8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th July 1661

I fell to work, and my father to look over my uncle’s papers and clothes, and continued all this week upon that business, much troubled with my aunt’s base, ugly humours. We had news of Tom Trice’s putting in a caveat against us, in behalf of his mother, to whom my uncle hath not given anything, and for good reason therein expressed, which troubled us also. But above all, our trouble is to find that his estate appears nothing as we expected, and all the world believes; nor his papers so well sorted as I would have had them, but all in confusion, that break my brains to understand them. We missed also the surrenders of his copyhold land, without which the land would not come to us, but to the heir at law, so that what with this, and the badness of the drink and the ill opinion I have of the meat, and the biting of the gnats by night and my disappointment in getting home this week, and the trouble of sorting all the papers, I am almost out of my wits with trouble, only I appear the more contented, because I would not have my father troubled.

The latter end of the week Mr. Philips comes home from London, and so we advised with him and have the best counsel he could give us, but for all that we were not quiet in our minds.

33 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my aunt's base ugly humours" Get out you vultures...

daniel  •  Link

Gnats and Confusion!

poor Sam! while we all have been having a fine time discussing a great deal of quibble, he has been in a fit of pique at his uncle's house. Don't worry Sam, we trust that you will have all sorted out in no time!

cindy b  •  Link

Dealing with an estate is a special kind of torture.

On the one hand, you'd like to sit the dearly departed down and let them have it for leaving their affairs in such terrible mess for you clean up when you've already got plenty to do in your own life thank you very much!!

On the other hand, you feel horribly guilty for thinking such things about someone who was so sick, and who cared enough about you to leave you part of their estate.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

A powerful and vivid entry, and a further insight into Pepys's orderly mind and habits that lead him to express a vexation, at finding a chaotic estate, that is over and above his irritation with his aunt and his disappointment at not finding as much substance as he had hoped.

Louis  •  Link

"We missed also the surrenders of his copyhold land, without which the land would not come to us, but to the heir at law".

---i.e., they could not find them, they have gone missing, which changes the complexion of all things for Pepys.

vicente  •  Link

"Gnats " for those that live by the wet [Fens] lands ,rivers,and canals can atest to the friendlyness of said pesky beasties, especially when one doth drown ye old tonsils with a nice draughed of strong water, and get the extra nutrients supplied.['tis a never forgotton experience]

FS  •  Link

"But above all, our trouble is to find that his estate appears nothing as we expected, and all the world believes; nor his papers so well sorted as I would have had them, but all in confusion, that break my brains to understand them."

-Poor Sam... I can just picture it.

vicente  •  Link

Caveat Lector. The Old adage will always prevail Possession is 9 tenths of the answer[law,common] that is the papers to prove physical possession. "beati possidentes, blessed are those who possess (possession is nine points of the law)."
"caveat[emptor/canem]" original
Contract law '... old Roman contract law principles such as consensus ad idem or caveat emptor....'
[Reader beware of anotters[CL]]

Mary  •  Link

"my aunt's base, ugly humours".

L&M quote Ms.Bodley, Ashmole 412, written as case notes by Sir Richard Napier after he had been consulted in 1641 by Jasper Trice (Tom Trice's brother) about their mother's health.

Trice complained that she was "distracted. Sometymes she will be quiett and of a sudden she will be in a passion, feares every body will betray her, and if any body give her anything she will refuse it, and thereafter of herself she will take it .... Cannot sleep..... Discontent and griefe."

A troubled mind and plainly difficult to deal with in circumstances such as the present.

Mary  •  Link

"and for good reason therein expressed"

L&M quote a relevant passage from the will.

"And whereas much will be said for my not giveing of my wife a large legacie the reason I doe vow to God is that that she gott me to enter into Bond to leave her at libertie to bestowe Two hundred pounds of Goods as Cloathes and monyes at the time of her death pretending that shee was to have the benefitt of her fomer husbands Estate during her sonnes Minoritie without being accomptable to her said Sonne And that she was to have a Joynture as large again as it was in both which [....?] I lost halfe and then paid 281 pounds in leiue of accompting for the revenues of the Estate for which cause as she suggested she was not to be answerable was the Bond given yet after she did see how unworthily I was dealt with still she would hold what advantage she hath gott and so let her hold what she can Soe I do require my Executors to be very Civell unto her in all respects although shee knowes she hath done me much wrong."

Brief gloss: when Ann Trice married Robert Pepys, she got him to enter into a bond for £200; a sum to be left to the children of her first marriage on the understanding that it would recompense them for NOT being able to inherit this sum from their own father’s estate, which would have passed to her second husband on her re-marriage. In the event, Trice left much less than Ann Trice made out and Robert Pepys felt that he had been cheated of the bond-money.

Mary  •  Link

Uncle Robert's estate.

L&M give the following details:

£128 p.a. in real estate and £372 in personalty (excluding household goods) out of which had to be paid legacies of £324 in cash, annuities of £55 and debts of £869.10s.0d. The executors’ legacy amounted to £23 p.a. in land (less lord’s rents and parish duties).

He didn’t cut up nearly as well as had been hoped and expected.

Mary  •  Link

The heir at law.

This was Thomas Pepys, the elder of Robert's two surviving brothers.

JWB  •  Link

From the land of fee simple...
Why is Sam in snit about the surrender of copyhold land? Woudn't it be SOP for the executor to do this? And woundn't Montagu be the copyholder?

JWB  •  Link

Uncle Robert
I see from Tomalin that Robt. was bailiff on Hinchingbroke estate. As such, seems unlikely copyhold records not proper with respect to Brampton. Could be the land in question outside the county.

Mary  •  Link

Missing Surrenders.

These are the documents (L&M Companion) which detailed the surrender of the use of the land to Robert Pepys as copyholder and the terms on which it was so surrendered. Without the documents themselves, Sam and his father appear to fear that they will be unable to prove that Robert had held the land on terms which allowed him to assign use of it to his chosen heir; in the absence of such proof, use of the land will apparently pass to the heir at law.

Sue  •  Link

"so that what with this, and the badness of the drink and the ill opinion I have of the meat, and the biting of the gnats by night and my disappointment in getting home this week, and the trouble of sorting all the papers, I am almost out of my wits with trouble" - that list! Sam's writing style is sometimes scarily modern. I can just picture him reciting these woes: "...AND this is annoying me, AND this, AND of course this...."

Julie Washington  •  Link

The most poignant part of this extremely rich entry is, for me, Sam keeping his feelings to himself so as not to worry his father. Both Sam and his father are probably trying to put on brave faces for each other.

Pedro.  •  Link

Montagu be the copyholder?

The Montagu family aquired the Hinchinbroke Estate in 1627, (see background),but there does not seem to be any evidence that they possessed other land in the surrounding area.

Mary House  •  Link

Julie, I agree. This bespeaks the genuine affection he feels for his father.

vicente  •  Link

Re: copy holder: My take, it is the fore runner of lease holder. It all started out that all the Land was the Kings, then he parcels some out[but keeps the fun parts, the Royal parks], to give to his honorable followers, to cough up soldiers and other goodies. Then some of his[King] followers need bodies to work the land, so freemen were made. Making a few freemen in order to release the pressure of revolts. So they [freeman that is]signed chits [copy-hold] that they got to work the land but must pay up in goods and chattels {occasionaly asked for rights de Seignior} at the same time the goodies like lead, gold or or other morsels [see syns] were the still owned by the "Land lord" [De earl] or "me laud". But as some of the Land owners, Bishops and Earls and their minions were hopeless at land management they had to ask for a bill to flog off [ see the House of Lords page for such documents] some land to the cash rich red bloods [merchants etc., so slowly land was distributed to the Merchant and shop keeper class]. And as the moneyied mob got better representation, they were able to change the regs controlling the distribution of the kings lands, so finally we end up with differing classes of owners. The Royal Lands , the Lands of the titled, the lands of tax exempt class, Government Organizions like The Army,RAF, and the Religeous Groups, who have being getting back what 'wot was theirs 'before Hal 8 took it, and then the little people. There was at one time in London large sections of property at 99 year leasing and then finally freehold, that ye can have as long as eminent domain is not being enforced [the Post Enclosure {see synonyms for your version}]. In the end it seems just different levels of ownership at their majesties pleasure.
Notes: see OED copy, copyhold, lease-, free-, at the Local Library and Coal by Barbara Freese on the use of the land by the Clergy of New Castle under the top soil.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Today In Parliament -- Navy Debts

House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 11 July 1661 | British History Online
"Colonel Birch also made Report from the said Commissioners, That, as to the Land Forces, the Account was in effect closed; but, as to the Navy, there was a great Debt yet remaining: That the Eight Ships, and the Sixty-five Ships, and Twenty-six of the Thirty-eight Ships, were, in effect, discharged, as to Men borne; and that the Tickets of the Eight Ships were paid off; and that all, or the greatest Part of the Tickets of the Sixty-five Ships, will be, in effect, paid off, as this Day; and that the Tickets of the Twenty-six Ships were, in effect, paid: But of the Twelve Ships, residue of the said Thirty-eight Ships, all, or the greatest Part, were still to be paid off; which would require a great Sum of Money: Towards the Satisfaction whereof, he reported several Arrears of the Assessments and Poll Money to be yet unpaid."

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

COPY-HOLD, a Tenure for which the Tenant has nothing to shew but the Copy of the Rolls made by the Lord's Court.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

COPY-HOLD, A tenure for which the tenant hath nothing to shew but the copy of the rolls made by the steward of his lord's court. This is called a base tenure, because it holds at the will of the lord; yet not simply, but according to the custom of the manor: so that if a copy-holder break not the custom of the manor, and thereby forfeit his tenure, he cannot be turned out at the lord's pleasure.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. S. Johnson, 1756.

Bill  •  Link

SURRENDER [in Law] is a Tenant's yielding up his Lands to him that has the next Remainder or Reversion.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Bill  •  Link

"Tom Trice’s putting in a caveat against us"

CAVEAT, a Caution, Warning, Admonition, also a Bill entered in the Ecclesiastical Court to stop the Proceedings of one who would prove a Will to the Prejudice of another Party.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Gee. Look at Vincente -- re copy holder. He can write clearly and to point if he wishes. Very interesting!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘copyhold, n. 1. a. A kind of tenure in England of ancient origin: tenure of lands being parcel of a manor, ‘at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor’, by copy of the manorial court-roll . .
1483 Act 1 Rich. III c. 4 §1 Lands and Tenements holden by Custom of Manor, commonly called Copyhold.
. . 1641 Rastell's Termes de la Ley (new ed.) f. 84, Copyhold is a tenure for which the Tenaunt hath nothing to shew but the copies of the Rolles made by the Steward of his Lords Court.
. . 1848 J. J. S. Wharton Law Lexicon 139/2 Copyhold, a base tenure founded upon immemorial custom and usage..Because this tenure derives its whole force from custom, the lands must have been demisable by copy of court roll from time immemorial . . ‘

john  •  Link

If the gnats were biting gnats (here boringly but descriptively called Little Black Flies and belies their nastiness), they would be very bothersome indeed.

eileen d.  •  Link

thank you, Bill, for tracking down a current link to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

I never heard of the 1911 edition until I started using this site. amazing source! one more piece of fascinating tangential knowledge I've acquired here...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

ellen d. EB 11th ed. is indeed a sources that all who visit this site should savor!

The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–11) is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication [and from the 19th to the 20th century]. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopedia is now in the public domain, but the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tens of thousands of its articles were copied directly [but not the flawed or outdated parts] into Wikipedia, where they still can be found. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enc…

eileen d.  •  Link

Terry Freeman, thanks for the extra info about the 1911 edition! I am especially intrigued by the Victorian and Edwardian periods of history, up to WWI. What a great window into contemporaneous scholarship and thinking. I found the public domain version but will now bookmark the Wikipedia site. (Kudos to all those wonderful Wikipedians who are surely kin to the great annotators on the site.)

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