Friday 7 July 1665

Up, and having set my neighbour, Mr. Hudson, wine coopers, at work drawing out a tierce of wine for the sending of some of it to my wife, I abroad, only taking notice to what a condition it hath pleased God to bring me that at this time I have two tierces of Claret, two quarter casks of Canary, and a smaller vessel of Sack; a vessel of Tent, another of Malaga, and another of white wine, all in my wine cellar together; which, I believe, none of my friends of my name now alive ever had of his owne at one time.

To Westminster, and there with Mr. Povy and Creed talking of our Tangier business, and by and by I drew Creed aside and acquainted him with what Sir G. Carteret did tell me about Backewell the other day, because he hath money of his in his hands. So home, taking some new books, 5l. worth, home to my great content. At home all the day after busy. Some excellent discourse and advice of Sir W. Warren’s in the afternoon, at night home to look over my new books, and so late to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Michael L  •  Link

Sam's excessive pride in his wine cellar makes this one of the funniest entries yet. Not only does he list everything (fairly normal behavior for a collector), but he also proudly states that "none of my friends of my name now alive ever" could ever possibly match his cellar (getting a little funny in the emphatic language), and even thanks God for having helped him acquire such a collection (which strikes me as charmingly silly).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

As yet no wine taster..."Monsieur Pepys, I must tell that you must throw out all zhis 'stuff' you call wine. My palate she say it is all...How do you English say it? Garbage..." But can he be more ridiculous about wine than some of us nowadays.

From TV series "Frazer"...

"Hail Corkmaster, the Master of the Cork..."

Not that I would ever refuse a nice glass of just about anything red and robust should I ever be present at a meeting of the Pepysian Academy...

Enjoy it Sam...God knows you're entering a rough patch...And you did build Bess that nice study.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Oops...Niles at least would have my head for such a mistake. That's "Frasier".


Yeah, I can see the Crane boys and Samuel Pepys at dinner trying to impress each other.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"To Lond[on] to Sir William Coventrie & so to Sion, where his Majestie sat at Council (during the Contagion): when my buisines was over I viewed that seate, belonging to the E[arl] of Northumberland built out of an old Nunnerie, of stone, & fair enough, but more celebrated for the Garden than it deserves; yet there is excellent Walle fruit, & a pretty fountaine, nothing else extraordinarie: returnd that day:"

CGS  •  Link

tierces(159 liters) [ to be drank in the third part of the day]
butt - a large cask (especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 hogsheads or 126 gallons)
hogshead - a large cask especially one holding 63 gals

tun - a large cask especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 butts or 252 gals

just enough plonk to keep ones head lit for a few weeks.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... drawing out a tierce of wine for the sending of some of it to my wife, ...I have ... which, I believe, none of my friends of my name now alive ever had of his owne at one time."

And modesty forbids mention of "my new bottles made, with my crest upon them, ..."…

Ruben  •  Link

Thank you, Salty, for the conversion of Pepys volumes but coming from a Metric system the gallons do not say much to me, except there is plenty of wine there. Everyone so excited with the Claret and the Canary...

But I lament we do not know the titles of the new books and most of all the reason to have them.
What is clear is that the house being empty, Sam can relax in his library without interferences, caress the leather binding...

Mary  •  Link

that tierce.

A tierce is a third part of a pipe of wine and equals 35 Imperial gallons (= 42 US gallons).

Note: this is also the volume of a barrel of oil.

Firenze  •  Link

And, of course, with water not something you drank - or indeed went too near for any purpose - you needed something to drink. Either beer or wine. Which gives rise to the perennial topic - is English history as it is because everyone was off their face most of the time?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

by and by I drew Creed aside and acquainted him with what Sir G. Carteret did tell me about Backewell the other day

Told to Sam as a great secret - "the King might fall" - and almost immediately he is passing it on to a man who is hardly a close friend. Risky business.

Snow  •  Link night home to look over my new books...

I wonder if he smells his new books as well - or is that just me.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" English history as it is because everyone was off their face most of the time?" Careful, I hear you get sent to the Village if you reveal such key secrets of British power.

jeannine  •  Link

"is English history as it is because everyone was off their face most of the time?"

Perhaps so, which is why it's so interesting! Probably the only one who could have recorded it accurately was the Queen -she drank tea!

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...drawing out a tierce of wine for the sending of some of it to my wife..." Sam may not be the only one sloshed at family prayers...

jean-paul  •  Link

For my metric "buddies", a tierce is 159 liters. On one side, i am the typical European, bitching about the US not going metric—but i lived ten years in the states, and i was never able to visualize what a gallon, or a quart, a foot, an ounce, whatever, is, without relating it to "my" units—which surely implies that it is the same problem Americans encounter from the other side. My biggest headache: mpg versus km/h! i wish Samuel had written about that!

Rex Gordon  •  Link

Those new books ...

Whatever they were, isn't it wonderful to think that we can see them on a visit to Magdalene College? I'm planning to do just that at the end of August.

JWB  •  Link

Sam's cellar

No Burgandy. Acqua Scripto's note under wines in the encyclopaedia lists Elizabethan imports and Burgandy came in 2d to Nantes (claret). Burgundian vinyards were in the hands of the church 'til the Fr. Revolution and were especially worked over in the 30 Years War. I take it that they had not yet recovered.

JWB  •  Link


Sorry, I spell as I speak unless I watch it.

CGS  •  Link

one tierce now, would get thee 220 bottles of wine and some drops left over for tasting, at the free tax zone.

British gallon.....= 4,54609 liters,
the American gallon= 3,78541 liters

"...Sorry, I spell as I speak unless I watch it...."
just like Samuell's time

A. Hamilton  •  Link

a tun of fun, this one

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Reply to Snow White:
Of course he smelled the books, and drank the wine. One drools, and rubs his hands, over the excellence and the quality of the wine in store, and the sniff of the books. At first collecting books was just a hobby, incidental to doing business, but then it became an obsession. He had to get more books, and drink the wine too. It became an all consuming passion, replete with a building for the library and a librarian assistant to catalog the books. At first I thought arranging the books by size and color was nuts, as Our Great Leader did by size, but now I have come to see it for a wise idea. You simply have to have a glass of wine and read while petting the book, such as The Federalist Papers, which I now am reading bound in genuine Corinthian leather with moire endleaves and silk ribbon, and that glorious sniff of Real Leather.

Linda F  •  Link

I too was surprised that Samuel disclosed to Creed what Sir G. Carteret told him in greatest confidence -- whether or not Creed held funds of Backewell's. The risk to Carteret, whom Sam admires, appears so great (if discovered as source of disclosure), and Creed is, indeed, something less than a friend. Puzzling.

Ruben  •  Link

You have some coins and you can not invest them because they are no saving accounts and no accounts at all. You would like to buy a big estate, but the money you can save from your income is small compared with the price of a nice patch of Good Earth. So you expend your money in luxurys like sex, food or entertainment by reading or watching or hearing, in your personal order.
For what we know, during the diary years Samuel's order was (as I see it): 1-books, 2- sex, 3- theater, 4- music, 5- food (wine included).
I do not know where to include "house improvement".
By the way, (this comment should have been written 2 days ago), I bet Sam Pepys did not marry because of Love but because of Lust.

Sjoerd  •  Link

Sack,Burgundy, whatnot...

I am disappointed ... to find that none of our loyal readers - and there must be some wine connaisseurs present - have provided a list for the uninitiated to go down to the local supermarket and have a "Pepys Wine Tasting".
What should I ask my local wine merchant for if i wanted to have a taste of... Claret, Canary, Sack, Tent or Malaga and 17th century white wine.

And would I have to add water at all... would wine watered down with - well - Thames water be any healthier than just water in these pestilential times ?

Lets have a wine tasting and compare notes!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... I drew Creed aside and acquainted him with what Sir G. Carteret did tell me about Backewell the other day, because he hath money of his in his hands. ..."

I too, Linda F., was surprised he would write down the information and am shocked he repeats it, and records the repetition, no less; I suppose SP's note of his repetition shows his relative naievete and innocence. Cartaret was completely clear about his belief of what would be the potential consequences of such information spreading: "Sir G. Carteret telling me that the King and the kingdom must as good as fall with that man at this time; and that he was forced to get 4000l. himself to answer Backewell’s people’s occasions, or he must have broke; but committed this to me as a great secret ..."…

dirk  •  Link

“…Sorry, I spell as I speak unless I watch it….”

I think it was Samuel Johnson who said that people who could spell a word only one way were dull...

CGS  •  Link

Wine tasting be job of ones pallet [palate]
UK it be scrumpy Iberia it be some local vino blanco [agua sucre] South America, another house wine, here in the vine country it be gallon of Gallo. Italy, Florence a nice local with a nice local name like Martin[i] Ross[i], then the white of the Rhine, well sugered [sic] or little Moselle oh! well as long as it has some alcohol un[sic] it.

Second Reading

william wright  •  Link

Sam has a "vessel of tent" I have tried to find out what "tent" is/was but cannot find any reference.
Anyone have any idea?

arby  •  Link

" a kind of wine with a deep red color, chiefly from Galicia or Malaga in Spain", thank you Wiktionary.

David G  •  Link

Like William Wright, I had never heard of Tent as a type of wine. I googled “vessel of tent” and every hit but one — an article in an Australian newspaper from 1884 — was to the diary. My guess is that Tent was in favor briefly and British taste in wine then moved on to claret, hock, sherry and port.

Elisabeth  •  Link

For the lowdown on claret, sack, canary, etc., I recommend Henry Jeffreys' entertaining book "Empire of Booze: British History Through the Bottom of a Glass" (London: Unbound, 2016).

Martin  •  Link

'friends of my name' must be 'friend' in OED sense 3, "close relation, a kinsman or kinswoman. In later use regional". Didn't realise this still was alive and well in southern English in Pepys's time.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Tent" - I'd guess it's simply "Vino Tinto" (as in ink) - the common name for red wine in Spain, which, presumably because of the climate, tends to be a darker red than some others.

I remember as a child, on our family holidays in Spain, us being offered "Tinto o Claro", the latter being rosé I believe. My parents always chose the tinto.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

""the King might fall" - and almost immediately he is passing it on to a man who is hardly a close friend."

Sam has a taste for reporting the melodramatic in his diaries, but the important fact he told Creed is that the government via Carteret has arranged for Backwell's debts to be guaranteed is his absence.

Creed isn't a friend, but he is a close colleague on "team Sandwich". Sam's info may well save Creed money, and therefore Creed will owe him one. Despite the purpose of Backwell's mission being secret, passing on limited info info may well have helped "calm the markets" at a nervous time. Hence it's not inconceivable tha Carteret would have approved of a limited leak; ie that backwell was away on government business rather than having done a bunk.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

PS - I wonder *which* of his wines Sam was sending to Bess - a dry table wine like Claret or "tent", or a sweet wine like Canary to entertain callers?

Gerald Berg  •  Link

As with most of the inside gossip Pepys receives it proves to be either wildly inaccurate or completely wrong. I say thank you to the many annotators for that.

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