Thursday 13 September 1666

Up, and down to Tower Wharfe; and there, with Balty and labourers from Deptford, did get my goods housed well at home. So down to Deptford again to fetch the rest, and there eat a bit of dinner at the Globe, with the master of the Bezan with me, while the labourers went to dinner. Here I hear that this poor towne do bury still of the plague seven or eight in a day. So to Sir G. Carteret’s to work, and there did to my content ship off into the Bezan all the rest of my goods, saving my pictures and fine things, that I will bring home in wherrys when the house is fit to receive them: and so home, and unload them by carts and hands before night, to my exceeding satisfaction: and so after supper to bed in my house, the first time I have lain there; and lay with my wife in my old closett upon the ground, and Balty and his wife in the best chamber, upon the ground also.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

September 13, I presented his Majestie with a Survey of the ruines, and a Plot for a new Citty, with a discourse on it, whereupon, after dinner, his Majestie sent for me into the Queenes Bed-chamber, her Majestie & the Duke onely present, where they examind each particular, & discoursed upon them for neere a full houre, seeming to be extreamly pleasd with what I had so early thought on. The Queene was now in her Cavaliers riding habite, hat & feather & horsemans Coate, going to take the aire; so I took leave of his Majestie & visiting the Duke of Albemarle, now newly return’d from Sea, I went home.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn to his cousin:

[To Sir Samuel Tuke, Knt. & Bart., (… )ca. 13 Sept 1666]


It was some foure dayes before the most fatal Conflagration of the (quondam) Citty of London yet I addressed a few lines to you ; little thinking I should so soone have had two such dissolutions to deplore: The burning of the best Towne in the World: and the discease of the best friend in the World, your excellent Lady. Sir, you know they are but small afflictions that are loquacious—greate ones are silent: & if ever greate ones there were, mine eyes have beheld, mine cares heard them, with an heart so possess'd with sorrow, that it is not easily expressed : because the instances have ben altogether stupendous & unparallel'd. But it were in vaine to entertaine you w ith those formal topics, which are wont to be apply'd to persons of lesse fortitude & Christian resignation, though 1 cannot but exhort you to what, I know, yon do—looke upon all things in this World as transitory & perishing ; sent us upon condition of quitting them cherefully, when God pleases to take them from us, This consideration alone, (with the rest of those Graces which God has furnish'd you withal!) will be able to aleviate your passion, & and to preserve you from succumbing under the pressures, which I confesse are weighty : but not insupportable: Live therefore, 1 conjure you, & helpe to restore your deare Country, & to consulate your (friends : There is none alive wishes you more sincere happinesse than my poor* family.

I suppose I should have heard ere this from you of all the concernments : but impute your silence to some possible miscarriage of your Letters ; since the usual place of addresse is with the reste reduc'd to ashes & made an heape of mines. I would give you a more particular relation of this calamitous accident; but I should oppresse you with sad stories, and I question not but they are come too soone amongst you at Paris with all minutenesse & (were it possible) hyperbolies : There is this yet of lesse deplorable in it: That, as it pleas'd God to order it, little effects of any greate consequence have been lost, besides the houses .—That our Merchands at the same instant in which it was permitted that the tidings should Die over Seas, had so settled all their affaires, as they complying with their forraine Correspondence as punctualy as if no disaster at all had happen'd : nor do we heare of so much as one that has fail'd. The Exchange a now at Gressham Colledge. The rest of the Citty (which may consist of neere a 7th part) & suburbs peopl'd with new shopps, the same noyse, business & com'erce, not to say vanity. Onely the poore Booke-sellers have ben indede ill treated by Vulcan ; so many noble impressions consum'd, by their trusting them to the Churches, as the losse is estimated neere two hundred thousand pounds : which will be an extraordinary detriment to the whole Republic; of Learning. In the menne time, the King & Parliament are infinitely zealous for the rebuilding of our ruines; & I believe it will universally be the employment of the next Spring: They are now busied with adjusting the claimes of each proprietor, that so they may dispose things for the building after the noblest model: Every body brings in his idea, amongst the rest I presented his Majestic my o\vne conceptions, with a Discourse annex'd. It was the second that was scene, within 2 dayes after the Conflagration : Cut Dr. Wren had got the start of me.1 Both of us did coincide so frequently, that his Majestie was not displeas'd with it, & it caus'd divers alterations ; and truly there was never a more glorious Phoenix upon Earth, if it do at last emerge out of these cinders, & and as the designe is layd. with, the present fervour of the undertakers. But these things are as yet im'ature; & I pray God we may enjoy peace to encourage those faire dispositions : The miracle is, I have never in my life observ'd a more universal resignation, lesse repining among sufferers ; which makes me hope that God has yet thoughts of mercy towards us: Judgments do not alwayes end where they where they begin: & therefore let none exult over our calamities : -- We know not whose turn it may be next. But Sir, I forbear to entertain you longer on these sad reflections ; but persist to beg of you not to suffer any transportations unbecoming a man of virtue; resolve to preserve your selfe, if it be possible, for better times, the good & restauration of your Country, & the comfort of your Friends & Relations, and amongst them of, Sir,

Sayes Court, 27th [sic] September 1666. Yours, &c., J. E.

[Ed. note:] Above is [a] Letter of Mr. Evelyn to Sir S. Tuke on the subject of the Fire, and his plan for rebuilding the City. Part of this plan was to lessen the declivities, and to employ the rubbish in filling up the shore of the Thames to low water mark, so as to keep the Basin always full.— In a letter to Mr. Oldenburg, Secretary to the Royal Society, 22 Dec. 1666, he says, after mentioning the presenting his reflections on re-building the City to his Majesty, that 'the' want of a more exact plot, wherein I might have marked what the Fire had spared, and accommodated my designe to the remaining parts, made me take it as a rasa tabula, and to forme mine idea thereof accordingly: I have since lighted upon Mr. Hollar's late Plan, which looking upon as the most accurate hitherto extant, has caus'd me something to alter what I had so crudely don, though for the most part I still persist in my former discourse, and wiche I heare send you as compleate as an imperfect copy will give me leave, and the suppliment of an ill memory, for since that tyme I hardly euer look'd on it, and it was finish'd within two or three dayes after the Incendium.'

1 These Plans were afterwards printed by the Society of Antiquaries, and hare been repeatedly engraved for the various histories of London ; that by Mr. £velyn is erroneously inscribed Sir John Evelyn,

Memoirs of John Evelyn, Esq., F.R.S., Comprising His Diary, From 1641 to 1705-6 and a Selection of His Familiar Letters.
Edited by William Bray, Esq. London: . Frederick Warne and Co., 1871. Pp. 322f. note…

Lawrence  •  Link

Terry, today I visited the Malvern Hills, I went to the Iron Fort called the British Camp, on a stone plaque there, it said that John Evelyn the famous diarist, said this was the most beautifull Vista in all England! I have to say, (not sure how the countryside has changed since John see it?) though I must agree with him! on a lighter note,I must say, it was lovely being with a small group who seemed not to have a clue who he was! poor souls, how much they miss?

language hat  •  Link

Thanks for the Evelyn letter, Terry. One scanning error that may cause confusion: "since the usual place of addresse is with the reste reduc’d to ashes & made an heape of mines" should end "heape of ruines." You can see the letter at the bottom of this page, in smaller type:…
The sentence in question is at the top of the right-hand column. (There are a lot of other scanning errors, but most are fairly obvious, e.g. "consulate" should be "consolate.")

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Thanks for the clarification and the better link, language hat. The letter seemed to me to be, i.a., a revealing measure of Evelyn as a devoted public servant -- the mingling of the private and public concerns and griefs.
Yes, Lawrence, those who knew him not were missing something!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall

Date: Towards Midnight 13 September 1666

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 46, fol(s). 367

Document type: Holograph

Advertisement is come that M. de Beaufort left La Rochelle, with forty sail at least, ... besides foreships, and that he expects the conjunction of five Dutch men of war. ... It seems little likely that at this time of the year they should make a descent upon Ireland, yet as a threat of that kind has long been mentioned in the intelligence received, the King commands this notice to be given, that the Lord Lieutenant may look about him, and defend himself to best he can, if assaulted. ...…

Pedro  •  Link

Malvern Hills…

”it said that John Evelyn the famous diarist, said this was the most beautifull Vista in all England! I have to say, (not sure how the countryside has changed since John see it?) though I must agree with him! “

Thank you Lawrence!

“The Malvern Hills are amongst the oldest in England, around 600 million years, they run North/South for about 9 miles (13km) and are made up of mainly of Granite and Gniess with some underlain Red Sandstone, but these bare facts do not convey the beauty and splendour that has attracted countless writers, poets, artists and perhaps Britain's greatest composer, Sir Edward Elgar , from gaining inspiration from its grandeur and spectacular views.…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Completely OT, but I can't let pass someone calling Elgar "perhaps Britain's greatest composer." This said of a nation that gave us William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Georg Friedrich Handel (born German, but spent his entire productive life in England), and in our own time, Benjamin Britten. Elgar isn't even in the running. (Pedro, I know it wasn't you, but the author you quoted.)

GrahamT  •  Link

Paul, you missed Gustav Holst, born and raised in England.

Pedro  •  Link

Of course a matter of opinion, and Shropshire would not agree with John Evelyn

Upon seeing Bridgnorth, Charles the First declared it, "the finest view in all my Kingdom", as he gazed, awestruck, from the top of this delightful town. Praise indeed but you can easily see why the King (prematurely) lost his head, for the view remains as stunning today as it was 350 years ago, with the High Town perching a hundred feet above the Low Town and the River Severn.…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Calendar of State Papers Domestic, Sept. 13, 1666

94. “ His Majesty’s declaration to his city of London upon occasion of the late calamity by the lamentable fire." No man’s loss in the late fire is comparable to his, but he hopes to live to see a much more beautiful city than that consumed, well provided against accidents by fire. Praises the courage of those who have undergone the greatest losses; rules and directions for rebuilding cannot yet be given, but the inconveniences of hasty and unskillful buildings must be avoided, and lest any should obstinately erect such buildings, on pretence that the ground is their own, the Lord Mayor and others are authorized to pull down the same. Yet to prevent delay in rebuilding, any number of men who address themselves to the Court of Aldermen, and show where they design to build, shall receive speedy directions. Brick having been found to resist and even extinguish fire, all houses are to be of brick or stone, and strongly arched cellars are recommended. Rules will be issued for the breadth of the principal streets, and no alleys allowed unless absolutely necessary. No houses are to be erected within some feet of the river, and those built are to be fair structures for ornament. The brewers, dyers, sugar bakers, and others whose trades are carried on by smoke are to live together in some quarter to be assigned them. A survey is to be made of the whole ground, and each person to have his land secured to him by Act of Parliament. A model is to be made by men of experience for rebuilding ruined places. Recommends the rebuilding of the churches to the charity of well-disposed persons. Will use all expedition in rebuilding and enlarging the custom house, and will part with any rights belonging to him to advance the service of the city. The hearth money duties for seven years are to be remitted to those who shall erect any buildings according to this declaration. [Draft signed, 6 pages. The last two lines in the hand of Lord Chancellor Clarendon]…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... a threat of that kind has long been mentioned in the intelligence received, ..."

Intelligence? There has been a noticeable lack thereof all summer.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Here I hear that this poor town [Deptford] do bury still of the plague seven or eight in a day."

From this comment I now reverse my guess that the Deptford shipyards were closed. If they had been closed, Pepys would have been aware of the extent of the pestilence in the town. It does add weight to my theory about why Mrs. Bagwell didn't want to see him the other day.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

James Butler, Duke of Ormonde is the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, based in Dublin Castle.

john  •  Link

A short entry nicely showing the content of coming back to a home intact after such turmoil.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

CORRECTION: Soon James Butler writes a letter from Kilkenny Castle, his family home, so that's probably where he is right now. Dublin Castle is his "office" and a couple of hours' ride away.

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