Thursday 19 September 1661

Up early, and my father and I alone into the garden, and there talked about our business, and what to do therein. So after I had talked and advised with my coz Claxton, and then with my uncle by his bedside, we all horsed away to Cambridge, where my father and I, having left my wife at the Beare with my brother, went to Mr. Sedgewicke, the steward of Gravely, and there talked with him, but could get little hopes from anything that he would tell us; but at last I did give him a fee, and then he was free to tell me what I asked, which was something, though not much comfort.

From thence to our horses, and with my wife went and rode through Sturbridge but the fair was almost done. So we did not ’light there at all, but went back to Cambridge, and there at the Beare we had some herrings, we and my brother, and after dinner set out for Brampton, where we come in very good time, and found all things well, and being somewhat weary, after some talk about tomorrow’s business with my father, we went to bed.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Mark Ynys-Mon  •  Link

"we all horsed away to Cambridge"

lovely construction :)

The fair at Sturbridge is Stourbridge Fair, one of the great Fairs of Europe, only finally abolished, after a long long decline, in 1933.

There is a wonderful entry in Defoe on the Fair "which is not only the greatest in the whole nation, but in the world" :…

RexLeo  •  Link

I am surprised that P can stay so long away from his office. Is somebody acting or substituting for him at the office?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam away from the office
Presumably Will Hewer is doing some of his work.

daniel  •  Link

perhaps the work just waits.
As busy as Sam seems, there never is a clear time-table in our modern sense of when something should happen or not.

adam w  •  Link

'but at last I did give him a fee, and then he was free to tell me what I asked'
This sounds like what we would call a bribe. Given that the Steward of Gravely is not (yet) an employee of the Pepys family, a little money is needed to oil the wheels of co-operation. Not unknown even today.

Michiel van der Leeuw  •  Link

The steward of Gravely
Sounds like a novel by Sir Walter Scott!

john lauer  •  Link

re adam's "bribe" -- why is this not simply a "retainer" for expert advice in a professional relationship, i.e., aboveboard and proper?

vicente  •  Link

"I am surprised that P can stay so long away from his office. Is somebody acting or substituting for him at the office?"

He was not employed by the hour, by the day or week, just by the month, as long it got done, no time studies then to see wot ye were serfing at the pub. 'Twas a more tollerant life for the management. Time to enjoy the view from the corner window, Sam and his ilke did their thing at their own pace [except when Charlie or Jamie did beckon.

vicente  •  Link

Nobody but nobody, does ought for nougt, 'tis THE rule of life."...but at last I did give him a fee, and then he was free to tell me what I asked

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M note there were two Bear Inns in Cambridge: the Black Bear, off Sidney St, opposite Holy Trinity Church (part of its yard surviving as Market Passage), and the White Bear off Trinity St (on the site of the modern Whewell's Court of Trinity College). The former was usually known as 'The Bear.'
On this map, "Market Passage" is one block north of "Market Street" running one block off Sidney Street.…

TMN  •  Link

I took the fee to mean he was able to speak if Pepys was a client. The "fee" made it legit perhaps?

john  •  Link

Today's entry made the OED:

horse, v. [f. prec. n.]
2. intr. To mount or go on horseback.
1661 Pepys Diary 19 Sept., Then we all horsed away to Cambridge.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"rode through Sturbridge fayre (L&M)

Once the greatest of all English fairs -- at one time the largest in Europe; abolished in 1934 [during the Great Depression] ; still, in 1681, according to Thomas Baskerville, 'the greatest mart or fair we have in England': Stourbridge fair was an annual fair held on Stourbridge Common in Cambridge, England. At its peak it was the largest fair in Europe and was the inspiration for Bunyan's "Vanity Fair". n 1199, King John granted the Leper Chapel at Steresbrigge in Cambridge dispensation to hold a three-day fair to raise money to support the lepers. The first such fair was held in 1211 around the Feast of the Holy Cross (14 September) on the open land of Stourbridge Common alongside the River Cam.

The fair's location, with the river allowing barges to travel up the Cam from The Wash, and near an important road leading to Newmarket, meant that the fair was accessible to a large population. Despite its proximity to Cambridge, the charter prohibited anyone from imposing taxes on the commerce there.

During its history the fair was variously spelled "Stir-Bitch", "Stirbitch" and "Sturbridge", with its name derived from the "Steer Bridge" (i.e. a bridge for oxen), where the road to Newmarket crosses a small river that enters the Cam just to the east of the common (the name "Sture" or "Stour" now given to this river is a back-formation).

The fair was one of four important medieval fairs held in Cambridge: Garlic Fair, Reach Fair, Midsummer Fair and Stourbridge Fair.…

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