Monday 10 March 1661/62

At the office doing business all the morning, and my wife being gone to buy some things in the city I dined with Sir W. Batten, and in the afternoon met Sir W. Pen at the Treasury Office, and there paid off the Guift, where late at night, and so called in and eat a bit at Sir W. Batten’s again, and so home and to bed, to-morrow being washing day.

11 Annotations

First Reading

neven  •  Link

I found other washing day references so far letting Google search on this combination: "washing day" --- this could come in handy for other cross-references.

Martin  •  Link

Tomorrow being washing day.
This seems to be just an off-hand notation, just as Sam notes many other kinds of minutiae. Washing day, every Tuesday, does not seem to require any particular changes in his routine like making himself scarce at home -- other Tuesdays including "lying long in bed," coming home for dinner, etc.

Mary  •  Link

washing day.

Was no mean undertaking in the Pepys (or any similar) houshold. A certain status was implied by the infrequency of wash-days (i.e. you had enough fresh linen to last you through several weeks together)and some great houses had a Great Washing Day only twice a year.

Sam doesn't particularly enjoy washing days; the house (especially in winter, when linen had to be dried indoors) was a mess and there would only be cold cuts for dinner as cooking and washing did not go together. In this instance his "so home and to bed, tomorrow being washing day" implies that he wants to get some sleep before the house stirs in the early hours to start this major household task.

Martin  •  Link

Frequency of washing day
A search on just "washing" yields Tuesday washing-days apparently on Tue 19 Nov 1661, Tue 5 Feb 1661, Tue 11 Dec 1660, Tue 20 Nov 1660 and Tue 17 July 1660. Two of these are three weeks apart, but there's not enough to establish whether there's a pattern. It could be irregular. Clearly he doesn't always mention it.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Washing day ...

... was a MAJOR undertaking, beginning in pre-dawn hours and lasting well into the night, completely upending and disrupting household routine. It was physically rigorous. For an excellent description of a typical washing day, see Clare Tomalin's biography of Sam. (I'd quote it but I don't have it here at work.)

Ruben  •  Link

for those interest in washing, we had already been to this before and you will find annotations, details and also graphics of the instruments of torture used for the tasd somewhere in this site, more or less a year ago.
Someone also cited a nice history of the washing machine.

vicenzo  •  Link

Oh! Sam, Monday be wash day, I guess it took Monday to get enough suds ready?
such a modern phrase " some things ..."

language hat  •  Link

For a great description of washday, see the beginning of Penelope Fitzgerald's novel The Blue Flower:

"Jacob Dietmahler was not such a fool that he could not see that they had arrived at his friend's home on the washday. They should not have arrived anywhere, certainly not at this great house, the largest but two in Weissenfels, at such a time. Dietmahler's own mother supervised the washing three times a year, therefore the household had linen and white underwear for four months only. He himself possessed eighty-nine shirts, no more. But here, at the Hardenberg house in Kloster Gasse, he could tell from the great dingy snowfalls of sheets, pillowcases, bolster-cases, vests, bodices, drawers, from the upper windows into the courtyard, where grave-looking servants, both men and women, were receiving them into giant baskets, that they washed only once a year..."

You can read the opening pages using Amazon's "look inside the book" feature:…

Martin  •  Link

"we had already been to this before"
OK. Some of us came in late. Sam repeats a lot so this kind of thing will happen. When citing prior discussions links would be nice. In this case it was 20 Nov 1660.…

Ruben  •  Link

"we had already been to this before"
Martin: I looked for the link, but did not find it. My memory is better than my computer skills…
I am sure that it was better to send you to the old annotations than otherwise.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today in the House of Lords…...
Mawe, Whitley, Hill, &al. to be attached [ taken into custody ], for Contempt of the Order concerning Hatfield Level.

Mawe, Whitley, Hill, &al. violated the Hatfield Level Bill of 24 May 1661.….
"An Act for settling certain drained Grounds, lying within the Level of Hatfeild Chace and Parts adjacent, within the Counties of Yorke, Lyncolne, and Nottingham."

Hatfield Chase is a low-lying area in South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, England, which was often flooded. It was a royal hunting ground until Charles I appointed the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to drain it in 1626. The work involved the re-routing of the Rivers Don, Idle and Torne, and the construction of drainage channels. It was not wholly successful, but changed the whole nature of a wide swathe of land including the Isle of Axholme and caused legal disputes for the rest of the century.…

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