me that if it were once a stand-alone hamlet it must have had a supply of water - a well or a pond if nothing else. As it was on the main road from London Bridge to Portsmouth, we can surely imagine horse troughs too.

From Wikipedia
The north end of the "Newington Butts" section of the A3 terminates at a roundabout of the Elephant and Castle junction, where the Elizabethan theatre stood.
Newington Butts is a former hamlet, now an area of the London Borough of Southwark, London, England, that gives its name to a segment of the A3 road running south-west from the Elephant and Castle junction. The road continues as Kennington Park Road leading to Kennington; a fork right is Kennington Lane, leading to Vauxhall Bridge. Michael Faraday was born in Newington Butts in 1791.
It is believed to take its name from an archery butts, or practice field.[1][2] The area gave its name to an Elizabethan theatre which saw the earliest recorded performances of some Shakespearean plays

Keith Knight  •  Link

Today's entry inevitably brings to my mind the folk song, 'Riding Down to Portsmouth', although I'm pleased to say Sam is having a better time of it than the narrator.

"Oh, as I was a-riding along in the height of my glory,
Oh, as I was a-riding along come hear my sad story.
A fair and handsome maiden I did see
And I asked her if she d come along with me
Some pleasure and some pastime to see
As we’re riding down to Portsmouth

“Oh, sailor, if I come along with you, oh, it’s I must be carried,
Oh, sailor, if I come along with you, oh, it’s I must be married.”
So it’s off we went together straightway
And she rolled all in my arms until next day,
But she left me all the reckonings to pay
As we’re riding down to Portsmouth.

Next morning when the lady she awoke, well, she found the sailor snoring,
Next morning, well, the lady up and spoke, “Oh, he’ll pay for his whoring.
Well, his money, what he’s not spent on wine
Oh, the rest of it, it surely shall be mine
And his gold watch, well, I’ll take that too besides
As we’re riding down to Portsmouth.”

Saying, “Damn me,” to myself, “oh, the lady’s gone missing,”
Saying, “Damn me,” to myself, “oh, I’ve paid for my kissing.
Well, she’s robbed me of my gold watch and purse
And she gave me what was ten times worse,
And don’t you think that I’m under a curse?
As we’re riding down to Portsmouth.”

“Oh, landlord, tell me what there is to pay, that I might be knowing,
Oh, landlord, tell me what there is to pay, that I might be a-going.
Well, my horse I will leave her all in pawn
Until from the seas I do return,
And all gallus girls I will shun
And I’ll ride no more to Portsmouth.”

It can be found on a number of albums including Brass Monkey's 'See How They Run' sung by John Kirkpatrick. Versions were collected by Vaughan Williams, Cecil Sharp and Percy Grainger in the early 20th century from folk singers.

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