Friday 20 July 1666

Up, and finding by a letter late last night that the fleete is gone, and that Sir W. Pen is ordered to go down to Sheernesse, and finding him ready to go to St. James’s this morning, I was willing to go with him to see how things go,1 and so with him thither (but no discourse with the Duke), but to White Hall, and there the Duke of York did bid Sir W. Pen to stay to discourse with him and the King about business of the fleete, which troubled me a little, but it was only out of envy, for which I blame myself, having no reason to expect to be called to advise in a matter I understand not.

So I away to Lovett’s, there to see how my picture goes on to be varnished (a fine Crucifix),2 which will be very fine; and here I saw some fine prints, brought from France by Sir Thomas Crew, who is lately returned. So home, calling at the stationer’s for some paper fit to varnish, and in my way home met with Lovett, to whom I gave it, and he did present me with a varnished staffe, very fine and light to walk with.

So home and to dinner, there coming young Mrs. Daniel and her sister Sarah, and dined with us; and old Mr. Hawly, whose condition pities me, he being forced to turne under parish-clerke at St. Gyles’s, I think at the other end of the towne.

Thence I to the office, where busy all the afternoon, and in the evening with Sir W. Pen, walking with whom in the garden I am of late mighty great, and it is wisdom to continue myself so, for he is of all the men of the office at present most manifestly usefull and best thought of. He and I supped together upon the seat in the garden, and thence, he gone, my wife and Mercer come and walked and sang late, and then home to bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... in the evening with Sir W. Pen, walking with whom in the garden I am of late mighty great, ..."

In my reading SP continually makes Penn sound like an old buffer; however Penn, b. 1621, is only 45 now, and SP 33. I forget how young, in today's terms, senior command could come, Penn had been in command of a Squadron at Kentish Knock, in 1652 during the First Dutch War, aged 31.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"whose condition pities me" = whose condition I pity

cgs  •  Link

"...whose condition pities me,..."

?3. intr. To be moved to pity; to be sorry, grieve. Also trans. with inf. or clause as object.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... he being forced to turne under parish-clerke at St. Gyles’s, ..."

Might this not mean the depredations of age have reduced him to working as an 'under-clerk,' a long way removed from his job as one of Downing's clerks at the Exchequer, and an office friend and colleague of SP, when first we encounter him in 1660?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Our boy maturing a little in both his appreciation of Penn and his understanding of his own envy.


"What?! Bess, look at this idiot! '...maturing a little in his...' As if I'd suddenly lost my wits and failed to see that lying rogue for what he is..."

"Was, Sam'l."

"Believe me. He may be in Heaven as well but in his foul heart... Say, what does the fellow about 'understanding his[my] own envy'? Envy? Me? Of that duffer Penn?"

Mary  •  Link

under parish-clerke

My reading concurs with MR's. Pepys pities Hawly for his reduction to a nugatory role within the parish hierarchy.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hawly...There but for the grace of God...And the favor of Coventry and the Duke of York.

But even if reduced to such a state, one feels Sam Pepys would find a way to prosper...

20 July 1666...Diary of Parish Under-Clerk Pepys.

"With Mr. Bannister to tour the homes of the late departed in the plague season. He notes that they will be available to bid next week and I see most are in good condition and with a little cleaning will turn a handsome profit. Then walking to Axe Yard where I did visit a while with Miss Crisp and there did ..., the girl as always refusing me nothing. On my way home did encounter Mr. Rowly who did ask about the burial of his brother for which I did collect the fee and the additional 10Ls he had promised to me which joys my heart. Did stop by the carpenter's to inquire about the work on the new cupola for the church for the St. Giles Committee meeting this afternoon. He showed me the latest plans and does offer me 25Ls for a gift should the committee approve. Then by water to Deptford where I did seek out a young carpenter named Bagwell, with as much intent to meet his pretty wife as to employ him but did break with him the business of a case to contain the new organ. Afterwards did meet briefly with Sir William Batten regarding the placing of clergy on navy ships, he placing great trust in my ability to organize the commission on the matter which glads my heart. By water we to Whitehall where we did meet with the Duke of York on the matter and he did likewise placed great assurance in my abilities to furnish the Navy with a proper compliment of clergy. From Whitehall by coach with Sir William Batten who did leave me at the church. To my office where I did make up my accounts and to my joy find I am worth 2500Ls for which God make me thankful. So to supper and to bed.

Mr Gunning  •  Link

Can protestants not have crucifixes then? I know they don't have statues of the saints etc.

When I visited Worcester cathedral, they had crucifixes and surely that is C of E and potestant?

Mary  •  Link

Yes, Protestants can have crucifixes today, though there are still some Protestant communities who prefer to display a plain cross rather than a crucifix.

In Restoration England the Church of England was not the very broad church that we know today and the crucifix (not cross) carried a whiff of Roman Catholicism.

classicist  •  Link

When Pepys was a young man, a crucifix would certainly have been viewed as PAPIST IDOLATRY! a real career killer; it might even have moved particularly godly Puritan neighbours to vandalism (common practice during the Civil War.)His purchase is a good sign of how much both he and the world have changed. One wonders what his father would think of it.

Glyn  •  Link

They've just had a plague that has left a lot of job vacancies which may be how Hawly got this position in the first place. I'm sure that Pepys would have found something better, but one reason why he's trying to save as much money as possible is so as not to be in Hawly's predicament when he is an old man in his 50s.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...finding by a letter late last night that the fleete is gone..."

Spoiler...Fly,my lords fly! There is no tarrying here!

It occurs to me that in less than two years the notion of the fleet being somehow carted off in the night will not seem all that ridiculous.


"All right, all right. The damned Dutch didn't take the whole fleet you know!"

"Sam'l...Let it go."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

a crucifix would certainly have been viewed as PAPIST IDOLATRY! a real career killer;

It was literally so for Archbishop Laud on 10 January 1645...…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Up, and finding by a letter late last night that the fleete is gone"

L&M note they fell down the river in the early morning of the 19th, but did not get beyond the Shoe on the 20th, and did not engage the Dutch, who waited for them in the mouth of the river until the 25th.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to Lovett’s, there to see how my picture goes on to be varnished (a fine Crucifix)"

L&M: An unidentified print of the Passion:… Possibly this was the picture which in 1674 gave grounds to Pepys's political enemies to accuse him of being (like his master , the Duke of York) a papist. Cf. CJ , ix. 306 (10 February 1674):
nformation of a Member being a Papist.
Information being given to the House, by some Members, that they had received an Account from a Person of Quality, That he saw an Altar, with a Crucifix upon it, in the House of Mr. Pepis;

And Mr. Pepis, standing up in his Place, did heartily and flatly deny, that he ever had any Altar, or Crucifix, or the Image or Picture of any Saint whatsoever in his House, from the Top to the Bottom of it.

And the Members being called upon by the House, to name the Person that gave them the Information; but being unwilling to do it without the Order of the House.

Ordered, That such Members of this House as have given in the Information against Mr. Pepis, do name the Persons that informed them of the Matter thereof.

And the Lord Shaftsbury being named to be the Person, that informed them; and the House being also informed, that one Sir John Bankes did likewise see the Altar; &c.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Sir W. Pen is ordered to go down to Sheernesse,"

Sheerness was a short point of marshland jutting out of the north-western tip of the Isle of Sheppey. Mariners referred to it as the Ness or the Point. The Ness had strategic potential as it lay at the mouth of the River Medway -- up river at Chatham was the fleet anchorage. Whoever controlled the Ness controlled England’s warships.

Sheerness held potential for another reason. The three royal naval dockyards on the Thames and Medway – Deptford, Woolwich and Chatham – were all up rivers, away from the sea.

When the second Anglo-Dutch war began in March 1665, the two enemies faced each other across the North Sea, meaning ship maintenance would fall mainly to these dockyards of the Thames and Medway.

The Admiralty considered ways to efficiently turn around ships needing stores and minor repairs. Sheerness, where the broad mudflats exposed at low tide on the southern side of the Ness had been used for the careening of ships' hulls, was selected as the most suitable site for a depot.

In the spring of 1665, a small ready-to-use victualing storehouse was erected adjacent to the foreshore near the Ness. As readily available supplies of spare masts, yards, rigging and canvas came into demand, a stockpile was developed at Sheerness in what rapidly became a ramshackle little depot.

On 18 August, 1665 the Navy Board Commissioners landed at Sheerness to survey the ground and layout the proposed new dockyard.…

Three months later, in mid-November 1665, it was announced that large warships would be refitted at Sheerness Dockyard adjacent to which, at the Ness, work on a fort to contain 29 pieces of ordnance was underway, but progress on the fort was slow.

Sheerness fort and dockyard had no supporting town. Low quality housing, a poor water supply and a high risk of contracting ague (a form of malaria) led to construction delays and a lack of workers.

Lack of available land caused operational problems. Several hulks were positioned on the foreshore to act as breakwaters, but soon they were accommodating workers, navy personnel and dockyard activities so spaces between the hulks (and later the hulks themselves) were infilled with soil so new hulks could be added.

Whether or not the hulks were there at this point, I do not know. But the plain-living Puritan (but wealthy) Admiral Sir William Penn was used to roughing it for a while. There was more than enough for him to do, whipping Sheerness into shape.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since Admiral Penn takes James' yacht, the Henrietta, maybe he stays on it for this trip making sure there was no malingering. He leaves tomorrow and stays there until August 1. This visit puts Penn in the territory of Commissioner Peter Pett of the Chatham Dockyards, under whose purview Sheerness is currently operating -- as we will hear tomorrow.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and here I saw some fine prints, brought from France by Sir Thomas Crew, who is lately returned."

Sir Thomas Crew MP was in France -- an enemy nation -- buying prints for resale? Sounds like a cover for a diplomatic mission to me.

His House of Commons bio says Sir Thomas Crew MP was one of the least active Members of the Cavalier Parliament, but notes his health was poor; he was suffering from continued apoplectic fits in 1662 and troubled with the vapors and dizzy spells in 1663.

I feel sorry for Jemima Crew Montagu, Countess of Sandwich, waiting patiently at Hinchingbrooke for word from her husband in Madrid and her brother in France, and her husband's enemies losing badly to the Dutch. These women had nerves of steel.

Pat Aalfs  •  Link

I have always been amazed that the Dutch were able to pull the Chatham raid off. I refer to the Dutch Republic often as the "oxymoron's" of Europe. Instead of one unified navy, there were 5 separate admiralty colleges which were often at odds with one another. Some controlled by Princgezinde, some by Staatgezinde. Two provinces had no naval representation and the Frisian admiralty spoke a different language. The later fact had no real bearing on the raid because the Frisian fleet got a tooth ache and stayed home. deRuyter must have been one great strategist.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pat -- so very true ... do you have a book recommendation (in English!) about the Dutch navy at this time?

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.