Saturday 4 April 1663

Up betimes and to my office. By and by to Lombard street by appointment to meet Mr. Moore, but the business not being ready I returned to the office, where we sat a while, and, being sent for, I returned to him and there signed to some papers in the conveying of some lands mortgaged by Sir Rob. Parkhurst in my name to my Lord Sandwich, which I having done I returned home to dinner.

Whither by and by comes Roger Pepys, Mrs. Turner her daughter, Joyce Norton, and a young lady, a daughter of Coll. Cockes, my uncle Wight, his wife and Mrs. Anne Wight. This being my feast, in lieu of what I should have had a few days ago for my cutting of the stone, for which the Lord make me truly thankful.

Very merry at, before, and after dinner, and the more for that my dinner was great, and most neatly dressed by our own only maid. We had a fricasee of rabbits and chickens, a leg of mutton boiled, three carps in a dish, a great dish of a side of lamb, a dish of roasted pigeons, a dish of four lobsters, three tarts, a lamprey pie (a most rare pie), a dish of anchovies, good wine of several sorts, and all things mighty noble and to my great content.

After dinner to Hide Park; my aunt, Mrs. Wight and I in one coach, and all the rest of the women in Mrs. Turner’s; Roger being gone in haste to the Parliament about the carrying this business of the Papists, in which it seems there is great contest on both sides, and my uncle and father staying together behind. At the Park was the King, and in another coach my Lady Castlemaine, they greeting one another at every tour.1 Here about an hour, and so leaving all by the way we home and found the house as clean as if nothing had been done there to-day from top to bottom, which made us give the cook 12d. a piece, each of us.

So to my office about writing letters by the post, one to my brother John at Brampton telling him (hoping to work a good effect by it upon my mother) how melancholy my father is, and bidding him use all means to get my mother to live peaceably and quietly, which I am sure she neither do nor I fear can ever do, but frightening her with his coming down no more, and the danger of her condition if he should die I trust may do good.

So home and to bed.

37 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

Let us raise a toast to "our own only maid," who must have had the hundred hands of Briareus to prepare such a spread all on her lonesome---though I can't remember whether this is Hannah, or Susan, or someone else, or where to look up who's currently on the Pepys Household Payroll.

Still, no venison pasty.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

all things mighty noble and to my great content
Even for ten people, this is an impressive spread. Presumably, it allowed for the household staff to have their share afterwards.

Miss Ann fr Home  •  Link

What a wonderful post-lunch expedition - let's pop down to Hyde Park and see "who" is on show there. (Can't see The Queen or Prince Charles doing the same, but we have the TV and press to see what they are up to today.)
Great spread put on by the maid/cook, however a bit heavy on protein and not much in the way of vegetables. I wonder if he just doesn't mention the vegetable dishes or that there really were none. Maybe tomorrow they'll need a dose of the "physic" to get things moving.
Sam always seems most grateful for his surviving the "cutting of the stone", I wonder how many people nowadays have a similar level of gratefulness for the wonderful medical care they receive today. Can't see people having a big slap-up lunch for a by-pass or even a simple appendectomy (an operation that was probably not very successful in Sam's day). We take it all in out stride even though it has taken so many years to get to this level of care, and even in some parts of the world, especially Third World countries, the medical care is more like that Sam and his peers receive.
Thank you to all those medicos that brought our care into the 21st Century, I'm so glad I live today and not in the 17C, as a survivor of Papillary Carcinoma Stage II (Thyroid Cancer) I know how lucky I am, but in 17C I would have died many years ago. Maybe I should be having an annual celebration too.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Dirk do you have a recipe for Lamprey Pie?

jeannine  •  Link

"the King, and in another coach my Lady Castlemaine, they greeting one another at every tour"
Absent from mention is the Queen. It is reported that during this time that Charles and Catherine were not of the best of terms and that he spent increasing time with Lady Castlemaine. Also, around this time "Barbara [Castlemaine]had insisted on complete public recognition, and Charles therefore gave her official lodgings in the palace, allocating rooms immediately above his own, with access by a private stair" (Allen Andrews "The Royal Whore", p 86). Castlemaine LOVED to be the center of attention so public displays like today fed her ego quite nicely.

Also, surprisingly to me -no mention of Elizabeth in Sam's entry today.

Ann I too am "so glad I live today and not in the 17C" and especially glad that those benefits we often take for granted have kept you around to annotate!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Poor Roger...Imagine running down to Parliament to stop Papism from encroaching on the Church of England after a spread like that. And no alka seltzer handy.

"Mr. Speaker, point of privil...Ohhhhh."

"The House recognizes the distinguished memb...Mr. Pepys, where the devil are you going?"

"A thousand pardons. Indig...Ooooh ...estion." Roger runs for the door.


Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Dirk do you have a recipe for Lamprey Pie?" he asks.

Dirk may have gone to bed by now but we here in the western hemisphere are up and about. Lamprey pies go way back. Here's an Elizabethan recipe which may be close to what Sam's cook prepared.

To make a Lamprey Pie
Take your Lamprey and gut him, and take away the black string in the back, wash him very well, and dry him, and season him with Nutmeg, Pepper and Salt, then lay him into your Pie in pieces with Butter in the bottom, and some Shelots and Bay Leaves and more Butter, so close it and bake it, and fill it up with melted Butter, and keep it cold, and serve it in with some Mustard and Sugar

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Actually Miss Ann, friends of mine from some countries more or less of the Third World have told me of great celebrations when a family member has survived a dangerous illness, etc. Even here in America in my grandparents' generation at least a successful outcome to an operation was likely to trigger a party that might well kill the happy patient.

JWB  •  Link

"...all things mighty noble..."
And then not so noble: "...but frightening her with...the danger of her condition if he should die..."

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

10 furlongs there and 10 back, needs the rest, then comes a poor runner all puffed? with the request for another innings. "...By and by to Lombard street by appointment to meet Mr. Moore, but the business not being ready I returned to the office, where we sat a while, and, being sent for,..." No wonder he scoffed all that food.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Die Sabbati, 4 Aprilis, 15 Car. IIdi Regis.
The Commons gets hit with a petition from the Brewers
Lead be adulterated, Plumbers complain.
Marquess requests a Bill to get his profit from his invention of the Water Commanding Engine
[Sir Ford be where, Gen. Moto be watching.]
A bill to regulate Common lands better. [no geese allowed? they eat all the grass]

Original Stories at URL:….
The House of Lords today did discuss other matters,
there will control over glass bottles, Problems, People want a say.

then there be a Message from both of the houses concerning that interfering group
"Jesuits and Romish Priests"; will be carried to the King by 6 members of the Commons and 6 from the Laudes.
'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 4 April 1663', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 504-05. URL:….

Pauline  •  Link

Message in the Bottle
Goodness, are they talking glass recycling in the House of Lords? And isn't this "Hide Park" business very like mid-20th C . "cruising"?

Pauline  •  Link

"...nor I fear can ever do...."
A realization on Sam's part that the 'unquiet' is beyond his mother's control and her will? Wonder what John is doing in Brampton? Spring break? Heading the household while his father is away perhaps. Surely learning that you can't reason with an unreasonable person. It's a hard story, this subplot.

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Grief! After that repast I'd have dropped to sleep...

Harry  •  Link

The tour: The company drove round and round the Ring in Hyde Park.

This reminds me of an apparently daily event I witnessed in Trinidad, the main city in the Amazonian province of Beni in Bolivia. At 6 pm sharp the centre of town was invaded by all the young people riding motorbikes in pairs or even threes, either girls or boys, with just a few engaged couples among them. They proceeded to circle round the cathedral square, very slowly, often carrying out conversations from one bike to the other, or just parading. It all lasted just an hour. Suddenly at 7 pm, night having fallen by then, they somehow all vanished, and peace and quiet returned to the sleepy town.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Thank you Alan Bedford.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Show time the world over. "...The tour: The company drove round and round the Ring in Hyde Park...." a custom that will never tire [ strolling, cruising, prancing .....] .
'Tis why the City of Chester U.K. has the shops one level above the traffic, the Roman Teens in their charriots did cruise the the Town center, and the only respite be to ignore what thy cannot control. [ Myth??]
[ ....the centre of town was invaded by all the young people riding motorbikes ... ]

TerryF  •  Link

From the H of C concerning Jesuits and Popish Priests.

Lords concur in Thanks.
Mr. Solicitor General reports, That he had attended the Lords, to desire their Concurrence to the Vote of this House, for Thanks to be returned to his Majesty for his gracious Message: And that the Lords had returned Answer, That they had considered of the Message; and did fully agree to the Vote of this House: And that they had appointed Six of their Members to attend his Majesty; and desired this House to name a double Number of their Members, to join with them: And as soon as they had Notice when his Majesty would be attended, they would give Intimation of it to this House.
Ordered, That Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. Fane, Mr. Clifford, Sir Edw. Walpoole, Sir Wm. Compton, Sir Robert Atkyns, Sir John Goodrick, Mr. Waller, Sir John Duncomb, Mr. Treasurer, Lord Herbert, and the Lord St. John, be appointed to join with the Members named by the Lords, to attend his Majesty, to return him Thanks for his Gracious Message, in answer to the Petition of both Houses presented to his Majesty, concerning Jesuits and Popish Priests.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 4 April 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 464-66. URL:…. Date accessed: 05 April 2006.

Bradford  •  Link

Arising way betimes, I was struck all over again by difficulty, nay, the incredibility of the prep for this gigantic meal, even if the chickens came plucked and the rabbits cased. Think how long it would take you or I to achieve the same results singlehanded in a 2006 kitchen with every mod. con., such as refrigeration and steady oven temperature. Granted, the lobsters might be served cold; but most of this food you would want not warm but hot. (Imagine the crust of that cold lamprey pie.) Do you suppose Our Treasure---whose identity remains obscure---might have been driven to do some outsourcing?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The Pepys' cook ("Our Treasure")
Her name was Hannah, according to the link on "a new cook-maid" in the 26 March 1663 entry:…
She was previously in the employ of my Lord Albemarle, nee George Monck, which sounds like quite a coup for the Pepyses, and she seems to be living up to her promise. 4l a year well spent.

Australian Susan  •  Link


I think the Pepys household had an oven, but many households made use of the local baker's oven for baking. Maybe the cook did this on such a busy day. Roast dishes would have been cooked by being hung or spitted over an open fire. Sam has told us his kitchen has a spit. But maybe the cook made use of a neighbour's kitchen fire and spit as well to get everything cooked together. I agree with Bradford, this was an enormous task!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The competition [my mince be...] could be horrendous at the Hall, and as for all those prima Donnas floating around and ? the kitchens be community property??, may be a source of more agravation as well, then having ones own kitchen be better. ( fish in the pond syndrome) "She was previously in the employ of my Lord Albemarle, nee George Monck, which sounds like quite a coup for the Pepyses"
When reading the Diary, it truly appears that the hired help moved around considerably, always looking for the ideal income. The myth of the old retainers be there from puperty to retiring appears to be false [always excetions to prove a rule]. Looked at some censors of the late 1800's for the Montagues, and the only consistant resident be the cat, every one else moved on .
just a thought.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

London 1906...


"Mr. Bellamy, sir?"

"Yes, Hudson. You know I've just been reading over this new set of mine, the Diary of Samuel Pepys."

"Ah, yes sir. Lady Marjorie's Christmas present and a fine one, if I may say so, sir. I've been informed it is a very fine read, sir."

"Yes, quite. But Hudson, I find here..." thumbs through to entry... "Yes. It seems that Mr. Pepys was able to carry out a rather large, one might even say majestic dinner for a company of at least ten with a single servant."

"Indeed, sir?" The butler manages to repress his instinctive desire to roll eyes...Not this again.

Penny-pinching parson's son...Did his wife jerk the purse strings again?

"Yes...And without any of the labor-saving devices in use today. Now, it seems to me, Hudson, given the ever-increasing costs today..."

Bradford  •  Link

Thanks, Paul, for jogging the memory of those with Short Term Minor Character Loss.
If L&M provide further information about Hannah, such as her last name, could someone please add it to her citation under "People" (as plain Hannah) in the Background?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Knowing our Sam's susceptibility to beauty, if Ms Ashwell had been pretty or beautiful, in the modern sense of sexually attractive or pleasing to contemplate, we would have heard about it! He appreciates her musical abilities, her quick mind and neatness. Pulchritude does not seem to come into it.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

It appears from looking at the many previous instances of word 'Pretty' [Many many times], Samuell has used the word in most of the common ways: "... Ashwell and I dined below together, and a pretty girl she is..."
However Beauty [16 times]appears to have been reserved for very few, Butler The Great Beauty, Pierce La belle 'til she showed off her Assets. Madame Palmer in spite of her character flaws, Capt. Cockes German wife,
then there be the disappointments who did not live up to reputation spread,
Mr. William Montagu and his Lady,
then this "whereas I expected she should have been a great beauty, she is a very plain girl "[Pen daugh, Eliza comment]and this ironic comment "dedicated to that paragon of virtue and beauty, the Duchess of Albemarle"

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"..Poor Roger…Imagine running down to Parliament to stop Papism from encroaching on the Church of England after a spread like that. And no alka seltzer handy...." that be his job, he be the MP. That be he pops up on many house committees.…

Kevin Peter  •  Link

After reading that lamprey pie recipe, I'm under the impression that half the pie consists of butter. Still, I am certainly curious what such a pie must taste like.

jeannine  •  Link

I recently bought a book called "Pepys At Table" which takes recipes from Sam's time and "modernizes" them to today. What surprised me is reading the recipes from Sam's days was how much butter was used in some recipes. For instance in the modern version of a sweet potato pudding recipe there was a notation that read "The original proportion of butter to potato would make a richer dish than most people could cope with today" (p. 82). It made me think that butter was a cheap commodity and that cholesterol wasn't an issue (and it couldn't be as it was discovered back then)!

dirk  •  Link


Butter wasn't exactly cheap at the time. Common people would probably have used fat from pigs (lard) as a replacement, to some extent at least.

"A full pound of butter sweet and new the best in the market - - 3½d "

Prices are for 1625, so compare for instance with:
A vacant or empty room, either a stable or chamber by the week. 4d
A chamber with two beds good furniture one night and so depart. 4d


Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Lamprey Pie would have tasted like any fish pie made today, poached fish, with lots of butter, perhaps with some onions or "chalets" thrown in for good measure. Today it would be made with a layer of mashed potatoes on top, but in Sam's day it was probably encased in pastry.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"It is in this Park where the Grand Tour or Ring is kept for the Ladies to take the air in their coaches, and in fine weather "

It was the custom in spring and summer for members of the fashionable world of London to drive in coaches in the 'Ring' --an internal road within Hyde Park. .... The habit had begun as soon as the park was thrown open to the public in the 1620s, and was to continue throughout the 18th and 19th centuries -- as long in fact as the horsedrawn carriage remained modish. J. Ashton, Hyde Park, pp. 50+. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Season for driving in Hyde Park ran with the London Season, from roughly April to July.

Alas ! what is it to his Scene, to know
How many Coaches in Hyde-Park did show
Last spring.
--- Ben Jonson, Prologue to The Staple of News.…

Third Reading

Ruslan  •  Link

The link that San Diego Sarah posted to "The Supersizers Go... Restoration" has been blocked.

Here's an updated link to the whole show (not just part 1)…


The Supersizers Go... Restoration

BBC 2 Series in which restaurant critic Giles Coren and writer and comedian Sue Perkins experience the food culture of years gone by.

This time the pair try the food of Restoration Britain in the 1660s, a time of fire and plague. They both don wigs, with Giles in tight breeches and Sue in wide skirts. They snack on coxcombs, eel pie and copious amounts of small beer.

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