Tuesday 21 May 1661

Up early, and, with Sir R. Slingsby (and Major Waters the deaf gentleman, his friend, for company’s sake) to the Victualling-office (the first time that I ever knew where it was), and there staid while he read a commission for enquiry into some of the King’s lands and houses thereabouts, that are given his brother. And then we took boat to Woolwich, where we staid and gave order for the fitting out of some more ships presently. And then to Deptford, where we staid and did the same; and so took barge again, and were overtaken by the King in his barge, he having been down the river with his yacht this day for pleasure to try it; and, as I hear, Commissioner Pett’s do prove better than the Dutch one, and that that his brother built.

While we were upon the water, one of the greatest showers of rain fell that ever I saw.

The Comptroller and I landed with our barge at the Temple, and from thence I went to my father’s, and there did give order about some clothes to be made, and did buy a new hat, cost between 20 and 30 shillings, at Mr. Holden’s. So home.

46 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

a commission for enquiry into some of the King's lands and houses thereabouts, that are given his brother.

If the verb form “are” is correct here, the “lands and houses” are given to Slingsby’s brother - quite a gift! What would be the background of this?

On the other hand, if “are” is just a slip of the pen (maybe caused by the plurals close to it in the sentence) and it should read “is”, it’s the Commission of Enquiry that’s given to him. A very different, and it seems to me a more reasonable, assumption. (By the way, what would such a commission involve?)

Any suggestions as to which version is the most probable?

Paul Miller  •  Link

"one of the greatest showers of rain fell that ever I saw"

The Hevelius's comet was seen in the spring of year 1661 over europe and returned again in spring of 2002. I'm sure this has nothing to do with the rain fall, it's just interesting that Pepys could have looked at a comet that people in our time could have seen on it's return trip in 2002.

Don  •  Link

"...a commission for enquiry into some of the King's lands and houses thereabouts, that are given his brother.” I read that as meaning the King’s brother.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"between 20 and 30 shillings"
Doesn't he know exactly how much he paid? Or is this just a colloqualism? Furthermore, if we do the times 90 sum, doesn't 90 pounds seem excessive for a hat!
Re the grammar - I took the brother to refer to James as Don did.

Pauline  •  Link

"a commission for enquiry into some of the King's lands and houses thereabouts….”
I would suppose properties that the King is giving to his brother, with “enquiry” into their condition and occupancy as Charles and James have been out of the country for many years, or they may just be coming into ownership through confiscation.

dirk  •  Link

"I read that as meaning the King's brother” Re - Pauline & Don

At first I read this passage as you did, but the link to the background info refers to Henry Slingsby - and I trusted Phil in this matter…?

dirk  •  Link

expensive hat?

Around 1600 a simple emigrant's hat was priced at 3s. A coat at 2s/6d. Of course Sam's hat would have to be far more expensive to keep up with his position (and to fit in with Sam's precious velvet coat!). This new hat was probably a replacement for the one he lost on 30 April: "but my hat falling off my head at Newington into the water, by which it was spoiled"


vicente  •  Link

Slingsbys, A one Sir Henry [Yorkshire gent]had his head removed for loyal service to the Royalist cause in '58. So may be the lands talked of, have significance in being once removed from the family, and sold to another, now establishing provenance of true ownership, and get lands back in the hands of the original owner?

vicente  •  Link

Wet: down on the Colne, it is written by Our Rev Josslyn:
May. 19. God good in many outward mercies, the wet and cold abated, weather(,) the King and Chancellor moderate in their speeches, speaking much of good nature the lord divert a storm, it was feared the act of indemnity would be unravelled etc. god merciful to us in the peace of the Sabbath. my soul bless him


Pauline  •  Link

"one Sir Henry [Yorkshire gent]had his head removed for loyal service to the Royalist cause in £58”
“Our” Sir Henry, Master of the Mint, lived until 1690. He was Sir Robert’s cousin, not his brother.

This all is from L&M Companion: wherein Sir Robert is given as the second son of Sir Guilford and Sir Arthur Slingsby as the younger brother of Sir Robert. They had four sisters.

So, the unaccounted-for first son could be vincent’s Sir Henry. In which case, such a loss for loyalty to the royalty might well be compensated in land and houses, but to Sir Robert’s younger, living brother (Sir Arthur) or to the surviving family of the older brother (a Sir Henry who lost his head in ‘58)? Or to the older brother and he isn’t the beheaded Sir Henry?

At any rate, the “his brother” link in the entry to Sir Robert’s cousin is incorrect.

vicente  •  Link

"...went to my father's, and there did give order about some clothes to be made, and did buy a new hat, cost between 20 and 30 shillings, at Mr. Holden's. …” The deal has not been fully finalised yet, and the cost could include the suit and the ‘at. Otherwise it could mean that the pelt for the ‘at has to be obtained, then the price of beaver or Russian Sable can finalized then the final cost can be established.[London 1940’s a suit off the ‘anger could be got for 30 bob and a made to measure for 30L, that same suit today from the same name outfitters goes for 2000L[fitted of course.[on line a so called Saville row is offered 300 quid today via google. It is what the market can bear.]
I do believe that Sam, when he is at the booksellers was peeking at “advice to a son” by Francis Osbourne. It tells Sam what he, the Jim Dandy should be wearing to have ’ a cuppa of char’ with Palace mob.

Mary  •  Link

The cost of a hat.

In London today, it would not be especially remarkable to have to pay £90 for a gent’s hat of good quality. You can, of course, buy much cheaper ones and Sam could also have bought a cheaper one … but he was looking for quality.

Pedro.  •  Link

"to have 'a cuppa of char' with Palace mob.”

Vincente he will have to wait for Catarina to arrive to get his cuppa!

Hic Retearius  •  Link

The Cost of a Hat

Especially for a bespoke hat of beaver, £90 does not seem out of line. An ordinary fedora, Dexter/Truman model, is priced at US$139.99, factory made and of fur felt.


Roger Arbor  •  Link

"Victualling-office (the first time that I ever knew where it was)"... anyone enlighten us as to exactly where? Up or down river from Seething Lane?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"to be made, and did buy a new hat, between 20 and 30 shillings"
I think the context establishes that the hat has been commissioned, and of an expensive material, so (as Vicente, Mary and Hic have surmised) not only is the cost reasonable, it makes sense for it to be an estimate until the job is done.
Remember, Sam only *pays* if he *likes* the resulting hat, so the hatter is taking a risk too ...

Mary  •  Link

The Victualling Office.

(per L&M Companion) lay east of Little Tower Hill and north of East Smithfield. The site became very crowded and access to the river was not easy. Therefore, after 1742 the whole caboodle (office, houses, bakeries, brewhouses, cooperages, store houses) was moved to Deptford.

Glyn  •  Link

"with Sir R. Slingsby (and Major Waters the deaf gentleman, his friend, for company's sake”

For company’s sake? But last time we met the deaf Major he was bad company because he was in “despayr of love”:


Good to see that the two friends are still together.

Sjoerd  •  Link

The yacht Katherine was the first of a series of yachts Charles had built.
A yacht Katherine was sunk during the raid on the Medway in 1667, and a royal Yacht Katherine was used to transport the Princess Mary of Orange to Gravesend in 1689.
I don't know if these are all the same, in case they are there is a picture here http://web.onetel.net.uk/~sunhous…

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Sjoerd's Reference

Gaff rigged main, jibs on forestays, no tops'l yard; could we call her a cutter? We don't see lee boards but she has a Dutch flavour somehow.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Dutch flavor somehow

I think its in that rounded hull line. I sailed a small rounded clinker-built lee board sloop in the Frisian lakes a few years ago that had a similar line.

Hic Retearius  •  Link

Rounded hull line.

Yes, maybe that's it, Hamilton. As much it maybe the resulting low freeboard amidships more suited to inland waters.

An English designer would want more freeboard 'midships to make her a less wet ship in a seaway. Also, with these lines, on a wind she would loose "surface profile" even with a moderate heel as the lee side would go under right away and she would become more crank in an instant and much more of a capsize risk as a consequence. That clumsy great aftercastle wouldn't help her stability. If, as well as all this, she has a flat bottom, her stability on a wind would be on a par with a barrel.

She seems to have been moderately sparred and maybe stability concerns are the reason. The fore and aft rig and absence of a tops'l or stay'l would certainly make her a bit safer.

Let’s hope His Majesty had selected a real sailorman for a skipper and took his advice just to putter around in the river and never to take her outside in a blow!

Sjoerd  •  Link

Not Katherine yet.
According to a note on http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… this yacht is not the Katherine but the Jenny. This seems right because the treaty with Portugal, resulting in the marriage with Catherina of Braganza will not be signed until June 23rd, so it would have been a bit early to call this yacht Katherine.
Does anyone know who "Jenny" was ?

dirk  •  Link

who "Jenny" was?

The only Jenny I can come up is one of Charles’s many mistresses:
Jane (Jenny) Roberts. Remember that Charles’s affaires were no secret! So it’s very well possible that a yacht would be named after the lucky one…

Charles’s mistresses, cfr.:

Sjoerd  •  Link

There is a mention further on in the diary of a kings'yacht "Jemmy" that Pepys uses. To make things even more complicated.

Jemmy could be a form of "James" ... a bit strange though to use that for a boat. Anyone with access to Royal Navy sources for the period ?

dirk  •  Link

"Jemmy" vs. "Jenny"

I suspect this Jemmy is a transcription error for Jenny. In Sam's shorthand "m" and "n" would look very much alike in careless writing (or trancribing) - and Jemmy would have sounded too disrespectful for James in this case I think.

For a discussion of Sam's shorthand, cfr.:

dirk  •  Link

"Jemmy" vs. "Jenny"

I have to correct myself:

"Charles' first racing yacht was called "Jamie" after his illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, and his last was called "Fubbs", his nickname for his mistress, Louise de Kéroualle. Fubbs is an old English word for chubby.”


(So it’s not at all unlikely that the “Jenny” was also called after his other mistress Jane Roberts.)

vicente  •  Link

Re yacht see previous postings by using search on "Yacht" There are two boats ready for the Big race of Brothers J and C. There are about 7 dates involve plus comments and tags to pics.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Re: Victualling Office.
Warrington says about it: it was at the end of East Smithfield, according to Stow, and it occupied the site of the Abbey of St. Mary of the Graces, which had been founded by Edward III, to commemorate his escape from shipwreck; and was granted at the dissolution to Sir Arthur Darcy, who pulled it down. The Cooperage, a portion of the Victualling Office, was burnt 18th May 1687. The disaster is described in Raqlinson MSS., A171.

vicente  •  Link

Jemmey vs Jenney : any connection to Why the Kapitan in the anglo saxon navy calls his exec, Jemmy?
Jemmy " 'ard te port"

Sjoerd  •  Link

So, thanks dirk & vincent, when you know what to "Google" for you get a lot more information. "Jemmie" is an accepted form of "James" and i suppose if you can name one of your yachts "Fubbs" then "Jemmie" seems rather conventional.

If I look at the pictures of these yachts i am surprised at the size of them: from the text and from the speed they were built you would think them small vessels, but they are serious naval vessels , and some of them were used for a remarkable period of time (the Katherine for instance for 127 years).

Here are "Fubbs" and "Katherine"
http://www.nmm.ac.uk/mag/pages/mn… and Mary

This is from http://60.1911encyclopedia.org under "Yacht":
"In 1660 Charles II. was presented by the Dutch with a yacht named the " Mary," until which time the word "yacht" was unknown in England. The Merrie Monarch was fond of sailing, for he designed a yacht of 25 tons called the " Jamie," built at Lambeth in 1662, as well as several others later on. In that year the " Jamie "was matched for 100 against a small Dutch yacht, under the duke of York, from Greenwich to Gravesend and back, and beat her, the king steering part of the timeapparently the first record of a yacht match and of an amateur helmsman. Mr Arthur H. Clark, in his History of Yachting (1904), traces the history of pleasure craft from 1600 to 1815, and gives an interesting illustrated account of the vachts belonging to Charles II."

Australian Susan  •  Link

What lovely pictures! Thank you, Sjoerd!

Phil  •  Link

"his brother"

A little late to this, apologies. L&M say that the brother is "Henry Slingsby, Deputy-Master of the Mint." That's who the link goes through to... have I missed something?

vicente  •  Link

There is talk of brothers twice. First I do think is Slingsbys and getting his lands back from that rascal who bought it cheap during the confiscating of Royal supporters lands.
The second I do read as Pett's brother, the ship builder, building of a yacht to be better than the Gift of Holland. Then there is the other brother[Pett] building a rival for Charles' little brother, so that the Royal pair can enjoy scattering the boats on his Tems, making wagers.

vicente  •  Link

Revision: Commisioner Pett builds one for Charles and it is his brother[Pett] that builds a version for Jimmy.

tc  •  Link

Ditto, Susan from Oz:

Sjoerd, many thanks for the wonderful link. The picture of "Fubbs" & "Katherine" looks like a pair of America's Cup yachts maneuvering before the start of a race; two large yachts owned by extremely rich individuals. Modern equivalents perhaps "Alinghi" and "Oracle" current America's Cuppers?

Truly the dawn of Yachting! (Capital "Y" yachting, as opposed to what we small boaters- on boats under 50 feet?!?- do...sailing...


dirk  •  Link

brothers - re Vicente & Phil

Vicente, I'm not quite sure you're reading is correct. The sentence states specifically "the King's lands and houses" - so it doesn't look like the King is evicting illegitimate owners from Slingsby's brother previous property and returning it to him.

It's also good to know that, although many who returned with Charles II from the continent when he was put on the throne, were in the same shoes as Slingsby's brother, and petitioned to the King for their former property, almost none of them got it back. - It would have been very unwise for Charles to make new enemies out of old enemies by chasing them from lands the ownership of which (illegitimate at it might be in origin) was now an established fact of life, when he needed their political cooperation. So I'm still inclined to go for a transcription error or similar.

Pauline  •  Link

"his brother"

Phil, L&M Companion says that Henry Slingsby, Deputy Master of the Mint, is Sir Robert’s cousin. Which doesn’t mean that he (or Sam) doesn’t refer to him as his brother.

Sjoerd  •  Link

Thanks for the capital G in Gift, Vicente... we dutch are still a bit sensitive about giving away expensive things... ( see http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… )

All for nothing, too (sulk). ;-))

pat stewart cavalier  •  Link

How do we know it's a "bespoke" hat out of "beaver" ? I note that quite a lot of people here make assumptions : e.g. a bible "probably" forbidden - and then go on to draw conclusions from an unverified assumption

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pat, as far as I can tell, the talk of a "beaver" hat above is an attempt to figure out why the hat would have been in the cost range it was (in the subjunctive). It was a kind popular at the time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beav…

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I just Googled "Stetson Hats". They have one priced at $1,000 and several in the $200 range. Ninety pounds would be about $145. Expensive? Yes. Extravagant? Certainly, but maybe not so unheard of as one might think. Me? I have a brown fedora, a cross between Indiana Jones and Phil Hartman, but older than both of theirs.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Stetson is a brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company. [ Non-existent in Pepys's day. ]

Founded in 1865, John B. Stetson Company began when the founder headed west and created the original hat of the West, the “Boss of the Plains”. This Western hat would become the cornerstone of Stetson’s hat business and is still in production today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ste…

eileen d.  •  Link

sjoerd's links to yacht images is dead.

but here's a line engraving that shows several of the royal yachts ( from Royal Museums Greenwich).

image: http://collections.rmg.co.uk/coll…

title: To their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Ancaster This View of Harwich and the Yatch's going out... with Landguard Fort (shows yachts Catherine, Fubbs, Charlotte and Mary

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a commission for enquiry into some of the King’s lands and houses thereabouts, that are given his brother"

Henry Slingsby, Deputy-Master of the Mint [to sustain Phil]. The Victualing Office was on Tower Hill, and the Royal Mint in the Tower. The Crown owned much leasehold property in the neighborhood, and this grant may have been for the benefit of Slingsby personally or for that of some of his workmen. Cf. CSPD 1661-2, p. 548. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"And then to Deptford, where we staid and did the same; and so took barge again, and were overtaken by the King in his barge, he having been down the river with his yacht this day for pleasure to try it; and, as I hear, Commissioner Pett’s do prove better than the Dutch one, and that that his brother built."

The yacht-building brother was Christopher Pett of Woolwich.

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