Thursday 22 August 1661

To the Privy Seal, and sealed; so home at noon, and there took my wife by coach to my uncle Fenner’s, where there was both at his house and the Sessions, great deal of company, but poor entertainment, which I wonder at; and the house so hot, that my uncle Wight, my father and I were fain to go out, and stay at an alehouse awhile to cool ourselves. Then back again and to church, my father’s family being all in mourning, doing him the greatest honour, the world believing that he did give us it: so to church, and staid out the sermon, and then with my aunt Wight, my wife, and Pall and I to her house by coach, and there staid and supped upon a Westphalia ham, and so home and to bed.

31 Annotations

First Reading

daniel  •  Link


I think of the privy seal as something immaterial and conceptual. sam succintly points out that it is neither!

Josh  •  Link

Somebody please tell us about what makes Westphalian Ham a Ham of note.

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link

What was special about Westphalian Ham?

The Prussians hung up their hams in smoking closets, and that was their
secret--which the English didn't cotton
on to until the 18th century. Here is
an entry from a cookery page:…

"WESTPHALIA HAM: This Prussian ham was much prized in the 17th and 18th centuries for its delicate flavour, due to the fragrant woods over which it was smoked and the diet of acorns on which the pigs were fed. The cookery books of the period all give painstaking receipts for imitating Westphalian ham. (John Nott, 1726)"

Hazlitt has several mentions of Westphalia ham in his *Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine*, and cites a late
17th century English receipt for making
pork taste like Westphalian ham. The Hazlitt has been done by Project Gutenberg, by the way.

daniel  •  Link


i supposse the ham made it worthy of walking out of the sermon.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Then back again and to church, my father's family being all in mourning, doing him the greatest honour, the world believing that he did give us it: …” Sam, I’ve got to know!! What was ‘it’?!!! (Did everyone think Dad gave Sam and Beth the Brampton place, perhaps?)

Australian Susan  •  Link

I took that to mean honour.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sweet pork
When did people start driving their pigs into apple orchards at the end of the apple-picking season so the pigs could eat the fallen apples and thus make their meat sweet? Were they doing that in Sam's time?

vicente  •  Link

In and out, work done "...To the Privy Seal, and sealed...". What more to be said?. To the point. No chasing up the ring [Seal]or wax or signer.
Re: pigs and the Orchard: Pigs love quality food of any kind, and will route up an orchard at any golden opportunity.

David Ross McIrvine  •  Link


I suppose it would depend on the kind
of apples--most I've had in my yard are
either sour or just "June apples" (which
"come to fruition" around now). All you'll get from those is applesauce.

Still, if a diet of apples makes varmints tastier, maybe I'll have to shoot that woodchuck in the back yard if it keeps up the invasion. (I learned how to cook and eat varmints we'd shot, e.g. beaver, from my medieval literature professor, and I have relatives who do wonders with raccoons. Always remove the musk glands first.) It eats all the windfall apples. Well, if my dog (a 76 pound Chesapeake Bay Retriever, mostly) doesn't kill it first.

"Sweet pork
When did people start driving their pigs into apple orchards at the end of the apple-picking season so the pigs could eat the fallen apples and thus make their meat sweet? Were they doing that in Sam's time?”

Stolzi  •  Link

"the world believing that he did give us it"

I took this to mean that everyone thought Father Pepys - the tailor - could afford to dress the whole family in fine mourning garments at his own expense.

Stolzi  •  Link


I'm wondering why there was a sermon in Church on Thursday Aug. 22 - which is not any feast or holy day that I recall.

No, not "Conversion of St. Augustine," you Morse fans!!

vicente  •  Link

"Were they doing that in Sam's time?” It would be normal an event, Pigs have enjoyed orchards from the beginning of time. For centuries there was no separation of activities [buzz word intergrated farming?]. Those days one was into natural recycling. [that is why they [pigs]have a bad reputation in certain parts of the world because they will enjoy the fruits of the earth]
One day early in my childhood my buddy’s piglets left home, to explore the countryside and decided to prune our young Laurel bushes to the ground. When Pop became aware of the event, he retrieved the trusty 12 gauge[shot gun] and was ready to make available piglets for the pot, fortunately, Paul rescued the squeeling escapees. Pop wanted compensation [piglets for the pot] for the ruined pruned Laurels bushes but was persuaded to wait 9 mths., and see the result of the marvellous hard work of good little piglets, and boy! did those bushes grow, good pruning and good fertilizer. Pigs were often taken to the copse [woodlette] to feed, there be no special K. brand to feed them. One had to use and recyle all that is available.

vicente  •  Link

Being one that never crosses the nave, I do take, that this be a Special send off service, to say all the nice things that one forgot to say when she was alive, then enjoy "...but poor entertainment,..." then to the final lay mans toast at the olde local.? It appears that Sam did not open is little Satchel of coin, for he usually makes note of out of pocket expenses.

Judy B  •  Link

I think by "it" he may have been refering to the charade his family was making about being left all that property in his Uncle Robert's will. They were still in mourning clothes for the uncle's death, after all. A few days ago some of his family members were acting as though they had inherited all this money.

JWB  •  Link

Westphalia ham
It's a salt dried ham smoked in Juniper smoke, like a Virginia ham in hicory smoke. Aunt Wight would have put it in a pot of water to soak the day she heard of Aunt Fenner's death. It takes two days to rehydrate and it's baked on the third.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

What "it" is
I have to side with Stolzi's interpretation. The natural syntactic reference of "it" in the sentence is "mourning", which in this context means mourning clothes. I infer that it was the custom of the time for the head of family to provide the mourning clothing for all the family members, if he could afford it. Sam's father couldn't afford it, but they all dressed up anyway to make it look like he had, thus "doing him the greatest honour." Recall yesterday's entry, where Will Joyce complains that his father didn't give him enough (money) for mourning, which annoyed Sam. Here he is demonstrating that he is above such pettiness.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Sam and the sermon
Daniel - when Sam says he "staid out the sermon", I think he means he stayed for the whole thing, not that he walked out, although he probably wished he could.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, Paul. Makes much more sense as "mourning".
I think that because Sam comments he "staid out the sermon", but comments no more on it, that it cannot have been a very good one. Or he may mean he gave the gathered company respect by staying as long as he did. No mention of a committal. Was this the funeral service? Or a memorial one? The actual burial having been done at once, because of the summer heat.
With reference to Saints' Days and other Festivals: in the present day Anglican tradition, the nearest Festival Day would be August 24th - St Bartholomew's Day.

vicente  •  Link

"...and staid [through]out the sermon..." He suffered to end.
The "...Sessions...." any ideas?
"... my father's family being all in mourning, doing him the greatest honour…” I take the it [honour] to mean highest honour by wearing all the correct clothing [today it would mean a la Moss Bros]and not in coming in street clothing of normal day. Is there a possibility the outfits being be rented??
page 119.Rest: London Liza Picard mentions “Anthony Wood paid 2s for ‘black buckles to my vest’ and 6d for ‘blacking my russet shoes’, and he borrowed a ‘mourning-gown’.”
more on the mourning attire p119.

Mary  •  Link

The Sessions.

L&M footnote suggests that this is The Sessons House in Old Bailey, where the family could have hired a room/rooms to accommodate the funeral party.

The Sessions House was a hall of justice on the east side of Old Bailey where assizes and also quarter-sessions for Middlesex were held. The building was destroyed in the Great Fire

Lorry  •  Link

It was a kind of relief to see that Pall is still with his household and that Sam didn't throw her out of the house after all. Charitable man was Sam.

jem leggatt  •  Link

I think Aussie Susan is right: "it" essentially means the "honor" Dad is supposed to have bankrolled. All the other good suggestions -- "mourning", "charade" etc. merely elaborate on the original "honor."

JWB  •  Link

Westphalia ham again
To keep a ham over summer in the 17C must have been unusual,and only then a prized ham kept for special occasion. Brings to mind the German word Delicatessen.

Glyn  •  Link

It takes a warped mind to come up with a pun like that.

Surely it is Uncle Fenner who is responsible for paying for the funeral, since it is his wife who is dead; so perhaps he was supposed to give mourning rings or scarfs to the close family? And the Pepyses are using the still new apparel from the previous funeral so that he won't have a further expense? Or maybe not, difficult to be sure.

I'm amused to see that Lady Jem calls her new daughter Catherine (after Charles II's queen?). They call one son Oliver when Cromwell was in charge, and now we have Catherine - it isn't exactly subtle.

vicente  •  Link

Glyn: great points.

Australian Susan  •  Link

The new little Sandwich
Maybe if it had been a boy, it would have been Charles??
There was a factoid (myth?) going around at the time of Prince William's birth, that the late Princess Diana wished to call the lad Oliver, but was told by her husband and his family that she really couldn't call her boy after someone who had executed a relative.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

"Then back again and to church, my father's family being all in mourning, doing him the greatest honour, the world believing that he did give us it”

I agree with Glyn on this. Exasperation at Uncle Fenner’s meanness has already been expressed. I think Sam is commenting on the irony that the Pepys family all turned up in mourning, thus making it look to the world as if Uncle has given it to them, when in fact he knew and they knew that he had not.

Mary  •  Link

"he did give us it"

I'm also in accord with Jenny and Glyn. Both the sentence structure and sentence rhythm support this view, not to mention the other evidence of Uncle Fenner's shortcomings as chief mourner (poor entertainment = poor hospitality).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I think agree with the perception that a somewhat bitter Sam is explaining that the family had to give the greatest honor to their dear old relation as everyone thought a bundle had been left to them...A little trap of Sam's own making, of course.

Pauline  •  Link

" father's family being all in mourning…”
I think Sam is referring to mourning clothes. I happens that his father’s family all had mourning wear available and it rebounds to his honor. He is a tailor and there has been a recent family death (Uncle Robert)—for accumulated reasons, the family was ready for this mourning. This shouldn’t be mixed up with rings or other memorials that Uncle Fenner may have provided, or with the money for mourning clothes he gives his own family members.

I sense a long-standing competition between the families of the Kite sisters—Margaret and Katherine. Our Sam is not overly found of these Fenner relatives and judges squarely on the side of his father’s family.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Then back again and to church"

St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, where Auntt Fenner was buried in the church.
(L&M note)

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