Monday 22 July 1661

Up by three, and going by four on my way to London; but the day proves very cold, so that having put on no stockings but thread ones under my boots, I was fain at Bigglesworth to buy a pair of coarse woollen ones, and put them on. So by degrees till I come to Hatfield before twelve o’clock, where I had a very good dinner with my hostess, at my Lord of Salisbury’s Inn, and after dinner though weary I walked all alone to the Vineyard, which is now a very beautiful place again; and coming back I met with Mr. Looker, my Lord’s gardener (a friend of Mr. Eglin’s), who showed me the house, the chappell with brave pictures, and, above all, the gardens, such as I never saw in all my life; nor so good flowers, nor so great gooseberrys, as big as nutmegs.

Back to the inn, and drank with him, and so to horse again, and with much ado got to London, and set him up at Smithfield; so called at my uncle Fenner’s, my mother’s, my Lady’s, and so home, in all which I found all things as well as I could expect. So weary and to bed.

40 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"the chappel with brave pictures" what could this mean?

daniel  •  Link


brave in the sense of "bravo"-commendable, perhaps?

"but the day proves very cold" oh, but that it was a bit cooler where I dwell, sam!

Pedro.  •  Link

Up by three, and going by four on my way to London; but the day proves very cold, so that having put on no stockings but thread ones under my boots, I was fain at Bigglesworth to buy a pair of coarse woollen ones, and put them on.

Sam would set out at first light.

2004 is a particularly bad July with some places having lowest temperatures for 50 odd years-…

Bigglesworth would be present day Biggleswade, roughly 18 miles from Brampton and 45 miles from London.

Louis  •  Link

Apparently the house's private chapel is adorned with "fine, enjoyable" artwork (L&M Companion, Large Glossary), no doubt on Biblical themes.

vicente  •  Link

" the chappell with brave pictures" brave - simply put, simply bluddy marvelous pics old boy, well worth a bob.

dirk  •  Link

Evelyn's diary for today:

My Wife went to the Waters at Tunbridge for her health:

language hat  •  Link

Vicente is (as usual) right; "brave" was an all-purpose term of commendation in the 17th century, equivalent to "fine" (or, for the younger generation, "awesome").

dirk  •  Link

"the day proves very cold"

For those with a meteorological interest:

Monthly average temperature July 1661: 15 deg.C
Yearly average temperature 1661: 9.75 deg.C
3-yrs average July 1661-1663: 15.0 deg.C
3-yrs year average 1661-1663: 9.28 deg.C

For comparison:
Monthly average temperature July 2003: 17.6 deg.C
Yearly average temperature 2003: 10.51 deg.C
3-yrs average July 2001-2003: 16.9 deg.C
3-yrs year average 2001-2003: 10.35 deg.C

Temperatures refer to central England.


Conclusion: on average a little bit cooler than in recent years.

vicente  •  Link

Nice Dirk, think of us dummies, See or not see, is the f of us. F= c x 9/5 +32 or there abouts. So July was 59 F, no wonder I left. Nere cast a clout till May be out, how wrong can ye be?
for the nerds:……
N.B.: English attempts at viticulture,
"...weary I walked all alone to the Vineyard, which is now a very beautiful place again.." Oh!those Cromwell Heatherns ? Saddle sore too???
The Grapes will need some illegal sugar for the customers. I do believe that the grapes put up against a big thick wall, so be wind protected [arbour] facing the sun, so that poor fruit would be blessed by a warmer weather than the people would enjoy , Plus, the solid wall, 18" thick would retain the Heat for long periods of in- clement vino weather.
"..., above all, the gardens, such as I never saw in all my life; nor so good flowers, nor so great gooseberrys, as big as nutmegs..." goosgogs ah! what sweet memories? No new bornes lying for him to pick up [Oh! Mother ! I found the little darling waiting for me under the goosberry bush to kiss and too swaddle] I'm misreading this line 'nor so great gooseberries' meaning ? big or small, not knowing nutmeg size, goosegogs were usually 1/2 to may be and inch and a bit, nut megs are larger??? n'est pas.

niamh  •  Link

Dirk - 2003 was an exceptionally warm year though so a comparison with only 2003 is a bit suspect.

Alan Bedford  •  Link big as nutmegs."

From the "encyclopedia of spices":
The nutmeg seed is encased in a mottled yellow, edible fruit, the approximate size and shape of a small peach. The fruit splits in half to reveal a net-like, bright red covering over the seed. This is the aril which is collected, dried and sold as mace. Under the aril is a dark shiny nut-like pit, and inside that is the oval shaped seed which is the nutmeg. Nutmegs are usually sold without the mace or hard shell. They are oval, about 25 mm (1 in) in length, lightly wrinkled and dark brown on the outside, lighter brown on the inside.


L Crichton  •  Link

I presume the nutmegs we buy in shops are just the kernels of the nuts so they are larger when they still have their shells. Perhaps that's the comparison that Sam is making. Otherwise I agree that, althrough it is a charming phrase, gooseberries and nutmegs are pretty much the same size - unless of course gooseberries were smaller in the 17th century.

L Crichton  •  Link

had not yet seen your post, Alan
Thanks for that

Kal  •  Link

"my Lord Of Salsbury's Inn" is the Salisbury Arms on Fore St. according to L&M. I'm not sure if it is really directly connected to Lord Salisbury.

The inn is still there, "Hertford's oldest hostelry": http://www.salisbury-arms-hotel.c…

alistair  •  Link

Having grown gooseberries on my allotment, I know that the size can vary between years quite a bit, depending on whether they get rain at the right times of fruit development. Also gooseberry varieties were probably smaller then, with larger varieties becoming more widely cultivated nearer the end of the 18th century.


JWB  •  Link

One vote for a more literal meaning-the pictures & owner,withstood the 16th C., Edw.VI and later whitewashings.

JWB  •  Link

"So by degrees..."
Nice play on the word.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Temperature daily range v. average

The daily average for July weather in Cambridgeshire in 2004 is about 17 degrees C (or about 62.5 F). The daily range forecast by the Met. Office for July 23-27 in Cambridge is between a low of about 10 C (50 F) and a high of 23 C
(73.5 F), with an average daily range of 8 C (14.5 F). As the 1660s were somewhat chillier, its possible that on setting out Sam was facing temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s Farenheit

Nix  •  Link

Hatfield House --

"Hatfield House built by Robert Cecil 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I in 1611, stands within its own Great Park and is currently home to the 7th Marquess of Salisbury.

"This celebrated Jacobean House enjoys some of the finest organic Gardens to be found in the country. Originally designed by John Tradescant the Elder, these beautiful gardens continue to be maintained by the present Marchioness in a style that reflects their Jacobean history.

"The Park and surrounding Estate support a variety of thriving businesses from Timber Production and Forestry, to Rare Breed Farm Produce and Christmas tree sales."


Pedro.  •  Link

The Vineyard, and more extensive detail of the parkland at Hatfield.

Elsewhere in the parkland, castellated red brick walls and an 18th-century tower enclose 30,000 vines in the vineyard that abridges the Broadwater (part of the river Lea) in the north of the estate..…

Glyn  •  Link

How far in miles and kilometres and how fast did Pepys ride today? I presume that he changed horses at least once at a coaching inn, but I thought that 25 miles (40 km) was a good distance to travel in a day' ride.

vicente  •  Link

The distance approx 70 miles , 'tis almost certain, it was not the same nag used. This Route is the most famous of all the post houses routes, it being the road north for all the Bishops to their Palaces.

Pedro.  •  Link

Daily distance travelled by a horse.

For a modern day estimate from the site of the Long Riders Guild.

Because of the inherent difficulties associated with Equestrian Travel, your daily mileage will vary, depending on the terrain, weather, availability of water and grazing etc. If you are graining your horses, then you might aim to average about twenty miles in a day.
Time to travel
Give your horse a good feed of grain at sunrise. While he eats, pack up your camp and take a light breakfast. As soon as you have both eaten, saddle up. Give your horse frequent breaks, and consider the cavalry system of 10 minutes' grazing every hour. By starting soon after daybreak, you will have completed that day's journey by early afternoon. Only Long Riders understand that you need the afternoon to make arrangements with the locals, find a good campsite, and obtain food for yourself and your horse. Your work starts when the horse stops!…

Bob T  •  Link

The Temperatures

I've heard this period called a mini-ice age, so the low temperatures would not have been all that unusual.

Pedro.  •  Link

Temperatures in July.

Sam today has given us great example of the unpredictability of the English weather, as we experience even now.
Whether we are in a cold year or a warm year, the temperature can vary.
Sam was hot as hell on June 30th…

Cold as hell this morning!

Terry  •  Link

The Temperature.
We should remember that Sam was travelling very early in the morning. Even in the height of summer in the UK it can get relatively cold overnight.

Mary House  •  Link

Notwithstanding Pepys' youth and vigor, this sounds like a truly exhausting day.

Roger Miller  •  Link

Large Gooseberries

One way to obtain large gooseberries is to thin them. If you reduce the nunber of berries the remaining ones swell. I imagine it would be the gardener's job to do this skillfully so that he could deliver prime specimens for the table.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

- my Lord's gardener - my Lord here will have been William Cecil, second Earl of Salisbury.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"the chappell with brave pictures"

BRAVE, courageous, gallant, excellent, skillful.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

'brave . . 3. loosely, as a general epithet of admiration or praise: Worthy, excellent, good, ‘capital’, ‘fine’, ‘famous’, etc.; ‘an indeterminate word, used to express the superabundance of any valuable quality in men or things’ (Johnson). arch. (Cf. braw adj.)
. .  b. of things.
. . 1600   Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing v. iv. 127   Ile devise thee brave punishments for him.
a1616   Shakespeare King Lear (1623) iii. ii. 79   This is a brave night to coole a Curtizan.
1653   I. Walton Compl. Angler 104   We wil make a brave Breakfast with a piece of powdered Bief.
1798   R. Southey Eng. Eclogues ii,   Here she found..a brave fire to thaw her . . '

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house, a leading example of the prodigy house, was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the chappell with brave pictures"

Rowland Buckett (d. 1639) and Richard Butler (fl. 1609-?50) are the only artists recorded by name as having worked for the first Earl in the chapel. Buckett was at work there in 1609-12, and of the early 17th-century religious pictures still there (all except one are in the chapel), two are apparently by Buckett, in addition to decorative painting throughout the house: E. Crort-Murray, Decorative painting in Engl., i. 32, 194-5. (L&M note)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sandwich's log -- Alicante:

"July 22nd. Monday. I sent a packet to Mr. Coventry from Alicante."

Copied from
The Journal of Edward Mountagu,
First Earl of Sandwich
Admiral and General-at-Sea 1659 - 1665

Edited by RC Anderson
Printed for the Navy Records Society

Section III - Mediterranean 1661/62


Alicante, Spain…

I think a packet here refers to a small, fast ship from the fleet carrying dispatches. I don't think Sandwich would have entrusted his dispatches -- even using cypher -- to the likes of Thurn and Taxis.…

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