Wednesday 7 September 1664

Lay long to-day, pleasantly discoursing with my wife about the dinner we are to have for the Joyces, a day or two hence. Then up and with Mr. Margetts to Limehouse to see his ground and ropeyarde there, which is very fine, and I believe we shall employ it for the Navy, for the King’s grounds are not sufficient to supply our defence if a warr comes. Thence back to the ’Change, where great talke of the forwardnesse of the Dutch, which puts us all to a stand, and particularly myself for my Lord Sandwich, to think him to lie where he is for a sacrifice, if they should begin with us.

So home and Creed with me, and to dinner, and after dinner I out to my office, taking in Bagwell’s wife, who I knew waited for me, but company came to me so soon that I could have no discourse with her, as I intended, of pleasure. So anon abroad with Creed walked to Bartholomew Fayre, this being the last day, and there saw the best dancing on the ropes that I think I ever saw in my life, and so all say, and so by coach home, where I find my wife hath had her head dressed by her woman, Mercer, which is to come to her to-morrow, but my wife being to go to a christening tomorrow, she came to do her head up to-night.

So a while to my office, and then to supper and to bed.

30 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hard to believe (despite...spoiler...upcoming entries) Mrs. B is totally unaware of what's in the wind regarding what she'll have to do for William's promotion.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sandwich, you are the quarry. Wonder if Charles and Jamie would be all that concerned if the war opens in Europe with a Dutch fleet overwhelming Sandwich's little force. Would stir up that good ole patriotic fervor "Remember my Lord Sandwich and his gallants, boys!!" and eliminate the last major Cromwellian in one neat package.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Pleasant discourse gets too relaxed...

"Should be a fine time, much as I loathe the Joyces. Well, I look forward to a pleasant, busy day's work."


"Yes, I'm off to Limehouse this morn to judge Mr. Margetts' ropeyard as to fitness for our work. Might see some profit for us if I play my hand well. Creed will be dropping by. He may be in for dinner by the way. And then that lovely wife of Bagwell's is due in for a rendezvous with me this afternoon. My God, she is fine, Bess. If I can just string her along with talk about her husband's getting a position..."


cape henry  •  Link

"...dancing on the ropes..." With everything become so flashy and technical, I wonder if these simple but amazing feats are still performed anywhere. I particularly recall a kind of rope dancer I saw as a boy who could leap between two parallel ropes and do all sorts of stunts, some involving props that were tossed to him by an assistant. It was a marvel.

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

"the best dancing on the ropes " now it be Cirque du Solei or go to Bombay and find the Indian version.

The Indian rope trick is a famous piece of stage magic…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

I have seen rope dancing at the Maryland Renaissance Fayre. I would guess the larger Renaissance Fairs would be the place to find people doing stunts like those that captivated folk in Sam's time (thankfully excluding bear-baiting and other blood sports).

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

"...which puts us all to a stand..."

stand OED [stops us dead in our tracks? cgs]

6. A state of being unable to proceed in thought, speech, or action; a state of perplexity or nonplus. Nearly always in the phrases to be at a stand, to put to a stand, to set (a person) in a stand .

1657 E. D'OYLEY in Thurloe Papers VI. 834 The prints telling me, that the heads of their people are..accounted conspirators..hath put me to some stand how to carry myself towards them.

1734 tr. Rollin's Anc. Hist. IV. IX. 321 There is one point however that puts me to a stand.

7. A state of arrested progress (of affairs, institutions, natural processes or the like). Chiefly in the phrases to be at a stand, to come to a stand; also to put (a hawk) unto a stand (rare). Cf. STOND n.

1664 R. FLECKNOE Discourse Engl. Stage G4b, We began before them [the French], and if since they seem to have out-stript us, 'tis because our Stage ha's stood at a stand this many years. a1722

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Sam says: He who is tired of Boston, is tired of life.
You are all invited to a BOSTON PEPYS PARTY on Sept 15, 2007 at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, 2 PM to 4 PM, near Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass, USA. There are eight of us committed to showing up, yes 8 of us, and we have The Upper Room, most agreeable and pleasant. President John F. Kennedy used to have booth 18 up there, and Jackie O used to sit there too. My cell phone is 781-521-4272 that we may further consult. The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in America, and has associations back to 1630. Their oysters are the best I ever eat in my life.
Then there is the crowd in London, meeting at The Samuel Pepys in Stew Lane, 48 Upper Thames St, London from 2PM on Sat 15 Sept.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

From Peter Ackroyd's "London: The Biography," Chapter 13:

Show! Show! Show! Show! Show! This was the cry of a 17th-century city crowd, as recorded in Ned Ward's "London Spy." There were indeed many shows to be seen on the London streets, but the greatest fair of all was held at Smithfield. It was known as Bartholomew's Fair.

Smithfield itself began as a simple trading area, for cloth in one place and cattle in another, but its history has always been one of turbulence and spectacle. Great jousts and tournaments were held there in the 14th century; it was the ritual place for duels and ordeal by battle; it was the home of the gallows and the stake. That festive nature was also evident in less forbidding ways. Football matches and wrestling contests were commonly staged and the appropriately named Cock Lane, just beyond the open ground, was the haunt of prostitutes. Miracle plays were also part of its entertainment.

The trading market for cloth had become outmoded by the middle of the 16th century but "the privileges of the fair" were still retained by the city corporation. So, instead of a three-day market, it was transformed into a fourteen-day festival which resounds through the plays and novels of succeeding centuries with the cry of "What do you lack? What is it you buy?" From the beginning of its fame there were puppet shows and street performers, human freaks and games of dice and thimble, canvas tents for dancing or for drinking, eating-houses which specialised in roast pork.

This was the fair which Jonson celebrated in his play of the same name. He notes the sound of rattles, drums and fiddles. Here on the wooden stalls were laid out mousetraps and gingerbread, purses and pouches. There were booths and toyshops. Displayed "at the sign of the Shoe and Slap" was "THE WONDER OF NATURE, a girl about sixteen years of age, born in Cheshire, and not above eighteen inches long ... Reads very well, whistles, and all very pleasant to hear." Close by was exhibited "a Man with one Head and two distinct Bodies," as well as a "Giant Man" and "Little Fairy Woman" performing among other freak shows and theatrical booths. There were puppies, whistling birds and horses for sale; there were ballads cried out, with bottled ale and tobacco being constantly consumed. Cunning men cast nativities, and prostitutes plied their trade. Jonson himself noted small details, too, and watched as the cores of apples were gathered up for the bears. As one of his characters puts it, "Bless me! deliver me, help, hold me! the Fair!"

It continued, curiously enough, during the Puritan Commonwealth, no doubt with the primary motive of venting the steam of the more unruly citizens, but flourished after the Restoration of 1660 when liberty and licence came back into fashion. One versifier of the period notes masquerades dramatising "The Woman of Babylon, The Devil and The Pope," as well as shows of dancing bears and acrobats. Some acts came year after year: there was the "Tall Dutchwoman" who made annual appearances for at least seventeen years, together with the "Horse and no Horse, whose tail stands where his head should do." And there were always rope-walkers, among them the famous Scaramouch "dancing on the rope, with a wheelbarrow before him with two children and a dog in it, with a duck on his head," and the notable rope-dancer Jacob Hall "that can jump it, jump it." Perhaps the most celebrated of all the acts, however, was that of Joseph Clark, "the English Posture Master" or "Posture Clark" as he was known. It seems that he could "put out of joynt almost any Bone or Vertebra of his Body, and to re-place it again"; he could so contort himself that he became unrecognisable even to his closest friends.

And so the fair went on, as all fairs do. There was even a Ferris wheel, known then as a "Whirligig" (later an "up and Down") where, according to Ned Ward in "The London Spy" (1709), "Children lock'd up in Flying Coaches who insensibly climb'd upwards ... being once Elevated to a certain height come down again according the the Circular Motion of the Sphere they move in."

The general noise and clamour, together with the inevitable crowd of pickpockets, finally proved too much for the city authorities. In 1708 the fortnight of the fair was reduced to three days at the end of August. But if it became less riotous, it was no less festive. Contemporary accounts dwell upon the drollery of "merry Andrews," otherwise known as Jack Puddings or Pickled Herrings; they wore a costume with donkey's ears, and accompanied other performers with their fiddles. One of the more famous fools was a seller of gingerbread nuts in Covent Garden; since he was paid one guinea a day for his work at Bartholomew Fair, "he was at pains never to cheapen himself by laughing, or by noticing a joke, during the other 362 days of the year."

Alonside the merry Andrews leapt the mountebanks who sold miracle cures and patent medicines to those credulous enough to purchase them. In an illustration by Marcellus Laroon one such is dressed as a harlequin from commedia dell'arte with a monkey tied to a rope beside him. His voice, too, might be heard among the general noise and tumult - "a rare cordial to strengthen and cheer the Heart under any Misfortune ... a most rare dentifrice ... good to fortifie the stomach against all Infections, Unwholesome damps, malignant effluvias." And so the fair rolled on. It is perhaps appropriate, amid the noise and excitement, that in 1688 John Bunyan collapsed and died at the corner of Snow Hill and Cock Lane.

If there was one central character, however, it was that of Punch, the uncrowned monarch of "puppet-plays, hobby-horses, tabors, crowds, and bagpipes." He had emerged upon the little stage by the end of the 17th century, announced by a jester and accompanied by fiddle, trumpet or drum. He is not a uniquely London phenomenon, but he became a permanent entertainer at the fairs and streets of the city; with his violence, his vulgarity and his sexual innuendo he was a recognisable urban character. "Often turning towards a tightly packed bend of girls, he sits himself down near to them: My beautiful ones, he says, winking roguishly, here's a girl friend come to join you!" With his great belly, big nose and long stick he is the very essence of a gross sexual joke which, unfortunately, in later centuries became smaller, squeakier, and somehow transformed into entertainment for children. There is a watercolour by Rowlandson, dated 1785, which shows a puppet-play with Punch in action. George III and Queen Charlotte are driving to Deptford, but the attention of the citizens is drawn more towards the wooden booth where Punch is beating the bare buttocks of his wife. He was often conceived as a "hen-pecked" husband but, here, the worm has turned. Rowlandson's work is of course partly conceived as a satire against the royal family, but it is filled with a greater and all-encompassing urban energy.

Within Bartholomew Fair itself there was a complete erasure of ordinary social distinctions. One of the complaints against it lay in the fact that apprentice and lord might be enjoying the same entertainments, or betting at the same gaming tables. This is entirely characteristic of London itself, heterogeneous and instinctively egalitarian. It is no coincidence, for example, that at the time of the Fair an annual supper was held in Smithfield for young chimney-sweeps. Charles Lamb has immortalised the occasion in one of his essays, "The Praise of Chimney Sweepers," where he reports that "hundreds of grinning teeth startled the night with their brightness" while in the background could be heard the "agreeable hubbub" of the Fair itself. It might be argued that there is no true egalitarianism in the gesture, and that such solemn festivities merely accustom the little "'weeps" to their dismal fate. This might then be considered one of the paradoxes of London, which consoles those whom it is about to consume.

Jesse  •  Link

"to lie where he is for a sacrifice"

It's curious to me that Lord Sandwich, given his rather high position, family &c would be out there putting himself in harm's way at this point in time. A quick scan of some past entries and annotations (was he following orders?) wasn't much help.

jeannine  •  Link

Lord Sandwich putting himself in harm's way

Jesse, First Sandwich 'volunteered' to take an active role in this activity back in May…
when Coventry sent Sam to poke around to see if Sandwich wanted to participate. Much to Coventry's and the DOY's dismay, Sandwich came back with an affirmative answer. From his perspective he has his honor & reputation to protect as well as his turf in the ranks. He received his general orders from the DOY for this overall activity on July 9th (see annotations)…

From there, from time to time, he received additional orders throughout the time he was at sea, usually through letters and messages sent back and forth. Slight spoiler-- today Coventry must have sent him a letter regarding changes in the situation with the Dutch as in Sandwich's journal dated tomorrow he mentions that he has a Council of War based on the letter he received from Coventry dated the day before (which would be today). I do not have Coventry's letter to Sandwich dated today to share, perhaps someone else may?

Basically, he is just obeying orders. Interesting to note, that many of the 'higher uppers" in the Navy were Knights, Lords (Monck, Sandwich), Dukes (James), Princes (Rupert), etc. and that many of them had put themselves in harms' way in order to defend their country, and many deliberately so (ie. Rupert's young military career for example). Probably some of this reflects the character of the person, the sense of public appearances, the hierarchy of obeying orders, etc. Although by nature Sandwich would have loved to have been a retired man of leisure, he didn't have the money to afford that type of a lifestyle so this is how he made his living.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Also something of a loyalty test to the regime... As Sam told Sandwich in his letter, people (and one can guess who) were claiming that now he had a good settlement from Charles, he was leaving the King to stand or fall as he would.

Cum Grano Salis  •  Link

It was also a good opportunity to leave the gossips at court behind. Those backbiting hangers on.

JWB  •  Link

It's all here folks:…

1)ORIGIN OF Bartholomew Fair
2)Bartholomew Fair in 1614.
"O, rare Ben Jonson!" To him we are indebted for the only picture of Smithfield at "Barthol'me'-tide" in his time.
3)Part of Bartholomew Fair, 1721.
4)1825. On this day, Monday the 5th, the Fair was resumed, when the editor of the Every-Day Book accurately surveyed it throughout. From his notes made on the spot he reports the following particulars of what he there observed.

Terry F  •  Link

Thanks, JWB. Minute descriptions of wonders and illustrations of Odd Persons.

Pedro  •  Link

"Lord Sandwich putting himself in harm's way"

Before the age 18 Sandwich had raised a regiment that would be commanded by his cousin the Earl of Manchester. Before 19 he had seen action in the Civil War at York, Lincoln and Marston Moor. Before 20 he was given his own regiment, and went on to the rank of Major General at Bridewater and Bristol.

At sea Cromwell made him Joint General at Sea with Blake, and Charles made him Admiral entrusted with the handover of Tangier and the safe transport of the Queene.

Most knowledgeable people, including the King, would know that he is a very able seaman. The incident with the Duke of York and Coventry could be put down to the jealousy of James, and the King knows that Sandwich would be a great asset in a Dutch War. John Evelyn says "(Sandwich) being one of the best Men of War that ever spread canvas on the sea..."

The rewards gained from his military career were not used to the best extent as he was careless with money, lacked political ambition and was not suited to Court life. I don't think the was really any question of him not going to sea, and that he would have liked to be a retired man of leisure. He is a fighting man, it is in his blood, and his sense of duty and concern for the Navy would prevail.

Pedro  •  Link

Meanwhileish at Stoubridge Fair in Cambridge...

Amid stages for the jugglers and clowns, minstrels and children's games, dancers and actors, stood stalls selling all manner of oddities. Trinkets from exotic travels in Bohemia, potions and elixirs, and toys. It was from such a stall that Newton purchased a prism (and the rest is history).

(Isaac Newton, The Last Sorcerer by Michael White)

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Interesting to note, that many of the 'higher uppers" in the Navy were Knights, Lords (Monck, Sandwich), Dukes (James), Princes (Rupert), etc. and that many of them had put themselves in harms' way in order to defend their country, and many deliberately so (ie. Rupert's young military career for example)." [jeannine's annotation.]
This is in contrast with Royalty today - Prince Harry was refused leave to serve in Iraq as it was thought it would attract too much danger to his fellow soldiers. His Uncle, the present Duke of York, Prince Andrew, served in the Falklands War, but in retrospect, that seems a much simpler affair than the present situation in Iraq. Royalty have always traditionally served their country in the defence forces: the last King of Great Britain to lead his troops into battle was George II. In the 17th century it was assumed this would happen and although Charles II didn't during his reign, he did in 1651 at the Battle of Worcester and his successor-but-one, William III fought in land battles (in Ireland).

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I find Australian Susan's notes a bit odd -- maybe Prince Harry's deployments in Afghanistan occurred later than September 2007?

"Interesting to note, that many of the 'higher uppers" in the Navy were Knights, Lords (Monck, Sandwich), Dukes (James), Princes (Rupert), etc. and that many of them had put themselves in harms' way in order to defend their country, and many deliberately so (ie. Rupert's young military career for example). This is in contrast with Royalty today - Prince Harry was refused leave to serve in Iraq as it was thought it would attract too much danger to his fellow soldiers. His Uncle, the present Duke of York, Prince Andrew, served in the Falklands War, but in retrospect, that seems a much simpler affair than the present situation in Iraq."

Not only was Prince Harry under fire in Afghanistan, Prince Phillip was active duty Navy during the cold war, and Admiral Earl Mountbatten was active duty in WWII. Britain lost ships and men in the Falklands, so Prince Andrew's helicopter service was in the line of fire -- and helicopters are a bit dodgy at the best of times. Prince Andrew's response to the fire at Windsor was also notable. Prince William may not have been deployed during his military stint, but there is no question of his bravery rescuing people in the Atlantic, often in terrible winter weather.

King George, Queen Elizabeth and the princesses stayed in London during the Blitz -- Buckingham Palace took a direct hit (fortunately a dud bomb).

I see no lack of courage from our current crop of Royals (the younger ones of whom say being under fire is preferable to being an active-duty Royal), so I hope all she is saying is that military leadership is now in the hands of career professionals, and not subject to the nepotism of Stuart times.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... where I find my wife hath had her head dressed by her woman, Mercer, which is to come to her tomorrow, but my wife being to go to a christening tomorrow, she came to do her head up tonight. "

I think this means the teenage Mary Mercer put Elizabeth's hair into curlers overnight so it would be pretty the next day. It does imply Mary isn't living with them.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my wife hath had her head dressed"

17th Century Women
The 17th Century saw a departure from the hairstyles made popular by Queen Elizabeth I and a move towards the latest French trends. Inspired by Charles I’s wife, Henrietta of France, the height of fashion for women was to part the hair in the middle, flatten the top, then frizz and curl each side of the head. Following the English Civil War (1642-1651), the Puritanical beliefs about modesty led Parliamentarian supporting women to wear their hair short and straight or bunched up underneath a white cap. This abstinence in extravagant style came to an end in 1660 when Charles II was restored to the throne. His use of wigs renewed public interest in flamboyant styles. Materials such as horse, yak, and human hair were customary in the wigs of the affluent. The last decades of the 17th century introduced the “Fontange” as it became the most fashionable women's hairstyle with a mass of curls above the forehead that were supported by wire and decorated with a headdress of standing lace. The style was created by the Marquise de Fontange when her coiffure was ruined while out hunting. Versions of the Fontange were worn by all ranks of English society.

Marie Angélique de Scorailles, Duchess of Fontanges…

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

I love the double 'r' in 'warr': it makes it seem like a growl!

"Let loose the dogs of warrrr!!"

StanB  •  Link

Some interesting points raised today, first off loved Rex Gordons annotation above regarding Bartholomew Fair felt like I was almost there....
Regarding San Diego Sarah's view on Australian Susan's annotation regarding Nobility/Royalty and warfare I completely agree with Sarah, Royalty has played an important part throughout history and is well documented
There are exceptions however
I often get annoyed when I see our current Prince Charles and is son Edward at Parades there chests emblazoned with Medals and Ribbons ...................

StanB  •  Link

Oh and lets not forget dear GEORGE VI who along with Winston Churchill wanted to land with the troops at Normandy on D-Day but both had to be dissuaded........

mountebank  •  Link

"the height of fashion for women was to part the hair in the middle, flatten the top, then frizz and curl each side of the head"

Reading that my mind eye immediately presented me with Gemma Arterton being terrific in Nell Gwynn at the theatre last year:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Just to keep the record straight, Edward is our current Charles' youngest brother, not his son. His sons, William and Harry, are leaders and heroes in every sense of the word.

StanB  •  Link

I stand corrected Sarah my bad thanks for correcting

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Sept 11:
"among others comes fair Mrs. Margarett Wight, who indeed is very pretty. So after supper home to prayers and to bed."

I wonder what he was praying for.

"This afternoon, it seems, Sir J. Minnes fell sicke at church, and going down the gallery stairs fell down dead, but came to himself again and is pretty well."

Nice trick.

Sept 7th

"where I find my wife hath had her head dressed by her woman, Mercer, which is to come to her to-morrow, but my wife being to go to a christening tomorrow, she came to do her head up to-night."

Put her hair in some kind of curlers, no doubt. I remember women setting their hair in "rags" when I was a kid. The hair was twisted and tied with a atrip of cloth. I wonder if that's what they did in Elizabeth's time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

highlights from…

The Margetts's Ropeyard Site

The eight acres of riverside land immediately south of the boundary between Limehouse and Poplar, empty save perhaps for a few small houses behind the river wall, were leased by Sir Edward and Sir John Yate to John Graves in 1633. Graves was a shipbuilder at the yard on the north side of the boundary (later known as Limekiln Dockyard and then as Dundee Wharf).

The northern part of this property was sublet to George Margetts and, c1650, developed as a ropemaking yard with a wharf, rope house, storehouse, houses and a ropewalk.

In 1664 Samuel Pepys visited Margetts's ropeyard and decided to use it to supply the Navy.

The royal dockyards at Woolwich, Chatham and Portsmouth had their own roperies, but that at Deptford did not, and the Margettses were its principal suppliers of cordage in the late 17th century.

In 1662 Margetts acquired the freehold of Graves' 8 acres, with an additional 2½ acres to the east.

The estate subsequently passed by marriage to Cornelius Purnell, a Portsmouth shipwright. His son sold part of it in 1717 to Philip Willshire, who acquired the remainder in 1723.

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