Thursday 13 October 1664

After being at the office all the morning, I home and dined, and taking leave of my wife with my mind not a little troubled how she would look after herself or house in my absence, especially, too, leaving a considerable sum of money in the office, I by coach to the Red Lyon in Aldersgate Street, and there, by agreement, met W. Joyce and Tom Trice, and mounted, I upon a very fine mare that Sir W. Warren helps me to, and so very merrily rode till it was very darke, I leading the way through the darke to Welling, and there, not being very weary, to supper and to bed. But very bad accommodation at the Swan.

In this day’s journey I met with Mr. White, Cromwell’s chaplin that was, and had a great deale of discourse with him. Among others, he tells me that Richard is, and hath long been, in France, and is now going into Italy. He owns publiquely that he do correspond, and return him all his money. That Richard hath been in some straits at the beginning; but relieved by his friends. That he goes by another name, but do not disguise himself, nor deny himself to any man that challenges him. He tells me, for certain, that offers had been made to the old man, of marriage between the King and his daughter, to have obliged him, but he would not.1 He thinks (with me) that it never was in his power to bring in the King with the consent of any of his officers about him; and that he scorned to bring him in as Monk did, to secure himself and deliver every body else. When I told him of what I found writ in a French book of one Monsieur Sorbiere, that gives an account of his observations herein England; among other things he says, that it is reported that Cromwell did, in his life-time, transpose many of the bodies of the Kings of England from one grave to another, and that by that means it is not known certainly whether the head that is now set up upon a post be that of Cromwell, or of one of the Kings; Mr. White tells me that he believes he never had so poor a low thought in him to trouble himself about it. He says the hand of God is much to be seen; that all his children are in good condition enough as to estate, and that their relations that betrayed their family are all now either hanged or very miserable.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... not known certainly whether the head that is now set up upon a post be that of Cromwell,"

"It was offered to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge on 12th February 1960, and accepted by the College Council. The head was finally re- buried almost 300 years after it had been dug up from Westminster Abbey. It now rests somewhere within the ante-chapel at the College, the precise spot unmarked to ensure that it is left in peace. "

For its history & more details see:
Cromwell's Head and its Curious History…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What she ought to do...

"Come on, Will. We're bound for France!" Hoists weighty chest onto cart, turning to urge Hewer on.

"Pack up yer troubles (and your half of your faithless hubbie's 1000Ls) in a good strong chest and smile, smile, smile..." singing (with trill) as the cart rolls on, a somewhat nervous Will Hewer reluctantly seated besides her.

What she will do...

"Jane...Instead of the beef, I'll have broth today. Here's the money."

"But mum, Mr. P left you money strictly for the beef for you."

"That's none of your business, girl. And get yourself ready, you're going with to me my parents."

Ten shillings for Mama and Papa...And no hurt whatsoever to Sam'l, she thinks contentedly.

If the damned girl keeps her mouth shut...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Or, perhaps...

"Ah, niece..." a beaming Uncle Wight at the door.

"Sam'l not at home today, you say? Off to Brampton, is he?. My, my. I wonder I'd not heard of it from Will Joyce? Ah...Gone with him, you say. Such a pity...But at least you're at home, dearest niece. Alone."

Hmmn? "Your Aunt Wight spoke of it when you last
came and I seemed fully aware of his going?"

"Well, perhaps now that I think of it..."


Why not take her with you, Sam? It is a little dangerous leaving her at home alone with all that loot stashed away, should any of your contacts happen in some local dive to sound off about how much you must be raking in these days.

JWB  •  Link

Richard Cromwell

AKA John Clarke, returned to England in 1680 and lived to 1712.

Bradford  •  Link

Does Elizabeth know money is hidden in the office, or did Samuel fear that like Bluebeard's wife she'd want a look at it? "In the event of something happening to me" (50 bonus pts. to ID the cultural ref), when would the cash be found? One assumes he left a signed tally with the treasure.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"be that of Cromwell, or one of the Kings"
Wishful thinking.

Martin  •  Link

Cromwell's Head and its Curious History
Fascinating links, Michael.

JWB  •  Link

Michael Rlobinson's link to Canon Wilkinson holding Cromwell's head in his right hand and a smoking pipe in his left calls for a comic caption, but I can't think of one. It's an image that will stick in your mind.

JWB  •  Link

John Clarke

Like "Johnson" or "Jackson", generic names for bastards, John Clarke fitting for a deposed politico. Makes me wonder if there wasn't more to the man than has come down to us; or, if perhaps, this was a common handle for certain run-away apprentices.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So was this a real feeler? Was Charlie seriously hinting (via Lord Broghill) at marrying Ms. Cromwell to bring all sides together? Hard to believe and I suspect here is one instance where Richard C showed for all his lack of his father's commanding presence he didn't lack common sense.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Cromwell's coffin had a plate attached to it, which had been requested by the Privy Council. Their instruction had been for a gold plate although the plate retrieved later was of brass." From Cromwell's Head and Its Curious History, linked by Michael Robinson.

And may a chuckle among the goldsmiths there was thereafter, at the expense of the not-so-loved Protector and Privy Council.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But very bad accommodation at the Swan."

L&M: Possibly the inn since renamed the Wellington.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"That Richard hath been in some straits at the beginning; but relieved by his friends. That he goes by another name, but do not disguise himself, nor deny himself to any man that challenges him."

Richard Cromwell was now living in Paris and elsewhere in France under assumed names. A servant of his wife, examined in March 1666, deposed that he had no income except £600 p.a. 'in right of his wife' and was 'not 6d. the better for being the son of the pretended Protector'. According to this servant, Jeremiah White (Oliver's chaplain) still had possession of Richard's mother's estate in 1666, and 'will not come into account for the same'. Richard's friends were now urging him to go to Italy or Spain, as war with Holland and France seemed to be inevitable. (Per L&M note)

Jon  •  Link

The Navy White Book has an entry for yesterday 12th Oct 1664, where Samuel is communicating with Sir W Warren about a price dispute. It's likely this is when Sir W Warren helps him to the use of a very fine mare for today's journey.

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