Thursday 26 December 1661

This morning Sir W. Pen and I to the Treasury office, and there we paid off the Amity (Captain Stokes’s ship that was at Guinny) and another ship, and so home, and after dinner Sir William came to me, and he and his son and daughter, and I and my wife, by coach to Moorfields to walk; but it was most foul weather, and so we went into an alehouse and there eat some cakes and ale, and a washeallbowle1 woman and girl came to us and sung to us. And after all was done I called my boy (Wayneman) to us to eat some cake that was left, and the woman of the house told us that he had called for two cakes and a pot of ale for himself, at which I was angry, and am resolved to correct him for it. So home and Sir W. Pen and his son and daughter to supper to me to a good turkey, and were merry at cards, and so to bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro.  •  Link

Washeall-bowle (From L&M Companion)

Wassail bowl, for making wassail (spiced ale drunk on Christmass Eve and Twelfth Night), carried on their rounds by wassailers, who sang carols from house to house.

dirk  •  Link

"And after all was done I called my boy ..."

As far as I can find, this is the first time that we find proof in Sam's diary that Will is with him (them) without Sam mentioning him - until of course Will does something (for better or for worse) which earns him a few words of comment.

This makes it all the more probable that Will has been out with Sam many times (if not most of the time) without being mentioned explicitly in Sam's diary entries.

dirk  •  Link

Will vs Wayneman

There has been some confusion about this before, but is seems I was wrong in assuming Wayneman = Will.

Nonetheless my previous remark stands: servant(s) must often have accompanied Sam on his daily errands, most of the time without being mentioned explicitly in the diary.

Pedro.  •  Link

"And after all was done I called my boy "

Dirk, looking in L&M Companion, the only entry about Wayneman is under “Status and Duties of the Domestic Servants” and says..
“The most junior in years and status was the footboy who ran errands and accompanied his master abroard, wearing sword and livery and, it might be, carrying a link to light the way.

vicenzo  •  Link

"Aaugliter" does this have any thing to do with fortelling.?
augur prophet or augeo, -xi, -actumto enlarge?
lito to sacrifice with omens?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Vicenzo (aka Vicente & Vincent inter alia) has made a brilliantly erudite interpretation (in jest, I believe) of what seems an evident mis-scan of "daughter".

DrCari  •  Link

Regarding Wayneman and Will:
Naughty Wayneman the incorrigible youngster is the brother of much beloved maidservant Jane. Jane's widowed mother and Jane have begged Sam to look out for Wayneman's welfare and future prospects. Wayneman joined the Pepys household as a boy servant. Will Hewer is another young servant cum trainee-clerk who resided throughout his teen years in Sam's household. Will Hewer featured prominently throughout Sam's lifetime.

Stolzi  •  Link

Christmas revelry at last.

(The wassail, and maybe the turkey as well)

Nate  •  Link

Would this "turkey" be an American turkey or the African "turkey"? If it is an American turkey I think it would have been expensive. I seem to recall that turkeys were expensive to purchase until the 20th century when culture techniques were perfected.

From the "kidzone":
When the Spanish first found the bird in the Americas more than 400 years ago they brought it back to Europe. The English mistakenly thought it was a bird they called a "turkey" so they gave it the same name. This other bird was actually from Africa, but came to England by way of the Turkey (lots of shipping went through Turkey at the time). The name stuck even when they realized the birds weren't the same.

Stolzi  •  Link


According to this page…

the merchants from Turkey were still selling the American bird (pavo meleagris) and it was known in England in the time of Shakespeare. The history given here is different from that at kidzone. Take your pick!

The guinea fowl comes from Africa, but from West Africa, not from the parts where Turkish merchants would be trading.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we paid off the Amity (Captain Stokes’s ship that was at Guinny) and another ship"

Major holiday income! L&M report the Amity was given a year's pay; the other ship was probably the George; Thomas Turner and three other clerks were employed.

Bill  •  Link

WASSAIL, WASSEL, a Custom, still used in some Places, on twelfth Day, at Night, of going about with a great Bowl of Ale, drinking of Healths.
WASSELLERS, A Company of People, who make merry and drink together; also Wenches that go about from House to House singing at Christmas.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Wassail - from "Waes Hael" - a traditional Anglo-Saxon toast particularly common at Yuletide, to which the response was "Drinc Hael!" The Viking equivalent was "vess heil". The meaning in archaic English is 'wax hale', meaning 'be healthy or 'grow healthy' as in 'hale and hearty'. In time, “Wassail” became the name of a Yuletide hot punch drink, and “wassailing” the act of singing at your neighbours' ( or the lord of the manor's) doors hoping for a wassail reward!

The link below is to the words of the very traditional 'Gloucester Wassai'l. The Vaughan Williams version is particularly beautiful.


There's also The Wassail Song: there are several good versions of both songs on YouTube.…

So Waes Hael everyone - cheers! :)

Matthew Moppett  •  Link

@Sasha: you've got the etymology of "wassail" wrong: it's from Old Norse "ves heill", not (directly) from any Anglo-saxon/Old English form.

Old English did have the related expression "wes (þu) hal" -- meaning "stay well/keep healthy", but there's no indication it was used as a drinking toast, as "ves heill" was. And the "ves"/"wes" part has nothing to do with the verb "to wax" -- they're imperative forms of the Old Norse and Old English verbs "vesa" and "wesan", both meaning "to remain, to stay". The suppletive past tense forms of the modern English verb "to be" -- "was" and "were" -- are derived from "wesan", but the verb in its present/infinitive etc. forms disappeared during the Middle English period. Have a look at this link here:…

Wes þu hal :-)

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

@Matthew: I think its a bit more complicated than the etymology site suggests.

The 13 volume OED gives almost a page on 'wassail' and derived terms. The root it gives is from the Middle English 'wæs hæll', deriving from Old English 'wes hal'. This, and the Old Norse (and other Germanic equivalents) were widely used as a greeting, and as you say, not originally as a toast. The use as a toast started in Britain, not on the continent.

The OED states "It seems probable that this use arose amongst the Danish speaking inhabitants of England, and became more or less common among the native population; in the 12th C it use was regarded by the Normans as markedly characteristic of Englishmen." The OED then says that the earliest known occurrence of the phrases (wes hail and drinc heil) is in Geoffrey of Monmouth's story of Rowena from c 1140.

The fusion of the Angle, Viking and Saxon cultures was complex, both in usage and pronunciation. In this case it seems that the usage started out in the Danelaw, but the pronunciation which survived derived from Saxon.

BTW "Wes þu hal" reminds me of Gandalf's salutation to Theoden in 'The Two Towers' "Westu Theoden hal." (Tolkien was using the words in the original sense.) :-)

I admit I was somewhat fanciful in my interjection of 'wax': I suspect that "wax hale" or something like it occurs in Tolkien too and that may have influenced me subconsciously. Although 'wax' originally meant increase, it also acquired the meaning 'become' in late ME.

Matthew Moppett  •  Link

@Sasha: interesting! The pronoun "þu" was often encliticised to a preceding verb as "-tu": the Tolkien quote is good Old English.

But why do you think the pronunciation of wassail in Middle English derived from Old English? If Old English "wes hal" had developed in a similar way to "ves heill", it would have become *wessal or maybe *wessole or *wessoal (compare the modern English word "whole", which is a direct descendant of Old English "hal" -- the "w" at the beginning is a scribal interpolation), or perhaps "wessale" if it had developed on the same trajectory as "hale" (the Scottish/northern English equivalent of "whole", also descended from Old English "hal"). Middle English "ai" in "wassail" is a regular descendant of Old Norse "ei": compare modern English "raise" (from Old Norse "reisa"), or "bait" (from O.N. "beita"). It's worth noting that the "v" in "ves" was pronounced as /w/ in Old Norse (later changing to a /v/ sound in most modern descendants of that language).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

An afternoon and evening of fun, food and games for Uncle Sam Pepys with Sir William Penn, his 17 year old son home from Oxford for Christmas, and the enchanting Margaret "Pegg" Penn aged 10/11. Young people remember times like this.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This morning Sir W. Pen and I to the Treasury office, and there we paid off the Amity (Captain Stokes’s ship that was at Guinny) and another ship."

L&M: The Amity was given a year;s pay (c. £1530): PRO, Adm.20/2, p.185. The other ship was probably the George: ib., loc.cit. Thomas Turner and three other clerks were employed: ib., p. 31.

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