Thursday 23 January 1661/62

All the morning with Mr. Berkenshaw, and after him Mr. Moore in discourse of business, and in the afternoon by coach by invitacon to my uncle Fenner’s, where I found his new wife, a pitiful, old, ugly, illbred woman in a hatt, a midwife. Here were many of his, and as many of her relations, sorry, mean people; and after choosing our gloves, we all went over to the Three Crane Tavern, and though the best room in the house, in such a narrow dogg-hole we were crammed, and I believe we were near forty, that it made me loathe my company and victuals; and a sorry poor dinner it was too.

After dinner, I took aside the two Joyce’s, and took occasion to thank them for their kind thoughts for a wife for Tom: but that considering the possibility there is of my having no child, and what then I shall be able to leave him, I do think he may expect in that respect a wife with more money, and so desired them to think no more of it. Now the jest was Anthony mistakes and thinks that I did all this while encourage him (from my thoughts of favour to Tom) to pursue the match till Will Joyce tells him that he was mistaken. But how he takes it I know not, but I endeavoured to tell it him in the most respectful way that I could.

This done with my wife by coach to my aunt Wight’s, where I left her, and I to the office, and that being done to her again, and sat playing at cards after supper till 12 at night, and so by moonshine home and to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"possibility there is of mine having no child"
In that case Tom would be his heir and in the marriage market worth more money! Very practical people!

Bradford  •  Link

"his new wife, a pitiful, old, ugly, illbred woman in a hatt, a midwife."

Great detail. Imagine had she worn none!

"his new wife, a pitiful, old, ugly, illbred woman, not even wearing a hatt, a midwife."

The looks of the hatt must have been on a par with those of the bride: clothes make the woman?

daniel  •  Link

"possibility there is of mine having no child"

Yes, Sam, as the diary goes along, exhibits clear-eyed pragmatism about his and Eliz’s childlessness. He doesn’t discuss it in the diary but one gets the impression that he has come to some closure about it.

“and so by moonshine home “

and so did I tonight! What a nice synchronicity.

Clement  •  Link

The waxing moon Sam walked home by was only three days past New, so it must have been a very clear night to gain much illumination from it.
London night skies were not as sooty as they would become a few generations hence, as population and industry grew.
17th c. lunar phases:…

Birdie  •  Link

Clement, re: Moonshine. Again, we have the confusion caused by the Gregorian calendar vs. the Julian. Sam saw a full moon.

Ruben  •  Link

London was already sooty, smoky and foggy enough that Pepys friend Evelyn wrote a nice book about it:
"FUMIFUGIUM: OR, The Inconveniency of the Smoak of LONDON".

Judith Boles  •  Link

"and after choosing our gloves, we all went over to the Three Crane Tavern..." Is there some significance to "choosing our gloves", or does this just mean reclaiming one's own apparel?

Rex Gordon  •  Link

"... a foggy day in London town ..."

Ruben is correct. As early as 1257 Eleanor of Provence (wife of Henry III) complained about the smoke and pollution of London. Elizabeth I was reported to have been "greatly grieved and annoyed with the taste and smoke of sea-coals." By the 16th century such a pall of smoke hung over the city that the interiors of the more affluent London houses were dark with soot. In the treatise entitled Fumifigium, Evelyn lamented the condition of a city covered by "a Hellish and dismal Cloud of SEA-COAL ... (arising from) the few funnels and Issues, belonging to Brewers, Diers, Lime-burners, Salt and Sope-boylers and some other private trades, One of whose Spiracles alone, does manifestly infest the Aer, more than all the chimnies of London put together." A contemporary of Evelyn described London as enveloped in "Such a cloud of sea-coal, as if there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano in a foggy day; this pestilent smoak, which corrodes the very yron and spoils all the movables, leaving a soot on all things that it lights; and so fatally seizing on the lungs of the inhabitants, that cough and consumption spare no man." (Taken from Peter Ackroyd, London: The Biography, pp 426-27.)

upper_left_hand_corner  •  Link

As Clement helpfully noted, you can find the following link to moon phases on the calendar page:…

From that, you can see that the full moon is on February 3 of 1662 (Gregorian). But then you have to subtract 10 days to get the corresponding Julian date, Jan 24 (or is that Jan 23?). And you find that it was approximately full moon on the night of 23 Jan 1661/2 (Julian).

It has been noted several times that whatever the moon phase is today, it is about the same (plus a day or two) in Pepys' blog. Just a happy cooincidence, I guess. If Phil had chosen to start the blog a year earlier or later it wouldn't have worked out so well.

Pauline  •  Link

"choosing our gloves"
Sounded like a custom such as the providing of mourning clothes or mourning rings. Found the following with a quick google:

“The lovely custom of distributing Wedding Favors has been around since ancient times. In the the late 17th century, guests were given favors such as scarves, garters and gloves.”

Pauline  •  Link

"Now the jest was Anthony mistakes...till Will Joyce tells him that he was mistaken"
I take it that Anthony thought Sam was, in a backwards way, encouraging them to continue looking, but for a bride with more money; while Will gets the message straight and halts Anthony's misunderstanding.

Sounds like this wedding and the company have put a little fear in Sam about adding just any old sister-in-law to his family mix.

Mary  •  Link

the invitation to Uncle Fenner's

was on the occasion of his birthday and also, it appears, to celebrate his acquisition of a new wife (even if she is old, ugly etc. and wears a hat); hence the distribution of gloves as noted by Pauline.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Social Necessities
Sam is here torn between family loyalty and respectability and not wanting to drag himself down socially by being seen in the company of midwives and their ilk! Poor Sam! There is a palpable sense of distaste: everything is "sorry", "poor", "mean", "narrow" and he eats his birthday/wedding celebratory meal in a room which reminds him of a dog kennel. It seems Elizabeth was with him, but there is no comment as to her reactions to all this and Sam whisks her away with him (and Wayneman too presumably). Let's hope the new Mrs Fenner was a kindly woman and made the uncle happy, because it seems his relatives are going to keep their distance now.

Pat Stewart Cavalier  •  Link

A foggy day ...
Aléonore d'Aquitaine, s'il vous plaît ! Like saying Edward I was Scottish.

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The above links to find moon phases are dead. The current NASA page for the 17th century is below; dates being given by the Gregorian Calendar. For the whole of Sam's diary, it's quite simple: add 10 days to Sam's dates to find Gregorian dates.

(23rd January + 10 = 33rd, - 31 = 2nd February.)…

According to NASA the full moon is at 05:42 on 3rd February, so this is effectively the night of the full moon. The full moon will be fairly high in the sky: where you'd expect the sun to be in late July/early August, because the full moon in winter follows the approximate path of the sun in summer and vice-versa.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

PS, For the second run of the diary, the current moon phases are about 12/13 days behind those that Sam would be experiencing.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Oh, what I'd give to know what the women in Sam's life were thinking!

Rob  •  Link

@ A Foggy Day.....

Eleanor of Provence was indeed the wife of Henry III.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was Henry's grandmother by his fathers side (John Lackland)

Edith Lank  •  Link

Laura -- you'd like to know what the women think -- here's the start of The Diary of Mrs. Pepys, by Sara George:

31st December 1659

I have resolved to keep a journal, and it will be private. I shall keep it hidden, and it will be mine alone and I shall say whatever I like. So that on days and nights like this it will be company of a sort....

Krissy Holmes  •  Link

"where I found his new wife, a pitiful, old, ugly, illbred woman in a hatt, a midwife"

Oh how I love Sam! Was it the ugliness of her herself, or did the hat top it off? He is so descriptive here... I can just see her now. Possibly he just did not like her, or she could just be plain ugly. Anyway, he did not think too fondly of his uncle's choice in women.…

If you go to the link, you can see what kind of hats women wore during the Restoration Period.
"Use of the fontage, a wired and tiered lace headdress¸ became widespread as the female silhouette became more vertical. Over time, fontages would include 2 or even 3 tiers. The nosegay was replaced with bundles of ribbons, as was the period’s obsession at the time. The popular hairstyle was to have small, tight curls parted down the center and gathered away from the face."

Possibly, his uncle's wifes vertical is not great, or she may not have even has a fontage. The fontage may have possibly just been 1 tier.?

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

London fog, or miasma:

John Evelyn’s 1661 work "Fumifugium" criticized the polluted air in the capital. Part of the complaint was the damage that Evelyn claimed polluted air was doing to the water both in the city, and to those who lived downstream who he said emerged after bathing covered in a “web” of dust and grime.

Evelyn’s issues with the air highlight the importance of smell in Early Modern understandings of disease. If “corrupt” or “putrid” air was key to the spread of illness, the stench of the River Fleet was not only unpleasant – it was life threatening.

The threat of pollution therefore took two forms. There was the waste that ended up in the river, and the smell that resulted from it.

The author Ben Jonson, whose house was near the Fleet River, took the state of the river as inspiration for his poem “On the Famous Voyage” which paints a nauseatingly vivid picture of the waterway’s condition through a mock voyage down it circa 1610:
“Your dainty Nostrils (in so hot a Season, When every Clerk eats Artichokes and Peason, Laxative Lettuce, and such windy Meat) Tempt such a passage? when each Privies Seat Is fill’d with Buttock? And the Walls do sweat Urine, and Plasters? When the Noise doth beat Upon your Ears, of Discords so unsweet?”…

The waste and smell appeared again in scenarios where authorities did take action against polluters:
In 1627, a case was brought by London residents against a house that made “allom”. (Alum, as it is known today, was produced through the “boiling of urine” and the complaints were aimed at the “noisome stinking scum of a frothy substance” that it was dumping into the water.)
Both the smell and contamination were claimed to have “cast many of [the nearby residents] into extremity of great sicknesses” and the building was shut down.

Thomas Powell lamented the river’s treatment in a 1679 religious work, suggesting people treated God in a similar way to the river: poorly. “The Thames brings us in our Riches, our Gold, Silks, Spices: and we throw all our filth into the Thames”.

You might think that this was as bad as it could get, but a 1696 pamphlet suggested that the Thames was better off than most English rivers, which enjoyed fewer protections and in contrast were “choaked up with Filth”.

In a world without permanent sewage or waste disposal systems, it is unsurprising Early Modern rivers ended up in the state they did, despite legal protections. But the reaction to their pollution shows us that, even in a time with limited alternatives, this scenario was not accepted without complaint.…

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