Sunday 20 July 1662

(Lord’s day). My wife and I lay talking long in bed, and at last she is come to be willing to stay two months in the country, for it is her unwillingness to stay till the house is quite done that makes me at a loss how to have her go or stay.

But that which troubles me most is that it has rained all this morning so furiously that I fear my house is all over water, and with that expectation I rose and went into my house and find that it is as wet as the open street, and that there is not one dry-footing above nor below in my house. So I fitted myself for dirt, and removed all my books to the office and all day putting up and restoring things, it raining all day long as hard within doors as without. At last to dinner, we had a calf’s head and bacon at my chamber at Sir W. Pen’s, and there I and my wife concluded to have her go and her two maids and the boy, and so there shall be none but Will and I left at home, and so the house will be freer, for it is impossible to have anybody come into my house while it is in this condition, and with this resolution all the afternoon we were putting up things in the further cellar against next week for them to be gone, and my wife and I into the office and there measured a soiled flag that I had found there, and hope to get it to myself, for it has not been demanded since I came to the office. But my wife is not hasty to have it, but rather to stay a while longer and see the event whether it will be missed or no.

At night to my office, and there put down this day’s passages in my journall, and read my oaths, as I am obliged every Lord’s day. And so to Sir W. Pen’s to my chamber again, being all in dirt and foul, and in fear of having catched cold today with dabbling in the water.

But what has vexed me to-day was that by carrying the key to Sir W. Pen’s last night, it could not in the midst of all my hurry to carry away my books and things, be found, and at last they found it in the fire that we made last night. So to bed.

46 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

"But what has vexed me to-day was that by carrying the key to Sir W. Pen's last night, it could not in the midst of all my hurry to carry away my books and things, be found, and at last they found it in the fire that we made last night”
That the hand is quicker than the mind is as true of me (and others I know) as it was of Sam. Methinks we need an English word for this (dys)ability.

Terry F.  •  Link

"My wife and I lay talking long in bed"
So Beth was with him all the while, and indeed, as Pauline suggested yesterday, she came to him at the office from home.

Miguel  •  Link

What "soiled flag" is Sam measuring?

And what are the oaths he has to read every Lord's day (is that once a week?)

Michael L  •  Link

I'm guessing it is a loyalty oath or an oath of office. If so, the weekly reading of oaths on Sunday sounds similar to the Sunday reading aloud of the Articles of War on Royal Navy warships in the Napoleonic era.

Terry F.  •  Link

"And what are the oaths he has to read every Lord's day”?

What about this of 28 June, last month?:
“My mind is now in a wonderful condition of quiet and content, more than ever in all my life, since my minding the business of my office, which I have done most constantly; and I find it to be the very effect of my late oaths against wine and plays, which, if God please, I will keep constant in, for now my business is a delight to me, and brings me great credit, and my purse encreases too.”…
Perhaps he made a resolution he hasn’t shared with us?

Dan MacQueen  •  Link

Wait -- did Sam skip church?

Bob T  •  Link

Why wouldn't the workman have used something to cover the roof? There must have been materials available at that time, that would have done the job.

If Sam was living in government housing, maybe they were government employees, and that's why the roof was left uncovered.

dirk  •  Link

Diary of the Rev. Ralph Josselin

Sunday 20 July 1662

"a very wet day. god good to me in manifold outward mercies, for which my soul praises his holy name, the lord good to me in his word, a sad providence in our townsman one Edward Stevens , who formerly spoke of his familiarity with the devil, was accused for buggery a mare, another with him in the stable at Cogshall who intended the like, but was called to, and so prevented. lord what beastly savageness is in mans heart."

A revealing entry: "buggary a mare"!!!
In case you were wondering: buggary = sodomy.

dirk  •  Link


Sodomy would be punishable by death under the Blasphemy Act of 1650, which covered "murder, adultery, incest, fornication, uncleanness, sodomy, drunkenness, filthy and lascivious speaking"

Attempted sodomy would normally be punished by standing in the pillory, and having things thrown at you like "rotten eggs and vegetables, blood and guts from slaughterhouses, dead cats, mud and excrement, and even bricks and stones." (Some died from the abuse.)

Also have a look at…

Terry F.  •  Link

"You say that I am ignoring the time-honored traditions of the Royal Navy? And what might they be? I shall tell you in three words. Rum, buggery, and the lash! Good morning sirs."

- Winston Churchill addressing the Sea Lords, 1912…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...her unwilling to stay till the house is quite done..." Hmmn...I suspect our Beth finds the prospect of two months in the sticks with the in-laws rather unappealing, much as she might hate stay round the house in its current condition.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

It is said that when Frederick The Great was inspecting his troops one of the soldiers was being taken to be shot because of buggery with a mare! He is said to ordered them not to shoot him but to transfer him to the Cavalry.

Mary  •  Link

soiled flag.

L&M reads "silk flag". Sam's plan is to extract this flag from the office. The fact that he and Elizabeth measure it indicates that they probably intend using it (perhaps in the new dining-room?) as a decorative object, provided that no-one notices too soon that it has been "borrowed". Being silk, it is likley to have been an expensive item.

Mary  •  Link

Sunday oaths.

These sound like oaths of loyalty to the King and his service; Sam speaks of being obliged to renew them, rather than having vowed to renew them. He has skipped churchgoing today because of all the work needing urgent attention at home. Perhaps he would normally have renewed these oaths during morning service in the Navy Office pew.

Pauline  •  Link

" wife is not hasty to have it, but rather to stay a while longer and see the event whether it will be missed or no."
Thanks for the "silk", Mary.
Elizabeth appears to be a scrupulous woman.

Terry F.  •  Link

Sunday oaths: Mary, keen reading of the way Sam views his relation to them.

Terry F.  •  Link

Robert Gertz, you are right,of course (well, IMO, in infact). I wonder whether Sam might have intuited some of this yesterday when he saw that Beth was "not very forward [enthusiastic] about her going into the country, and as she is so am I at a great loss whether to have her go or no because of the charge [Sam nixing empathy with extraneous consideration?], and yet in some considerations I would be glad she was there, because of the dirtiness of my house and the trouble of having of a family there [very empathic here!]." abd now, "(Lord's day). My wife and I lay talking long in bed, and at last she is come to be willing to stay two months in the country, for it is her unwillingness to stay till the house is quite done that makes me at a loss how to have her go or stay” — man, his heart is in his mout & on his sleeve for his Diary, and this a keeper, i wot.

GrahamT  •  Link

We should be discussing Pepys' diary, not the Rev. Josselin's but for (off-topic) clarification, buggery can mean either:
Anal intercourse (sodomy) or sexual congress with an animal (bestiality). I think it is the latter here, so not comparable with the "sailor's vice". Another example of this naval stereotype is the rendering of "Wine, women and song" into the sailors' ironic "Rum, bum and concertina"

Xjy  •  Link

"Wait -- did Sam skip church?”
Apparently so, but not only that, he doesn’t even mention skipping it. The good Lord above and Paradise are obviously less pressing concerns for Sam than a spot of rain and getting ‘er indoors to leave him to his own devices for two months…

Samwatcher  •  Link

I'm pretty sure the oaths Sam is referring to are those he made on March 3rd this year -
"I set to make some strict rules for my future practice in my expenses, which I did bind myself in the presence of God by oath to observe upon penalty therein set down, and I do not doubt but hereafter to give a good account of my time and to grow rich, for I do find a great deal more of content in these few days, that I do spend well about my business, than in all the pleasure of a whole week, besides the trouble which I remember I always have after that for the expense of my money."…

He refers to them again in May……

Getting rich is serious business for Sam - despite the rain.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

it raining all day long as hard within doors as without

Poor Sam works all day at trying to preserve his library and other things, and to make some order in his ruined house. A thoroughly soggy, exhausting and depressing day. No wonder no church.

Tom Burns  •  Link

Calf's head

A fine example of the frugality of ages past, when all parts of the animal were used and enjoyed!

This was written about 80 years later, but for any who would like to enjoy a facsimilie of Sam's repast, see:…

I wouldn't be surprised if the bacon was boiled with the calf's head.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Oaths

FWIW, I've got to side with Terry and Samwatcher on this ... I think the oaths he is "obliged" to read every Sunday are those concerning his personal conduct, not ones having to do with fealty to the king (who, after all, can't even control the rain!) or country.

Mmmmm ... calf's head. :-p

Martha Rosen  •  Link

There are many more recent recipes for calf's head available; the frugal among us still eat the parts we'd rather not think about. This 19th century painting shows what many butcher shops must have looked like once upon a time:…

john  •  Link

" raining all day long as hard within doors as without." This would seem to cause extensive damage to the plaster and introduce mould to his books.

Araucaria  •  Link

Martha, thanks for the link.

I've seen butcher shops like that in our present day. For instance, the central market in Barcelona, where one can see far more body parts than the squeamish would feel comfortable with; e.g. entire skinned rabbits, sheep's heads, various organs, etc.

serafina  •  Link

" wife is not hasty to have it, but rather to stay a while longer and see the event whether it will be missed or no."
Maybe Elizabeth was not hasty to have it because it was ugly! Husbands and wives do differ in what they consider appropriate ornamentation for a dining room ……

language hat  •  Link

Calf's head:
Yes, this is not about “ages past” — you can still see shopping carts full of goat carcasses being trundled along the streets of Queens (New York), and any Middle Eastern restaurant worth its zaatar serves calf’s head (not to mention the delicacy known as “fries” and various internal organs unknown to fussy Western diners).

Terry F.  •  Link

"read my oaths"
Would this have been aloud? (it was certainly allowed). Silently (even without mouthing the words) was surely Sam's more common way of reading, but I can imagine his doing it aloud to express resolve.

Terry F.  •  Link

The oaths read intend "a great deal more of content" if Samwatcher's compend of the likely content of his Sabbath ritual be fair, as it seems:…
to which end he intends "to give a good account of [his]time and to grow rich,..." with God's blessing - a Faust's bargain?
In this remarkable disclosure that he is obliged _every Lord's day_ to read his oaths, Sam’s “Uneqalled Self”-discovery is that he is at heart a hedonist (one who seeks “hedone” = pleasure), which is consistent with his feelings for Lady Castlemaine, et al., his self-preoccupation at times, and ergo is a spoiler for the years ahead.

Stolzi  •  Link

I can't believe that the workmen set out to "open the top" of the house with no precautions whatever, in the notoriously rainy climate of England. I suspect that tarps and the like were rigged, but that they were not perhaps as shipshape as they should be and that the heavy rain has just become too much for them.

"I fitted myself for dirt" - at this era usually meant "mud" (see Jane Austen, later). I suppose he put on thick socks and either rain boots, if such existed, or a pair of old boots he didn't mind ruining. And perhaps something heavy over his shoulders to keep rain off - poor Sam!

tc  •  Link

...I fitted myself for dirt...

Sam gets on his working bib and tucker and gets his hands dirty!

In this age of drywall (which cannot get wet and survive for long), it is hard to conceive of so much water flowing through one's house (though here in oft-sunny but still hurricane-afflicted Florida, having water running through the house is pretty common in many neighborhoods!)

What manner of house construction did Sam live in, that could stand being basically open to the elements? (brick-and-mortar, stone, timber-and-frame, post-and-beam...these could take a good wetting to the basic structure, but what about warping floorboards, falling plaster, etc?)

LAF  •  Link

Was roof perhaps raised in place with open sides draped, yet still open to rain? Can't believe Sam would leave books in place without some protection against elements, and the extent of rain damage seems to have caught him by surprise. Odd too that rainwater wasn't collected. (In southern U.S. along the Mississippi, into the 20th century multi-story cisterns caught rainwater fed by pipes from adjacent rooftops, and this rather than river water was used for cooking, bathing, cleaning. What did Sam's London use?) And could the "soiled flag" be a standard from a particular ship or battle, a keepsake of one of Sam's office mates or even of some historical importance?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'd bet Beth would take it (the flag) if it were a nice black hood...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sacks of hessian were used round the shoulders to keep off the rain. We have already discussed that tarps as we know them did not exist then and that sailcloth, being tarred, could not have been used to cover the house. What we need is an expert in vernacular house construction who knows how they built and restored houses at that time. I had orginally thought from what Sam said that the roof was to be raised up and then the new frame fitted in, the roof lowered and then the frame filled in (wattle and daub?). It looks as though, prior to the roof being raised, the tiles were rmoved from the timber frame of the roof trusses and that is why everything has got so wet. I know there are people in the UK (I used to know one) who restore old houses using *exactly* the materials originally used and the tools too, to preserve authenticity, so someone out there must know how all this was done.

dirk  •  Link

old building techniques

re - Australian Susan

The following website goes through the various stages of the reconstruction of a 17th c. building in detail. It's the closest I could find, although it probably won't answer your specific questions.

"Seventeenth-Century Timber Framing"
(Plymouth, Massachusetts)…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Dirk, this is a fascinating site! I looked at all the pictures about building the house (and they all wore 17thc gear to do the building!) - this must have been what Sam went down to the dockyard to look at - the frames being built he refers to. I have a much clearer picture of what was going on in the building. Most intersting. Wonder if sam's house was infilled with bricks or wattle and daub? Also, English town houses did not tend to have clapboards attached to the outside, but were painted or plastered. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton (Sussex) has wonderful examples of restored timber frame houses. But these are all country ones - not urban town houses.

Leslie Katz  •  Link

Someone referred above to the Blasphemy Act of 1650. I'm not in a position to check this now, but my recollection is that that was a Crowmwellian Act which was not continued at the Restoration. I think Blackstone suggested that Charles II opposed its continuation because of its prohibition against adultery.

LAF  •  Link

Thanks very much, Dirk and Australian Susan, for the link to Plimouth construction techniques and comment on it! It gives a much clearer idea of what was involved. Given that, how brave of Sam and household not to have decamped in advance for the duration of the process (adding a level to an older building could have been a bit trickier than starting new). As to what was under a plaster wall finish, here in Louisiana colonial house walls were usually either brick between posts, plastered over, or "boussillage" (a concoction of moss, mud, and animal hair that, two centuries later, has been known to break drill bits!)between posts. But that's a long way from London and its available materials. Thanks again.

dirk  •  Link

the Blasphemy Act of 1650

re - Leslie Katz

I couldn't find anything definite on the Blasphemy Act of 9 August 1650 being discontinued under the Restoration. Although I did find that in 1697 "there were MPs who spoke out against the agitation for a new Blasphemy Act" (which would suggest that at the very least the old one was thought to be inadequate, and possibly no longer applied). These protests were based on arguments like "it was never well with Christians since any one Party of them, calling themselves the Church, took upon 'em an Authority to impose their interpretation of, and inferences from Scripture upon other: nor can it ever be well among Protestants till they permit one another a free liberty to make Interpretations and Inferences for themselves".

Nevertheless in 1697 a new Blasphemy Act was voted ,and one of its first victims became William Penn, the son of Sir William Penn Senior, and a leader in the "Society of Friends".

The new Blasphemy Act stayed in place for nearly 300 years, and was finally repealed in 1967. There has in recent years been some debate about new legislation to cover blasphemy - more particularly as a result of the Rushdie case.

Leslie Katz  •  Link

Apologies to Dirk for sending him on a wild goose chase. I've now had a chance to check the relevant materials. I had confused blasphemy legislation with the Incest, Adultery and Fornication Act of 10 May 1650. The latter was one of the Interregnum statutes not preserved at the Restoration. It was Blackstone who gave the reason I mentioned earlier for its non-continuance: see v 4 of his Commentaries, p 64.

Pedro  •  Link

"But that which troubles me most is that it has rained all this morning so furiously that I fear my house is all over water, "

Cheer up Sam it could have been worse...

The 20th of July 1662, was marked in Lancashire and Cheshire by a storm of prodigious violence, accompanied by a fall of heavy hailstones. What, however, chiefly distinguished the day, was a travel-ling vortex or whirlwind, which produced some remarkable effects, and is thus vividly described in a volume, entitled Admirable Curiosities, &c., published in London in 1682.

(Book of Days)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are methods of building with heavy timbers rather than "dimension lumber" such as 2"x4"s. Traditional timber framing is the method of creating structures using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs (larger versions of the mortise and tenon joints in furniture). It is commonplace in wooden buildings from the 19th century and earlier.…

'Plate 65: Timber-Framed Houses', Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbury (1977), pp. 65. URL:…

Bill  •  Link

"we had a calf’s head"

To bake a calf's head.
TAKE the head, pick it and wash it very clean; take an earthen dish large enough to lay the head on, rub a little piece of butter all over the dish, then lay some long iron skewers across the top of the dish, and lay the head on them; skewer up the meat in the middle that it don't lie on the dish, then grate some nutmeg all over it, a few sweet herbs shred small, some crumbs of bread, a little lemon-peel cut fine, and then flour it all over: stick pieces of butter in the eyes and all over the head, and flour it again. Let it be well baked, and of a fine brown; you may throw a little pepper and salt over it, and put into the dish a piece of beef cut small, a bundle of sweet-herbs, an onion, some whole pepper, a blade of mace, two cloves, a pint of water, and boil the brains with some sage. When the head is enough, lay it on a dish, and set it to the fire to-keep warm, then stir all together in the dish, and boil it in a saucepan; strain it off, put it into the sauce-pan again, add a piece of butter rolled in flour, and the sage in the brains chopped fine, a spoonful of catchup, and two spoonfuls of red wine; boil them together, take the brains, beat them well, and mix them with the sauce: pour it into the dish, and send it to table. You must bake the tongue with the head, and don't cut it out. It will lie the handsomer in the dish.
---The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy. Hannah Glasse, 1774.

Third Reading

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