Friday 28 October 1664

Slept ill all night, having got a very great cold the other day at Woolwich in [my] head, which makes me full of snot. Up in the morning, and my tailor brings me home my fine, new, coloured cloth suit, my cloake lined with plush, as good a suit as ever I wore in my life, and mighty neat, to my great content.

To my office, and there all the morning. At noon to Nellson’s, and there bought 20 pieces more of Bewpers, and hope to go on with him to a contract. Thence to the ’Change a little, and thence home with Luellin to dinner, where Mr. Deane met me by appointment, and after dinner he and I up to my chamber, and there hard at discourse, and advising him what to do in his business at Harwich, and then to discourse of our old business of ships and taking new rules of him to my great pleasure, and he being gone I to my office a little, and then to see Sir W. Batten, who is sick of a greater cold than I, and thither comes to me Mr. Holliard, and into the chamber to me, and, poor man (beyond all I ever saw of him), was a little drunk, and there sat talking and finding acquaintance with Sir W. Batten and my Lady by relations on both sides, that there we staid very long. At last broke up, and he home much overcome with drink, but well enough to get well home. So I home to supper and to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

MissAnn  •  Link

Sounds like a typical Friday night - at least one bloke turns up having already had a few drinks elsewhere, takes over the conversation for far too long, then, once he's drunk a whole lot more (which he no doubt didn't bring with him), wanders off home in his wobbly boots. I wonder how he felt on Saturday morning ...

Nelson's "bewpers" (or bunting) - how much of this stuff will Sam need? And, is it only used for celebration days? Or, is it used on the ships for something other than celebrations? It seems a little strange to me that he may wish to put Nelson on a contract for the stuff.

My dear friends on this site who are far better educated than I will no doubt know the importance of bunting at this time in history.

John Aislabie  •  Link

I am assuming that these coloured pieces of cloth go to toward Naval Signals flags, of which Sam will need to procure a great deal as fleets get larger and more complex.
The flag system at this time is not standardised but it will be soon.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Up in the morning, and my tailor brings me home my fine, new, coloured cloth suit, my cloake lined with plush, as good a suit as ever I wore in my life, and mighty neat, to my great content."

"Clean shirt, new shoes
And I sure know where I am goin to.
Plush suit, periwig,
For the boys' chuckles I dont need to give a fig.
The victualers still come runnin just as fast as they can...

Coz every merchant's crazy bout a sharp dressed King's man."

"So...Whatdaya, think, Bess?" Sam spins round for his lady. Periwig locks rising...

"Nice. Very nice. Except..."


"Silken hose, straighten that wig,
Sam aint missin a single thing.
Lace cuffs, stick pin,
When he steps out he gonna do you in.
Now Bagwell'll come runnin just as fast as she can...

Coz every poor carpenter's wife's knows to target a sharp dressed King's man."


"Who are those men with the beards, singing?"

Chorus of men in long beards and hats currently waving fingers at Sam with shrewd looks, nod to Bess...

"Not really sure...Unthankes provided them? Entourage service, a necessity for a coming man, he said..." Sam shrugs.

"Well, I am not feeding them. Say...Who is this 'Bagwell'? Wait. Carpenter's wife?! Hey....!"


"She's got nails...And she knows how to use them..." the boys begin a new chorus. "Sam's got legs and he better use 'em..."

"That girl is all right..." they nod and wave fingers at the vanishing, furious Bess pursing Sam in his finery...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...thither comes to me Mr. Holliard, and into the chamber to me, and, poor man (beyond all I ever saw of him), was a little drunk..."

"What's with Holliard?" Sam hisses to the Battens as poor Mr. H. stumbles off into the night. "That's not the man who saved my life."

"You are not going to take those pills he left." Lady Batten firmly to Sir Will, who nods...Indeed not.

"Poor fellow hasn't been able to keep his surgical patients alive since that great year when he saved you." Sir Will notes to Pepys. "Strange thing. Same technique, same instruments as he used then. But every patient develops terrible fever and pus and dies on him now. He's just about given up surgery."

Martin  •  Link

Via Google Books, from "The Language of Sailing" by Richard Mayne:
beaupers, bewpars, or bewpers, a fabric or bunting used for flags. Almost certainly a corruption of the name of the French textile town, Beaupréau, Maine-et-Loire. First attested in 1592 in Wills and Inventories, II, 211.

I think the Wheatley footnote stating that bewpers is just the old name for bunting is a bit misleading -- as John Aislabie notes above, this is not decorative bunting but material for signal flags. According the Phil Nelson's online Dictionary of Vexillology (, in the British Navy a "bunting tosser" was the nickname for a sailor in charge of hoisting signal flags (no date specified).

Terry F  •  Link

"Mr. Deane[s] at Harwich"

L&M note that Deane was recently (10 Oct.) made Master-Shipwright there, and needed to talk with Pepys, his benefactor, about the stores there and raises for the shipyard staff.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"Coloured" here probably means red. So quite a showy outfit!

Bradford  •  Link

"Slept ill all night, having got a very great cold the other day at Woolwich in [my] head, which makes me full of snot."

An indisputable fact of human health, though I don't think even Adrian Mole thought to put it in his [italic] diary.

cgs  •  Link

snot: "....which makes me full of snot...."
1. The snuff of a candle; the burnt part of a candle-wick. Now north. dial.

2. The mucus of the nose. Now dial. or vulgar.
Common in the 17th cent.

3. dial. and slang. Applied to persons as a term of contempt or opprobrium.

1648 HEXHAM II, Het Snot-gat, the Snot-hole, or Nostrill.
1685 Poor Robin's Almanack Cvijb, Three Kisses, four Busses, and five licks under the Snot gall.

C.J.Darby  •  Link

I hope there were buttons on the sleeves of Sams new coat.Their origional purpose, I believe, was to stop people wiping their nose on the sleeve.

cgs  •  Link

[a. OF. boton (mod.F. bouton) bud, knob, button; a common Romanic word = Pr., Sp. boton, Pg. botão, It. bottone:late L. *bott{omac}n-em, app. connected with late L. *bottare, buttare, to thrust, put forth (whence OF. boter, F. bouter, Sp. botar, It. bottare); the ultimate etymology is commonly supposed to be Teutonic; for conjectures see Diez, Scheler, Littré.
Sense 2 ‘bud’ appears to be the original sense in Romanic, but we have no instance of it in Eng. before 16th c., exc. as used (with peculiar spelling) in the Romaunt of the Rose.]

Generally. A small knob or stud attached to any object for use or ornament. spec.

1. a. A knob or stud of metal or other material sewn by a shank or neck to articles of dress, usually for the purpose of fastening one part of the dress to another by passing through a button-hole, but often merely for ornament: in process of use, the name has passed from the connotation of the shape to that of the purpose, and been extended to all appliances of the kind, a common type being a disc, quite flat, or slightly convex or concave, of metal, bone, glass, mother of pearl, paste, etc., perforated or otherwise adapted to be sewn on by its central part. (This specific application is now regarded as the primary sense, all the other meanings, whatever their historical origin, being understood as merely transf.)

1605 SHAKES. Lear V. iii. 309 Pray you vndo this Button.
1647 Husbandman's Plea agst. Tithes 75 It hath no buttons, nor hooks upon it.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

- snot - The word is the same in Dutch nowadays. Probably an old germanic word.

cgs  •  Link

not from the beginning:
ME. snotte or snot (cf. OE. ...esnot), = Fris. snotte, snot,
MDu. snotte (Du. snot), MLG. (and LG.) snotte, snot (hence Da. snot, snaat, snøt),

in sense 2; cf. also LG. snut, MHG. snuz (G. dial. schnutz).
The stem is related by ablaut to that of SNITE v.]

Australian Susan  •  Link

Old Frisian was the first origin of English, according to Melvyn Bragge, so if snot derives from that - it's a very old word indeed! (and will have many links with Flemish and Dutch.

language hat  •  Link

"Old Frisian was the first origin of English"

No, Old Frisian and Old English are very close relatives in the Germanic family, both of them descended from Proto-Germanic. There is no "first origin of English" except the original language of mankind, whatever and whenever that was, but the oldest we can trace it back is (reconstructed) Proto-Indo-European.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry, but that is what Melvyn Bragge says in his book and TV show about the origins of English. What he means, I think, is that words we still use all have origins; and the earliest language living English words can still be traced back to is Old Frisian. See…
My entry was sloppy and I didn't mean to imply that the Frisians invented what became the English language.
Going back to the original word: I have a query: Does anyone know why midshipmen were called "snotties" ? And were they so in our Sam's time?

James Bennewith  •  Link

Safe Peeps, wats gwaning fam? Im afraid to say I have now got no penis. I lost it during the great fire of london in 1666. However, 400 years on i am still alive with a wooden cock. any suggestions to help me?

My name is James Bennewith, I love at 66 Love Lane, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 Brappppp.
Blessy xx

language hat  •  Link

Lord Bragg is a novelist and TV presenter, not a language expert. I presume he learned that Frisian was the closest relative to English in the Germanic family and overextrapolated. English words cannot be "traced back to Old Frisian," they simply have close cognates in Frisian. (I'm not going into all this to quarrel with you, it's just part of my lifelong project of trying to increase linguistic understanding in a world that overwhelmingly neglects to take linguistics courses!)

language hat  •  Link

snotty = midshipman

The oldest OED citation is from 1903 (from Farmer & Henley's slang dictionary), so no, it doesn't go back to Pepys' day.

cgs  •  Link

from RNC itself:"Midshipmen"
The oldest slang name for a Midshipman, REEFER, has died out but SNOTTY remains; this name is said to have originated, about 1870, from the story that the three buttons on the cuffs of Midshipmen's round jackets were put there to prevent the lads from wiping their noses on their sleeves. This story cannot actually be true because buttons on the cuffs of all naval officers' jackets were uniform long before this period; in fact, buttons were actually being removed from the cuffs of working jackets at about this time.

The Midshipman is the last old-time gunroom officer to retain his original rank-title - clerks, surgeon's mates, masters's mates, etc., have all disappeared.

Midshipmen have been defined within the Service as "the lowest form of life" and as "a medium of abuse between officers of unequal seniority". Officers usually refer to Midshipmen as SNOTTIES: ratings - and many civilians - as MIDDIES: Midshipmen frequently refer to themselves as MIDS.

An excellent book on this subject is "Young Gentlemen" by CF Walker (1938). Under the new scheme of training for young officers announced by the First Lord in June, 1954, Midshipmen will not serve afloat with the fleet after 1957.…

'many an old Tar would utter under ones breath, never out loud " not yet wet behind the ears and 'e be telling us 'ow to suck eggs the ......."
as some were under 16.

GrahamT  •  Link

Re: "Lord Bragg is a novelist and TV presenter, not a language expert." LH, you damn the man with faint praise. True, he is both of those, but he is also the author of "The Routes of English (2001)" and "The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language (2003)", a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature, chairperson of the Arts Council Literature Panel, President of the National Campaign for the Arts (since 1986) and Chancellor of Leeds University. The television programmes he presents are serious arts and history programmes, not Wheel of Fortune.
He is an expert in the history of language, as well as a successful writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His biography is public. (… )

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" damn the man with faint praise."

Hardly: Melvin Bragg's brief c.v. linked to above documents much activity as TV presenter, with accompanying 'booktoids' ['odoriferous waste in book form' in this instance meretricious texts manufactured from TV scripts marketed using the spurious glamor and authority of mass visual dissemination to steal additional money, time and energy from the the viewer, the ur-example, Ken Clarke's Civilization]', and published novels -- and many honorifics; but the substance of the document vindicates Language Hat's observation!

language hat  •  Link

And just to be clear, even if he were a credentialed "expert in the history of language," he would still be wrong. But yeah, he's not. Getting books published makes you an author, not an expert.

Pedro  •  Link

On the 28th of October,

After learning of Holmes' capture of New Amsterdam, Charles II boldly threw aside his reserve and declared that the taking of Cape Corse, as well as of New Amsterdam, "was done with his knowledge & by his order as being a business wch properly belonged to the English, that the ground was theirs & that they had also built upon the same, that the same was afterwards taken from the English by the Netherlands West India Compa, & ... that the English will justify & demonstrate their right to all this." If Holmes' actions in Guinea have so far seemed very extraordinary, they can hardly be so regarded any longer in view of the light which the king himself threw over the whole situation in this remarkable statement.

The Journal of Negro History, Volume 4, 1919
by Various Authors

(Again here Holmes is wrongly credited with the capture of New Amsterdam)

cgs  •  Link

Holmes, easy to blame, history needs large doses of a little pinch of salt.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Issued today ...

[His Majesties declaration for encouragement of seamen and mariners employed in the present service.]
At the court at Whitehall, the 28th of October, 1664. Present the kings most excellent Majesty. His royal highness the Duke of York. Lord Chancellor. Lord Treasurer. Duke of Albemarle. Duke of Ormond. Lord Chamberlain. Earl of Anglesey. Earl of Lauderdail. Earl of Middleton. Lord Bishop of London. Lord Ashely. Mr. Vice-Chamberlain. Mr. Secretary Morice. Mr. Secretary Bennet. Mr. Chancellor of the Dutchy. Sir Edward Nicholas. It was this day ordered (His Majestie present in Council) that his Majesties declaration, for incouragement of sea-men and mariners imployed in the present service, be forthwith printed by his Majesties printer, &c. Richard Browne.
London : printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, printers to the Kings most Excellent Majesty, 1664.
1 sheet ([1] p.) ; 1/2⁰.

Allowance, instead of prize money, of 10s. per tun for every piece of ordnance; goods or merchandise above the gun-deck to be lawful pillage. The charges of sick and wounded will be provided

The Dublin edition is just over two months later later,
"Given at the Council chamber in Dublin the seventh day of Jan. 1664" [1665]-

dirk  •  Link

Frisians and other Englishmen...

Long time ago in history class, we sometimes referred to the Frisians as that part of the Anglo-Saxon-Jute migration wave that "didn't quite make it all the way to Good Old England..." ;-)

Old Anglo-Saxon and Frisian were very similar indeed!

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The bewpers Pepys has bought

Does Pepys expect to sell these bewpers to the navy, thus acting as a contractor, contrary to the rule forbidding officials to play that role?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I wonder if that royal architectural sketch survives." Indeed!

A parallel of the antient architecture with the modern in a collection of ten principal authors who have written upon the five orders ... : the three Greek orders, Dorique, Ionique, and Corinthian, comprise the first part of this treatise, and the two Latine, Tuscan and Composita, the latter / written in French by Roland Freart, sieur de Chambray ; made English for the benefit of builders ; to which is added An account of architects and architecture, in an historical and etymological explanation of certain tearms particularly affected by architects ; with Leon Baptista Alberti's treatise Of statues, by John Evelyn, Esq.
Fréart, Roland, sieur de Chambray, 1606-1676., Evelyn, John, 1620-1706., Alberti, Leon Battista, 1404-1472. De statua.
London: Printed by Tho. Roycroft for John Place ..., 1664.
Early English Books Online [full text]…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I believe today is considered the start of the Second Dutch War. Charles II acknowledging the taking of New Amsterdam and the Guinney ports on his orders, setting a bounty for goods, merchandise and ordinance from "lawful pillage," and providing for the care of injured sailors does seem to be the final steps from which there will be no going back.

I also note that the Royal Marines trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honorable Artillery Company on 28 October, 1664.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... as good a suit as ever I wore in my life, and mighty neat, to my great content."

So much for my believe that "neat" was a 1970's affectation.

MartinVT  •  Link

"mighty neat"
Certainly Pepys is not using "neat" in the sense of the "1970's affectation" meaning "cool." More likely he means the suit is orderly, well-made, elegant. He uses the word in this sense elsewhere in the diary, not only in relation to clothing but he also mentions a neat sermon, a neat dinner, a "neat coach, etc.

Mary K  •  Link

"might neat"

In other words, very smart.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘Does anyone know why midshipmen were called "snotties" ? And were they so in our Sam's time?’

‘snotty, adj. The word occurs also as a noun in dialect use . .
. . b. Dirty, mean, paltry, contemptible, etc. Now dial. or slang.
. . 1712   Odes of Horace ii. 27/1   Horace is no such snotty author as to have this putid Stuff put upon him. . . ‘

‘snotty-nose, n.
 a. One whose nose is dirty with snot; hence, a paltry, mean, or contemptible fellow.
. .1631   B. Jonson Bartholmew Fayre ii. v. 136 in Wks. II   Dos't so, snotty nose? good Lord! are you sniueling? . . ‘

‘snotty, n.
  A midshipman.
1903   J. S. Farmer & W. E. Henley Slang VI. ii. 286/1   Snottie, a midshipman . . ‘
‘midshipman, n. . .
1. A non-commissioned naval officer ranking immediately below the most junior commissioned officer (i.e. in the Royal Navy, next below a sub lieutenant) . . The midshipman in the Royal Navy originally had the functions of a superior petty officer, and was in most cases appointed or rated by the ship's captain . . From 1677 all candidates for commissioned rank required previous service as a midshipman.
. . 1662 S. Pepys Diary 20 Nov. (1970) III. 261 To send him to sea as a Midshipman . . ‘

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