Thursday 9 October 1662

Up early about my business to get me ready for my journey. But first to the office; where we sat all the morning till noon, and then broke up; and I bid them adieu for a week, having the Duke’s leave got me by Mr. Coventry. To whom I did give thanks for my newes yesterday of the Duke’s words to my Lord Sandwich concerning me, which he took well; and do tell me so freely his love and value of me, that my mind is now in as great a state of quiett as to my interest in the office, as I could ever wish to be.

I should this day have dined at Sir W. Pen’s at a venison pasty with the rest of our fellows, but I could not get time, but sent for a bit home, and so between one and two o’clock got on horseback at our back gate, with my man Will with me, both well-mounted on two grey horses.

We rode and got to Ware before night; and so resolved to ride on to Puckeridge, which we did, though the way was bad, and the evening dark before we got thither, by help of company riding before us; and among others, a gentleman that took up at the same inn, the Falcon, with me, his name Mr. Brian, with whom I supped, and was very good company, and a scholar.

He tells me, that it is believed the Queen is with child, for that the coaches are ordered to ride very easily through the streets.

After supper we paid the reckoning together, and so he to his chamber and I to bed, very well, but my feet being much cramped by my new hard boots that I bought the other day of Wotton were in much pain. Will lay in another bed in the chamber with me.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...did tell me so freely his love and value of me..."

Batten narrowly watching Coventry heartily taking leave of Pepys makes puckered lips and kissing sounds at Sir Will P...

Seriously it can't help but make a turncoat like Batten and a rather-quick- to-join-the-winning-side Penn a tad nervous to see the fellow without major Commonwealth war ties gaining so much standing in the office. It would not surprise me to learn that Coventry, for all his respect for Penn, had no qualms about letting the two sea dogs with Cromwellian stains feel a little pressured.

Bob T  •  Link

but my feet being much cramped by my new hard boots that I bought the other day

It seems strange that Sam doesn't know how to brake in a new pair of boots. Today, cowboy boots are always bought a little bit too small, and after braking in, are the most comfortable things you can have on your feet.

Jeannine  •  Link

"it is believed the Queen is with child"
Sad to report but at this point it is mere gossip, but speaks clearly to the fact that every move othe monarchy is watched and commented upon.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my man Will with me, both well-mounted on two grey horses"
Did they have a horse stand where you went to hire horses?like rent a car nowadays?

dirk  •  Link

Venison pasty etc?

Menu suggestions for the month of October

1. Roast Veal.
2. Two brand-Geese roasted.
3. A grand Sallet
4. Roasted Capons.

Second Course:

1. Pheasants, Pouts and Pidgeons.
2. A Dish of Quails, or Sparrows.
3. A Warden-Pye, Tarts or Custards.

"The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675
A Bill of Fare of Suitable Meat for every Month in the Year…

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Horses could be hired from a Livery Stable: nowt mentioned of a bond, for when thee lost a stallion that chased a mare in heat or was kicked to death by another stallion. A relative of Samuell's, married a very famous livery agent in Cambridge that would only rent first in, first out, allowing the old nag time, to be refreshed and rested.
a ref be P. 68 Rest. Lon. Eliza Picard.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

"...We rode and got to Ware before night; and so resolved to ride on to Puckeridge, which we did, though the way was bad, and the evening dark before we got thither,..." If it had been raining, the halfway point there be a spot where the water runs across the road, and in twi-light could be a surprise even on a macadamed road.[It be called Wadesmill, for name says it]

Terry F.  •  Link

livery stable

stable where horses and vehicles are kept for hire…


Engl. law. 1. The delivery of possession of lands to those tenants who hold of the king in capite, or knight's service. 2. Livery was also the name of a writ which lay for the heir of age, to obtain the possession of seisin of his lands at the king's hands. 3. It signifies, in the third place, the clothes given by a nobleman or gentleman to his servant.…

It seems, A. De Araujo, that your Q. whether there were 17c "nag-stands" opens up very old property-law matters of the sort that have been troubling Pepys's sleeps's and wherefore he has embarked on his "journey."

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

livery stable.
Livery has several other meanings:
Provision of food, clothing to retainers
Allowance of provender for horses
Distinctive clothes worn by member of city company or a servant
Membership of a city company
At livery, a horse kept for an owner & fed & groomed for a fixed charge
All these from The Concise Oxford Dictionary.
Presumably, 17c livery stables would look after privately owned horses and also rent out their own stock. Or perhaps horses used only occasionaly were also rented out - rather like a corporate jet these days.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Change of words. Here downunder, the term livery for having land to park your horse in is not used at all, but the term agistment. When I first heard someone say "I've got my horse agisted" , I hadn't a clue: I was used to the term "I've got my horse at livery" from the UK.
Sam uses the term "grey" for the colour of the horses - wonder if in the 17th century that actually meant white, as it does among horsy people in the UK now? A white horse would certainly show up in the gloaming and be a safer ride maybe and perhaps that's why Sam mentions the colour.

OzStu  •  Link

...though the way was bad, and the evening dark before we got thither, by help of company riding before us.

This intrigued me a bit. Sounds like they were able to see their way because of a group of horsemen up ahead. A bit like hanging on to the tail lights of the car in front in fog (though this habit very dangerous). Maybe they also had white horses or carrying some sort of light, possibly a coach ?

language hat  •  Link


Interestingly, the words are'nt in Merriam-Websters but are in my Oxford Australian Dictionary, and of course in the OED. The verb is the (slightly) earlier form; here are the first few OED cites:

[1224 Chart. Forests (see 1618). 1304 Yearbooks Edw. I, 23 E il agista nos bestis.. nos bestis furent agistes par celuy qe l'engistement ad.] 1598 J. MANWOOD Lawes Forest xi. �1 If a man have common by a specialitie.. he may not Agist other mens cattell, there to use his common. 1611 COTGR., Glandager les porceaux.. to agist, or lay, swine in mastie woods.

Mary  •  Link

the help of company riding before us.

The group ahead would have given Sam and Will some clues about the state of the going. S & W could have followed them through ways that were obviously sound and have avoided potholes and wallows by observing the progress of the route-finders.

PJK  •  Link

Tobias Hobson, a livery stable owner in Cambridge in the 17th century, developed a foolproof technique for ensuring that every horse in his barn was rented in turn, rather than simply the best being over-used and the poorest under-used. He would rotate the stalling arrangement for the horses so that the next horse he wished to be hired was always by the entrance. His customers were given no option but to rent the horse next to the barn door. Hence 'Hobson's Choice' means no choice at all.

All that copied from:…

So, Cumgranissalis, was Tobias Hobson a relative by marriage of Pepy's?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"and the evening dark"
The moon was almost at first quarter.

Pauline  •  Link

"the help of company riding before us"
Would provide security in numbers too, a factor in deciding to press on into the night.

Glyn  •  Link

If you were riding from London, you would stop and change horses at a livery stable after about 10 miles (15 km). Those horses would then be rested and then ridden back to their London stable by people journeying to London. Otherwise, a groom could harness a group of them and lead them back to the city (like an early dog-walker) that evening to be in the right place for the next day's work.

Pepys uses this route regularly, which is probably why he and Will are making good time, but the roads aren't well signposted so it makes good sense to follow the people in front of you.

Nix  •  Link

Livery and agistment --

From Black's Law Dictionary (rev. 4th ed. 1968):


5. A contract of hiring of work-beasts, particularly horses, to the use of the hirer. It is seldom used alone in this sense, but apears in the compound, "livery-stable".

6. Feeding, stabling, and care of horses for pay; boarding; as, to keep one's horses at livery, the keeping of horses, and hence of vehicles, boats, etc., in readiness to be hired; the state of being so kept.

AGISTMENT -- The taking and feeding of other men's cattle in the king's forest, or one one's own land, at a certain rate.

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: "The moon was almost at first quarter."
I seem to remember that the phases of the moon are coincidently aligned with ours, so it would be a waxing crescent moon on this date - 3 days after New Moon, Though, if it was overcast (it rains on the 10th) then the moon would be hidden anyway.

dirk  •  Link

The moon was almost at first quarter

A. De Araujo statement was correct.

1662 Oct 20 08:08 First quarter

= Oct 10 Julian (British) calendar

Second Reading

Pat McCann  •  Link

My second spin round the diary, and I still get excited to see the picture of the present day Falcon Inn at Puckeridge and realising that Sam actually stayed there and referenced it.

JayW  •  Link

Pepys on his way to my home town. Speaks to another traveller. 'Where are you going?'
'Yes, where are you going?'
Repeat until exhausted.
Oldest joke in Hertfordshire.

JayW  •  Link

Jude cooper. Thanks to your link to the Crown and Falcon I realise I called in there, several years ago. Must go again.

Bridget Davis  •  Link

I wonder why Sam mentioned where Will slept?

john  •  Link

@Bridget: Where one slept depended on one's status. His boy Will usually slept on a truckle bed but his man Will sleeps in a separate bed.

I still wonder about the previous riders' assistance, though. I have ridden at night and despite horses having extraordinarily good eyesight, darkness on horseback is extremely unsettling.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re Cumgranissalis on 10 Oct 2005; OED has:

‘Choice . . 2.c. Hobson's choice: the option of taking the one thing offered or nothing; also rhyming slang for ‘voice’; freq. ellipt. Named from Tobias Hobson, the Cambridge carrier (commemorated by Milton in two Epitaphs), who let out horses, and is said to have compelled customers to take the horse which happened to be next the stable-door, or go without. See Spectator 1712 No. 509.
1660 S. Fisher Rusticus ad Academicos i. 74 If in this case there be no other (as the Proverb is) then Hobsons Choice..which is chuse whether you will have this or none.
. . a1708 T. Ward England's Reformation (1716) 326 Where to elect there is but one, 'Tis Hobson's choice, Take that or none . . ‘

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re John: These horses spent their lives going back and forth between two livery stables so they would have known the road intimately, by smell and feel as well as by sight. So they would have gone on confidently where a stranger horse would have slowed down to a crawl.

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