Monday 15 July 1661

Up by three o’clock this morning, and rode to Cambridge, and was there by seven o’clock, where, after I was trimmed, I went to Christ College, and found my brother John at eight o’clock in bed, which vexed me. Then to King’s College chappell, where I found the scholars in their surplices at the service with the organs, which is a strange sight to what it used in my time to be here. Then with Dr. Fairbrother (whom I met there) to the Rose tavern, and called for some wine, and there met fortunately with Mr. Turner of our office, and sent for his wife, and were very merry (they being come to settle their son here), and sent also for Mr. Sanchy, of Magdalen, with whom and other gentlemen, friends of his, we were very merry, and I treated them as well as I could, and so at noon took horse again, having taken leave of my cozen Angier, and rode to Impington, where I found my old uncle sitting all alone, like a man out of the world: he can hardly see; but all things else he do pretty livelyly. Then with Dr. John Pepys and him, I read over the will, and had their advice therein, who, as to the sufficiency thereof confirmed me, and advised me as to the other parts thereof.

Having done there, I rode to Gravely with much ado to inquire for a surrender of my uncle’s in some of the copyholders’ hands there, but I can hear of none, which puts me into very great trouble of mind, and so with a sad heart rode home to Brampton, but made myself as cheerful as I could to my father, and so to bed.

29 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"where I found my old uncle sitting
all alone,like a man out of the world"
SP is not only very sensitive but he can write so well!...

Sjoerd  •  Link

"Turn left into Rose Crescent. Ignore the McDonalds restaurant and imagine the Rose Tavern which once stood on this street; both Pepys and writer Samuel Johnson (1709-84) stayed here."

From http://cambridgeuk.ags.myareaguid…

dirk  •  Link

"after I was trimmed"

Meaning what exactly?

dirk  •  Link

"which is a strange sight to what it used in my time to be"

What would have been so strange about it? Is this merely the nostalgia Sam would feel when visiting his old school after so many years in the (very) real world?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"after I was trimmed"

If Sam’s using the expression as he usually does, he stopped by the barber’s to get his hair trimmed. Got to look sharp to impress the younger brother, y’know!

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"which is a strange sight to what it used in my time to be"

Sam’s college days were during the years of Puritan control in England. Religious services with music were, I believe, outlawed in those days. In the early days of the Restoration (i.e. last year) Sam commented more than once on the novelty of hearing organ music at Sunday church services.

Stolzi  •  Link

"What would have been so strange about it?"

Pepys had attended Cambridge and chapel in Puritan days; there would have been no surplices, and perhaps no organ music, either.

vicente  •  Link

'Tis like Russia after the fall of the commies the Russian Orthodox came out into the sunlight, 'tis same every where. One has to look under the carpet, when there is any kind of Oppression, a certain percentage of the citizens keep their torts to them selves so that they can fight another day. The human does smile , smile, smile. He is the only animal that can make body language opposite to his inner thoughts.

Oz Stu  •  Link

"...and found my brother John at eight o'clock in bed, which vexed me."
So the reputation of students for lazing in bed is nothing new then.

Grahamt  •  Link

King's College choir are still singing.
You can visit the chapel and see the choristers in their surplices and hear matins and evensong sung as Sam would have heard that day. Some of the choir, as the King's Singers, even had a hit record a few years ago.

Mary  •  Link

"inquire for a surrender of my Uncle's"

Pepys seems to harbour the hope that the missing Surrenders may have been passed to Robert's tenants on the copyhold land. Presumably his low opinion of Uncle Robert's record-keeping prompts him to consider that this might be the case; however, it would have been a foolish act for Robert to lose control of his own copies of the manorial records, and proves not to have been the case.

Pedro.  •  Link

"I rode to Gravely with much ado to inquire for a surrender of my uncle's in some of the copyholders' hands there, but I can hear of none,"

Gravel(e)y…But for us it is easier-
see footnote 86 from site below.…

and for what happened to the land see Pauline’s Annotation (L&M) in background info.…

Xjy  •  Link

A very busy day!
Up before dawn. Awake and travelling for hours, a visit to the barber to freshen up -- only to find his brother still in bed asleep! College sightseeing, and reunions. Then on to his uncle and business with the will, and to Gravely to do some research into legal documents relating to the will... Interesting to see how he is becoming the main man in the Pepys family setup. Then riding home again.
I bet he slept well!

JWB  •  Link

Thanks Pauline & Mary for posts on subject. So Sam, with father, was executor and in today's entry uses copyholder synonymously with holder of copyhold land. Why doesn't he just ask to see the manorial records for evidence of the surrenders? Is this just subordination or matter of law or is he just getting his ducks in a row?

Mary  •  Link


We really need a lawyer here; I'm getting out of my depth.

Possibly there is a practical parallel with today's freehold laws, in that it is much easier to prove right to a property if you can produce the title deed. Loss of title deeds is not an absolute bar to proving ownership, but it does involve re-application to the Land Registry and this can be a cumbersome business.

Alternatively, I suppose there is a possibility that the original (manorial) owner of the land would see no advantage to himself in providing sight of/copies of the records and could prove a real stumbling block to resolution of the problem.

However, this is just speculation; as I say, we really need an English lawyer here to spell out the specific niceties of the executors' dilemma.

Pauline  •  Link

Also, we aren't talking copy machine copy, or even mimeograph copy. It could well be that there is only one copy from the beginning and it is held by the person taking title to use and "own" the land.

Yes, let's hear from the lawyers.

Nigel Pond  •  Link

I sympathise with Sam -- when I go back to my old college at Oxford (Wadham), it just does not seem like it was in the "old days" when I was there a mere 25 years ago!!

Nix  •  Link

Copyhold --

I'm a lawyer -- a real estate lawyer in fact -- but I'm out of my depth here. (Copyholds were abolished in 1926, several weeks before I entered law school.)

Why is it so vital to find the surrenders?

It may be that the will did not mention the copyhold property. Or it may be that copyholds were a form of property ownership that could not be passed by will. English land law was very complex, with a number of different types of ownership depending upon the feudal origins of the property and the status of the claimant. It appears that, under the customary law surrounding copyholds, in the absence of a separate surrender document, the property passes to the "heir at law" rather than to the devisee named in the will.

If I have the chance I'll do some more research to try to unravel this knot.

vicente  •  Link

Re: copyhold {from} the illitero: the lease[as in lease hold], is it not for a fixed term [99 yrs or remaining term or totally re negotiated if thee needs a further 99 yrs of raising the product.] ?. The copy hold was it not, for only the life period of the holder[signee=X] to be re: negotiated afresh between the new [hopeful] heir of the property and the land owner [freehold] being the Local Manorial, Church etc.. Depending on the Economic situation the Heir may not have been able to carry on, as it was at the whim of "Me Laud", whereas in Lease hold the rental was at the old rate of bargain. In both cases the rights of sub soil and lower were the Land Owner's[Laud]. All things can be altered based on the legal understanding of fine print inplanted in the original negotiations.There is always a fly in the ointment when it comes to reading the latinised common English.{he the Copy holder was not inducted into fine nuances of the subjuntive and other common phrases.} Lands that were control by Gornment [king] had to get a bill fome the other Lauds before dispoasal, for what ever reason? Caveat lupus.The OED has many fine things to say.

Pedro.  •  Link

The Rev.Joss for the 15th

This night with us being called St. Swithins day, at night it rained, the old saying is it rains 40 days after, this 20th its wet, and has been since.

[sun)] Saturday and Lords day. July. 12. 13. the sun shone wonderfully red. I thought it presaged drought. on the Lords day 2 hours before it set. we could see the body round and red, giving no light, clouds blew playing over it, it was suddenly not to be seen the sky not altering.…

Nix  •  Link

More on copyhold --

I think I've figured out why the surrender was so important. From what I've been able to read, a copyhold was a "customary" form of ownership -- that is, established by custom rather than by legislation. It originated in the feudal system, and amounted to a grant from the lord of the manor to the occupant (tenant), in exchange for an obligation to provide service (probably labor on the lord's other lands, not military service). Originally, the lord could change his mind, toss the tenant out, bring in someone else, or just take it back for his own use. But as time passed, the strong custom developed that the "service" would consist of a monetary payment rather than labor, and the tenant could keep it for life, and upon his death it would pass to his heirs. In order to maintain the forms of its feudal origin, however, the tenant could transfer the land to someone other than his direct legal heir only by going back to the lord and asking him to accept the new person as his tenant. That act -- the surrender (accompanied by some silver for the lord) -- was the only recognized way to transfer copyhold property. It couldn't be done by a will. Since Samuel was not his uncle's heir-at-law, without the surrender document he could not get the copyhold property.

There is a surprisingly clear explanation of the feudal origins and historical evolution of copyhold in C. Moynihan, Introduction to the Law of Real Property (1962) at 15-17.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev.Joss for the 15th -re Pedro

Sorry Pedro, but that entry refers to 1662 - not 1661.

Pauline  •  Link

clear explanation
Thank you, Nix; your conclusion makes sense and fits with what all has been said.

Mary  •  Link

Many thanks to Nix

for teasing out the Copyhold question for us. No wonder Sam is in a flap about the Surrenders; according to L&M Companion, most of Uncle Robert's land was indeed held as Copyhold, so the situation is looking precarious for our boy and his father.

Furthermore, Sam is still trying to make up his mind whether or not to buy a significant parcel of land that adjoins part of this Copyhold land. The capital outlay that he's been fretting about won't make much sense if he can't secure assurance to eventual rights to Uncle Robert's land within a reasonable space of time.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

House of Lord this day

Bill for regulating the Navy.…

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, "An Act for the establishing Articles and Orders for the Regulating and better Government of His Majesty's Navies, Ships of War, and Forces by Sea."
[ the Act in full ]…

The Question being put, "Whether this Bill shall pass for a Law?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

There's no sign on the web of the Pepys House Trust being active in 2014 but the house is pictured and described at

I think the sale in 20004 must have come to nothing and the future of the house after the leasd is up in 2027 is uncertain.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Then to King’s College chappell, where I found the scholars in their surplices at the service with the organs, which is a strange sight to what it used in my time to be here. "

The organ in Kings had been removed in 1643. and by the time Pepys came into residenceay Magdalene in 1651 the choristers had dwindled to one. There are signs that an organ was used after 1654. In 1660 a small organ belonging to Henry Loosemore the organist was used. Lancelot Pease was paid £200 for a 'chaireorgan' in 1661. (Per L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"This night with us being called St. Swithins day, ..." still true, regardless of the year.

According to legend, it has been said that the weather on 15 July determines the weather for the next 40 days, as noted in the popular Elizabethan verse which Pepys must have known:
“St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days will rain na mair”

We shall see.…

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