Friday 7 September 1666

Up by five o’clock; and, blessed be God! find all well, and by water to Paul’s Wharfe. Walked thence, and saw, all the towne burned, and a miserable sight of Paul’s church; with all the roofs fallen, and the body of the quire fallen into St. Fayth’s; Paul’s school also, Ludgate, and Fleet-street, my father’s house, and the church, and a good part of the Temple the like. So to Creed’s lodging, near the New Exchange, and there find him laid down upon a bed; the house all unfurnished, there being fears of the fire’s coming to them. There borrowed a shirt of him, and washed. To Sir W. Coventry, at St. James’s, who lay without curtains, having removed all his goods; as the King at White Hall, and every body had done, and was doing. He hopes we shall have no publique distractions upon this fire, which is what every body fears, because of the talke of the French having a hand in it. And it is a proper time for discontents; but all men’s minds are full of care to protect themselves, and save their goods: the militia is in armes every where. Our fleetes, he tells me, have been in sight one of another, and most unhappily by fowle weather were parted, to our great losse, as in reason they do conclude; the Dutch being come out only to make a shew, and please their people; but in very bad condition as to stores; victuals, and men. They are at Bullen; and our fleete come to St. Ellen’s. We have got nothing, but have lost one ship, but he knows not what.

Thence to the Swan, and there drank: and so home, and find all well. My Lord Bruncker, at Sir W. Batten’s, and tells us the Generall is sent for up, to come to advise with the King about business at this juncture, and to keep all quiet; which is great honour to him, but I am sure is but a piece of dissimulation. So home, and did give orders for my house to be made clean; and then down to Woolwich, and there find all well. Dined, and Mrs. Markham come to see my wife. So I up again, and calling at Deptford for some things of W. Hewer’s, he being with me, and then home and spent the evening with Sir R. Ford, Mr. Knightly, and Sir W. Pen at Sir W. Batten’s. This day our Merchants first met at Gresham College, which, by proclamation, is to be their Exchange. Strange to hear what is bid for houses all up and down here; a friend of Sir W. Rider’s: having 150l. for what he used to let for 40l. per annum. Much dispute where the Custome-house shall be thereby the growth of the City again to be foreseen. My Lord Treasurer, they say, and others; would have it at the other end of the towne. I home late to Sir W. Pen’s, who did give me a bed; but without curtains or hangings, all being down. So here I went the first time into a naked bed, only my drawers on; and did sleep pretty well: but still hath sleeping and waking had a fear of fire in my heart, that I took little rest. People do all the world over cry out of the simplicity of my Lord Mayor in generall; and more particularly in this business of the fire, laying it all upon him. A proclamation1 is come out for markets to be kept at Leadenhall and Mileendgreene, and several other places about the towne; and Tower-hill, and all churches to be set open to receive poor people.


32 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day our Merchants first met at Gresham College, which, by proclamation, is to be their Exchange."

"[T]he Great Fire of London in September 1666, while leaving the College intact, led to a shortage of accommodation for the city's merchants, and Gresham College was [also] used as a temporary Exchange from 1666 to 1673." http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?id=1060&tip=1 This sharing of quarters will persist until the year's turn when the Royal Society finds other quarters.

CGS  •  Link

Boxers??"..., only my drawers on;..."

Phoenix  •  Link

My Lord Bruncker, at Sir W. Batten’s, and tells us the Generall is sent for up, to come to advise with the King about business at this juncture, and to keep all quiet; which is great honour to him, but I am sure is but a piece of dissimulation.

Calendar of State Papers: "The King, with the unanimous concurrence of the council, wishes the Lord General were here, and Sec. Morice is sounding him to know whether he would be willing to be ordered home."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"A proclamation1 is come out for markets to be kept at Leadenhall and Mileendgreene, and several other places about the towne; and Tower-hill, and all churches to be set open to receive poor people."

Sounds like Charlie and co are doing what they can...

Stacia  •  Link

I hesitate to sound ungrateful for Sam's recent entries, but I so wish we could know more about what Bess is doing. She is in Woolwich still, but you'd think she would travel back to oversee the house being made clean per Sam's orders. Unless her only job is to guard the gold; has she been stuck in that room "night and day" since the 5th?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"This day our Merchants first met at Gresham College, which, by proclamation, is to be their Exchange."

By the King, a proclamation for the keeping of markets to supply the city of London with provisions, and also for prevention of alarms and tumults, and for appointing the meeting of merchants. ... Given at Our court at Whitehall the sixth day of September 1666. in the eighteenth year of Our reign.
London : printed by John Bill, and Christopher Barker, printers to the Kings most excellent Majesty, 1666.
1 sheet ([1] p.) ; 1⁰.
Variant title:Proclamation for the keeping of markets to supply the city of London with provisions
Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), C3491; Steele, I, 3473

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"A proclamation1 is come out ... and all churches to be set open to receive poor people."

Charles R. His Maiesty in his princely compassion and very tender care, taking into consideration the distressed condition of many his good subiects, whom the late dreadful and dismal fire hath made destitute ... Given at our court at Whitehall, this fifth day of September, in the eighteenth year of our reign, one thousand six hundred sixty six.
London : printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, printers to the Kings most excellent maiesty, [1666]

1 sheet ([1] p.) ; 1/2⁰.
Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), C3088; Steele, I, 3470

jeannine  •  Link

"My Lord Bruncker, at Sir W. Batten’s, and tells us the Generall is sent for up, to come to advise with the King about business at this juncture, and to keep all quiet; which is great honour to him, but I am sure is but a piece of dissimulation"

During the plague the Duke of Albemarle was the 'go to' person who stayed in the city and kept things calm. Charles at least knows who has the leadership skills and respect of the people to manage a crisis.

JWB  •  Link

It is debated whether the fire ended plague, those contra noting declines elsewhere; but, it can be said that a resevoir has been cleaned and all things considered Londoners better off. Leibnitz 20 this year: "God always chooses the best".

Mary  •  Link

The disappearance of the plague.

The metropolitan Bills of Mortality maintained a special column for plague deaths until the year 1703. However, in 1667 only 35 persons were listed as having died of plague, followed by 14 in 1668 and just 2 in 1669.

During the next decade only occasional outbreaks and rare plague deaths occurred in southern England, and the last plague death listed in the metropolitan bills was recorded in a remote downstream parish in 1679.

Ruben  •  Link

The disappearance of the plague.

You only have to look at the list of diagnosis in the Bills of Mortality to understand that most people died with no diagnosis, at least by our standards.
Diagnosis of the Plague was not based in the identification of the Yersinia Pestis bacterium, but on symptoms seen by a physician or by the general public (there were not many doctors around). So it is possible that some died of other kind of infection, like a purulent septicemia, lymphoma or who knows what. An isolated case of plague is possible but without identification of the bacterium makes the diagnosis dubious.
I think that after the last big plague, most "plague deaths" were something else.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wrote a paper on the problems in identifying plague deaths from the Roman/Byzantine/medieval Western Europe eras a while back. When you add the distortions of monks and others copying copies of copies, and the oft-times even worse distortions of nineteenth-century historians (including medical ones) trying to catagorize everything neatly, the amazing thing is how concise and clear the descriptions can be. Of course there's huge room for errors which can mislead the modern researcher as well as the ancient archivist, but if the description is sufficiently detailed and the sources can be well-identified, we shouldn't go too far the other way and underrate the observation skills of our ancestors.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

I'd like to see that paper, Robert, is it available online? Or if it was in a journal, might I be able to find it perhaps through inter-library loan?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

No, it was a term paper for an applied epi class when I was in grad school and never published. But I'll gladly dig it out and send it if you'd like to see it.

Harvey  •  Link

"... what Bess is doing. She is in Woolwich still, but you’d think she would travel back to oversee the house being made clean per Sam’s orders. Unless her only job is to guard the gold; has she been stuck in that room “night and day” since the 5th?..."

Probably, with the family fortune in gold, probably not far off $1m today in buying power, it needs someone who really cares sitting on that chest 24/7.
The house cleaning can wait.

Cactus Wren  •  Link

Robert -- I don't want to inconvenience you, but if it happens to fall to hand.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So here I went the first time into a naked bed, only my drawers on"

A NAKED BED - bed without curtains (Large Glossary)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To Sir W. Coventry, at St. James’s, who lay without curtains....I home late to Sir W. Pen’s, who did give me a bed; but without curtains or hangings, all being down. So here I went the first time into a naked bed."

A NAKED BED - bed without curtains (Large Glossary)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"We have got nothing, but have lost one ship, but he knows not what. "

L&M: This encounter took place on 1 September off Calais. Rupert's slowness in giving the order to attack, as well as the storm, seems to have caused the failure to make contact. The English lost several ships, not one. Allin, i. 286+; Naval Misc. (Navy Rec. Soc.), iii. 32-3.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"People do all the world over cry out of the simplicity of my Lord Mayor in generall; and more particularly in this business of the fire, laying it all upon’ him."

L&M: A MS newsletter reported that on the first night of the disaster Bludworth refused to order the destruction of houses, saying that the fire was slight and 'a woman might piss it out'. He had been guilty of a certain indecision perhaps and after the second day of the Fire had been displaced from control of affairs by the Duke of York.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"L&M: A MS newsletter ..."

Anyone know what MS stands for?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"the Dutch being come out only to make a shew, and please their people; but in very bad condition as to stores; victuals, and men."

The answer to my question about why the Dutch did not invade when England was so vulnerable.

arby  •  Link

MS = manuscript

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

ooooohhhh how embarrassing .. that was too easy, Arby! But I bet you're right.

arby  •  Link

the wiki tells me that it traditionally means not mechanically printed or reproduced, so hand written, typed, but the meaning has broadened now.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Yup, I don't think of typeset news sheets or printed books as being manuscripts. I think of royal proclamations, hand written books and letters as manuscripts.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

ORIGIN OF MANUSCRIPT
1590–1600; < Medieval Latin manūscrīptus written by hand, equivalent to Latin manū by hand (ablative of manus) + scrīptus written;
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/manuscript

A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document that is written by hand — or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten — as opposed to being mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way.[1] More recently, the term has come to be understood to further include any written, typed, or word-processed copy of an author's work, as distinguished from its rendition as a printed version of the same.[2] Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in book form, scrolls or in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuscript

Peach  •  Link

A further account of the ruin of St. Paul's, by one William Taswell, a 15 year old boy.

"On Thursday, soon after sunrise, I endeavored to reach St. Paul's. The ground was so hot as almost to scorch my shoes, and the air so intensely warm that unless I had stopped some time upon Fleet Bridge to rest myself, I must have fainted under the extreme languor of my spirits. After giving myself time to breathe, I made the best of my way to St. Paul's. And now let any person judge of the violent emotion I was in when I perceived the metal belongings of the bells melting; the ruinous condition of its walls; whole heaps of stone of a large circumference tumbling down with a great noise just upon my feet, read to crush me to death....I forgot to mention that near the east wall of St. Paul's a human body presented itself to me, parched up as it were with the flames: whole as to skin, meagre as to flesh, yellow as to colour. This was an old decrepit woman who had fled here for safety, imagining the flames would not have reached her here. Her clothes were burnt and every limb reduced to coal."
---A Time Traveler's Guide to Restoration England, pg. 23

Louise Hudson  •  Link

CGS wondered if Sam’s “drawers” were like today’s Boxers.

You won’t see men today wearing anything like the voluminous drawers worn in the 1600s. No elastic, either.

“Underneath their shirt or tunic they clothed their legs in braies or breeches. Braies were a loose fitting drawer-like garment which was attached at the waist with a drawstring and varied in length from upper-thigh to below the knee.”

See photos and more text here. http://www.fashionintime.org/history-mens-underga…

From what I hear, they were laundered once a year, whether they needed it or not.

Mary K  •  Link

Annual laundry occasions.

It was only very wealthy households that allegedly saved up all their laundry for a huge, annual orgy of a wash-day. The (again alleged) purpose was to demonstrate to others that they were so wealthy that they had enough stores of linen to be able to afford such a practice. I've always had some doubts about this possible canard.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Perhaps the wealthy had two wash days a year. Luxury!

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