Sunday 1 November 1663

(Lord’s day). This morning my brother’s man brought me a new black baize waistecoate, faced with silke, which I put on from this day, laying by half-shirts for this winter. He brought me also my new gowne of purple shagg, trimmed with gold, very handsome; he also brought me as a gift from my brother, a velvet hat, very fine to ride in, and the fashion, which pleases me very well, to which end, I believe, he sent it me, for he knows I had lately been angry with him.

Up and to church with my wife, and at noon dined at home alone, a good calves head boiled and dumplings, an excellent dinner methought it was.

Then to church again, whither Sir W. Pen came, the first time he has been at church these several months, he having been sicke all the while.

Home and to my office, where I taught my wife some part of subtraction, and then fell myself to set some papers of my last night’s accounts in order, and so to supper home, and after supper another bout at arithmetique with my wife, and then to my office again and made an end of my papers, and so home to prayers, and then to read my vowes, and to bed.

49 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"also my new gowne of purple shagg, trimmed with gold"
Oh my!

jeannine  •  Link

"This morning my brother's man brought me a new black baize waistecoate, faced with silke, which I put on from this day, laying by half-shirts for this winter. He brought me also my new gowne of purple shagg, trimmed with gold, very handsome; he also brought me as a gift from my brother, a velvet hat, very fine to ride in, and the fashion, which pleases me very well, to which end, I believe, he sent it me, for he knows I had lately been angry with him."
Although Sam has been angry with his brother Tom about his accounting practices as of late, I don't recall his ever making a comment about Tom's actual workmanship. I am guessing (perhaps hopefully) that Tom's tailoring skills are quite good, as I assume that Sam would be the first to criticize if they were not. There are many fine craftsmen (and women) that perhaps are excellent in their craft and not the best accountants/buisiness people. Does anyone else have a different opinion-as I'm not sure if I've missed something in a previous entry.

jeannine  •  Link

"where I taught my wife some part of subtraction, and then fell myself to set some papers of my last night's accounts in order, and so to supper home, and after supper another bout at arithmetique with my wife"
In many ways this entry brings mixed feelings to me. While I am very grateful that Sam is teaching his wife basic arithmetic, it's also so sad to think that it's Elizabeth's first experience with basic math. In so many ways, the perfect way to keep people "under your thumb" and subservient is to deny them an education. Kudos to Sam to offer Elizabeth the chance to learn something and rather sad to the other women of the time who were denied that type of knowledge.

jeannine  •  Link

"Then to church again, whither Sir W. Pen came, the first time he has been at church these several months, he having been sicke all the while."
And forgive me if I'm hogging the annotation department here, but another thing to be grateful for is one's health and poor Sir W. Pen has surely been struggling with his for quite some time. How blessed we are to have the medical professions that we have today. I am sure that with Sam's recent bout of rather ill health that he's also keenly aware of how wonderful it is to just wake up feeling fine!

Patricia  •  Link

How could Mrs. P run a household without a knowledge of basic arithmetic? Surely this tutoring her in mathematics refers to teaching her how to do math on paper, i.e. using the symbols to demonstrate what she already knows in actual practice? All of my children & grandchildren have had a good knowledge of basic math before they went to formal school, where they learned to "read and write" math; even so-called "primitive" cultures have basic math; Surely Mrs. P can count? Or how would she know if the right number of eggs had been delivered, for instance? Anybody?

cum salis grano  •  Link

Reckoning be wot be taught, arithmetique be 4/5th grade and up.
Even Sam had to be brainwashed with taking Two numbers and multiply and divide. Abacus be easy for most. Roman counting techniques would used.
I, II, III, IIII , slash IIII.[be five or one hand.]
V, X, etc.
When it comes to counting of coin, most be very sharp, Only those with modern calculator can be fooled when battery be dead.

Terry F  •  Link

"Kudos to Sam to offer Elizabeth the chance to learn something"

Anyone else get a whiff of a modern, companionate marriage? - despite his concern that she know who's in charge and clearly the pupil? I took Sir R. Gertz' suggestion whe might take it into her head that she could indeed do his (Samuel's) job to be at least half-serious (esp. with his [Robert's] own wife looking over his shoulder). After all, the point of this is so she (Elizabeth) can study his (Samuel's)(not her) admirable globes.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But what happens when Bess uses her new skills to add up the money spent on clothes this year?

"Lets see that's 12L for my things and..."


My God, I look good in this new purple shag gown...Sam notes to handsome, periwigged self in mirror.

"Bess?...Is that you?" Staring at the pounding at the now-splintering door...

cum salis grano  •  Link

The three R's be Reading wRiting Reckoning. Education was for the arts of Reading of the classics Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and English. For Girls, it be important to nod correctly when the Male be quoting some Pluto, not causing problems saying 8 times 8 be 64, Men still do not likes girls to cause problems discussing the finer points of powers to be [two the tenth that be]. In fact Elizabeth be a rare specimen of the times knowing Maths.
Still a problem, they say for College Entry.
from Liza Picard [Lon. Rest.] page 190
Lady Holbart writing be "sure soe sad a sight was nevor seen be foare as that sitty is now lying in ashes besides the unimmaganable loos the hole kingdom receives buy it so trobled at the sad nuse of distroction of Londone that I could not rit"
As stated spelling be non standard, The printing forced standardization to a degree.
In other words Sam was really a man of the future to show his wife the mysteries of the mans world.
Remember for the Female, it be less than 100 years that women had a say in the affairs of men by casting a vote on who votes the laws that we abide by.
How long has it been for women to have letters of learning after their own name.
It is very recent that the pew at U had as many females as males.

Bryan M  •  Link

Sam was probably teaching Bess algorithms for subtraction involving numbers of more than one digit. The following Wikipedia entry gives some examples:…

There is some topical information on "The teaching of mathematics in Britain in the Seventeenth Century" at:…

The following passage is particularly relevant:
"It was now [mid 17th C] often the case that children would first go to a small private school to learn the basics of reading, writing and counting, before moving to the Grammar School to begin their lessons in Latin. Those being prepared for University would also occasionally get some grounding in further Arithmetic and Euclidean Geometry."

Counting and adding were the concepts necessary for day-to-day transactions. However, subtraction is a little more abstract and may have been included in the "further Arithmetic". What we consider basic now may have been relatively advanced in the 17th C. Recall that it was only a little more than a year earlier that the highly educated Sam was himself learning his multiplication tables with the help of the one-eyed sailing master Mr Cooper.

Would a good/advanced education mainly been the study of the Latin classics?

Slight Spoiler. There is also a reference in the above webpage to Sam's continuing interest in mathematical education:
"It was also at Gresham College that what was later called the Royal Society of London started holding their discussions and lectures on Experimental science. The Society was not formally recognised by the crown until 1662, but many of those involved moved in influential circles and did much to improve the state of Mathematical education yet further. One such was Samuel Pepys whose endeavours finally led to the Royal Mathematical School being established in Christ's Hospital School in 1673. Although this school had a very troubled and chequered start, it did accomplish a lot and the Mathematical education of the prospective officers for the Navy did improve. Other Colleges and Universities proposed to help spread the knowledge of the Mathematical Sciences and other subjects were quashed by Charles II in 1660."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...the point of this is so she (Elizabeth) can study his (Samuel's)(not her) admirable globes."

Oh...No, I must not.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Purple, gold-trimmed gown, velvet hat, powdered wig...

Sam would fit in very well today in certain circles.


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"My God, Batten...Have you seen Pepys today?"

"You mean the uh, new gown and velvet hat, Sir Will?" Sir Will B. grins.

"You know." Penn smiles. "I was thinking today would be a fine day for our long overdue survey of the docks at Deptford. Suppose we see if we can persuade our fashion plate to lend us his expertise and let our finery-starved sailor boys have a gander at what no doubt is the prettiest thing they've seen in months."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Tom Pepys, you are an evil, evil man.

Mary  •  Link

shagg and baize

Shagg was a plush-like fabric.

Baize was a napped material, half worsted with a warp of combed wool, used for stiffening and lining or interlining. Quality depended on the number of threads per inch. During the 16th Century this fabric was worn chiefly by the gentry.
(< The Renaissance Tailor).

GrahamT  •  Link

The Baize, is modern slang for a snooker table, which is covered in green baize, hence John Parrot was described as "the Beckham of the Baize" in his obituary last month.

Frank G.  •  Link

"hence John Parrot was described as "the Beckham of the Baize" in his obituary last month."

It was Paul Hunter who sadly died.

Pedro  •  Link

"teaching her how to do math on paper"

Patricia, it is strange how this sounds so odd, when us English are so used to the study of Maths!

Mary  •  Link

Sam's perriwig.

The wig would not have been powdered at this date: that fashion didn't come in until the 18th century.

deepfatfriar  •  Link

Calves head and dumplings....

Anyone have a recipe??? Although in these post-mad cow days........

Terry F  •  Link

"a modern...marriage?" Mixed messages?

Mixed at least to his Diary (us). There were Samuel's concern to regain *control* of Elizabeth after the dancing lessons, and his recent writing that she left the house with her mayds by his *permission*; BUT at the same time there was his design to introduce her to some mathematiques "so she (Elizabeth) can study (Samuel's)(not her)admirable globes". (Robert, you outed me! or was it....?

"Oh...No, I must not.")

But perhaps he means to reign her in by distraction?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Here you are,

"Calf's Head
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book
Catharine E. Beecher (1846)

Take out the brains and boil the head, feet, and lights, in salted water, just enough to cover them, about two hours.

When they have boiled nearly an hour and a half, tie the brains in a cloth and put them in to boil with the rest.

They should be skinned, and soaked half an hour in cold water.

When the two hours have expired, take up the whole, and mash the brains fine, and season them with bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and a glass of Port or Claret, and use them for sauce.

Let the liquor remain for a soup the next day. It serves more handsomely to remove all the bones."

Dumplings could have been addedat the last stage. Also would have been nice in the 2nd day soup.

Terry F  •  Link


Maths are heady stuffs.
Off-topic: Interesting how abbreviatiobs have evolved differently, as well as how word were spelt/spelled 95 years from now (1663) when Noah Webster, the American lexicographer was born (1758) - though he introduced the Americanizations to his published "Spellers" slowly.…

GrahamT  •  Link

I tried to post a correction to my post earlier but it didn't work.
I should have said "John Parrot described Paul Hunter..."

GrahamT  •  Link

Anyone wishing to try calf's head could go to any real French restaurant serving tête de veau. I had it a few years ago, but won't do it again. The nostrils and eyebrows are the worst bits.

serafina  •  Link

Perhaps Elizabeth was more skilled in maths than we give her credit for and Sam was tutoring her in some advanced applications. Anything would be preferable to sitting down to a dinner of calves head. Sounds much too yummy to me...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

No doubt when we Pepysians jointly sit down to dinner with Sam and Bess in Heaven...Our treat, of course...The menu will feature...

"Who the devil are these people, anyway?" a hiss from Sam.

"Your fans...You and that moronic Diary." Bess fumes back. Nervously eyeing us from her seat of honor by Sam. Decked in her finery, though a bit annoyed to be outdone by Sam.

"Ah, calf's head. Just as I ordered. Thank ye, all you...strange people." Sam beams at the steaming head, nodding to we who foolishly offered to let him order anything.

We thought he'd surely call for vension pasty.

"I'll take a big slice of the cheek." Bess holds out plate.

"Might I have some of the forehead?" Will Hewer eyes his favorite spot.

"Right." Sam grabs fork and large knife. "Say? Where are they all going?"

"Well, nevermind. More of the brain and tongue for us." he notes to Bess and Will.

"These twenty-first century types prefer not to eat faces and heads, I hear." Will offers his bit.

"Strange, strange people." Sam shakes head. "I think I rather wish I hadn't allowed them a look into my personal life at that."

"Darling, don't play with the head, just cut it." Bess frowns. "And it's our personal lives, you idiot. You even told them about my ..."

Mary  •  Link

Calf's head.

Nevertheless, I think that I would rather eat this than the dish of stewed udder that Sam enjoyed back in 1660.

Ruben  •  Link

Calf's head
Cheek is very good, do not hesitate to eat it.
The rest may go to the pile of meat that industry uses to make "hamburguers", something you do not relate to calf's head really...

Australian Susan  •  Link

Since the advent of the maceration machine which can render any and every part of the animal into meat pulp suitable for forming into burgers, pet food etc., we are all probably eating calf's head (or worse?). I once had to show a group of abbatoir employees how to use the Internet to job search (surprise!). One of them muttered when asked what he actually did at the place (largest meat processing plant in the Southern hemisphere, no less). When he rpeated it, I understood the need for muttering: he "bagged arseholes". This is the only part of the animal which is cut out and discarded and this unfortunate lad (17) walked around with tongs and a bag collecting these items on the production line (or should that be desctruction line). In Sam's day, the unsavoury origns of some of his meat dishes were more obvious (pig's trotter anyone?), but I don't think he ever ate these particular bits.

Bradford  •  Link

"Behind the green baize door" also came to signify what went on in the servants' portion of the Victorian homestead, since the dividing swingdoor was for some reason covered with it.

As for subtraction, those backward types among us who still rectify our checking account registers, and attempt to do so without benefit of a calculator, can attest that---when it comes to money---one is much more likely to make mistakes in subtraction than in addition.

Pedro  •  Link

"a new black baize waistecoate"

For waistecotes and snooker tables use teasel to raise the nap.

Mary  •  Link

The green baize door.

The baize was used in order to help insulate Upstairs from the sounds issuing from Downstairs.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"at noon dined at home alone, a good calves head boiled"

To bake a Calves head to be eaten cold.
You must half boyl a fair Calves head, then take out all the bones on both sides, and season it with the aforesaid seasoning, and Lard it with Bacon, and a little Lemon peel; then having a coffin large enough, not very high, nor very thick, but make it four square, lay on some sheets of Lard on the top and butter, when it is bak'd and cold, fill it with clarified butter.
The Accomplish'd Lady's Delight in Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery. 1685.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys gets lots of credit for teaching Elizabeth new things, but he wasn't alone in doing this.

After the defeat at Marston Moor in 1644, Queen Henrietta Maria and her court fled into exile in France, including maid-of-honor Margaret Lucas.

In France, Margaret met William Cavendish, then Marquiss of Newcastle, and the couple married in 1645. They lived in comparative poverty during the Interregnum, first in Paris then Antwerp. During this time Lady Margaret received informal lessons in science and philosophy from both her husband and his brother, Sir Charles Cavendish.

I think Pepys (and Cavendish) found this an entertaining way to keep their women occupied at home during times of great boredom. Plus they have something challenging to them both to talk about.

for more information, see…

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Pepys is to be commended for teaching his wife basic arithmetic, but you can be sure he wouldn't teach her higher mathematics or any academic subjects, such subjects being for men only. He would teach her what he deemed to be useful to her (or to himself) by his own reckoning and nothing more. I doubt he ever thught to criticize the system that denied women formal education.

Illiterate and innumerate women throughout history successfully ran households, helped on farms and other businesses and raised children. In the 17th Cntury, the majority of men were completely unschooled too. Only the upper and upper middle classes had access to formal education.

Is it possible that Pepys' "gown" was a dressing gown?

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Patricia on 2 Nov 2006 - "How could Mrs. P run a household without a knowledge of basic arithmetic?"
4 hours ago - Louise Hudson "Illiterate and innumerate women throughout history successfully ran households, helped on farms and other businesses and raised children."

A long time ago my parents' neighbour was a farmer who used itinerant labour to pick potatoes, known locally as 'gypsies'. He told me that he was always amazed by the fact that although he knew they were illiterate and had had no formal education, their mental arithmatic was infallible. They were paid by the row and they always knew exactly how much they were owed in the complicated Pounds Shillings and Pence of the time. Bearing in mind that it is known that South African baboons can count up to four, it is reasonable to assume that we can all calculate without the need for schooling, at least enough to get by in life.

Al Doman  •  Link

@Louise Hudson: it's worth pointing out that most of what we today call "higher math" wasn't yet invented at the time of the Diary (calculus was about to be introduced) so Pepys could hardly be expected to have learned any himself or be in a position to teach it.

Like it or not, women were not considered the equal of men in the 17th century. It took centuries for consensus to reach today's imperfect state; Pepys can hardly be expected to know of or predict that work.

Anachronistically disparaging Pepys' motives is lazy and adds little value to the understanding of the man, his contemporaries or the historical era.

Cassidy  •  Link

Sam's gown was probably a wrapping gown/morning gown - this was starting to become a symbol of intellectual pursuits, and it was the done thing to have your portrait painted in one to show you were a thinker and of comfortable means. See the 1689 Kneller portrait of Sir Isaac Newton:…

I suspect the written aspect of math, and maybe larger numbers, must be part of the lessons. Does anyone know when doing the household accounts became the wife's job? I'm more familiar with the later 18th century, when it seems to have been expected for a woman of this social level to be in charge of that, which would seem to be impossible here if Mrs. P is unable to do larger sums.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Does anyone know when doing the household accounts became the wife's job? "

Since Pepys will tell us, from time to time at month's end, how well his wife's accounts pass his muster, at some point these have become her job.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Robert Harneis, I think you are right, people of what we would deem "normal" intelligence who live in a society where calculations are done will be able to calculate at a basic level without having been formally taught. The itinerant farmers you mention surely had their own method of calculating and most likely they taught each other and passed down their knowledge to the next generation. They might not have known the standard words for numbers, but they apparently could calculate their own way--and do it correctly.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

If you are paid piecework in shillings and pence, e.g. 1d per item, you count the items you've done in dozens by counting to 12 at a time and adding to a tally of dozens. This gives you the amount you are owed in shillings. If you do ths every day to get a living you will get very good at it.
Re: ‘ . . a new black baize waistecoate . . ’

‘baize, n. < French baies < Latin badius chestnut-coloured, bay n.1; so named probably from its original colour . .
1. a. A coarse woollen stuff, having a long nap, now used chiefly for linings, coverings, curtains, etc., in warmer countries for articles of clothing, e.g. shirts, petticoats, ponchos; it was formerly, when made of finer and lighter texture, used as a clothing material in Britain also.
. . 1667 S. Pepys Diary 24 Feb. (1974) VIII. 79 A cloak of Colchester bayze . . ‘ (OED)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

During the reign of King Charles I, one of his Gentlemen opened a school. The curriculum is impressive:

"The Museum Minervæ was an academy instituted by Sir Francis Kynaston, Esquire of the body to King Charles, 1635, in which year the king granted his letters-patent, whereby a house in Covent Garden, which Sir Francis had purchased, and furnished with books, manuscripts, musical and mathematical instruments, paintings, statues, antiques, &c. was appropriated for ever as a college for the education of the young nobility and others, under the name of the Museum Minervæ.

"Sir Francis Kynaston was made the governor under the title of Regent; Edward May, Thomas Hunt, Nicholas Phiske, John Spidell, Walter Salter, Michael Mason, fellows and professors of philosophy and medicine, music, astronomy, geometry, languages, &c.

"They had power to elect professors also of horsemanship, dancing, painting, engraving, &c.; were made a body corporate, were permitted to use a common seal, and to possess goods and lands in mortmain. Pat. 11 Car. pt. 8. No. 14.

"Sir Francis Kynaston published the Constitutions of the Museum Minervæ."…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

One of the good things about the Interregnum was the movement towards education. Updated notes from an 18th C. book on the history of London:

"Sir Balthazer Gerbier, ... by profession a painter and an architect, but not eminent as either, opened an academy at Bethnal Green in 1649, imitating the Museum Minervæ. (see above)

In addition to the more common branches of education, Gerbier taught astronomy, navigation, architecture, perspective, drawing, limning, engraving, sortification, fireworks, military discipline, the art of well speaking and civil conversation, history, constitutions, and maxims of state, and particular dispositions of nations, riding the great horse, scenes, exercises, and magnificent shows (fn. 12).
• 12. The terms for teaching all these arts and sciences were 61. per month, of which 3l. was charged for teaching to ride the great horse. Gentlemen were boarded at 3l. per month. No gentleman of age bound to engage to board for more than one month; those of 16 or 18 years old for a quarter of a year. Perfect Diurnal, Feb. 11, 1650.

Once a week, at 3 p.m., Sir Balthazer Gerbier gave a public lecture, gratis, on the various sciences which he previously advertised in the newspapers: examples of these advertisements are given in the notes (fn. 13).
• 13. On Wednesday next, the second public gratis lecture concerning cosmography, "with 'other academical entertainments for the lovers of learning." Perfect Diurnal, Nov. 23, 1649.
Wednesday, 12 Dec. "Lecture "on navigation, succinct orations in Hebrew "on the creation of the world, with an academical entertainment of music, so there be "time for the same." Perfect Diurnal, Dec. 7–14.
"The lecture for the next week designed for the ladies and honorable women of this nation on the art of speaking." Perfect Occurrences, Dec. 14. "Sir Balthazer Gerbier desires, that if any lady or virtuous matron will attend his lectures, they will give notice, that they may be the better accommodated according to their quality."
Several Proceedings of Parliament, Dec. 21–. Feb. 20, Lecture on music, gratis; when those who are expert in the art have promised to make good what the lecture says in commendation of it." Perfect Diurnal, Feb. 11, &c. 1650. "July 30, was exhibited a Spanish ancient Brazilian course, called Juego de Cannas — the throwing of darts against the desendants with shields (the ground white, covered with flaming stars: the motto, "sans vouloir mal faire,") with an intermixed feigned fight with the sword, and the running of the ring." Perfect Occurrences, July 27, 1649.

• 13. Some of the public exercises above were held in the White Friars, where Gerbier moved his academy in the winter. In some advertisements he complains much of "the extraordinary concourse of unruly people who robbed him, (Tuesday's Journal, Aug. 17, 1649) and treated with savage rudeness his extraordinary services." Several Proceedings of Parliament, Jan. 11, 1650.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Any person might speak or read at these public lectures "on any subject, so that it was on unquestionable principles, warrantable terms, consonant with godliness, and with all due respect to the state (fn. 14)."
• 14. Perfect Occurrences, Dec. 14, 1649.

An account of Gerbier's academy was published in 1648; and in 1649, "the art of well speaking," being one of the lectures delivered there gratis: this was ridiculed by Butler in his fictitious will of the Earl of Pembroke (fn. 15).
• 15. "All my other speeches, of what colour soever, I give to help Sir Balthazer's art of well speaking."

Sir Balthazer Gerbier seems to have been a visionary (fn. 16).
• 16. In one of his advertisements, he prosesses to lend from one shilling to fix, gratis, to such as are in extreme need, and have not wherewithal to endeavor their subsistence; whereas, week by week, they may drive on some trade." In the same advertisement he says, "the rarities heretofore-mentioned in a small printed bill are exposed to sale daily at the academy." Perfect Diurnal, March 4, 1650.

After the failure of his Bethnal Green academy, which soon happened (fn. 17), Sir Balthazer Gerbier went to America, where he was ill-treated by the Dutch, and narrowly escaped with his life.
• 17. Whitlock's Memorials, p. 441. – around 1650

For more about Bethnal Green…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I thought I was done with Gerbier's school when I found this nugget:

"While living in Paris, Sir Balthazar Gerbier had inherited a house in Bethnal Green from his father-in-law, Willem Kip, a jeweler and engraver, who died in 1646. This enabled him to open an academy for young gentlemen, which was effectively a school for spies since the curriculum included horsemanship, foreign languages, cosmography, and the construction of military fortifications. It opened in July 1649 and closed in August 1650."

Gerbier was in charge of the 1st Duke of Buckingham's ciphers, and had spied on the Royalists in exile. He was qualified.

This came from…

Liz  •  Link

Food - what goes around , comes around. Cow’s cheeks are ‘in’ in upper crust eating lately.

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