Friday 31 March 1665

Up betimes and walked to my Lord Ashly, and there with Creed after long waiting spoke with him, and was civilly used by him; thence to Sir Ph. Warwicke, and then to visit my Lord of Falmouth, who did also receive me pretty civilly, but not as I expected; he, I perceive, believing that I had undertaken to justify Povy’s accounts, taking them upon myself, but I rectified him therein. So to my Lady Sandwich’s to dinner, and up to her chamber after dinner, and there discoursed about Sir G. Carteret’s son, in proposition between us two for my Lady Jemimah. So to Povy, and with him spent the afternoon very busy, till I was weary of following this and neglecting my navy business. So at night called my wife at my Lady’s, and so home. To my office and there made up my month’s account, which, God be praised! rose to 1300l.. Which I bless God for. So after 12 o’clock home to supper and to bed.

I find Creed mightily transported by my Lord of Falmouth’s kind words to him, and saying that he hath a place in his intention for him, which he believes will be considerable. A witty man he is in every respect, but of no good nature, nor a man ordinarily to be dealt with. My Lady Castlemayne is sicke again, people think, slipping her filly.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I find Creed mightily transported by my Lord of Falmouth's kind words to him, and saying that he hath a place in his intention for him, which he believes will be considerable."

Alas, Charles Berkeley, Earl of Falmouth "died in one of the first exchanges of the Battle of Southwold Bay on 3 June 1665."…

"My Lady Castlemayne is sicke again, people think, slipping her filly." Miscarriages were often misdiagnosed by those not really in the know.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

There are said to be plots and rumors of plots in London and around it

Edward, Earl of Clarendon, Lord Chancellor, to the Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex

Date: 31 March 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 81, fol(s). 262
Document type: Copy

Informs them by the King's command of the known frequency of seditious meetings, and conventicles; and conveys instructions for the prompt & effectual putting in force of the laws against them.

Another Copy of the same Letter [with slight variations & corrections]

Date: 31 March 1665
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 81, fol(s). 264…

Australian Susan  •  Link


If the miscarriage had not really happened, was the sex of the poor infant also just idle speculation?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"What? It was legitimate?" Sam stares.

"Palmer is back in England, Pepys." Povy notes. "And it seems our poor Lady Castlemaine was actually quite eager for this one. A symbol of their reconciliation and of her true affection."

"Lady Castlemaine and Palmer...Recon...?" Sam chokes a bit...

First Betty Martin, now...

"She's in deepest mourning...And plans to go away with Palmer. Odd thing is, they say Palmer had briefly taken a mistress in France."

What is this...Some kind of misguided patriotism on the part of British wives? Sam thinks, staring.

"Sir, someone here for you."

"Mr. Pepys? That lady Mrs. Bagwell left a note to be delivered to you." Hewer offers note.

"A minor business matter..." Sam notes to the curious Povy. "Husband works in one of our yards, probably ill or something. I don't know why they feel free to bother me with such things." takes self and letter aside.

"My dear Mr. Pepys...I can no longer allow myself to be torn from my matrimonial vows, even to further my poor Will's career..."

"What, is there some plague of female monogamy cursing England?!" Sam, crumpling letter, shouting furiously.

Ummn... "Not that that's a bad thing, of course..." pasted smile to Povy and Hewer.

Would it were true for your wife...Hewer thinks, maintaining deferrential air.

cgs  •  Link

To sup or not to sup, It is the latest in high living.
Supper first mentioned at…
Just in the last month, a new situation picked at one of the betters.

cgs  •  Link

OED entry:
b. to slip her filly: transf. of a woman, to miscarry.
1665 PEPYS Diary 31 Mar., My Lady Castlemaine is sick again
people think, slipping her filly.

dirk  •  Link

"and was civilly used by him"

It's not the first time we see "use" with this meaning, but I still find it somewhat strange:

"use" = "treat"

cf. Defoe's Robinson Crusoe:
"I was used well"
"The usage I had"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So I'm guesstimating by crude equivalent that Sam is now well into what we would call the upper middle class and his 1300 is roughly worth somewhere in the modern neighborhood of $750,000 US, using his old clerk's salary of 50Ls as a yardstick. Not quite in the big leagues but definitely comfortable and a decent retirement possible. In this at least he has done well by Bess...However selfish his behavior at times he's performed his duty as provider rising from almost nothing, and she can look forward to security in her old age, a rare thing in this time. And for all his extramarital wanderings...And that one cold 'who brings me nothing' grumble a short while back...He seems to have no interest at all in replacing her...Not all that difficult a thing for a wealthy man with connections...With a more productive and less troublesome spouse.


Something which will make for a surprising twist at the personal climax of Sam's and Bess' relationship.

Phil  •  Link

"..walked to my Lord Ashly..thence to Sir Ph. Warwicke,..then to visit my Lord of Falmouth...So to my Lady Sandwich’s...So to Povy...So at night called my wife at my Lady’s, and so home...To my office...So after 12 o’clock home to supper and to bed."

If Sam walked to all these locations he should have been a slimmer man than the rotund figure we see in his painting. If he's taking a carriage I wonder if he could recoup the expense?

Don McCahill  •  Link

According to, L1300 in 1665 would be worth £155,794.49 in 2008, considerably below Robert's estimate

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Good work, Don McCahill: Google says this day UK£ 155 794.49 = 311,573.401 US$, not the "upper" middle class.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Not quite enough of a nest egg to shuck Bess and take on a pedigree breed mare -- even if the Puritan he cared less for the binding power of at least part of his marriage vows (the "'til death do us part" part, if those were the words.)

1662 Book of Common Prayer, someone?

jeannine  •  Link

"My Lady Castlemayne is sicke again, people think, slipping her filly."

Not so sure that this is true given that her next son George will be born about 9 months from now (December 28, 1665), so about this time she should be conceiving. So, maybe we should strike Sam's last sentence and replace it with a more factual representation of what could be going on right now, something like this perhaps(????)

There once was a king called Charlie
From his marriage a true absentee
His ignored all of his chores
But he relished his whores
Enlarging his vast family tree

Clement  •  Link

"not the “upper” middle class"

This is a tough call.
It seems that there were fewer capital calls on wealth at that time, due to both the lower relative cost of living (fuel, taxes, health care, lack of electronic devices, lower tranpsortation costs, lack of municipal services to support, etc.), so if either amount of saved wealth, or mode of living are measures of Upper Middle Class Sam may still get there.

However it would probably make sense to calculate the total amount of his expenditures in a year, and compare that to 2008 to understand what amount and % of his wealth he spent to support his described lifestyle, to really understand how comfortably "uppper" he could be considered.

And with the absence of metrics describing the threshold it will remain open for speculation. It "feels" like he's UMC to my perspective too.

Clement  •  Link

Upper Middle Class

A disputed characterizaton from Wikipedia of an American model:…

Some lifestyle, education, profession and income metrics are cited.
Of course, University Professors are in the club...(not an April Fool's joke, though we are ripe.)

Several sources say "sociologists" characterize UMC as constituting 15% of households.

"In 2005, the top 15% of income earners were those making $62,500 or more. (US Census Bureau, 2006)"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my month’s account, which, God be praised! rose to 1300l." -- and class status.

Clement, you are quite right to question my rather quick “not the “upper” middle class”! I failed to consider Pepys's assets beyond his cash-on-hand.

Pepys has further putative claim via his inheritance from his Uncle Robert Pepys to land, rents, etc., in Brampton, Gravely and perhaps in London -- ther are his father's old quarters. (But he is a government employee, lives in government housing. )

Pedro  •  Link

Read all about it…Intelligencer Latest.

“To answer your enquiry touching the royal navy: they that speak least report it to be near on 80 sail, besides that it increases daily; and it is undoubtedly, for the choice of ships and men, the bravest fleet of Christendom. This is the cause which, to give people their due, all men look upon as the common interest of the English nation. But, over and above that natural obligation, the presence and example of his royal highness has influenced them with an impatience of action and with a resolution even to outdo themselves, who, upon all occasions, have never yet failed of an advantage over the Dutch…”

(Memorials of Sir William Penn by his grandson Granville Penn)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Marriage service from 1662 BCP states "I M take thee N to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth." But Sam and Bess would not have used this service. If they did use a Prayer book Service, it would have been the 1559 one.(prob not much different, but I cannot easily find an online text [and I really *must* do some work!]) For a contemporary statement on the Church in the 1650s (if anyone's interested) see…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yeah I saw the calculations too but I can't help feeling it's an underestimate in practical terms. He did passably well on 50Ls/yr and in today's USA that for two people would have to be at least in the range of $25-30,000. Things may change proportionately as we climb the ranks but I feel he's solidly in the UMC and fast approaching true fortune. In any case, Bess is well provided for.

CGS  •  Link

Samuel has all the trappings of a succesful life.
This money is in cash in his bank and if it be in cold gold coin, one oz. then be worth 2 quid, recently one oz. be worth a mille dollars or 500 royal pounds,
with that money he could buy up good real estate without mortgage, like 3 houses in upscale areas [see Liza Picard restoration London]

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

"This money is in cash in his bank and if it be in cold gold coin, one oz. then be worth 2 quid, recently one oz. be worth a mille dollars or 500 royal pounds,"

And ten years later it's almost doubled (in pounds anyway). Real wealth, then and now, is having enough f***-off money set aside to feel safe from what life or politicians can throw at you.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

We have discussed this several times already:

Price Multipliers 1664-2015:

historic standard of living = 140
labour earnings = 1,600
economic status = 3,300
economic power = 33,000

Taken and simplified from…

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

It is hopelessly anachronistic to use the term ‘upper middle class’ in this context as it was first coined 200 years later; it’s meaning is disputed and is I think different here and in the US as this selection of quotes from the OED relating only to the British meaning illustrates:

‘upper middle class, n. and adj.: The social group between the upper and the middle class, esp. as considered to be made up of well-paid professionals, managers, and their families.

1864 Farmer's Mag. May 374/1 There are..many advocates for so extending these two systems as to embrace all the upper middle-class in the educational system of the gentry, and to absorb the remainder in that formed by the help of the State for the labourer
. . 1906 J. Galsworthy Man of Prop. i. i. 3 Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have upper middle-class family in full plumage.
1955 T. H. Pear Eng. Social Differences iii. 90 When ‘middle-middles’ become ‘upper-middles’ they..drop middle-class euphemisms.
. . 1967 J. M. Argyle Psychol. Interpersonal Behaviour iv. 80 English upper-middle-class speech includes considerable understatement; a person who fails to follow this convention is regarded as boastful.
. . 1978 R. Westall Devil on Road xv. 111 When my parents quarrel, they..fight in hoarse whispers. But like a lot of upper-middles..Derek and Susan let it all hang out . . ‘

Pepys’ gross income puts him well into the top 2% of the middle class but he hasn’t yet accumulated the capital he needs to live as a gent, i.e. without working. Hence his relentless money-grubbing. This doesn’t matter now but would become a live issue if he had a child, particularly a daughter who would need a substantial dowry to be considered by a son of the gentry.

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