Friday 18 March 1663/64

Up betimes, and walked to my brother’s, where a great while putting things in order against anon; then to Madam Turner’s and eat a breakfast there, and so to Wotton, my shoemaker, and there got a pair of shoes blacked on the soles against anon for me; so to my brother’s and to church, and with the grave-maker chose a place for my brother to lie in, just under my mother’s pew. But to see how a man’s tombes are at the mercy of such a fellow, that for sixpence he would, (as his owne words were,) “I will justle them together but I will make room for him;” speaking of the fulness of the middle isle, where he was to lie; and that he would, for my father’s sake, do my brother that is dead all the civility he can; which was to disturb other corps that are not quite rotten, to make room for him; and methought his manner of speaking it was very remarkable; as of a thing that now was in his power to do a man a courtesy or not.

At noon my wife, though in pain, comes, but I being forced to go home, she went back with me, where I dressed myself, and so did Besse; and so to my brother’s again: whither, though invited, as the custom is, at one or two o’clock, they came not till four or five. But at last one after another they come, many more than I bid: and my reckoning that I bid was one hundred and twenty; but I believe there was nearer one hundred and fifty. Their service was six biscuits apiece, and what they pleased of burnt claret. My cosen Joyce Norton kept the wine and cakes above; and did give out to them that served, who had white gloves given them. But above all, I am beholden to Mrs. Holden, who was most kind, and did take mighty pains not only in getting the house and every thing else ready, but this day in going up and down to see, the house filled and served, in order to mine, and their great content, I think; the men sitting by themselves in some rooms, and women by themselves in others, very close, but yet room enough. Anon to church, walking out into the streete to the Conduit, and so across the streete, and had a very good company along with the corps. And being come to the grave as above, Dr. Pierson, the minister of the parish, did read the service for buriall: and so I saw my poor brother laid into the grave; and so all broke up; and I and my wife and Madam Turner and her family to my brother’s, and by and by fell to a barrell of oysters, cake, and cheese, of Mr. Honiwood’s, with him, in his chamber and below, being too merry for so late a sad work. But, Lord! to see how the world makes nothing of the memory of a man, an houre after he is dead! And, indeed, I must blame myself; for though at the sight of him dead and dying, I had real grief for a while, while he was in my sight, yet presently after, and ever since, I have had very little grief indeed for him.

By and by, it beginning to be late, I put things in some order in the house, and so took my wife and Besse (who hath done me very good service in cleaning and getting ready every thing and serving the wine and things to-day, and is indeed a most excellent good-natured and faithful wench, and I love her mightily), by coach home, and so after being at the office to set down the day’s work home to supper and to bed.

45 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

"But, Lord! to see how the world makes nothing of the memory of a man, an houre after he is dead!"

What a desolate verdict is Pepys's on his world! Is it any different in ours?

JWB  •  Link

"Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs"
"Out, Out", R. Frost

Patricia  •  Link

Well, that was a lovely turn out for Thomas' funeral. That would be a comfort to Samuel, as a reflection of the esteem in which their family is held. And let's face it, life goes on. Only the dead get to rest, everybody else has to get back to work.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" see how the world makes nothing of the memory of a man, an houre after he is dead!..."

Makes one realize the fear of oblivion that drives a Napoleon, Caesar...Or even a Sam Pepys...In their career.


Tom and Sam led vastly different lives, had very different interests...Clearly while Sam was protective to the point of being domineering, he never seemed truly close to Tom. He felt true grief for him and may occasionally feel it again at the odd moment, but...And he is being true to the Diary here and we must accept that...He can't feel more. Perhaps, hopefully, for a death of one closer he would/will/did...


One does miss the young man who spoke so feelingly on his twenty-eighth birthday of friends...

Feb 23, 1661...

"This is now 28 years that I am born. And blessed be God, in a state of full content, and great hopes to be a happy man in all respects, both to myself and friends."

"That's the way it is dear. We cry a little and then we forget." -Lovey Howell, "Gilligan's Island".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...and by and by fell to a barrell of oysters, cake, and cheese, of Mr. Honiwood's, with him, in his chamber and below, being too merry for so late a sad work..."

"Let us condole the knight. For lambkins...We will live..." Pistol, "Henry V".

Australian Susan  •  Link

Doesn't Mrs Holden sound a real treasure? She took charge in the household in the last few days, seeing everything was organised, laid out poor Tom when dead and now makes everything easy and smooth running for the family. I can remember being so grateful to people like that when dazed with grief and totally inacapable of making the simplest decisions and good people just calmly and compassionately sorted things out.
Sam mentions that he had sent for 120 persons: yet we don't hear any details of how he managed quite a considerable administrative feat in a very short time? Did he use messengers? I wonder from what distance people came?
Good to see that the family were held in high regard in the Parish.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Heaven...(beware, there be a spoiler abouts...)

"Samuel!" Tom happily waves in his recently arrived brother...

Sam a hair nervous...Ummn...A slight gasp as he is happily embraced then released.

"The brother who made me immortal. In a manner. Took you long enough..." Thomas teases. "What were ye doin' all these centuries? Counting yer gold?"

"A few things to sort through in Purgatory." Sam notes, a tad embarassed. "I made a few minor transgressions on Earth...Had a few duties to perform in recompense..."

"That Mrs. Bagwell,eh?...And those others..." Tom grins shrewdly.

"She talks about ye all the time since she came. Actually I think she and that Lane girl really did like ye."

"Oh?" a slight beam, then nervous look.

Ummn... "Tom, about my Diary."

"Wonderful stuff, Samuel. Read it through ten times now. Tell me, did ye really cry at me bedside?" another grin.

"I am sorry we weren't closer on Earth, Thomas." a sigh.

"Well." kindly pat. "We're all together again...And plenty of time to get to know each other properly, Sam."

"Yes. Uh, Tom? I was wondering..."

Tom's turn to look a tad embarassed...

"Say your stutter's gone..." Sam notes, it suddenly dawning.

"Heaven, Sam...Does wonders as to speech therapy. Uh...Ye were askin' about Bess, I'm guessin'?"

"Is she still very angry?"

"No. Not at all. She put in a good word for ye at all yer hearin's didn't she? See, it's...Ummn...Say?" brightly. "Did ye hook up with a Ms...?"

"We never married. I told her Bess was my one and only..."

"Oh." Tom looks troubled.

"I'm...Sorry to hear that, Samuel. Ummn...Sam, I want you to know. We never were meanin' to hurt ye."

A blinking Sam stares... "You...And my wife? Here..."

"Uh...There too, Samuel...And we did spend a bit of our own in Purgatory for it. But..." a sigh... "There it is..."

"You..." Sam reddens... "You and Bess? Before...? How? Wnen?"

"Ye do remember how ill Bessie was those days when I kicked off...How she used to come and visit me?"

"I thought she was being kind...For my sake. You mean to say...?"

"...And ye do remember me excellent French, Samuel?" Tom notes sheepishly.

caoe henry  •  Link

"La Commedia e finito." --Pagliacci

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"I am beholden to Mrs. Holden"
Oh my!!!

DrCari  •  Link

I wonder if Sam ordered a funeral feast, invitations and funeral rings....tokens distributed to guests attending the funeral service? As a socially ambitious political 'up and comer' it would be reasonable.

Molly Brown's novel, "INVITATION TO A FUNERAL" elaborates on the funeral traditions contemporary to Sam's time.

alanB  •  Link

It appears Mum did not make it back in time for the funeral. Presumably, she will arrive any time. Has she been consulted about the use of her pew (phew)?

Paul Dyson  •  Link

"so to my brother's and to church, and with the grave-maker chose a place for my brother to lie in, just under my mother's pew."

Presumably at this time it was normal to be buried in a churchyard or, for an extra consideration, in the church itself. Is it just an English custom to have graveyards surrounding churches and is it something to do with the concept of "consecrated ground"? Gray's "Elegy in an English Churchyard" has its appeal but one wonders whether approaching a place of living faith by way of the resting places of the dead has affected the national approach to religion? By Dickens' time London churchyards were overflowing - literally, and municipal cemeteries were opened there and in other big cities. The Romans by law buried their dead by the roadside beyond the city walls, for obvious good reasons, and in Scotland, for example, there are burial grounds out in the country well away from inhabited places.

tonyt  •  Link

Sending for 120 persons.
Even in this day and age, no news travels faster by word of mouth than that of a death. The number that Sam invited by direct contact (rather than asking for the message to be passed on) would likely have been nearer 12 than 120.

Pedro  •  Link

The famous 1795 epitaph to the grave-digger of Kingsbridge, Devon:

Here lie I at the chapel door,
Here lie I because I'm poor,
The farther in the more you pay,
Here lie I as warm as they.

Snow  •  Link

Besse (who hath done me very good service in cleaning and getting ready every thing and serving the wine and things to-day, and is indeed a most excellent good-natured and faithful wench, and I love her mightily)

But, did he tell Besse how appreciative he was or wasn't it the done thing to thank the hired help?

Susan from Pennsylvania  •  Link

"so to Wotton, my shoemaker, and there got a pair of shoes blacked on the soles against anon for me"

Anyone else notice this passage? One assumes that Samuel is having the soles of his shoes blacked so that they won't "offend" when he kneels in church the next day (a time-honored Saturday tradition for acolytes even today.) But kneeling in church at this time still had that taint of Popery, and the fact that the King kneels to take Communion is worrisome to many of his subjects as a practice that's not only Romish, but French. Does anyone know if kneeling at funerals is more accepted, even expected?
You know Samuel will always try to do the "right thing"....

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

" see how the world makes nothing of the memory of a man, an houre after he is dead!..."

"Makes one realize the fear of oblivion that drives a Napoleon, Caesar...Or even a Sam Pepys...In their career."

"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil"

John Milton, Lycidas, 1637

Pedro  •  Link

Inside or outside the Church?

We sometimes meet with a peculiar kind of ancient burial, which is chiefly interesting from the amusing legends connected with it. This is where the stone coffin, which contains the remains of the deceased, is placed within an external recess in the wall of a church, or under a low arch passing completely through the wall, so that the coffin, being in the middle of the wall, is seen equally within and without the church. At Brent Pelham, Herts, there is a monument of this description in the north wall of the nave. It is supposed to commemorate 0' Piers Shonkes, lord of a manor in the parish. The local tradition is, that by killing a certain serpent he so exasperated the spiritual dragon, that he declared he would have the body of Shonkes when he died, whether he was buried within or without the church. To avoid such a calamity, Shonkes ordered his body to be placed in the wall, so as to be neither inside nor outside the church.

For other stories see...SEPULCHRAL VAGARIES

Ruben  •  Link

"so to Wotton, my shoemaker, and there got a pair of shoes blacked on the soles against anon for me"
To Penn State Susan: thank you for your annotation. I was looking for a solution to this fine point and nothing came out from it. I pressume you are rigth.
Another (more technical question) is: how did the shoemaker blackened the soles? It could be done with tar, but then it should dry a few days. It could be burned (you get a brownish color). Fresh tar or paint would turn the church in a mess...
Considering that funerals were a daily ocurrence it is possible that the shoemaker had in stock already blackened soles to cut and patch to clients shoes.
Does someone know of another way to do this job?

djc  •  Link

Blackening soles of shoes? Same method as used today (yes, if properly dressed the instep of leather soles are polished) lamp black and wax.

Bradford  •  Link

It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Samuel you mourn for.

---apologies to Fr. Hopkins

Glyn  •  Link

Were the father and mother at the funeral? - I'm surprised they aren't mentioned in the entry. I suppose that Pall is staying at home in the country to look after things there.

GrahamT  •  Link

burnt claret:
Brandy is a corruption of the Dutch word for "burnt wine". As Claret is wine from the south-west of France, could this be a reference to Cognac or Armagnac, from the same region? Or, is this just mulled wine?

Glyn  •  Link

Jeannine says mulled wine (see her annotation for 29 Oct 1663).

GrahamT  •  Link

I don't know if it is just an English custom to buried in the churchyard, but it is certainly the exception in France. The graveyards are generally away from the church; in the suburbs of towns or on the edge of villages. There are graves under the floor inside the churches, so that is common.

Glyn  •  Link

TerryF supplied this link to St Bride's Church and you can see that the churchyard was directly next to it:…

The Pepys lived in Salisbury Square on the left of the map, so the funeral procession seems to have taken a longer route than necessary to get to church.

As to the burnt brandy/Hypocras/mulled wine, it appears to have been a complicated recipe to prepare for 150 guests. Presumably it was made by Mrs Holden with assistance from Mrs Norton and Turner, unless a local tavern did it for them - hope so, the women had enough to do already. Surely they wouldn't have had the facilities to prepare that much.

Pedro  •  Link

History of the English Cemetery...

"Until the mid-seventeenth century, although high-status burials took place inside churches, in vaults sunk into the floor, nearly all the dead were interred in parish churchyards. This monopoly was first challenged in the 1650s, when Nonconformist burial grounds like Bunhill Fields, on the northern fringe of the City of London, began to be opened;"…

Australian Susan  •  Link


Christians are buried in consecrated ground, but at this time, only the most important get gravestones or other markers. Sometimes they didn't even get coffins, just a shroud. In Elizabethan times, a law was passed saying everyone hadto be buried in a wollen shroud (to encourage the woollen industry). Don't know if that would still be enforced. In England, the concescrated ground was customarily within the churchyard around the church. The largest churchyard around a church is St Michael's, Lichfield, Staffs, which contains the grave of the bugler who sounded the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War (and also my great aunt and grandmother). In times of Plague and other desperate events, bodies were disposed of in pits with lime. Crimnals wre still being buried in quicklime within the walls of jails after executions until recent times. Suicides were buried outside of consecrated ground. Fear of idsease caused there to be a cholerea graveyard established outside the walls of the City of York in the 1820s. You can still see some gravestones from this (including the 12 year daughter of the Mayor of York at that time) over the road from the Railway Station.( which was built by one of my relatives, destroying a valuable Roman cemetery). The more important people got buried inside churches (Jane Austen's family got permission for her to be buried in Winchester Cathedral). Priests often got buried right under the altar. Closer to God!

Terry F  •  Link

"right under the altar. Closer to God!"

Oh, yesss: closer to God-"tangibilificated" -- as Father Divine* would say -- in Roman Catholic tradition by the saint's relic whose presence in it consecrates the altar. Is there an aroma of this in Anglican churches in England? Sure. Burial "beneath the altar" in "the Crypt" was available for (dearly or not)departed eminent members of the congregation, whose remains might, themselves, become centers of sacred power and the foci of interest of outsiders (tourists, pilgrims).


Patricia  •  Link

Graveyards beside the church: the exception here in Ontario, where land is abundant. Some village churches had a bit of land for graves, soon filled; perhaps religious diversity in this young country made it possible to bury Baptists alongside Catholics in a community graveyard. Sometimes Catholics have their own graveyards. (So do pets.) Pioneer graveyards exist every few concessions in SW Ontario; the churches that filled them may be miles away in any or all directions.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

DrCari asks: "I wonder if Sam ordered a funeral feast, invitations and funeral rings ... "
Sam has described the funeral in some detail, including his preparations for it, and has not mentioned these things, so I think we can conclude that they did not happen. The "feast" was mulled wine and biscuits (probably what Americans would call cookies). Invitations were by word of mouth, and spread more widely than Sam expected. Rings would have been a considerable expense, and I have the impression from other passages in the Diary and the annotations that these were passed out at funerals only when the decedent was of considerably higher social status than Tom. I would guess that Tom's funeral was entirely appropriate to his station in life and his status in his community and parish.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Australia too has the kind of pioneer graveyards as described by Patricia which are nowhere near churches - now a focus of people seeking family history information.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

In Salvador, Bahia,Brazil there were major riots in the 18th century when it was decreed by the lay authorities that no burials should be performed in the Churches;the funeral business is quite profitable.

Dan Jenkins  •  Link

In my old home town in New Hampshire, at least, all five of the current cemeteries are adjacent to churches or (Quaker) meeting houses. Those three older ones which are not adjacent, all had a church or meeting house adjacent to them which has subsequently vanished. Whether these were consecrated ground or merely adjacent I do not know, but presume them to be consecrated. Burial in churches does not exist in our area, to my knowledge. Of course, as these are mostly wooden buildings, and sometimes had actively used cellars, that would be unlikely.

Private cemeteries do exist. My family has one which is neither church nor town property. It is not consecrated ground.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Funeral expenses

'Church dutyes' totaled £2 8s.; the gravemaker received 1s. 6d,; the gloves (of white kid) cost 9 s.; the claret £2 2s. 6d,; the biscuit £4 11s. 0d,; the coffin £1 2s. 0d.; and the [steeple-bell] ringers 5s.: Rawlinson MSS, Bodleian Library.
(L&M footnotes)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"after being at the office to set down the day’s work"

Is this data-dump a recording of what was spent and encumbered today and/or today's doings = this entry (Pepys keeps his 'Journall' at the office)? I'd imagine whatever, it's to ease the mind -- so to sleep, perchance to dream.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Consecration is a ritual to declare something holy, performed by a priest or initiate of that religion. In countries with an established religion, consecration may have a legal status. The consecrated object. eg land, icon, water etc is then effectively becomes a religious fetish (in anthropological terms).

Quakers do not perform religious rituals of this nature, and therefore graveyards next to Meeting Houses are not consecrated ground as such, although they will be regarded with respect and perhaps reverence.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"I had real grief for a while .... and ever since, I have had very little grief..."

Here Sam's honesty is invaluable - and typical of the man. The human psyche has defence mechanisms which help us to continue to function when we are in a state of shock. At a funeral, some next of kin arrive at a point of emotional exhaustion and numbness, when they can feel no more. (Some may then start faking it out of guilt - or grief for the grief they've lost.) Making arrangements is itself therapeutic to hide the numbness and feeling of emptiness. When the funeral is over, those really close to the deceased can grieve in peace and quiet, without the attention of the madding crowd.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Dan Jenkins writes of private cemeteries. In a small town in a churchyard in Pennsylvania where many of my ancestors are buried, there is at least one private family cemetery within the churchyard, with a short wall around it. I have seen similar ones in various other cemeteries.

Thanks to Glynn for the information about "burnt wine". I couldn't wrap my head around that one.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'Call no man happy 'til he be dead.'
Burial round the church was the norm in Britain and France as far as I know until quite recent times. Problems of space, and in France, the separation of church and state in 1905 changed things. Historically, you were nearer to God the closer in you were buried. For those outside being buried where the water from the church roof fell on your tomb was a plus. 'Women and men separate'. In a remote village in the Lot until recently and maybe still, the men and women from local families, including married couples, sat on opposite sides of the church durng the service. It was considered 'correct' and showing proper respect to visit the house of the deceased and view the body, the night before the funeral, before the coffin was closed. Funerals for the old were quietly jovial affairs with the men all outside discussing the weather, the price of sheep at the local market, whilst the women were in the church doing the right thing. Occasionally one would come out and tell us to keep our voices down. Local squabbles (numerous) were forgotten for the day. Numbers attending were large. Funerals for the unexpected deaths of the young and the very young were not so funny. Occasionally the local shops closed for the afternoon out of respect. Sometimes everybody was invited to the house for a drink and something to eat. All pretty similar to Tom's funeral and no doubt rapidly passing away along with the accompanying 10,000 year old agricultural society.

Tonyel  •  Link

In Ireland there are burial grounds divided by a wall to keep Protestants away from Catholics (and vice versa). Some walls are said to be six feet deep in the ground just to make sure !

Zippypoppy  •  Link

The biscuit mentioned is not really similar to a modern-day biscuit or cookie. It's always spelled "biskit" and is a flat, ie unleavened, preparation that was cooked either flat and sliced later, or spooned into patty tins. I have several recipes, including one for "Bisket Bread"; the common factor is that they all contain wheat flour, sugar, eggs and aromatic seeds, either aniseed or caraway, but no butter. Two recipes include rose-water and one includes sack (fortified wine). The mixture needed to be beaten for an hour, and the biskit cooked slowly so that the top wasn't coloured. I think they were quite small in size.

Zippypoppy  •  Link

On reflection, an addendum: this must have been made by a baker; the amounts and work involved would be too much for a domestic kitchen. Considering the high mortality rates, it was probably a fairly routine item.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I wonder how the mulled wine was heated? Gently in a cauldron with a lid on I suppose (to stop too much loss of alcohol). There were rather a lot of people for it to be practical to use the red-hot-poker/mulling-iron method.

And *after* heating, they may have added some brandy! :)

Clark Kent  •  Link

Speaking of how quickly the news of death spreads, R.I.P. Chuck Berry and Jimmie Breslin.

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