Sunday 3 August 1662

(Lord’s day). Up early, and with Captain Cocke to the dock-yard, a fine walk, and fine weather. Where we walked till Commissioner Pett come to us, and took us to his house, and showed us his garden and fine things, and did give us a fine breakfast of bread and butter, and sweetmeats and other things with great choice, and strong drinks, with which I could not avoyde making my head ake, though I drank but little. Thither came Captain Allen of the Foresight, and the officers of the yard to see me.

Thence by and by to church, by coach, with the Commissioner, and had a dull sermon. A full church, and some pretty women in it; among others, Beck Allen, who was a bride-maid to a new married couple that came to church to-day, and, which was pretty strange, sat in a pew hung with mourning for a mother of the bride’s, which methinks should have been taken down.

After dinner going out of the church saluted Mrs. Pett, who came after us in the coach to church, and other officers’ wives. The Commissioner staid at dinner with me, and we had a good dinner, better than I would have had, but I saw there was no helping of it. After dinner the Commissioner and I left the company and walked in the garden at the Hill-house, which is very pleasant, and there talked of our businesses and matters of the navy. So to church again, where quite weary, and so after sermon walked with him to the yard up and down and the fields, and saw the place designed for the wet dock. And so to his house, and had a syllabub, —[?? D.W.]— and saw his closet, which come short of what I expected, but there was fine modells of ships in it indeed, whose worth I could not judge of. At night walked home to the Hill-house, Mr. Barrow with me, talking of the faults of the yard, walking in the fields an hour or two, and so home to supper, and so Captain Cocke and I to bed.

This day among other stories he told me how despicable a thing it is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit. And that, in his time, there was some repairs to be made of the gallows there, which was very fine of stone; but nobody could be got to mend it till the Burgomaster, or Mayor of the town, with all the companies of those trades which were necessary to be used about those repairs, did go in their habits with flags, in solemn procession to the place, and there the Burgomaster did give the first blow with the hammer upon the wooden work; and the rest of the Masters of the Companys upon the works belonging to their trades; that so workmen might not be ashamed to be employed upon doing of the gallows’ works.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link

"This day...he told me how is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit."

L&M note: "Cocke had lived in Danzig c. 1656, trading in hemp and other naval stores. (It was there he met his first wife.) The office of executioner had been introduced into Poland with other municipal institutions from Germany, and was regarded with abhorrence. The hangman often had difficulty finding a wife: in Cracow females under sentence of death were forgiven if they would marry an executioner. Towns which had no hangman would employ other criminals or the accuser. See Z. Gloger in Encyklopedia Staropolska (1900-3 ed.): 'Kat'."

Terry F.  •  Link

"had a syllabub" -- q.v.!! famous thanks to David Quidnunc, whom David Widger (D.W.) should have consulted.

Bradford  •  Link

Why D.W. seems puzzled by the syllabub is not clear; it certainly is a known quantity. Though seemingly absent from the Background entries, its makeup and development were described in detail by David Gurliacci et al in the annotations for Thursday 5 January 1659/60:…

daniel  •  Link

"which was pretty strange, sat in a pew hung with mourning for a mother of the bride's, which methinks should have been taken down.”

Would anyone venture to guess why this would seem so strange to Sam?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"a full Church and some pretty women in it"
That can be distracting allright!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Pett, Inc...England's monopolistic shipbuilder.

A link to some info on the family and picture of Peter.…

I think the mourning was taken for a bad omen for a new couple...Not to mention something of a let-down.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


In addition to David Quidnunc's encyclopedic entry, I wish to report that "Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking," Blanche S. Rhett, Lettie Gay, Helen Woodward and Elizabeth Hamilton (his ma, he says modestly), University of South Carolina, 1976, has two recipes for syllabub under "Desserts." Here's one: "To one quart of cream, add half a pint of sweet wine and half a pint of madeira, the juice of two lemons, a little finely powdered spice and sugar to taste. The peel of the lemons must be steeped in the wine until the flavor is extracted. Whisk all these ingredients together and as the froth rises, take it off with a spoon, and lay it upon a fine sieve; what drains from it put into your pan again and whisk it. Put the froth into glasses."

Australian Susan  •  Link

The mourning in Church. Presumably Sam thought that the mourning (black drapes) should have been taken down for the wedding and for the first service the family attended after the wedding. Not very cheerful for the bride and groom. One does wonder why the wedding did not get postponed, but we are not told when the funeral had been. Sam uses the term "a mother", which seems strange: could he have used this as a loose term for a grandmother? The bride would have two of those, but only one mother.
I took the uncertainty over syllabub to mean that the MS was obscure in this section and syllabub was an informed guess on the part of the editor. What does L&M have?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Mr. Barrow with me, talking of the faults of the yard

Sam's getting a reputation as one looking for improvements.

dirk  •  Link

Towns which had no hangman would employ other criminals or the accuser.

re - Terry F.

The accuser: not a bad system! Not only very efficient, but it also confronts the accuser with the full weight of his accusation - unlikely to be made lightly. Comes down to personal revenge (not by proxy) backed up by the law.

This reminds me of someone who once told me that only those people who would be willing to slaughter the animal, should be permitted to eat the meat.

Mary  •  Link

"so to church again ...where quite weary"

Sounds as if Sam is experiencing that after-Sunday-lunch feeling of torpor.

Xjy  •  Link

Day of rest
Well... this is a very full day of Navy business and professional networking for Sam, on top of an arduous ride with aching balls long into the night. I think he has a right to be weary and to get what cheer he can from the ladies in church.
And I wonder if it might not be at least as profitable to gawp at cuties in church than in some busy shopping centre, today's equivalent for throwing the community into the mixer.

Terry F.  •  Link

"so to church again, where quite weary": a postprancial dip as circadian rhythms go on and more, I wonder, Mary: Tony Eldridge calculated “yesterday” that the horeseback ride to Rochester had ended “well after midnight,” and then, a glass of wine and a bedtime horror story…. So, Xjy, the “day of rest” was fore-shortened! But, on the other hand, my younger son at 27 does this on 3 hours’ sleep per night for several days when juiced by adrenalin as Sam surely is.

Terry F.  •  Link

postprandial dip
that's me. Re-reading it, I'm not happy about the tone of that last (even misspelled) post of mine: Mary and Xjy, it seemed to me that you are both right, big time.

Xjy  •  Link

"When Sir Beelzebub
Called for his syllabub
In the hotel
In Hell
Where Proserpine first fell,
Blue as the waves of the sea
Were the gendarmerie
And shocking
The barmaids..."

Our Edie'd been reading Sam :-)

Terry F.  •  Link

Xjy, simply lovely: inspired.

(Music by which I must eat the late, lamented [neighbor's] cat, that preferred to nap under my car, and waked not when I backed out: or so Glyn suggested?)

(A tune to contemplate as I, like Edie, read Sam, marvelling at the recall and vivid detail of these Chatham entries, recorded at some future time, unless he had a PDA.)

Terry F.  •  Link

I wonder: Did Sam read his Sunday Oaths today?
Did he carry a small, shorthand copy in his purse (17c PDA)?

Bradford  •  Link

I knew syllabub was in the Background somewhere---depending on whether it says, to you, EAT ME or DRINK ME.

Australian Susan  •  Link

17thc PDA
We saw Sam buying something sometime back… and the discussion there suggested Sam may have had memorandum pages of ivory to write on - rather like a PDA!

Terry F.  •  Link


(1) it was Dirk, not Glyn, who quoted someone suggesting I must eat the neighbor's cat, that preferred to nap under my car, and waked not when I backed out (see above).
(2) Australian Susan emailed me this better link to her neat reference to a 17c PDA:…

Pedro  •  Link

Thither came Captain Allen of the Foresight,

The link here goes to Sir Thomas Allin, but Lord, even given the spelling differencies I think this refers to Captain Francis Allen.

There are several mentions in the Journal of Sandwich (Anderson) during the period 1661-1662 to the Foresight and Captain Francis Allen. His name does not appear in L&M, but this Captain has taken messages for Sandwich and is not addressed in the manner befitting to Sir Tom. In July 1664 the first mention, and subsequent mentions, in the Journal refer to Vice Admiral Allen or Sir Thomas Allen.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Thence by and by to church"

L&M: St Mary's, Chatham; on the hill above the dockyard.

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