Friday 17 January 1667/68

Up, and by coach to White Hall to attend the Council there, and here I met first by Mr. Castle the shipwright, whom I met there, and then from the whole house the discourse of the duell yesterday between the Duke of Buckingham, Holmes, and one Jenkins, on one side, and my Lord of Shrewsbury, Sir John Talbot, and one Bernard Howard, on the other side: and all about my Lady Shrewsbury,1 who is a whore, and is at this time, and hath for a great while been, a whore to the Duke of Buckingham. And so her husband challenged him, and they met yesterday in a close near Barne-Elmes, and there fought: and my Lord Shrewsbury is run through the body, from the right breast through the shoulder: and Sir John Talbot all along up one of his armes; and Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all, in a little measure, wounded. This will make the world think that the King hath good councillors about him, when the Duke of Buckingham, the greatest man about him, is a fellow of no more sobriety than to fight about a whore. And this may prove a very bad accident to the Duke of Buckingham, but that my Lady Castlemayne do rule all at this time as much as ever she did, and she will, it is believed, keep all matters well with the Duke of Buckingham: though this is a time that the King will be very backward, I suppose, to appear in such a business. And it is pretty to hear how the King had some notice of this challenge a week or two ago, and did give it to my Lord Generall to confine the Duke, or take security that he should not do any such thing as fight: and the Generall trusted to the King that he, sending for him, would do it, and the King trusted to the Generall; and so, between both, as everything else of the greatest moment do, do fall between two stools. The whole House full of nothing but the talk of this business; and it is said that my Lord Shrewsbury’s case is to be feared, that he may die too; and that may make it much the worse for the Duke of Buckingham: and I shall not be much sorry for it, that we may have some sober man come in his room to assist in the Government. Here I waited till the Council rose, and talked the while, with Creed, who tells me of Mr. Harry Howard’s giving the Royal Society a piece of ground next to his house, to build a College on, which is a most generous act. And he tells me he is a very fine person, and understands and speaks well; and no rigid Papist neither, but one that would not have a Protestant servant leave his religion, which he was going to do, thinking to recommend himself to his master by it; saying that he had rather have an honest Protestant than a knavish Catholique. I was not called into the Council; and, therefore, home, first informing myself that my Lord Hinchingbroke hath been married this week to my Lord Burlington’s daughter; so that that great business is over; and I mighty glad of it, though I am not satisfied that I have not a Favour sent me, as I see Attorney Montagu and the Vice-Chamberlain have. But I am mighty glad that the thing is done. So home, and there alone with my wife and Deb. to dinner, and after dinner comes Betty Turner, and I carried them to the New Exchange, and thence I to White Hall and did a little business at the Treasury, and so called them there, and so home and to cards and supper, and her mother come and sat at cards with us till past 12 at night, and then broke up and to bed, after entering my journall, which made it one before I went to bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Thank God the war is over for the moment given the antics at Court.

No Favor for our Sam? Guess he didn't fork over that loan fast enough...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hmmn...Holmes on one side and 2 Talbots on the other? Sounds like these guys really meant to fight it out.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The duel in Great Britain

"The duel arrived at the end of the sixteenth century with the influx of Italian honour and courtesy literature-most notably Castiglione's Libro del Cortegiano (Book of the Courtier) published 1528 and Girolamo Muzio's Il Duello published 1550. These stressed the need to protect one's reputation and social mask and prescribed the circumstances under which an insulted party should issue a challenge. Soon domestic literature was being produced such as Simon Robson's The Courte of Ciuill Courtesie published in 1577. Duelling was further propagated by the arrival of Italian fencing masters such as Rocco Bonetti and Vincento Saviolo. By the reign of James I duelling was well entrenched within a militarised peerage-one of the most important duels being that between Lord Bruce and the Earl of Dorset in 1613- during which Bruce was slain. James I encouraged Francis Bacon as Solicitor-General to prosecute would be duellists in the Court of Star Chamber where there were about 200 prosecutions between 1603 and 1625. He also issued an edict against duelling in 1614 and is believed to have supported production of an anti-duelling tract by the Earl of Northampton. Duelling however, continued to spread out from the court and notably into the army. In the mid-Seventheenth century it was for a time checked by the activities of the Parliamentarians whose Articles of War specified the death penalty for would be duellists. Nevertheless, duelling survived and increased markedly with the Restoration. Not least amongst the difficulties of anti-duelling campaigners was that although monarchs uniformly proclaimed their general hostility to duelling nevertheless they were very reluctant to see their own favourites punished."…

Mary  •  Link

Duke of Buckingham and Lady Castlemaine.

Lest we forget, these two are cousins. both being Villiers.

PHE  •  Link

An amazing story. Yet again we see the value of Sam's 'jourmalism'. Given all the problems they had at the time, with limited health care, war and plague, its seems incredible that would play such silly games with their lives.

I suspect Sam was not the type of person to get himself into a duel.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"Mr. Samuel Pepys?"

"My Lady Shrewsbury? What an..."

"Here, sir. I act as my husband's second in this matter." Hands note. "The good news being over the last 400 years we've reconciled, Buckingham showing his true colors to me. The bad news being...We've read your Diary. Mrs. Pepys." bow to Bess, returned.

"I suppose it still hurts, even here?" Sam eyes Bess staring after the lady...Was she wearing pistols round her waist as well as carrying a sword as she knew how to use it?

"I think so, darling. But if she can second Talbot, I surely can back you up." eager nod.

"More and more I am convinced this is the Other Place." Sam sighs.

Glyn  •  Link

Is there ever any occasion on which Robert Holmes will not get involved in a fight, or make a peacable situation worse? Jumping off balconies while drunk, starting a fight with tough boatmen, fighting duels, seducing his friends' wives ... an exhausting chap to be around and about as different in temperament from Pepys as it would be possible to get.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

But so long as such as Holmes keep a safe distance from us and our boy...Endlessly entertaining. Sam has his own Saturday matinee with his very own Errol Flynn...

Just keep that safe distance, Sam.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Glyn, I think you're confusing Robert Holmes with Captain Ferrers. As I recall it was Ferrers who jumped off the balcony while drunk (on a bet) and tried seducing people's wives.

Still, Holmes was definitely one who loved a good fight. While commanding his squadron of ships he attacked almost anyone on any pretext and was instrumental in angering the Dutch during his "privateering" prior to the Second Dutch War. I have no doubt that he loved to fight a good duel.

Second Reading

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

Duels were fought not so much to kill the offending opponent, though that often happened, as to gain "satisfaction", that is, to restore one's honour by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it. The person who felt offended could signal the demand to fight for honour with an obviously insulting gesture, such as throwing his glove before the offender (throw down the gauntlet).

Each party named trusted representatives ("seconds") who would determined a suitable "field of honour", an isolated secret place to avoid detection by authorities, check that the weapons were equal and that the duel was fair. In the 16th and early part of 17th centuries, it was normal for the seconds also to fight each other. Later, the seconds only made sure that rules were followed and tried to reconcile the duellers ... but not everywhere; the Irish code in 1777 still allowed the seconds an option to exchange shots. Lord Shrewsbury must have asked his kinsman, Sir John Talbot (of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, Long Acre, Westminster, and Salwarpe, Worcestershire, MP), to second in the duel. He probably also asked Bernard Howard, a son of the Earl of Arundel, or maybe Sir John asked him. Both seconds survived the fight and Sir John fought for James II in the Monmouth rebellion (1685), after which he had a military career and continued as MP; he died in 1714. However, one of Villiers's seconds, Capt. William Jenkins was killed on the spot ... perhaps by the soldierly Sir John?

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

The story of the romance between Anna Talbot and George Villiers continues, retold after Pope: on the day of the duel, the Countess trembled all morning for her gallant, who afterwards 'slept' with her in his bloodied shirt. The romance lived on and much later on, when the Duke of Buckingham brought his mistress to live with him, his indignant wife, the Duchess, told him that she and Talbot couldn't live in the same house. "So I thought, Madam, and have therefore ordered the horses to convey you to your father", the Duke replied. But the Duchess appears to have stayed. Talbot and Villiers had an illegitimate son. Their affair was finally broken off in 1673 and the countess went to France to spent time in a convent. She afterwards returned to England and remarried.

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

It was Francis Talbot who killed William Jenkins (not John Talbot)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir Francis Talbot (11th Earl of Shrewsbury), husband of Anna Maria Talbot.

On 16 January 1668, he duelled with one of his wife's lovers, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and was mortally wounded, dying two months later. He was buried at the parish church of Albrighton in Shropshire.

His second son, John Talbot (1665–1686), was killed in a duel by Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton (the illegitimate son of King Charles II), Talbot “having given the Duke of Grafton very unhandsome and provoking language.”

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all, in a little measure, wounded"

This formidable duel was perhaps the most notorious of the period. The Countess was Buckingham's mistress from 1666 to 1674. Shrewsbury died two months later, perhaps as a result of his wounds. With Buckingham he had received the royal pardon. The King salved his conscience by appointing a committee of Council to suppress dueling. The surgeons later certified that Shrewsbury's death was caused by a disease of the heart of liver. (Per L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I waited till the Council rose, and talked the while, with Creed, who tells me of Mr. Harry Howard’s giving the Royal Society a piece of ground next to his house, to build a College on, which is a most generous act."

L&M: See… and note.
Henry Howard was the second son of the Earl of Arundel, and became 6th Duke of Norfolk in 1677. He received the thanks of the Society on 25 January: Birch, ii. 242. The ground consisted of 400 sq. ft. in Arundel gardens. Difficulties arose concerning the conveyance of the property, and the scheme was postponed in the autumn, only to be later abandoned. C. R. Weld, Hist. Roy. Soc. (1848), i. 211. Birch, ii. 242, 299-300, 313. Wren, Hooke and Howard himself had prepared designs for the new college: Pub. Wren Soc., 13/48-9; Weld, i. 212-3. The Society did not acquire a building of its own until 1710, when it purchased two houses in Crane Court, Strand: Weld, i. 389-91.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"home, first informing myself that my Lord Hinchingbroke hath been married this week to my Lord Burlington’s daughter; so that that great business is over;"

L&M: The wedding had taken place (according to a newsletter) on the 13th: Bulstrode Papers, i. 19.

The Bulstrode papers
by Bulstrode, Richard, Sir, 1610-1711. [from old catalog] Pub. 1897, London…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A biography of Grand Master Nicholas Cotoner of the Knights of St. John gives an idea about life in the Mediterranean and the political, social and military situations Sir Thomas Allin will confront.

Since Malta is never mentioned by Pepys, I've posted items referring to the Diary decade in Allin's Encyclopedia page…

Batch  •  Link

"[I] . . . talked the while, with Creed, who tells me of Mr. Harry Howard’s giving the Royal Society a piece of ground next to his house, to build a College on, which is a most generous act."
"The ground consisted of 400 sq. ft. in Arundel gardens."
Four hundred square feet? To build a college on?
I must be misunderstanding either what is meant by "four hundred square feet" or what is meant by "a college."

Al Doman  •  Link

@Batch: maybe it was 400 x 400 feet, what is sometimes referred to as "feet square".

Will Norton  •  Link

Keynsham, Somerset - my home town! Everything is woven together...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

While England's attention is on Flanders, in the Mediterranean the Venetians are under attack again by the Barbary pirates/Ottoman empire/Turks.

Jan. 17. 1668
Senato, Secreta.
Dispacci, Francia.
Venetian Archives.

Marc Antonio Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the commission given him to raise 3,000 troops, English and Dutch.

The Count of San Maldich has offered his assistance to make a levy of 1,500 men in each of these countries if their governments will permit it.
I have raised the question with [HENRY JERMYN] Earl of St. Albans, who is going to England, to invite some person of rank to favor the cause of the most serene republic [VENICE].
He seemed ready to oblige and promised to send me word.

Paris, 17 January, 1667/68. [M.V.] [Italian.]…

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.