Sunday 22 July 1666

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, and there till noon mighty busy, setting money matters and other things of mighty moment to rights to the great content of my mind, I finding that accounts but a little let go can never be put in order by strangers, for I cannot without much difficulty do it myself. After dinner to them again till about four o’clock and then walked to White Hall, where saw nobody almost but walked up and down with Hugh May, who is a very ingenious man. Among other things, discoursing of the present fashion of gardens to make them plain, that we have the best walks of gravell in the world, France having no nor Italy; and our green of our bowling allies is better than any they have. So our business here being ayre, this is the best way, only with a little mixture of statues, or pots, which may be handsome, and so filled with another pot of such and such a flower or greene as the season of the year will bear. And then for flowers, they are best seen in a little plat by themselves; besides, their borders spoil the walks of another garden: and then for fruit, the best way is to have walls built circularly one within another, to the South, on purpose for fruit, and leave the walking garden only for that use. Thence walked through the House, where most people mighty hush and, methinks, melancholy. I see not a smiling face through the whole Court; and, in my conscience, they are doubtfull of the conduct again of the Generalls, and I pray God they may not make their fears reasonable. Sir Richard Fanshaw is lately dead at Madrid. Guyland is lately overthrowne wholly in Barbary by the King of Tafiletta. The fleete cannot yet get clear of the River, but expect the first wind to be out, and then to be sure they fight. The Queene and Maids of Honour are at Tunbridge.

22 Annotations

Margaret  •  Link

I wonder what our boy would have thought of Japanese gardens?

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

"bowling allies"

How come Sam keeps speaking American English?

Bowling Alleys

Surely the English game of bowls was never played in "allies" but on a green?

Mary  •  Link

Indoor bowling alleys were a feature of inn/pub life in England from the 14th century onwards and I believe that one still exists in London. We had a discussion about this some years ago on the Pepys site, but I'm bothered if I can rediscover the links now. Glyn?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

So our business here being ayre, this is the best way,

I take it "ayre" in this context means "space". The word "alley" used to mean a space between walls or trees as well as the more modern meaning of a narrow street. And there are still lots of bowling alleys in UK pubs Mary, especially in the West Country.

Mary  •  Link

our business here being ayre ...

I wonder whether Hugh May or Pepys had ever read Francis Bacon's 1625 essay "Of Gardens"? Perhaps something written 40 years previously would have seemed old-fashioned to them.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

had ever read Francis Bacon’s 1625 essay “Of Gardens”?

SP refers six times in the diary to Bacon's Sermones Fideles 'Faber Fortunae', and he retained the Elzevir edition of 1662, PL 48. Otherwise:-

"... and bought for the love of the binding three books: ... , Bacon’s Organon, ..." which was not retained in the Pepsyian Library.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"And then for flowers"
No mention of the roses!What a shame!

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...I finding that accounts but a little let go can never be put in order by strangers, for I cannot without much difficulty do it myself. ..."

oh this does ring true! Not five minutes before I retreated to read this diary, it was suggested to me that I should have an assistant to help with the accounts - no! No!
Could not bear it! Only i can understand this...aaargh! Sorry, too much Margaret River Cabernet.

I remember playing on an indoor bowling alley in a pub (with nine pins) in York as a student in the 70's.

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

"our green of our bowling allies "

This suggests a game played on grass, I would think similar to (or even exactly the same as) the modern English game of Bowls.

The game with nine pins, played indoors on a wooden alley, often in a pub, is called skittles.

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

I found his glossary of terms from Skittles, perhaps some of our American friends could tell us if any words have survived into ten-pin bowling? I know some have.

Ball - the wooden ball rolled at the skittles.

Beaver - when a player knocks down no pins in a hand.

Birdy - Worcestershire term for the pin in the centre of the frame, immediately behind the front pin. Also known as "bird in the cage" or the "Landlord".

Broken frame - a frame with some pins knocked over
Cheese - a round, flattened wooden discus (often made of lignum vitae), shaped like some types of cheese, which in some variants of the game is thrown instead of rolling a ball. It may also be rolled, like the oblate ball used in the game of bowls.

Copper - the pin on the extreme left or right of the frame. The pin at the front of the frame, also known as the king pin .

Cush - the rails on either side of the alley, usually made from timber. Some alleys have ditches/gutters instead (similar to ten pin bowling).

Cush ball - a ball that is bowled & hits the cush. In most variants of the game the pins that are then knocked down are not counted in the players score (see also sidey)

Down - the scores for all players in one set during a single hand, combined, e.g. "we just got a 24 down"

Duck - a player who doesn't knock down any pins on their turn.

Flattener - a ball that knocks down all nine pins.

Flopper - when a player knocks down all nine pins with one ball or cheese.

Flopper ball - the ball that achieves a flopper

Foul - a ball delivered illegally over the foul line

Frame - the full set of pins (usually nine) standing upright

Hand - a player's turn at the game

Hill gap - The Gap between the front pin and the front quarter pin

King pin - The pin at the front of the frame. Also name of type of skittles where front pin has to be floored before any pins count

Landlord - the pin in the centre of the frame, immediately behind the front pin. Also known as "bird in the cage".

Line - the mark on the alley that denotes where the ball must be delivered (before the line in Worcestershire, in - between two lines in Bristol etc)

Leg - known as a set elsewhere comprising 6, 8, 9, 10 or 12 players.

Over - same as foul.

Pin - a skittle.

Strike - hitting over all the pins within one turn.

Good strike - Denotes when after the first ball the remaining Pins stood up are able to be knocked down with the second ball for a spare

Pitch - the long rectangular strip along which balls are thrown and at the end of which the pins stand

Plate - the strip on the floor which the balls have to hit when they leave the skittlers' hands. In Bristol and North Somerset the plate is the square which the pins are stood on.

Quarter - the two pins to either side and behind the front pin

Set - three or four players who play against the opposing teams set

Sidey - a ball played that hits the side of the alley.

Skittle alley - a long narrow building in which skittles is usually played.

Skittle may be an onomatopoeic word that describes the noise made when the skittles fall.

Spare - when a player knocks down all nine pins with 2 balls, allowing a third throw with the pins re-set.

Split - The pins left after the first ball has been played.

Spider (Worcestershire) - when a player fails to knocks down any pins in a hand with her or her three balls.

Sticker or sticker-up - a person who puts knocked-over pins back upright

Sunshine (New South Wales) - same as spider

V/c - used to denote a beaver or sunshine when chalking, also an alternative for those names in
North Somerset - said to stand for "very close"

Spot - The marks on the plate which the pins are placed

Wraxall 8 (north Somerset) - used to denote when a player scores 8 with the front pin still standing

Winger (Worcestershire) - Either of the two pins at the extreme right and left of the frame.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The history of Bowls is fraught.

"Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of Edward III, Richard II and other monarchs. Even when, on the invention of gunpowder and firearms, the bow had fallen into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued. The discredit attaching to bowling alleys, first established in London in 1455, probably encouraged subsequent repressive legislation, for many of the alleys were connected with taverns frequented by the dissolute and gamesters. The word "bowls" occurs for the first time in the statute of 1511 in which Henry VIII confirmed previous enactments against unlawful games. By a further act of 1541 - which was not repealed until 1845 - artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas, and then only in their master's house and presence. It was further enjoined that any one playing bowls outside his own garden or orchard was liable to a penalty of 6s. 8d., while those possessed of lands of the yearly value of £100 might obtain licenses to play on their own private greens."

ONeville  •  Link

The word alley used by Sam could be misleading. Bowls and Skittles are two quite different games, played on different surfaces. However, although played on a green, which is a square piece of lawn, bowls is still played in straight lines and could just as easily be played on a narrow strip. International and national indoor bowls tournaments are still held. The English weather makes this sport a summer one otherwise.

cgs  •  Link

It was his {Samuell} genetic counter Parts that created that odd language where they drop their "u's"
"How come Sam keeps speaking American English"

serafina  •  Link

Just sitting here wondering how they kept lawns cut short enough in Pepys day to play on. Some early form of lawnmower? Livestock would have kept it short, but then there would be the "residue" to contend with. Anyone know how they did it back then?

cgs  •  Link

lawns, kept, scythes and scycles.

cgs  •  Link

Like most 'uman endeavors, the grass could be shaved cleanly by an expert. it be called mowing
Mow had many other meanings too, like makin' a heap of peas, stukin thy corn [wheat, barley oats not cobbs], rickin and making faces.
One mowed ones lawn:

to mow with a sythe
OED samples
1. a. trans. To cut down (grass, corn, etc.) with a scythe or (now usually)

1671 DRYDEN Evening's Love I. ii. 8 Our Love here is like our Grass; if it be not mow'd quickly 'tis burnt up.

1690 W. WALKER Idiomatologia Anglo-Lat. 305 What you sow so that you must mow.

1664 J. EVELYN Kalendarium Hortense 65 in Sylva, Mow Carpet-walks.

1638 R. BRATHWAIT Psalmes Paraphr. cli. 295 Admit with sithe he mowe his beard, with harrow rake his head.

1650 J. BULWER Anthropometamorphosis Pref. sig. A3, Here the luxuriant Chin quite down is mown.

1632 MILTON L'Allegro 66 And the Mower whets his sithe.

Australian Susan  •  Link

In 1457 James II of Scotland banned golf because the men were neglecting to practise their archery enough, which was a necessary skill to repel the dastardly English.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" The Queene and Maids of Honour are at Tunbridge."

On a lighter note, they were there from 9 July to 5 August (London Gazette). L&M say the Queen's patronage made the wells there fashionable.

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