Friday 10 May 1667

Up and to the office, where a meeting about the Victuallers’ accounts all the morning, and at noon all of us to Kent’s, at the Three Tuns’ Tavern, and there dined well at Mr. Gawden’s charge; and, there the constable of the parish did show us the picklocks and dice that were found in the dead man’s pocket, and but 18d. in money; and a table-book, wherein were entered the names of several places where he was to go; and among others Kent’s house, where he was to dine, and did dine yesterday: and after dinner went into the church, and there saw his corpse with the wound in his left breast; a sad spectacle, and a broad wound, which makes my hand now shake to write of it. His brother intending, it seems, to kill the coachman, who did not please him, this fellow stepped in, and took away his sword; who thereupon took out his knife, which was of the fashion, with a falchion blade, and a little cross at the hilt like a dagger; and with that stabbed him.

So to the office again, very busy, and in the evening to Sir Robert Viner’s, and there took up all my notes and evened our balance to the 7th of this month, and saw it entered in their ledger, and took a receipt for the remainder of my money as the balance of an account then adjusted. Then to my Lord Treasurer’s, but missed Sir Ph. Warwicke, and so back again, and drove hard towards Clerkenwell,1 thinking to have overtaken my Lady Newcastle, whom I saw before us in her coach, with 100 boys and girls running looking upon her but I could not: and so she got home before I could come up to her. But I will get a time to see her. So to the office and did more business, and then home and sang with pleasure with my wife, and to supper and so to bed.

22 Annotations

cape henry  •  Link

"...and with that stabbed him. So to the office again..."These abrupt transitions are sometimes quite jarring, and this one especially so.But what a powerful little vignette spread over two days.Pepys even drops his usual detachment to report that he was greatly shaken by the event, so much so that his hand shook at the recollection.Arresting stuff.

cum salis grano  •  Link

"tis wot I used to cut me old nettles?????" then stooked.
falchion, n.
[ME. fauchoun, a. OF. fauchon = It. falcione:{em}vulg. Lat. *falci{omac}n-em, f. L. falci-, falx sickle.]
[falcultus L a sythe]

1. A broad sword more or less curved with the edge on the convex side. In later use and in poetry: A sword of any kind.
1303 R
b. single, double falchion, case of falchions: various species of sword-play. Obs.

2. = BILL n.1 4 or BILL-HOOK. Obs.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"drove hard towards Clerkenwell,1 thinking to have overtaken my Lady Newcastle, whom I saw before us in her coach, with 100 boys and girls running looking upon her but I could not"

Fascination with celebrities is not a modern invention. The Duchess would have understood Lady Gaga well.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I'm almost a little surprised to find Sam so shaken as I'd expect he'd be quite familiar even with violent death. One tends to think of his time as a fairly violent era, with death in the street reasonably common, but even in our insanely violent time most people don't find themselves stepping over corpses every morning. And I suppose he didn't see much of and/or has forgotten what he see of the war dead.

Then too a colleague of mine who was brutally traumatized during the Croatian war of the 90s and endlessly familiar with violent death still found what she saw of violence here shocking. I suppose despite claiming of becoming "hardened" we adjust and absorb and still feel a fresh incident even when violence is somewhat common. And certainly Samuel Pepys is a highly sensitive organism.

Perhaps the secret is the aged ps, John and Meg, who despite their hard lives and the constant loss of beloved children, still managed to create a somewhat safe and secure world for their children, where music, the occasional outing, a view of the lives of wealthier relatives, (and a little of the joy of fashion?) provided a haven from the outside world?

language hat  •  Link

"But what a powerful little vignette spread over two days."

Indeed; it's striking to see Sam drop his usual sang-froid.

I stayed in a hostel in Clerkenwell Close when I was in London a few decades ago, and believe me, I didn't see any dukes and duchesses.

Susan Scott  •  Link

I love how "100 boys and girls running looking after" Lady Newcastle, literate, intellectual ladies being such a curiosity in Restoration London. You go, Mad Meg!

cape henry  •  Link

"Fascination with celebrities is not a modern invention. The Duchess would have understood Lady Gaga well." --PC (I have thought this on numerous occasions over the past years.Put nicely, sir.)

cum salis grano  •  Link

Nature of man has barely changed, just the different words for fawning. Still loves give his imagination a free reign.
Samuell had to hand over "mucho bucks" to have an image of his dreams in his closet, now available on the internet for the cost of hitting the keyboard.

I reside in Lala land and rarely see the icons of the media.

JWB  •  Link

Table book

p1-2, Hone:
"A correspondent, understood to be Mr Douce, in Dr. Aikin's " Athenœum," sub »equently says, " I happen to possess i table-book of Shakspeare's time. It is I little book, nearly square, being three inchts wide and something less than four in length, bound stoutly in calf, and fastening *ith four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. The title as follows : ' Writing Tables, with a Kalender for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie necessaiie rules. The Tabler made by Robert Triple. London, Imprinted for the Company of Stationers.' Thr tables are inserted immediately after the almanack. At first sight they appear like what we call asses-skin, the colour being precisely the same, but the leaves are thicker : whatever smell they may have had is lost, and there is no gloss upon them. It might be supposed that the gloss has been worn off ; but this is not the case, for most of the tables have never been written on. Some of tl.e oilers being a little worn, show that the middle of the leaf consists of paper; the composition is laid on with great nicety. A silver style was used, which is sheathed in one of the covers, and which produces an impression as distinct, and as easily obliterated as a black-lead pencil. The tables are interleaved with common paper."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Table book -- also called 'Tablet' book

The Pepysian Library contains two examples, "Dutch Folio Tablet Book" [So described by SP in his index list] eight stiffened leaves, PL 2676, and 'James II Pocket Book, the whole time of his serving at the seas, as Ld. H. Admiral of England,vtz from May 1663 to his laying down his Commission May 1673', PL 488, 30 pages of ships lists, wage tables etc. in Mss. with 8 stiffened leaves at the rear, the notes written on the final leaves now indecipherable from age.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The late Basil Fielding's pockets also contained picklocks and dice

My instinctive thought that there was something shady about these items may reflect a later time: "In the United Kingdom, a person who carries anything at all with the intent to commit burglary or theft can potentially be prosecuted [Theft Act 1968]. The penalty for this can be up to 3 years imprisonment. In the case of items specifically made or altered to be usable in burglary or theft, such as lock-picks, mere possession presumes intent – there is no need to prove it."…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"And I suppose he didn't see much of and/or has forgotten what he did see of the war dead."

No, but Pepys has just lost his mother. He did see death during the plague, and feared for his life. I don't remember him mentioning seeing death during the Great Fire, but he has mentioned having nightmares six months after the event which is a classic sign of PTSD.

Now this young man has been killed, who was known to his extended family. Perhaps Pepys feels obligated to find the truth of the matter so he can write a decent report to Lady Sandwich. But that it shakes him up is to be expected.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I wonder who paid "the constable of the parish" and what his duties were. After all, there was no police force. If someone stole from you, it was your job to figure out who dun it and get the bailiffs to make an arrest.

It sounds as if the body was still at the Three Tuns Tavern. Lucky innkeeper! But on the other hand, there were no police morgues. The family had to be contacted and asked for instructions on where to send the body ... and some payment for services rendered.

The lock pick is interesting. I wonder if it could be used for getting stones out of horses' shoes? I had one of those on my Swiss Army knife when I was a girl guide.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My mistake ... they had moved the body to the church. The constable was at the Tavern with the contents of his pockets.

"and after dinner went into the church, and there saw his corpse with the wound in his left breast; a sad spectacle, and a broad wound, which makes my hand now shake to write of it."

Yesterday Pepys told us that the Three Tuns Tavern was on his street, so we should be able to work out which church this was. If it had been St. Olave's I think he would have said "my church" or something more familiar than "the" church. Well, this led me to a fascinating history of the Aldgate and Crutched Friars area, but no sign of another church on Pepys' street. Must have been St. Olave's.…

Mary K  •  Link

I haven't found any pictures of 17th century lock-picks yet but any modern ones would be far too slender for removing stones from horses' hooves.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On further thought, this site says:

"In the Minories, lying between Aldgate and Tower Hill, there stood, in the Middle Ages, an abbey of nuns of the order of St. Clare, called the Minories, …

"The Church of the Priory of the Holy Trinity, in the Minories, was founded by Matilda, queen of Henry I, in 1108. The Church escaped the Great Fire, but becoming dangerous was taken down and rebuilt in 1706."

Maybe they took young Fielding's body there.

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

I'm getting a 403 error when I try to look at specific locations on the map such as taverns. Are the webmasters aware of this and is this going to be fixed soon?

Background Lurker  •  Link

Dear Kyle
In this blog the webmaster is usually referred to (with a slight bow of the head) as "Phil the Magnificent". Why? Just because he is.
Phil (the M) will likely look into any bad links if you email him. Maybe you can even suggest some updated links. ;)

From About This Site above:
"This site is run by Phil Gyford. If you have questions about the site you can email me at If you have questions about Samuel Pepys, the diary, or 17th century London you may be better off joining the discussion group at Yahoo! Groups and asking people there."

Mary K  •  Link

Also please note that Phil established this website entirely voluntarily, never anticipated that it would gain the world-wide reputation that it has, has run it magnificently through two runs of the diary and merits our undying gratitude. There are no "webmasters", just Phil the Magnificent and Magnanimous.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

And he does it. free of charge, for 20 years. Thank you, Phil. This is a national gem.

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