Tuesday 15 July 1662

Up by 4 o’clock, and after doing some business as to settling my papers at home, I went to my office, and there busy till sitting time. So at the office all the morning, where J. Southern, Mr. Coventry’s clerk, did offer me a warrant for an officer to sign which I desired, claiming it for my clerk’s duty, which however did trouble me a little to be put upon it, but I did it. We broke up late, and I to dinner at home, where my brother Tom and Mr. Cooke came and dined with me, but I could not be merry for my business, but to my office again after dinner, and they two and my wife abroad. In the evening comes Mr. Cooper, and I took him by water on purpose to tell me things belonging to ships, which was time well spent, and so home again, and my wife came home and tells me she has been very merry and well pleased with her walk with them. About bedtime it fell a-raining, and the house being all open at top, it vexed me; but there was no help for it.

25 Annotations

First Reading

philip  •  Link

Tomalin observes that the ensuing trial re the inclement weather during this construction project illustrates the character of Jane Birch, the maid, who was one of the interesting female characters in Pepys's life. Not to spoil anything, but we are in for some interesting times with the Pepys household.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

St Swithin's Day

According to popular tradition the inclement weather is set for the next forty days!

Roy Feldman  •  Link

St Swithin's Day Folklore

Michael Robinson, or anyone else who knows about this -- please do tell what the traditions for this day are! Many thanks.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more

Tis said that the humble saint wished to be buried outside and was. However on the 15th. July, when the monks of Winchester moved his body to a shrine inside the Cathedral, it rained for forty days to show his displeasure.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin's diary for these days...

"Tuesday 15 July 1662. This night with us being called St. Swithins day, at night it rained, the old saying is it rains 40 days after, this 20th its wet, and has been since."

"Saturday and Lords day. July. 12. 13. the sun shone wonderfully red. I thought it presaged drought. on the Lords day 2 hours before it set. we could see the body round and red, giving no light, clouds blew playing over it, it was suddenly not to be seen the sky not altering."

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...they two ..." very telling.
"...the house being all open at top..."
Oh! dear me, camping out? and as suggested it be for next 40 days, and There be Sam who failed to listen to old wives tales.

Pedro  •  Link

"but there was no help for it."

We would now say "but it can't be helped" ?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but there was no help for it"
Granted, there were no plastic or canvas but cow hides could have given temporary cover.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

"but there was no help for it"

What about sail material? Wasn't that canvas yet? (I believe canvas was introduced to Europe in the 17th century.)

I'd think there'd be plenty of ways to protect the site during construction.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

I suppose that the sails or tarpaulins that were used on ships in those days were of a very thick and heavy material and tarred as well. It would have been imposible to stretch these across a house, there being no cranes etc.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Nice to see Beth getting on well with Tom...A rare view of her relations with the rest of the Pepys. Though I suppose it could have been Cooke who made her smile...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So Batten's fine house (don't he and his Lady live "like a prince"?) is also undergoing this trial, isn't it?

Lucky Beth's in a good and merry mood, considering she could note...Continually, as the rain pours down...That she could be comfortably situated in Brampton right now if Sam had been a hair less tight.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

I went to my office and there busy till sitting time.
Has the expression 'sitting time' cropped up before? If so, what does it mean?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Again, a interesting glance at Beth's freedom...Though of course, Tom the bro-in-law was there.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

I doubt very strongly that Tom be with Beth, he has work to do at the navy office, that be 'wot' he gets his pennies for, which by the way be 10 shillings a week [120] lest Sams expenses. "...Nice to see Beth getting on well with Tom--A rare view of her relations…”
I think it be just the girls [Jane & Sarah] that Sam be indicating, the idiosyncrasies of Sarah.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...sitting time..." my thought, time when all the top officers get to-gether to go over the days review. i.e down to the Conference room.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

My error, mis read "they two", it be Tom and Mr Cooke.

Harry  •  Link

St Swithin's Day Folklore

More about St Swithun’s association with Winchester:

According to the Pitkin cathedral guide “When on 15 July 971 Swithun’s bones were exhumed and ceremoniously translated within the Minster, a violent storm occurred:St Swithun’s legendary influence has passed into folklore. From that moment many miracles are said to have occurred, and St Swithun’s shrine attracted to Winchester pilgrims and sick people in search of a cure.”

Jane Austen spent the last weeks of her life in College Street just outside the close.Two days before she died (on 18 July 1817) she wrote the following poem :


When Winchester races first took their beginning
It is said the good people forgot their old Saint
Not applying at all for the leave of St. Swithin
And that William of Wykeham's approval was faint.

The races however were fix'd and determin'd
The company met and the weather was charming
The Lords & the Ladies were sattin'd and ermin'd
And nobody saw any future alarming.

But when the old Saint was inform'd of these doings
He made but one spring from his shrine to the roof
0f the Palace which now lies so sadly in ruins
And thus he address'd them all standing aloof.

Oh, subjects rebellious, oh Venta depraved
When once we are buried you think we are dead
But behold me Immortal, - By vice you're enslaved
You have sinn'd & must suffer, - Then further he said

These races & revels & dissolute measures
With which you're debasing a neighbouring Plain
Let them stand - you shall meet with your curse in your pleasures
Set off for your course, I'll pursue with my rain.

Ye cannot but know my command in July
Henceforward I'll triumph in shewing my powers,
Shift your race as you will it shall never be dry
The curse of Venta in July is showers.

Nix  •  Link

Sitting time --

If the usage is similar to the way they do it in courts, "sitting time" would be when they officially open for business. A judge may show up and spend hours working on cases in chambers, but is not "sitting" until he/she moves into the courtroom and the bailiff calls formal proceedings to order: "Oyez, oyez ...." -- the influence of Norman French is still with us.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

there was no help for it

"With a hey ho, the wind and the rain"

Sitting Time. Nix's conjecture fits the chronology of the entry. Sam is busy at the office early "until sitting time" then does business with Coventry's clerk, etc.

Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I think we may forget how young Pepys' wife was. Though they were married for 7 years she was only 22 in 1662 when this diary entry was written. She was still a young girl. She should have been "merry", especially when she was out with people close to her age.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Uh-oh: St. Swithin, the 9th-century bishop of Winchester famous for the folklore that if it rains on 15th July (St. Swithun’s day), it will rain for 40 days.

A wet summer to come, Pepys.

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