Thursday 17 March 1663/64

Up and to my brother’s, where all the morning doing business against to-morrow, and so to my cozen Stradwicke’s about the same business, and to the ’Change, and thence home to dinner, where my wife in bed sick still, but not so bad as yesterday. I dined by her, and so to the office, where we sat this afternoon, having changed this day our sittings from morning to afternoons, because of the Parliament which returned yesterday; but was adjourned till Monday next; upon pretence that many of the members were said to be upon the road; and also the King had other affairs, and so desired them to adjourn till then. But the truth is, the King is offended at my Lord of Bristol, as they say, whom he hath found to have been all this while (pretending a desire of leave to go into France, and to have all the difference between him and the Chancellor made up,) endeavouring to make factions in both Houses to the Chancellor. So the King did this to keep the Houses from meeting; and in the meanwhile sent a guard and a herald last night to have taken him at Wimbleton, where he was in the morning, but could not find him: at which the King was and is still mightily concerned, and runs up and down to and from the Chancellor’s like a boy: and it seems would make Digby’s articles against the Chancellor to be treasonable reflections against his Majesty. So that the King is very high, as they say; and God knows what will follow upon it!

After office I to my brother’s again, and thence to Madam Turner’s, in both places preparing things against to-morrow; and this night I have altered my resolution of burying him in the church yarde among my young brothers and sisters, and bury him in the church, in the middle isle, as near as I can to my mother’s pew. This costs me 20s. more. This being all, home by coach, bringing my brother’s silver tankard for safety along with me, and so to supper, after writing to my father, and so to bed.

46 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...this night I have altered my resolution of burying him in the church yarde among my young brothers and sisters, and bury him in the church, in the middle isle, as near as I can to my mother's pew."

I take it that's meant as a thoughtful act towards Mum. Won't that involve tearing up the floor, though? Or is it all stones and/or dirt? While I suppose it may be comforting to have the loved ones in effect attending service with one, I can't help thinking it must have inspired many a dreadful nightmare to think that Dad or Aunt May is right underneath you.

Glyn  •  Link

Why am I thinking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I'm not sure about this: if you walk around English churches, you'll often see gravestones lying flat on the floor with the grave underneath, but until Robert's question I had assumed that Tom is being buried in a crypt that is directly beneath the aisle, not in a grave a few feet below the surface. That may be wrong.

After they stopped burying people here - in St Bride's church in Fleet Street - the crypts were built over and largely forgotten about until a few years ago. People can visit some of the crypts which have had the bodies removed, but other parts of the crypts still contain bodies and are closed to the public.

I go past here regularly, so I'll call in next week and light a candle to Tom on our behalf.

Terry F  •  Link

"I'll call in next week and light a candle to Tom on our behalf."

Thanks for that, Glyn. May we assume the aisle crypts are among the closed?

jeannine  •  Link

"and bury him in the church, in the middle isle, as near as I can to my mother's pew"
Any parent's worst nightmare would be to lose a child. I can only imagine what Sam's parents are going through. I am sure that any kindness in thought for how their son is handled in death will mean the world to them. Even with the fact that death in Sam's time was such a part of one's life experience, the loss of their son must be devastating.

Terry F  •  Link

"the loss of their son must be devastating."

-- the slow one, who had so many difficulties, who followed his father's trade.

cape henry  •  Link

"...upon pretense that many of the members were said to be upon the road; and also the King had other affairs..." Pepys careful wording indicates which he thinks the likely case. How many, dealing with the death and burial of a brother, would be able to analyze a complex political tangle - the current U.S. Attorney matter, say - so cogently? Pepys' umteenth example of his ability to compartmentalize does not make it any less remarkable. Or rewarding to us.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Up and to my brother's, where all the morning doing business against to-morrow

I guess this means the funeral is tomorrow and not a week hence.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"all the morning doing business against to-morrow"
This suggests he's preparing for the funeral, which if true resolves yesterday's debate about which Friday it would be, this week or next. We should find out for sure tomorrow.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Maurie beat me to it by 5 minutes.

Terry F  •  Link

Tom was born in 1634

says the L&M Companion; so was 30 or 29.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I dined by her..."

A modest statement of an immensely kind and thoughtful act at such a time...

Conrad  •  Link

Sam's mention of his dead younger brothers & sisters buried out in the church yard leads me to wonder how many dead siblings he had, & is it any wonder his poor mother is a bit demented

Pedro  •  Link

"this night I have altered my resolution of burying him in the church yarde among my young brothers and sisters, and bury him in the church, in the middle isle, as near as I can to my mother's pew."

Would Tom prefer to be buried with his younger brothers and sisters? Presumably his mother and father will be buried in Brampton, and so he will be left alone. But then again it might suit Sam's status better to have his brother buried inside the Church.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"in the church yard among my young brothers and sisters"
They were: Mary 1627-1640
Paulina(not Pall) 1628-1632
Esther 1630-1631
Sarah 1635-1641
Jacob 1637(b.&d.)
Robert 1638(b.&d.)
CF Claire Tomalin's Book

Paul Dyson  •  Link

"in the church yarde among my young brothers and sisters"

Tomalin's opening paragraph says that two siblings were already buried in St Bride's churchyard before Samuel was born; they were Esther (d 1631 aged about 1) and the first Paulina (d 1632 aged 4). By the time Tom died they had been joined by Jacob (b & d 1637), Robert (b & d 1638), the first John (d 1639 aged 7), Mary (d 1640 aged 13), Sarah (d 1641 aged 6) - perhaps not untypical for a 17th century family but still very hard for parents to bear even though it was now twenty three years since the last bereavement. Impossible not to be mentally and emotionally scarred, surely. That sequence of five deaths in five years is particularly harrowing.

Tomalin writes (p6) "Pepys' mother must have been always busy, tired, distracted or grieving for the deaths of his brothers and sisters when he was a child: soon worn out, physically and emotionally." Perhaps Sam's decision to pay the extra twenty shillings to have Tom buried near to his mother's pew was an attempt to comfort his mother in some way, even though she was unlikely to worship at St Bride's in the future. In those days I believe, and well into the nineteenth century in the Church of England, parishioners paid rent for a particular pew - and those who couldn't afford it stood in the open spaces of the church.

Of the remaining children all survived the plague and the second John lived to 35 (d 1677), the second Paulina to 49 (d 1689) and Sam to 70 (d 1703).

Paul Dyson  •  Link

Sorry, A de A, missed your earlier posting of the childrens' dates.

jeannine  •  Link

my young brothers and sisters
Edwin's Chapwell's Book, "Eight Generations of the Pepys Family from 1500-1800" lists the dates of births, baptisms, deaths, etc. I'll send it along to Phil and see if he can find a good reference place for it.
Surely, for any mother living in Sam's time, this would unfortunately be the "norm" and just shows the harsh realities of life and death that most of us luckily/hopefully will be spared.

Pedro  •  Link

For discussion of Mrs P and religion see...

"Then to my mother again, and after supper she and I talked very high about religion, I in defence of the religion I was born in."…

Xjy  •  Link

Private and public life so intertwined! Pepys running around to do his business, noting the cost (20s) and valuables (silver tankard), thinking of status for himself and family, and the king running around to do his business. And Sam wondering what on earth the man's playing at. He still finds public affairs (ie the king's business) a mysterious sphere, but has to try to take it into account in as much as it impinges on his own place and prospects.

Bradford  •  Link

"adjourned till Monday next"
---here it is again: an empty intensifier, as it were, whereas we would say just "adjourned till Monday."

JWB  •  Link

Tom's deathbed French

The nine births in short order to the wife of taylor of some means would call for a nurse maid. What would be more natural at that time & place than for the Puritan mother to bring in a young Huguenot.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Paul Chapin: "Maurie beat me to it by 5 minutes."

Sorry Paul, it's synchronicity.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Pew rents

For those who could not afford pew rents, there were free benches - at the back.

I have been reading recently a book called The Gentleman's Daughter, which is about 18th century women. One chapter is devoted to raising children. The author, Amanda Vickery denies and then refutes by argument, the theory that until the 19th century, parents did not really care for their children (cf another myth that childhood was invented in the 19th century) and that all the deaths of little ones did not upset them as much as the death of children in later centuries. Vickery argues that parents had to display fortitude in the face of domestic disaster otherwise they would have been overwhelmed. She concludes her chapter with a powerful image (the whole book is really very well written) - which I think we could apply to the Pepys parents:
"To survive grief was seen as an act of will. Thus, a studied fortitude was a crucial necessity once embarked on the parental course. For, as parents, men and women stood side by side, watching the unfathomable waters of providence lapping ominously and relentlessly at their undefended feet." (p.128)

Cactus Wren  •  Link

Australian Susan, who's the author of that book? I'd like to look it up but can't find any American edition under that title.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

And now, in deepest embarrassment, I see that you did include the author's name in your first posting! (blush) Thanks for the link, though, I definitely want to read that.

Carl Wickstrom in Boston USA  •  Link

On the dismal subject of burials in a church nave:
St Bride's Church in London website speaks of the crypts, but Tom's remains could have been buried just under the nave and not in the crypt.
The Tower of London website shows burials were just under the nave, as we were told on our tourist visit and could plainly see from the uneven leveling of the stones. The website says: "All of those executed on the Tower Green were buried in the Chapel and many executed on Tower Hill were buried here as well. The executed prisoners had their bodies hastily buried without markers. The Chapel was renovated in 1876 during the reign of Queen Victoria. The remains uncovered in the nave of the church (some with still intact coffins) were re-interred in the crypt." Upon hearing this, I looked for tool marks and cracks where they had popped up the stones, but the stones looked good with clean sharp edges. They must have had some tricky tool for popping up nave stones.
You can see in a painting by Emanuel de Witte, Interior of the Niewe Kerk, Amsterdam, 1677, Boston MFA. There is a gravedigger opening a grave in the stones just below the nave. The gravedigger is up to his armpits below the floor. Nearby, a dog relieves himself against the fine carved wooden pulpit. This is one of my favorite paintings, and immediately came to mind re Samuel Pepys.
You can see in a painting by Emanuel de Witte, Interior of the Old Church in Delft, 1650-52, NYC Met. There appears to be grave digging going on in the foreground. Nearby, a dog relieves himself against a fine white marble pillar.

Rod McCaslin  •  Link

I believe the statistic re: child deaths was that 30% of infants died, while 50% of all children died before the age of 10. The size of the Pepys family (number of children) was within the average for the 17th century, but the child mortality was a bit above the average.

See Lawrence Stone, *Family, Sex and Marriage: In England 1500-1800* (1983)

Ruben  •  Link

"bury him in the church"
Thank you, Carl for your annotation. I looked for the painting and found it at:…
a little long but it works!
there is a zoom function that permits to see the details clearly (gravedigger, dog). Very ilustrative.

Australian Susan  •  Link

What a fascinating picture! Thank you to Carl and Rueben.I can understand why the artist included both the gravedigger and the nursing mother, but why have the dog doing something so basic and in such a prominent part of the picture!! Or would a dog relieving itself in a church not be so outrageous in those days?

Ruben  •  Link

Church and dog
Emanuel de Witte was prone to gambling and not a very stable person. I red that he shouted to churchgoers (while painting)and had what today we would call a bohemian life finishing in tragedy.
Wikipedia: "...while the interiors are usually inhabited by churchgoers, sometimes accompanied by a dog."
I searched the net and found one more dog in the Rijksmuseum, see:…
and at:…
you find 5 pictures of interior of churches with dogs, in one of them 2 dogs!
We can dismiss this dogs as an excentricity but it looks a little irreverent, isnt it?

Carl Wickstrom in Boston USA  •  Link

On oil paintings of churches by Emanuel de Witte, and Pepys the musician.
Thanks, kids, for hearing my story about the grave digger and the doggie, which are recurring motifs used by de Witte.
I liked the picture Ruben found in the Rijksmuseum. It's very clean, and you can enlarge it easily. Here is a gravedigger standing up to his waist in the nave, a wheelbarrow in back, a pile of dirt in front, and his arms in the posture to declare "Alas, poor Yorick". Two Gentlemen of Verona are standing, one leans on a cane. Here comes the dog sneaking up behind, sniffing the cane, preparatory to committing a public nuisance on the cane.
I draw your attention to the organ pipes on the wall in the painting. I play pipe organ (pedals too), and the pipes are formally the organ, while the keys where the organist sits is the console. Customarily the organist plays in a cape because there is no heat, and the bats up in the organ loft drop nuisances everywhere. Many churches have organs 350 years old, unchanged, untouched except for tuning. Samuel Pepys likely heard some of the same pipes we can hear today in London, and thus we hear exactly the same sounds he heard. Sam plays a number of instruments and even wrote a tune, "Beauty Retire", featured in his oil painting. Thus I find it odd that he attends church a lot, admires the ladies, scants the sermons, but never mentions the organ, choir, village band, congregational singing, cantoring, or any form of music in a church.

Ruben  •  Link

Carl: may be the organs are the same, but the music is different. Our perception has changed. In Samuels days instrumental music was the exception. Music today became prosaic. Before or after hearing that special composition at a concert, we hear the disk, tape or other media, once or a hundred times. We are bombarded not only by music, but also by noises, horns and cellular ringtones.

Carl Wickstrom in Boston USA  •  Link

On Samuel Pepys and the organ music he heard.
St Brides had quite an organ, must have, because Henry Purcell composed and played on the organ in 1694 and Pepys was in London until 1701. (The present organ is from the 1950s). This is not to say that Pepys heard Purcell for sure, but that St Brides was right up there as a musical center in the time that Pepys was attending and it is probable that Pepys heard a lot of good music, some of which has stood the test of time and is played today. Purcells is the author of one of the usual war horses played at weddings, popular today and requiring explanation if it be not played along with the Mendelsohn for a usual vanilla flavor wedding. (Yes Virginia, there are other tunes, and you will still be properly married if you choose other tunes, even modern ones).
St Brides website says this about that:
We have little direct historical knowledge of music at St. Bride's before the post-war restoration, although two points are worthy of mention. One is that Thomas Weelkes, organist of Chichester Cathedral in the early 17th century and a leading English madrigal composer of the period, is buried in the crypt, having died suddenly while visiting a friend in Salisbury Square. The other is a close connection with Henry Purcell through the St. Ceciliatide Festival. This was an annual celebration of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music, held on and near her feast day, 22nd November, during the 1690s, based at Stationers' Hall, but always including a service in St. Bride's. It was for this service in 1694 that Purcell composed his setting of the Te Deum, which remains one of his best-loved works. The Festival has been revived in recent years, and two services at St. Bride's formed part of the 2001 celebrations
So again I say: Pepys is a musician and composed a tune, yet he never mentions church music, though he attends church regularly. I hasten to add, church and musical concerts were the TeleVision of the times, and it was quite ordinary for people to talk and ogle and flirt in the middle of a concert. At times, the entertainment was a little long, so we find The King arising for a seventh inning stretch in the middle of the ... what is this thing... Handel's Messiah .... whatever ... and to this day we all rise when the Hallelujah Chorus comes along for the King's Seventh Inning Stretch. And so say we all.
As for the musical printed notes: yes, they are the same on the printed page, same notes as in the days of Pepys, but there's a thousand different ways to play them, and everybody plays them differently because everybody is different.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"Pepys is a musician and composed a tune, yet he never mentions church music"
Actually, Carl, he does, on a number of occasions.
22 November 1663: "The anthem was good after sermon, being the fifty-first psalme, made for five voices by one of Captain Cooke's boys, a pretty boy. And they say there are four or five of them that can do as much. And here I first perceived that the King is a little musicall, and kept good time with his hand all along the anthem."
14 September 1662: "Thence to White Hall chapel, where sermon almost done, and I heard Captain Cooke's new musique. This the first day of having vialls and other instruments to play a symphony between every verse of the anthem; but the musique more full than it was the last Sunday, and very fine it is.1 But yet I could discern Captain Cooke to overdo his part at singing, which I never did before."
8 July 1660: "To White Hall chapel, where I got in with ease by going before the Lord Chancellor with Mr. Kipps. Here I heard very good music, the first time that ever I remember to have heard the organs and singing-men in surplices in my life."
[Found these in a few minutes by using the search function to search the Diary for "church music" - another example of what makes this site so great.]

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam never refers to music at his St Olave's services, so I don't think they can have had any. When he attends the Chapel Royal or Westminster Abbey, he always comments on the music.(even joins in at one time) St Olave's is not what it was in Sam's day, but does anyone know anything about the music, organ or whatever?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

St Cecilia's Day Festival Service,

This used to be held annually on the 22 November at St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate, the so called "Musician's Church" where the ashes of Henry Wood of the Promenade Concerts were placed.…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Organ -- St Olave Hart Street

The present organ is post WWII made by the John Compton Organ Co.

Buildings of England: London I, The City, pp 253-255 @ 255

Second Reading

Nick Wisniewski  •  Link

After perusing and reading many of Pepys' diary entries, I have noticed a pattern of Pepys himself, as well as his wife falling ill very often. I would venture to say that this is because of poor medical practices and a general lack of understanding of how people fell ill at the time. On top of this most of the medications, we treat ailments today with were not even discovered yet. In Pepys' time people died of diseases we do not even think twice about today. For all the advances in medical science that we rely on today I am Grateful.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"all the morning doing business against to-morrow, and so to my cozen Stradwicke’s about the same business"

Pepys's Cousin, Elizabeth was married to Thomas Strudwick, who was a merchant of provisions, including excellent cake.… He supplied the funeral biscuit. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So the seems would make Digby’s [Bristol's] articles against the Chancellor to be treasonable reflections against his Majesty. "

After Bristol's impeachment of Clarendon in July 1663 the King had issued a proclamation for his arrest for 'crimes of a high nature against the King's person and government' (25 August); it was now believed a charge of treason could be sustained. Bristol, in hiding, wrote letters from addresses in Flanders and France to give the impression he was out of reach. On 16 March the King, judging he might return for the opening of parliament, had attempts made to arrest him both at his Queen St house and at his country house in Wimbledon, but was said to have narrowly escaped. He sent letters to the House of Lords via his wife, which the house refused to open when it met on the 21st. The story that the King had persuaded parliament to adjourn in order to be legally able to arrest him -- parliamentary immunity not yet being in force -- is not proved, but likely and commonly repeated. Bristol did not emerge from hiding until Clarendon's fall in 1667. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This costs me 20s. more."

According to the funeral accounts (in Pepys's hand), the gloves (of white kid) cost 9.s; the claret £2 2s. 6d.; the biscuit £4 11s. 0d.; the coffin £1 9s. 0d.; and the ringers 5s,: Rawl. A 182, ff. 305r, 336r, printed in Family Letters, p. 7.
(L&M note)

Al Doman  •  Link

@Nick W: "... For all the advances in medical science that we rely on today I am Grateful."

Indeed. Not to mention the advances in all other facets of life.

In pretty much every way, a middle-class citizen of a first-world country today, has a better life than Charles II had in his day. Off the top of my head I can't think of *any* way Charles had it better.

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