Friday 27 April 1666

Up (taking Balty with me, who lay at my house last [night] in order to his going away to-day to sea with the pursers of the Henery, whom I appointed to call him), abroad to many several places about several businesses, to my Lord Treasurer’s, Westminster, and I know not where. At noon to the ’Change a little, and there bespoke some maps to hang in my new roome (my boy’s roome) which will be very-pretty. Home to dinner, and after dinner to the hanging up of maps, and other things for the fitting of the roome, and now it will certainly be one of the handsomest and most usefull roomes in my house. So that what with this room and the room on my leads my house is half as good again as it was. All this afternoon about this till I was so weary and it was late I could do no more but finished the room. So I did not get out to the office all the day long. At night spent a good deale of time with my wife and Mercer teaching them a song, and so after supper to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

cgs  •  Link

"...So that what with this room and the room on my leads my house is half as good again as it was..."

How come?

such improvements?

cgs  •  Link

"...the Henery..." three not two syllables, the spellings doth indicate the pronunciation, I doth think?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...Balty with me, who lay at my house last [night] in order to his going away to-day to sea with the pursers of the Henery, whom I appointed to call him..."

"Help! Sister!!"

"A pleasant voyage, Balthazar...Gentlemen..."

"In the nerciful name of God Almighty, brother-in-law! I have reconsidered...!"

Sam waving to pursers who drag our gallant nobleman off...


"Room all finished?" Bess eagerly.

"Yes, at last..." Sam opens door.

"All right then..." Bess takes chair. "So, the Dutch fleet was last reported here?" she points.

"Ay. But there's suspicion..."

"Quite justified. DeRutyer would be a fool to concentrate there, any ships there are a decoy. Look, for a union with the French, here's the move to make...Just enough deep water to slip through, easy communication with home base and any Danish support."

"Yes, yes. And if we deploy here..."

"You're catching on, darling."


Ruben  •  Link

from the Wikipedia:
"Dunbar was a 64-gun second rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, originally built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England at Deptford, and launched in 1656.[1]

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, she was renamed HMS Henry. By 1677 her armament had been increased to 82 guns. Henry was accidentally burnt in 1682.[1]"

Albatross  •  Link

Okay, I'm confused. I thought the leads were a metal foil for keeping rain out of the house. But Sam was very excited about the leads getting installed, and first said

"set my people to worke about setting me rails upon the leads of my wife’s closett"

Then last night Sam wrote:

"So home, and with my wife and Mercer spent our evening upon our new leads by our bedchamber singing, while Mrs. Mary Batelier looked out of the window to us, and we talked together"

So now I've got this notion "leads" are something out in the garden, beneath Elizabeth's window, where neighboring Mrs. Batelier can overlook them? And they have rails?

Bradford  •  Link

My guess is that Elizabeth's closet amounts to a little room projecting outward, on the roof of which the leads serve, as Albatross says, to keep out the rain. From the floor above (?) one can step out onto them, and railings have been installed to prevent the unwary from tumbling off. Someone in a house opposite could both see and be spoken to from that vantage.

Corrections solicited.

Michael L  •  Link

I think of the leads as the 17th C. English equivalent of a modern Italian rooftop patio. In the midst of a bustling city, you still get a nice little semi-private area where you can sit outdoors in good weather.

Albatross  •  Link

Ah, thanks for the clarification! Maybe it would be good if the link for "leads" above led to 1262.php? Just a notion.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


Clearly the "leads," in Sam's usage, were flat roof areas covered with lead sheeting, fairly easily accessible, perhaps through a door or window, that could be converted (with railings) into a safe place to occupy for a walk or small social gathering. Walking upon the leads conjures to my mind a fairly extensive (though perhaps narrow) space. But it is hard to be sure exactly what Sam means without more knowledge of the architecture of the Navy complex than I have.

Here is the OED definition, from "Lead 1," noun:

7. pl. a. The sheets or strips of lead used to cover a roof; often collect. for a lead flat, a lead roof, †occas. construed as sing. b. The lead frames of the panes in lattice or stained glass windows.

"a. 1578–9 in Willis & Clark Cambridge (1886) I. 538 Mending the leddes over the librarie chambers." "1588 Bp. Andrewes Serm. Spittle (1641) 5 He looketh downe on his brethren, as if he stood on the top of a Leads." "1625 Bacon Ess., Building (Arb.) 550 A Goodly Leads upon the Top, railed with Statua's interposed." "a1635 Corbet Iter Bor. (1647) 133 Gardens cover howses there like leades." "1726 Leoni Alberti's Archit. I. 78 Leads or Terrasses from whence the Soldiers may be molested with stones or darts." "1760 C. Johnston Chrysal (1822) I. 238 A cat+whom she used to meet in the evenings, upon the leads of the house." "1824 Scott Redgauntlet ch. xiii, Trumbull+clambered out upon the leads." "1873 Dixon Two Queens II. vii. vi. 42 A blare of trumpets from the leads told every one+that [etc.]." "1705 Hearne Collect. 8 Nov. (O.H.S.) I. 68 After the Examination of the Books, & a slight view of the Leads." "1885 F. Miller Glass Painting vii. 69 It gives the effect of weakness to see large pieces of glass leaded with narrow leads."

Mary  •  Link


Yes this, though it must have been wider in scope, is the kind of flat, leaded area that I believe that Pepys is talking about. In effect he has created a commodious balcony out of an area of flat, leaded roof.

If anyone remembers the TV production of "Brideshead Revisited", one of the early scenes shot at 'Brideshead' was of Sebastian and Charles up on the leads on the roof of the great house. Plenty of room for lazing around in privacy (and in the nude) in the open air until little sister Cordelia arrives.

Louise  •  Link

I wonder where the boy will sleep now?
Maybe he will have a sort of " kitchen bed" that gets disguised during the day ,p hence, Scottish " done up like a kitchen bed" which my mil spiced a conversation with long ago. On the other hand wasn't this the era of public bedrooms so perhaps is bed stays quite unabashed on the room ? Inquiring minds etc

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I can't get over how relaxed Pepys is being about the fleet going to sea. No panic about ropes or sails, victuling is under control, they have all the necessary flags, no impressment problems ... either he has no money so he can't do anything about the above, or he has successfully delegated everything so he can endlessly play the accountant.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Many of you have helped me to know what leads are, but I can’t get the thought out of my head that they are on a pitched roof and Sam and Bess (and their guests) had to hold on to keep from sliding off. A funny picture.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I bet that is the front door to the official offices, fronting onto the street. Pepys talks about walking through the garden to get to the office, so I assume the living quarters were at the back. Being an Elizabethan building, it was probably E shaped, so and the "spokes" were where the "houses" were located.

As today, people renovate what can be seen from the street, and when the money runs out, they stop. There's no way Pepys would have been allowed to put an extra storey on the front of that beautiful building. Hence my theory about the E shape, and the Tudor nature of what we cannot see.

See the pictures of Lydiard Park here. All very pretty, until you see the backside of the house which is just yards from the Church. That's how the entire original house looked before the St.John family tidied it up ... and ran out of money before they finished.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

FORGET the immediately-above post; the website with the picture is ambiguously written from a Diary-followers' point-of-view.…
It should says something like this:

"Located on the site of Walsingham's mansion, the Navy Office in which Samuel Pepys lived and worked survived the Great Fire, partly due to Pepys' efforts. The building was destroyed by another fire in 1673, and the one in this engraving was built 1674-5 and demolished in 1788 when the office moved to Somerset House."

So it is true Pepys worked in this building. Just not in Diary times. This was built after 1673.

So I stand by my ramshackled E-shaped Tudor house idea, with his house being at the back by the gardens:

The Navy Office gardens were on the site of Lumley House, formerly belonging to the Fratres Sancta Crucis (or Crutched Friars) ... until its removal to Somerset House in the 1740’s.
Latham's Companion describes its location as "the northern section of a large house on the e. side of Seething Lane, a few doors south of its junction with Crutched Friars, with a courtyard opening onto the Lane and garden stretching from the Lane to the n.-w. corner of Tower Hill."

See our own encyclopedia for further descriptions:…

JayW  •  Link

The Henery. The Cockney pronunciation of Henry as in the music hall song I learned as a child from my mother:
I'm 'Enery the Eighth, I am,
'Enery the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an 'Enery
She wouldn't have a Willie nor a Sam
I'm her eighth old man named 'Enery
'Enery the Eighth, I am!
For a version by Herman’s Hermits:…

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