Sunday 18 August 1661

(Lord’s day). To our own church in the morning and so home to dinner, where my father and Dr. Tom Pepys came to me to dine, and were very merry. After dinner I took my wife and Mr. Sidney to my Lady to see my Lord Hinchingbroke, who is now pretty well again, and sits up and walks about his chamber.

So I went to White Hall, and there hear that my Lord General Monk continues very ill: so I went to la belle Pierce and sat with her; and then to walk in St. James’s Park, and saw great variety of fowl which I never saw before and so home.

At night fell to read in “Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity,” which Mr. Moore did give me last Wednesday very handsomely bound; and which I shall read with great pains and love for his sake.

So to supper and to bed.

34 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"great variety of fowl" I wonder what that coul be? Peacocks, guinea hens?

RexLeo  •  Link

"so I went to la belle Pierce and sat with her"

Does "so" in this context relate to the modern usage of "then" rather than "therefore"?

dirk  •  Link

Evelyn's diary 18 August:

"... This afternoone as I was at church and Dr. Burgh going into the Pulpet, I was called out, one of my horses having struck my Coach-man so as he remain'd as dead for a while; I caus'd him to be let bloud, & laying a Cere-cloth to his brest (much brused) & so after a weeke he recovered:"

Sounds like a good idea to bleed a man under the circumstances... Must have been a strong man to survive!

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"which I shall read with great pains and love for his sake"

Gorgeous as Hooker is, you probably need some such motive to keep going in the "Laws." See our earlier discussions of Hooker.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam and Hooker.
On June 29th, he talked of buying the book. Did he mention this in front of Moore, thus prompting the gift? Hooker profoundly influenced the present structure of the entire Anglican Communion and in his own time, moulded the Church of England, *but* the "Laws" *is* hardgoing. It will be interesting to see if Sam keeps up the reading!

vicente  •  Link

Laws may be good, but the binding it be better, will show off his growing collection of knowledge.[wish I could be a maudlin and take a peep at this collection in the original].

Mary  •  Link

"a great variety of fowl"

Birdcage Walk in the park is not called Birdcage Walk for nothing. Charles enlarged (possibly founded) quite a collection of interesting and exotic birds, to begin with mostly waterfowl but later fancy, caged birds. Some of these exotics were presented by the East India Company. Parrots and cassowaries were lodged in the 'poultry-house'in 1661.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Australia was barely known to Europe at this time. Cassowaries are notoriously shy, wary and solitary creatures (but vicious if cornered - they can disembowel). Outside tropical Queensland, they are found in PNG, Irian Jaya and a few other Indonesian islands - remote and inaccessible. I find it very hard to believe that anyone had in the 17th century not only captured cassowaries (which are over 6 foot high), but also successfully brought them back alive to Europe.
On the other hand, maybe that is why there are so few of them now.....They all ended up in European zoos??

Mary  •  Link


I agree, they sound unlikely, but L&M footnote mentions them, referring to Sir William Foster's "John Company" pp89-90 for the history of this avian collection.

Earliest citation of the name in OED is dated 1611, so these birds must have been known to at least some Englishmen for 50 years at the date of Pepys's writing.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Whoever captured them must have got them from Indonesian islands - PNG and Irian Jaya were hardly explored before the 19th century. Shunned because of rumours about cannibalism. I know the CSIRO wildlife officer who did the main research on cassowaries in Tropical Queensland - he nearly died because of the conditons and this was the 1980's! What an amazing feat to bring these birds back so far. Bet it wasn't appreciated and I bet we don't even know who it was, but I really appreciate them in retrospect and i am sure Sam would have loved to have heard the tale - just the sort of thing to appeal to his curiosity.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Further information on cassowaries
have now discovered that, although the cassowary is now more numerous in Qld than in the islands to the north, up until the start of the 20th century, the cassowaries in Qld were thought to be a southern extension away from the main east indian islands population of the bird, so it looks like there would have been many more on the islands in the 17th century for people to capture. The birds obviously almost went the way of the Dodo, but for their vicousness and the isolation of the Australian birds. Sorry, getting off-topic. Will shut up now.

Glyn  •  Link St. James's Park, and saw great variety of fowl which I never saw before

As Mary says, in the 1660s there were a large number of cages lining the Walk on the south side of the park in the road now known as Birdcage Walk. The Keeper of Charles II’s royal aviary in the park was an Edward Storey, who obviously had to be nearby at all hours, and his house was at the end of Birdcage Walk, next to the gate that led into the park. The road leading up to it is still known as Storey’s Gate.…

It may, for all I know, to be one of the earliest London streets NOT to be named after an aristocrat.

Brian McMullen  •  Link

Following up on Edward Storey I found this link:…

where our man SP gets quoted from this very day!

"In 1661, observant and quaint old Pepys remarks in his Diary, ', To walk in St. James' Park, and saw a great variety of fowls I never saw before."

The link ends with a note from Evelyn's Diary:

"But perhaps the best description of the birds in the Park in those days is to be found in Evelyn's Diary, March 29, 1665. He says, "I went to St. James' Park, where I saw various animals, and examined the throat of yo 'Onocratylus,' or Pelican, a fowle between a Stork and a Swan, a melancholy waterfowl brought from Astracan by the Russian Ambassador;
it was diverting to see how he would toss up and turn a flat fish, plaice or flounder, to get it right into its gullet . . . . . ."

Australian Susan  •  Link

"various animals"
James I had introduced an elephant to St James's park. Wonder what happened to it??
Interesting to see Evelyn use the comparison for the pelican of "between a stork and a swan". Obviously storks were still around in England at that time. Or had he travelled in continental Europe? Pelicans (we have them in Queensland) always look to me as though they are smiling, not "melancholy" at all.

vicente  •  Link

There be Bare [****] sorry Bears, bear baiting, bear fights[from J.E] Bear gardens,Dog fighting, Cock Fighting, Bull Baiting [ no! not eating a bull sandwich] full description available 16th June 1670, apes be there too,quote "which had not seene I think in twenty yeares before":
Meaning I do take, that it was there for the Hoi Poloi, and the dashing young men, that did like its blood and guts:
The Faires, the Tower and parks, all had samples of the exotic , a tradition upheld today by the landed ones of the U.K. Many on the list of kings privileges.
So many Animals mentioned by J.E. in England and over yon straights

Kevin Sheerstone  •  Link

Re. RexLeo above:


E  •  Link

I am worried by the lack of literary background shown by commentators here. I thought everyone knew:

__If I were a cassowary
__On the plains of Timbuctoo,
__I would eat a missionary,
__Cassock, band, and hymn-book too.

Just bad geography, or was the name used for other birds too?

vicente  •  Link

E: Sammy Wilberforce a bishop none the less did rit this:

Wilberforce, Samuel (1805-73), English Anglican prelate and educator, who helped preserve the Oxford movement, which emphasized the catholic origins...

vicente  •  Link

RE: being flightless: the wondering 17th. C sailors did miss one. - New flightless bird found in Philippines - Aug 17, 2004
... Science & Space. New flightless bird found in Philippines. A Calayan
Rail is held after its discovery by Filipino and British wildlife ...…

language hat  •  Link

"On the plains of Timbuctoo"

I think it's a safe assumption that the author of that ditty was more concerned with rhyme and amusement value than the niceties of biogeography.

Pedro.  •  Link

On this day in Portugal.

Queen regent, D.Luisa, declares to the Court the marriage between Charles and Catarina, and it is approved by the Council of State.

Toby  •  Link

There's an older theory that Birdcage Walk is a corruption of 'Bocage', a Norman French word meaning hedge, or in this context more likely shrubbery. I have never seen a good source that indicates birds were actually hung in birdcages along the length of the walk. Is it possible the story was created to explain the name, when the true evolution had been largely forgotten?

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"and then to walk in St. James’s Park, and saw great variety of fowl which I never saw before"

Bird Cage Walk, St. James's Park, a name given to the south side of the Park, between Buckingham Gate and Storey's Gate, from the aviary established there in the reign of James I., and the decoy made there in the reign of Charles II. The supposition that it was so called from "The Bocage," a name given to it by St. Evremont, who was keeper of the ducks in the Park, is a mere piece of idle ingenuity. A grant to Katharine, Queen of Charles II., made in 1671 (23 Car. II.), recites letters patent of the 13th of his reign (1661), whereby he granted, inter alia, "the keeping of an house and yards in our Parke at St. James's, built for the keeping of pheasants, gunny [guinea] hens, partridges, and other fowle within our said park;" and also recites that the Queen Consort had by her trustees purchased the same...
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

language hat on 20 Aug 2004    
"On the plains of Timbuctoo"

"I think it's a safe assumption that the author of that ditty was more concerned with rhyme and amusement value than the niceties of biogeography."

Cassowary is such an interesting name, too. Why wouldn't a poet or rhymster jump on it? He probably had no knowledge of where Timbuctoo was, either--another interesting name, four-syllable words are so handy and are often funny.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘cassowary n. < Malay kasuārī . .
1. A genus of large cursorial birds, related to the Ostrich, inhabiting the islands in the Indian Archipelago as far as New Guinea. They stand about five feet high; the wings are of no use for flight, but are furnished with stiff featherless quills, like spines, which serve for combat or defence.
‘Named Emeu by the early Portuguese navigators. It is the Emeu vulgo Casoaris (the latter appearing to be the Malay appellation) of Bontius.’ Penny Cycl. XXIII. 142/2. (See emu n.)
1611 H. Peacham in T. Coryate Crudities sig. k4v, Saint Iames his Ginney Hens, the Cassawarway moreover. [Margin] An East Indian bird at St. Iames in the keeping of Mr. Walker.
. . 1690 J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding ii. xxv. 152 The Relation of Dam and Chick, between the two Cassiowaries in St. James's Park . . ‘

eileen d.  •  Link

here in the diary, I keep bumping into places I've only heard about via Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie... delightful!

here's add'l info on Lynn (King's Lynn)

During the 18th century, one of the most profitable industries operating from the small Norfolk port of King’s Lynn was whaling. Although the port never dealt with whalers on the scale of the East Coast ports around the Humber or Dundee, it still brought considerable employment and wealth to the town. It also bred an especially tough and hardy group of sailors, since catching whales meant sailing far to the north, around the shores of Greenland and into some of the wildest and coldest parts of the north Atlantic and the Arctic Sea.…

eileen d.  •  Link

[King's Lynn post (above) should be with August 17th entry instead of here on the 18th]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and then to walk in St. James’s Park, and saw great variety of fowl which I never saw before"

L&M: The modern Birdcage Walk preserves the memory of the aviary, which was greatly extended, if not founded, by Charles II. Most of the birds were water-birds living on the ponds or in a decoy; others -- e.g. the exotic varieties presented by the E. India Company -- were kept in a 'poultry-house'. In 1661 there were parrots and cassowaries; in 1663 pelicans, Indian ducks, Muscovy ducks and white crows. Descriptions in Mundy, v. 156-8[1663]; Monconys, ii. 22-3, 58 [1663]; Evelyn, 9 February 1665; Magalotti, p. 168 [1669]. For its history, see Sir William Foster, John Company, pp. 89-90. , etc.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At night fell to read in “Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity,” which Mr. Moore did give me last Wednesday very handsomely bound; and which I shall read with great pains and love for his sake."

L&M: See… and……
Pepys retained the 1666 edition: PL 2499 This also is 'very handsomely bound', possibly in the style pf Moore's, in black morocco, with gilt-panelled covers and an unusually large number of bands on the spine.

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