Wednesday 9 October 1667

Up, and got ready, and eat our breakfast; and then took coach: and the poor, as they did yesterday, did stand at the coach to have something given them, as they do to all great persons; and I did give them something: and the town musique did also come and play: but, Lord! what sad music they made! However, I was pleased with them, being all of us in very good humour, and so through the town, and observed at our College of Magdalene the posts new painted, and understand that the Vice- Chancellor is there this year. And so away for Huntingdon mightily pleased all along the road to remember old stories; and come to Brampton at about noon, and there find my father and sister and brother all well and here laid up our things, and up and down to see the garden with my father, and the house, and do altogether find it very pretty; especially the little parlour and the summerhouses in the garden, only the wall do want greens upon it, and the house is too low-roofed; but that is only because of my coming from a house with higher ceilings. But altogether is very pretty; and I bless God that I am like to have such a pretty place to retire to: and I did walk with my father without doors, and do find a very convenient way of laying out money there in building, which will make a very good seat, and the place deserves it, I think, very well. By and by to dinner, and after dinner I walked up to Hinchingbroke, where my Lady expected me; and there spent all the afternoon with her: the same most excellent, good, discreet lady that ever she was; and, among other things, is mightily pleased with the lady that is like to be her son Hinchingbroke’s wife, which I am mightily glad of. By and by my wife comes with Willet, my wife in her velvett vest, which is mighty fine, and becomes her exceedingly. I am pleased with my Lady Paulina and Anne, who both are grown very proper ladies, and handsome enough. But a thousand questions my Lady asked me, till she could think of no more almost, but walked up and down the house, with me. But I do find, by her, that they are reduced to great straits for money, having been forced to sell her plate, 8 or 900l. worth; and she is now going to sell a suit of her best hangings, of which I could almost wish to buy a piece or two, if the pieces will be broke. But the house is most excellently furnished, and brave rooms and good pictures, so that it do please me infinitely beyond Audley End. Here we staid till night walking and talking and drinking, and with mighty satisfaction my Lady with me alone most of the day talking of my Lord’s bad condition to be kept in Spayne without money and at a great expense, which (as we will save the family) we must labour to remove. Night being come, we took leave with all possible kindness, and so home, and there Mr. Shepley staid with us and sapped, and full of good country discourse, and when supper done took his leave, and we all to bed, only I a little troubled that my father tells me that he is troubled that my wife shows my sister no countenance, and, him but very little, but is as a stranger in the house; and I do observe she do carry herself very high; but I perceive there was some great falling out when she was here last, but the reason I have no mind to enquire after, for vexing myself, being desirous to pass my time with as much mirth as I can while I am abroad. So all to bed. My wife and I in the high bed in our chamber, and Willet in the trundle bed, which she desired to lie in, by us.

18 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Mr. Shepley staid with us and sapped,"

"Mr. Shepley stayed with us and supped," transcribe L&M.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

‘Countenance n.
. . II. 7. Demeanour or manner towards others as expressing good or ill will; show of feeling or manifestation of regard towards another. Obs.
. . 1632 J. HAYWARD tr. Biondi's Eromena 138 Entertaining him with the best countenance that could be.’ [OED]

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... and do find a very convenient way of laying out money there in building, which will make a very good seat, and the place deserves it, I think, very well. ... and she is now going to sell a suit of her best hangings, of which I could almost wish to buy a piece or two, if the pieces will be broke."

So many thoughts of interior decoration, and building, beyond his normal and the implied availability of serious monies. The underlying thread of the past two days appears to be that SP accepts a serious possibility of his retirement, with the ending of the war and the various changes of personnel forced by death or politics , and that his energies in future might be devoted to prudent spending, or 'investment', on his own state.

Lawrence  •  Link

"find it very pretty; especially the little parlour and the summerhouses in the garden" I wonder what the little summerhouses could be?

Bradford  •  Link

Gazebos, perhaps, small open-air structures? They fell out of fashion after WWII in America, I'd gather, but once were quite popular---furnishing shade and open to the breezes without the inconveniences that trees (and birds) can sometimes bestow. Can our 17thC customs experts fill us in?

language hat  •  Link

To save people clicking through, this is all the relevant material in the Wikipedia page:

"A summer house or summerhouse has traditionally referred to a building or shelter used for relaxation in warm weather. This would often take the form of a small, roofed building on the grounds of a larger one, but could also be built in a garden or park, often designed to provide cool shady places of relaxation or retreat from the summer heat."

It would be great if someone familiar with 17th-century life in England could provide more details.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

@Language hat " ... little parlour and the summer houses in the garden, ..."

Details are surprisingly difficult and I could find no quick or easy answer:

The National Trust confidently assert the following on their website for ‘The Vyne.’

"The Summerhouse is possibly the earliest domed garden building in England, dating from c1635. Designed by John Webb, and built in the shape of a Greek cross, it is thought to be one of a pair planned for the garden and originally had a first floor which has now collapsed.

Ornately decorated with plasterwork and richly painted, it was variously used as a banqueting house, a 'lust' house and a dovecote. Currently research is being undertaken into its original appearance and it will soon be undergoing restoration to its former glory."

Normally the Trust do not make statements like this without decent documentation, however following up elsewhere Summerson 'Architecture in Britain:1530-1830' (1963) does not discuss garden structures 'till after the turn of the century, though he does mention the Vine. The is no mention either in Wittkower, 'Palladio and English Palladianism' (1974). Summerson does allude in passing to another Jones pupil and assistant, Isaac de Caius, designing 'grottos' at Wilton, which would be 1635-1647 because Webb took over the project after the fire, however none appear to survive to provide any ideas.

I have pulled a few more texts off the shelf and found nothing to help. What's curious is that if summerhouses had been important, or significant, Evelyn would have discussed them in his various gardening texts and extensive manuscripts intended to be a comprehensive treatise but a quick scan of indices shows nothing directly relevant to us, nor can I see one marked on his Mss plan of his own garden at Sayes Court. There is certainly an extensive Commonwealth literature, both Royalist and Puritan, on the garden as a place of refuge from worldly tempest, and type for Eden, Marvell comes immediately to mind. However, for what its worth, the first such structure I recall is the simple brick room overlooking the Kings Private Garden at Hampton Court, which would have been completed for William circa 1702 – and personally I always think of them as being a post 1688 phenomenon in England.

Certainly such relativity simple summer-houses, and other garden buildings, appear much earlier in Holland, by c. 1630, and there is no reason for them not to have come over with the first wave of French/Dutch taste at the time of Henrietta Maria, but I can not quickly find a reference or survival. We can be certain that Pepys means nothing like the structure at The Vyne, it would be completely inappropriate for a house of Brampton's relative insignificance and, in addition, we would have been subjected to endless Pepysian groaning about the cost and then delight in its beauty and importance.

There is very probably an article on this exact subject in one of the older issues of ‘Country Life,’ but without an index …

Michael Robinson  •  Link

@Language hat ” … little parlour and the summer houses in the garden, …”

PS To give you an idea of the surprising absence of information, there are 49 separate forms of garden structure or architectural adornment, in England, Italy France and Holland identified and discussed by name in separate entries, giving the history and literature on each, in Patrick Taylor's 'Oxford Companion the the Garden,' (2006). They run from Alberti's reference to Grottoes (1452), and the first survival of 1530 at Mantua, chronologically onward: there is no mention of 'summer house.'

Australian Susan  •  Link

When Charles II was on the run after the Battle of Worcester (1651), he took refuge in many places. One was Boscobel House. Whilst there, he enjoyed sitting in the summer house in the grounds. This structure would probably have fallen down and been forgotten except for the Royal connections and has been restored (probably replaced) over the years. Website with pictures:

Further information about Boscobel.
It was to Pepys that Charles told his story of those months after the battle when he travelled to France eluding Parliamentarian forces. The Penderel family (owners of Boscobel at that time) still get Royal pensions.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"....the town musique did also come and play: but, Lord! what sad music they made!"

"O Fortuna..."

Well, after all Sam, they may have been your favorite years profitwise but it has been plague, fire, military disaster, defeat in war and humiliating peace...Hard to imagine anyone in England ready to burst out in cheery song except for Samuel Pepys.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

@ Australian Susan " ...Whilst there, he enjoyed sitting in the summer house in the grounds. ..."

Can you find any source for this, I can find no mention of a 'summerhouse' -- the accounts appear to be consistent that he arrived in the early hours of September 4th., with the assistance of the Pedrell brothers his hair was cut, he was dressed as a woodman -- there is no mention of anything but spending time in the wood in the account he gave Pepys at Newmarket on October 3rd. / 5th 1680:

"As soon as I was disguised I took with me a country fellow, whose name was Richard Penderell, whom Mr. Giffard had undertaken to answer for, to be an honest man. He was a Roman Catholic, and I chose to trust them, because I knew they had hiding-holes for priests, that I thought I might make use of in case of need.
I was no sooner gone (being the next morning after the battle, and then broad day) out of the house with this country fellow, but, being in a great wood, I set myself at the edge of the wood, near the highway that was there, the better to see who came after us, and whether they made any search after the runaways, and I immediately saw a troop of horse coming by, which I conceived to be the same troop that beat our three thousand horse ; but it did not look like a troop of the army's, but of the militia, for the fellow before it did not look at all like a soldier.
In this wood I staid all day, without meat or drink ; and by great good fortune it rained all the time, which hindered them, as I believe, from coming into the wood to search for men that might be fled thither. And one thing is remarkable enough, that those with whom I have since spoken, of them that joined with the horse upon the heath, did say, that it rained little or nothing with them all the day, but only in the wood where I was, this contributing to my safety.
As I was in the wood, I talked with the fellow about getting towards London, and asking him many questions"

Hamilton, A., Blount, T., & Scott, W. (1846). Memoirs of the court of Charles the Second. ... Also: The personal history of Charles, including the king's own account of his escape and preservation after the battle of Worcester, as dictated to Pepys. Bohn's extra volumes. London: H.G. Bohn.
full text at: p 454 et seq.

language hat  •  Link

Michael Robinson: Thank you very much for your extensive research, and it is indeed surprising that there is so little information available for the period.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

@ Australian Susan ” …Whilst there, he enjoyed sitting in the summer house in the grounds. …”

The small 'vignette' reproduced on the right of the 'Garden Visit’ Boscobel page is taken from from Hollar, 'Charles in the Boscobel Oak' (Pennington, 567) one of the three plates in the many editions of [Blount, Thomas, 1618-1679.] ‘Boscobel: or, The history of His Sacred Majesties most miraculous preservation after the battle of Worcester, 3. Sept. 1651.’ London : printed for Henry Seile, stationer to the Kings most Excellent Majesty, 1660.

There are four known contemporary reproductive versions, and all of these clearly show Charles in the wood lower right. Nowhere is there mention of ‘summer-house’ in the engraved key or cartouche. For a reproduction of the Gaywood version:

[Pepys retained a copy of the 'third' (sic) edition of 'Boscobel: ...", London 1680 (1681), PL 726]

Australian Susan  •  Link

Um. When I visited Boscobel House (we used to live near there so I visited several times and even recreated some of Charles's walks between the various properties he was in including Hobbal Grange which was a ruin in the 1960s, since pulled down and everyone seems to have forgotten about it.) The information about the summer house (see picture in the first website I posted) came from the house guide. I also knew (he's died) a Penderell descendent who told me various family anecdotes about Charles preserved in the family. these may not be accurate. I also lived in the village of Abbots Leigh outside Bristol, the home of the Norton family who housed Charles in Leigh Court, the 'big house' of the village later on in his travels.
There is a painting in the Royal collection of Boscobel House (including the summer house). It is reproduced in Richard Ollard's book 'The escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester"
Charles went to Whiteladies Priory after the battle, spent the day in the spring coppice nearby, went to Hobbal Grange(home of Richard Penderel) in the evening for a meal, and set off for Madeley where he and John Penderel spent the next day before retracing their steps (too dangerous to cross the Severn into Wales) at night to get to Boscobel.(home of William Penderel) Charles spent several days at Boscobel, firstly in the famous oak tree, then the priest hole which you are shown if you go round the house (which is in the cheese loft, so the smell puts searching dogs off) and when he was at the house he did, according to the guide who was there in the 60s, spend time in the summer house. I remember it as dank and smelly, but it all seemed very romantic at the time. The oak tree you are shown at the house is planted from an acorn of the original tree and there is some doubt if it is in the correct location.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

” … little parlour and the summer houses in the garden, …”

I have just had an e-mail from a friend well versed in garden history and apparently the history and appearance of structures in all but the grandest gardens is 'obscure' in its detail, and very much less is known about the appearance and evolution of structures in the English vernacular garden till the mid C19th. We have no idea, for example, whether the structure to which SP is alluding might be open or closed. Apparently the first known reference to a definable structure of the kind to which SP is probably referring is in the written stage directions to Act 1 of Dryden's 'The Kind Keeper', published 1678/9, which is set in "An open garden-house."

Apparently ‘grottoes’ were the rage before the Civil War and it seems that fifty years after the Diary ‘summer house’ was used to designate closed independent permanent structures in relatively splendid formal gardens, and the earliest known printed use of summer house as a garden building is in Defoe’s 'Roxana' (1724) describing a private retreat in a formal garden in France. Defoe uses ‘summer-house’ occasionally when describing gardens in his ‘Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain,’ 1724-7, and Celia Feinnes, (1662-1741) used the term in her travel journal of 1697-8 for structures in the gardens of the grandest houses, distinguishing summer houses from ‘grottoes.’ This usage derives, apparently, from an earlier and parallel usage for any smaller house maintained as a luxurious but informal country retreat from London by the well-to-do and has nothing necessarily to do with garden buildings or structures; Shakespeare uses the term in this earlier sense, for example in Henry IV Pt.1 3.1:
O, he is as tedious
As a tired horse, a railing wife;
Worse than a smoky house: I had rather live
With cheese and garlic in a windmill, far,
Than feed on cates and have him talk to me
In any summer-house in Christendom.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"There is a painting in the Royal collection of Boscobel House (including the summer house). It is reproduced in Richard Ollard’s book ‘The escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester”

I assume you are referring to:
Robert Streeter (1624-80) "Boscobel House and Whiteladies," (executed circa 1670) RCIN 404761

I have examined this evening the Royal Collections's large digital image file. I can see nowhere a structure resembling that shown in the engravings after Hollar (Pennington 567), in the equivalent position there is what appears to be the two story ruin of a square stone tower.

The evidence for any 'summer-house' at Boscobel, circa 1651 -1670, appears to me at best inconclusive.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the town musique did also come and play:"

These would be the Waits of Cambridge

From medieval times up to the early 19th century, every British town and city of any note had a band of waites (modern spelling waits). Their duties varied from time to time and place to place, but included playing their instruments through the town at night, waking the townsfolk on dark winter mornings by playing under their windows, welcoming Royal visitors by playing at the town gates, and leading the Mayor's procession on civic occasions. ...Waite and Wakeman are derived from individuals who worked as waits. Ferdinando Gibbons was one of the Waits of Cambridge; his sons Edmund, Ellis and Orlando became notable musicians. Some tunes are extant named after the waits of particular towns and cities, e.g. Chester Waits and London Waits. The usual instrument of the waits was the hautboy; its loud and pungent sound suiting it to outdoor playing.

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