Monday 30 January 1664/65

This is solemnly kept as a Fast all over the City, but I kept my house, putting my closett to rights again, having lately put it out of order in removing my books and things in order to being made clean. At this all day, and at night to my office, there to do some business, and being late at it, comes Mercer to me, to tell me that my wife was in bed, and desired me to come home; for they hear, and have, night after night, lately heard noises over their head upon the leads. Now it is strange to think how, knowing that I have a great sum of money in my house, this puts me into a most mighty affright, that for more than two hours, I could not almost tell what to do or say, but feared this and that, and remembered that this evening I saw a woman and two men stand suspiciously in the entry, in the darke; I calling to them, they made me only this answer, the woman said that the men came to see her; but who she was I could not tell. The truth is, my house is mighty dangerous, having so many ways to be come to; and at my windows, over the stairs, to see who goes up and down; but, if I escape to-night, I will remedy it. God preserve us this night safe! So at almost two o’clock, I home to my house, and, in great fear, to bed, thinking every running of a mouse really a thiefe; and so to sleep, very brokenly, all night long, and found all safe in the morning.

34 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond's orders assessing the county of Somerset 150 seamen are written today and later inventoried in the Carte Calendar

Ormond to the Justices of the county of Somerset

Date: [January] 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 145, fol(s). 90
Document type: Copy [in Letter Book]

Desires their special and particular care in the execution of the Council Orders herewith transmitted.

Enclosure 1

Lords of the Council to Ormond

Date: [January] 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 145, fol(s). 90
Document type: Copy

Directions to the Duke, as Lord Lieutenant of Somersetshire, for raising of seamen for his Majesty's present service.

Enclosure 2

An Order, by the King in Council, assessing on the county of Somerset, 150 able seamen for his Majesty's service

Date: [January] 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 145, fol(s). 90

JWB  •  Link


Chas I executed Jan. 30, 1649.

JWB  •  Link

Jan. 30
'64"...the day kept solemnly for the King’s murder, and all day within doors making up my Brampton papers..."
'63 "A solemn fast for the King’s murther, and we were forced to keep it more than we would have done, having forgot to take any victuals into the house."
'62 "Mr. Mills made a good sermon upon David’s words, “Who can lay his hands upon the Lord’s Anoynted and be guiltless?”
'61 "The first time that this day hath been yet observed: and Mr. Mills made a most excellent sermon, upon “Lord forgive us our former iniquities;"
'60 "This morning, before I was up, I fell a-singing of my song, “Great, good, and just,” &c.1 and put myself thereby in mind that this was the fatal day, now ten years since, his Majesty died. "

Martin  •  Link

I have just come back from a week in Nicaragua, where they put glass shards, barbed wire, and even razor wire around the edges of the roofs to prevent anyone from gaining entry that way. Wonder what Sam has in mind for security?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

It seems as if this day's entry was written both in real time (up to the "God preserve us this night safe!" sentence), and then after the fact. The tension Sam feels is almost palpable.

Am I understanding it correctly in thinking that Mercer came to him at about midnight, and then our mighty Clerk of the Acts was paralyzed with fear for two hours, finally coming home at 2 a.m.? Lord knows what could have happened to Elizabeth and the rest of his "family" during those two hours...

jeannine  •  Link

"Wonder what Sam has in mind for security?"

Well Martin, usually he relies on one of his little female servants to protect him! (Wish I could find the entry when this last happened).

It's surprising that Sam returned home at all. In the bravery department our hero seems the type who lives by that famous saying, "he who turns and runs away lives to run another day"...

"Am I understanding it correctly in thinking that Mercer came to him at about midnight, and then our mighty Clerk of the Acts was paralyzed with fear for two hours, finally coming home at 2 a.m.? Lord knows what could have happened to Elizabeth and the rest of his “family” during those two hours…"

Well Todd, we can only hope that Elizabeth was having her own tryst and actually entertaining Mr. Pembleton will full knowledge that Sam would be shaking in his boots and not show up for meeting someone in a blind alehouse.....

Carl in Boston  •  Link

thinking every running of a mouse really a thiefe. Our Leader must have had a lot of mice, to have a mouse running by seem a common event. We used to have mice dancing on the roof at our camp in the woods, and they make a lot of racket at night.
Our Leader is hardly fearless, it doesn't seem as though he went in to Elizabeth to calm her fears. Harrumph, indeed.

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"my wife was in bed and desired me to come home"

I wonder if the two hour delay was because his wife asked for his help so he deliberately procrastinated and then worked himself into a frenzy of worry.

When ones wealth was in a physical state eg gold coin, plate etc security must have been a serious problem but there was mention a little while ago of merchants leaving currency in overseas banks so there must have been the start of a banking system. These days thieves are after your plasma flat screen TVs then it was bullion. Not a lot of changed!

Ruben  •  Link

Wooden houses make a lot of noise specially in the quiet hours, when your mind has nothing else to do.

Samuel does not know that his nocturnal mouse was not just a mouse but MIGTHY MOUSE himself, making final preparations to receive the Norwegian Rat!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"usually he relies on one of his little female servants to protect him!"

The last time SP dealt with 'things that go bump in the night':

" ... and so home weary, and not being very well, I betimes to bed, and there fell into a most mighty sweat in the night, about eleven o’clock, and there, knowing what money I have in the house and hearing a noyse, I begun to sweat worse and worse, till I melted almost to water. I rung, and could not in half an houre make either of the wenches hear me, and this made me fear the more, lest they might be gaga; and then I begun to think that there was some design in a stone being flung at the window over our stayres this evening, by which the thiefes meant to try what looking there would be after them and know our company. These thoughts and fears I had, and do hence apprehend the fears of all rich men that are covetous and have much money by them. At last Jane rose, and then I understand it was only the dogg wants a lodging and so made a noyse. So to bed, but hardly slept, at last did, and so till morning."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... thinking every running of a mouse really a thiefe;"

One that would have been at church today:-

Diary of a Church Mouse
Sir John Betjeman

Here among long-discarded cassocks,
Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the Vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days
Behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room
With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts
For congregations and for priests,
And so may Whitsun. All the same,
They do not fill my meagre frame.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival,

Link to full text (also audio of Betjeman reading)

Australian Susan  •  Link

The point was raised recently that Sam is not so frequent in church observance as heretofor. Now, thanks to JWB's neat summary, we can see that the first two times today was kept as a church day with service, Sam went, but he hasn't actually gone to church the past couple of years. he has, however, felt constrained to keep the day quietly and spends it in typical Sam fashion (niddifying and then working).
We also get some more inofmration here about the topography of the Navy Office housing: there is mention of the "entry" - I assume this means the gateway into the court (around which are the offices and the houses). Also Sam's way of referring to his "stayres" makes me wonder if this is an external staircase to the upper floors or to the "leads" (the flat roof, on which Sam has built another room). He seems to be able to look out of windows onto these stairs. What do other people think the layout is in their minds?

Mice on the roof.

Here in Australia, one of the regular noises at night is possums on the roof: these cat-sized creatures make a noise out of all proportion to their size. the saying goes - if you think you've got possums on the roof, it's rats, if you think you've got elephants on the roof - it's possums. One landing on our patio roof sounds as if a sack of soil has been dropped. This would really put the frighteners on Sam. Possums also make very loud and embarrassingly human noises when making love (do you ignore it or not if giving a dinner party outside?!) - Sam could have made use of that ("only the possums, Elizabeth!") if England had had possums.

Pedro  •  Link

Allin is off Gibraltar.

"A Day of Humiliation and after prayers we had a council of war."

dirk  •  Link

“Wonder what Sam has in mind for security?”

Jeannine, let's not forget that Sam has a mighty sword!

He first mentioned his sword on 3 Feb 1661:
"This day I first begun to go forth in my coat and sword, as the manner now among gentlemen is."

The sword was for many people more of a fashion article than an actual weapon. Once you had reached a certain status in life, you were expected to wear one - at least on certain occasions. This didn't necessarily imply any swordmanship (although you'd better have some skill with the weapon, if you were ever challenged to a duel). Men who had been in active service would of course know how to use it - but how about our Sam? I can't find any record of him ever using his weapon. Would he be able to frighten burglars with his noble sword???

Mike Donnelly  •  Link

As an economist this post, and the one on mercantilism and foreign earnings, and particularly any where he quotes the prices of things are my favorites. Without a banking system Sam has nowhere to secure his fortune, and problem of storing wealth is a completely foreign notion to anyone born after the 1900's.

Sam time to get a dog and some iron bars on those windows and doors.

JWB  •  Link

One day Sam stood tall-

"Waked in the morning about six o’clock, by people running up and down in Mr. Davis’s house, talking that the Fanatiques were up in arms in the City. And so I rose and went forth; where in the street I found every body in arms at the doors. So I returned (though with no good courage at all, but that I might not seem to be afeared), and got my sword and pistol, which, however, I had no powder to charge; and went to the door..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Dad? Methinks this be a bit cruel to Mrs. Pepys if not Mr. P? 'Sides it's cold up here."

"Shut up and keep hopping." Penn tells his namesake.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"time to get a dog"

Had he not one and it mated?

Bradford  •  Link

Here in the Mid-South, A. Susan, it's raccoons. In fact, even two squirrels chasing each other can sound like little horses racing.
And absolutely no signs of looking out onto the leads oneself, with a backup, and a lantern.
What does Picard say about a Watch at this period?

Mary  •  Link


There could be 3 or 4 constables to a parish (appointed by the incumbent and churchwardens). The office of constable was most unpopular, being poorly paid and representing the lowest grade of local authority office-bearer. The constables were assisted by the parish watchmen 'who were not always conspicuously energetic'.(Picard). A recipe for a patchy service.

Margaret  •  Link

I find Sam's cowardice today and last July (thank-you Michael for directing us to that entry) quite disturbing. That must be because I feel so close to Sam after reading so much of his diary, and I don't want him to be a coward. I don't blame him for being afraid, but I do blame him for not trying to protect the women in his household.

On the other hand, it's endearing that he's so honest that he writes this all down. If I had behaved like that, I wouldn't put it in writing! It makes me feel that we can trust what he writes; he's not trying to put a good spin on things.

Rod McCaslin  •  Link

A wonderful book that deals, at least in part, with the insecurities, indeed terrors, that early moderns encountered when night fell-
*At Day's Close: Night in Times Past* by A. Roger Ekirch

CGS  •  Link

The parish Watchman, had little power,if he arrested any rag wearing Lord or his hired help, he would be in the nick, not the bad servant, privilege of course, see how many times the constable has been made to kneel and beg pardon for not recognizing a servant of the baronial class, see the House of Lords for the results.

Samuell would not want to let us eves droppers knowing
all his Sins, but he not being one for confessing his deficiencies to another human, uses his diurnal for soul cleansing.[Lucky us] Many a 'uman of substance has been sent to the Tower, where the gibbet lies, for exposure of his thoughts on recording material.

CGS  •  Link

Parliament sittings, today would be a grievous affront to Charles Rex for the elected and privilege ones to discuss affairs of State..

Michael Robinson  •  Link


We know there was a porter / doorkeeper to the Navy Office complex and some kind of watch:-

"Having sat up all night to past two o’clock this morning, our porter, being appointed, comes and tells us that the bellman tells him that the star is seen upon Tower Hill; "

I recall also there was also a 'Boatman to the Navy office' resident in the complex and, if I remember correctly, this individual was sufficiently stalwart to have been left on one occasion by SP on one ship he was visiting to sort out a problem with the prompt loading and stowing of vitals.

Curiously Towser, the brave mastiff, was exiled to Brampton within days of arrival:-
" ...and by and by home and dined, where I found an excellent mastiffe, his name Towser, sent me by a chyrurgeon."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

In fairness to Sam he may well have gone straight home and then quietly trembled for two hours after taking up defensive position in bed next Bess.

"But, why tonight...?" suspicious look.

"Bess, you're always asking to try on top."

Poor Mercer's the one I feel for, having to go out over to the office so late with who knows what force of thugs lurking round, seeking to grab someone and demand access.

CGS  •  Link

Excellent point , night watch ,reminds me of my nights of keeping warm and protecting the sleeping, not noticing the creatures of the night, due to warming intoxicating liquid for keeping the night aire from invading the lungs, it does keep man bleary eyed, when offered some brandy of the day, especially by those that giveth when they be ready to taketh from others.

alanB  •  Link

' for they hear, and have, night after night, lately heard noises over their head upon the leads'

Is this not an observation from the servants who have brought the matter to the attention of Bess? Mercer has in response then been sent to tell Sam? It could be that this sentence supplies suggestion for Aussie Sue the servants occupy rooms in the attic. I know in the past we have had trundle beds etc. Perhaps they have now been moved upwards.

The thought comes to mind that this could be a peeping tomcat. Sam appears to write innocently that he is elsewhere!

jeannine  •  Link

This is probably what Towser would have looked like ...

Susan when I saw the 5th picture down I wanted to tell the lady behind the dog that she should run! There's a saying that people tend to look like their dogs and unless she wants jowls hanging down to her knees those 'gentle giants' aren't the way to go!!

Actually any barking type of dog is a 'good house defense' against a burglar-either large or small. If they make a lot of noise that's exactly what someone wouldn't want to hear when they broke into your house. I am curious where Sam's current dog is and if she made any noise.

Our old neighbors had a huge doberman pinscher that looked horribly mean. One time the owner locked herself out of the house and went to 'break in' through the back door. She was curious as to what the dog would do so she said nothing. She hit the glass and the silent dog peed all over the rug, took off and was cowering behind a bed when she finally found him.

We used to have a house broken rabbit and he would make a huge sound (thumping-sounded like a hammer hitting the floor) whenever something went 'boom' in the night. We'd wake up, on would go the lights and we'd have to go calm him down. For all I know he could have been scaring away someone in the process too. We used to joke that a burglar would probably trip over him in the process of breaking in and we'd, of course be sued!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Our old neighbors had a huge doberman pinscher that looked horribly mean.

A much maligned breed, highly intelligent, athletic and affectionate but in my experience really the world's largest lap dogs (unless you are a skunk, the smellier the prey the more irresistible) living only for a couple of pats and a scratch behind the ears -- I live fairly isolated on a farm and Django after one (friendly) bark will heard any strangers back into their car or truck and sit staring at the vehicle door, little do they know that this 100 lbs. of dog is just expecting a treat to ease his 'car related abandonment issues'!

Australian Susan  •  Link

I have a friend who breeds English mastiffs (yes, she has 10acres!), so know that they are not likely to attack anyone really.

Sam's dog seems to have been a little spaniel type thing - and they can bark a great deal. We used to have a Lhasa Apso with GME who attacked strange adults viciously and had a very deep bark. We've never been burgled, but many of our neighbours have.

Geese make really good guard animals too. Maybe Jeannine's late bunny was related to the Killer Rabbit of Monty Python fame? See

OK, I know, thoroughly off topic, I'll get my coat.....

Australian Susan  •  Link

Granular Meningo-Encephalopathy for those who really, really want to know.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... my wife was in bed, and desired me to come home ..."

Pepys' answer to Elizabeth not coming to dinner yesterday. Tit for tat. Passive aggressive back at ya. He was obviously frightened as well, but he has lost affection for her and no longer cares if she's frightened.

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