Saturday 25 January 1667/68

Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning, and then at noon to the ’Change with Mr. Hater, and there he and I to a tavern to meet Captain Minors, which we did, and dined; and there happened to be Mr. Prichard, a ropemaker of his acquaintance, and whom I know also, and did once mistake for a fiddler, which sung well, and I asked him for such a song that I had heard him sing, and after dinner did fall to discourse about the business of the old contract between the King and the East India Company for the ships of the King that went thither, and about this did beat my brains all the afternoon, and then home and made an end of the accounts to my great content, and so late home tired and my eyes sore, to supper and to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [London]
Date: 25 January 1668

The writer's brother[-in-law], Lord Arlington [… ], has assured him that there is good ground for the opinion that the King intends to remove the Duke of Ormond from the Government of Ireland. The efforts of Sir William Coventry, and of "others in present power", have been so far successful. Coventry, adds Lord Ossory, has been always foremost in taking exceptions to the Duke's system of rule. But it is not likely that the King will make the change "of a sudden", or without due forms of regard.

There are evident marks, the writer thinks, of an intention to make great retrenchments, as well in England, as in Ireland.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the business of the old contract between the King and the East India Company"

L&M note this was about disputed shipping fees owed by the Company to the government for goods to be sent in the King's ships in April 1662-June 1663 to Bombay… . The Navy Board had claimed the .Company had broken the contract by returning the ships empty, costing the government an expected £10,000; the Company alleged the officers had illegally engaged in private trade. Richard Minors had brought the fleet back as an employee of the Company and commanding officer. Pepys first mentioned the dispute in 1663.…

Carl in Boston  •  Link

His sore eyes. I wonder if his eyes were sore from the normal accounting practice of using a fine pen to cram more numbers into a book, which would make for eyestrain. Writing in a notebook at night by candle light would be hard on the eyes too, but I never thought before that reading little accounting numbers could be a hazard of his occupation.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

This entry's tavern camaraderie among these navy employees of varied ranks made me smile. The ship captain and the ropemaker, the chief clerk of the Navy Office and -- at the social center of them all and leader of the music -- his boss, the Clerk of the Acts, Samuel Pepys himself.

William Pritchard is a skilled craftsman who has a crucial role in one of the major industrial sites in Europe, the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich, specifically its Ropyard.… He worked at a 1000-ft. Ropewalk, the main factory floor of the yard.… "In the Middle Ages (from the 13th to the 18th centuries), from the British Isles to Italy, ropes were constructed in so-called Ropewalks, very long buildings where strands the full length of the rope were spread out and then laid up or twisted together to form the rope. The cable length was thus set by the length of the available rope walk. This is related to the unit of length termed cable length. This allowed for long ropes of up to 300 yards long or longer to be made. These long ropes were necessary in shipping as short ropes would require splicing to make them long enough to use for sheets and halyards."…

JWB  •  Link

long lines-
You do not want to splice lines so that they do not bind in the sheaves. Calling a rope a rope in the navy will get retort similar to calling a gun a gun in the Marine Corps. They're lines & weapons or pieces.

Frank G.  •  Link

A short rope to tie a dingy is called a 'painter', I believe. I've also heard of ropes being called 'sheets'.

cum salis grano  •  Link

rope when knotted.
sheet bend, bowline
http: //

see pics
http: //

treating rope to nice connections.
http: //

Australian Susan  •  Link

Post Diary of course, but tonight is Burns Night. Sam would have loved all that jollity and whisky!

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"there happened to be Mr. Prichard, a ropemaker of his acquaintance, and whom I know also, and did once mistake for a fiddler"

A long-ago confusion, perhaps remarked-upon e'er now: "Ah, Mr. Fiddler from the King's House, greetings!"…

Batch  •  Link

The English renaissance scholar and poet Gabriel Harvey (c.1550-1630) had to endure jibes and ridicule from nonproductive aristocrats and nobles at Cambridge because his family were "in business" as ropemakers.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"The writer's brother[-in-law], Lord Arlington, has assured him that there is good ground for the opinion that Charles II intends to remove the Duke of Ormonde from the Government of Ireland."

How sad for Ossory to have to tell his father that. I'm glad Arlington gave them a head's-up. Ormonde must have felt terribly betrayed by the young Prince he had protected for so long, at enormous personal cost. Ormonde was born in 1610, so he's only 58. Not so old, even if he is part of "the old guard".

Eric the Bish  •  Link

By the time of the Napoleonic wars English superiority in rope-making directly translated into battle-winning advantages at sea. A spliced rope is a weakened rope, and with many miles of standing and running rigging on a line of battle ship, well-made and cared for – and above all long – ropes meant a ship which was less likely to have equipment failure under the stress of weather, battle, or just month on month blockade. You can still see one of these strategically important rope sheds: look up “Anchor Lane Portsmouth“ on your favourite Internet map and there it is: on the north side of the lane.

James Little  •  Link

The ropery in Chatham dockyard is still there, still working, selling commercially and until covid was open to visitors. My wife has a piece of rope she made there.

Third Reading

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