Friday 31 January 1667/68

Up; and by coach, with W. Griffin with me, and our Contract-books, to Durham Yard, to the Commissioners for Accounts; the first time I ever was there; and staid awhile before I was admitted to them. I did observe a great many people attending about complaints of seamen concerning tickets, and, among others, Mr. Carcasse, and Mr. Martin, my purser. And I observe a fellow, one Collins, is there, who is employed by these Commissioners particularly to hold an office in Bishopsgate Street, or somewhere thereabouts, to receive complaints of all people about tickets: and I believe he will have work enough. Presently I was called in, where I found the whole number of Commissioners, and was there received with great respect and kindness; and did give them great satisfaction, making it my endeavour to inform them what it was they were to expect from me, and what was the duty of other people; this being my only way to preserve myself, after all my pains and trouble. They did ask many questions, and demanded other books of me, which I did give them very ready and acceptable answers to; and, upon the whole, I observe they do go about their business like men resolved to go through with it, and in a very good method; like men of understanding. They have Mr. Jessop, their secretary: and it is pretty to see that they are fain to find out an old- fashioned man of Cromwell’s to do their business for them, as well as the Parliament to pitch upon such, for the most part, in the list of people that were brought into the House, for Commissioners. I went away, with giving and receiving great satisfaction; and so away to White Hall to the Commissioners of the Treasury; where, waiting some time, I there met with Colonel Birch; and he and I fell into discourse; and I did give him thanks for his kindness to me in the Parliament-house, both before my face and behind my back. He told me that he knew me to be a man of the old way for taking pains, and did always endeavour to do me right, and prevent any thing that was moved that might tend to my injury; which I was obliged to him for, and thanked him. Thence to talk of other things, and the want of money and he told me of the general want of money in the country; that land sold for nothing, and the many pennyworths he knows of lands and houses upon them, with good titles in his country, at 16 years’ purchase: “and,” says he, “though I am in debt, yet I have a mind to one thing, and that is a Bishop’s lease;” but said, “I will yet choose such a lease before any other, yes,” says he, plainly, “because I know they cannot stand, and then it will fall into the King’s hands, and I in possession shall have an advantage by it.” “And,” says he, “I know they must fall, and they are now near it, taking all the ways they can to undo themselves, and showing us the way;” and thereupon told the a story of the present quarrel between the Bishop and Deane of Coventry and Lichfield; the former of which did excommunicate the latter, and caused his excommunication to be read in the Church while he was there; and, after it was read, the Deane made the service be gone through with, though himself, an excommunicate, was present, which is contrary to the Canon, and said he would justify the quire therein against the Bishop; and so they are at law in the Arches about it; which is a very pretty story. He tells me that the King is for Toleration, though the Bishops be against it: and that he do not doubt but it will be carried in Parliament; but that he fears some will stand for the tolerating of Papists with the rest; and that he knows not what to say, but rather thinks that the sober party will be without it, rather than have it upon those terms; and I do believe so. Here we broke off, and I home to dinner, and after dinner set down my wife and Deb. at the ‘Change, and I to make a visit to Mr. Godolphin at his lodgings, who is lately come from Spain from my Lord Sandwich, and did, the other day, meeting me in White Hall, compliment me mightily, and so I did offer him this visit, but missed him, and so back and took up my wife and set her at Mrs. Turner’s, and I to my bookbinder’s, and there, till late at night, binding up my second part of my Tangier accounts, and I all the while observing his working, and his manner of gilding of books with great pleasure, and so home, and there busy late, and then to bed. This day Griffin did, in discourse in the coach, put me in the head of the little house by our garden, where old goodman Taylor puts his brooms and dirt, to make me a stable of, which I shall improve, so as, I think, to be able to get me a stable without much charge, which do please me mightily. He did also in discourse tell me that it is observed, and is true, in the late fire of London, that the fire burned just as many Parish-Churches as there were hours from the beginning to the end of the fire; and, next, that there were just as many Churches left standing as there were taverns left standing in the rest of the City that was not burned, being, I think he told me, thirteen in all of each: which is pretty to observe.

13 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So Sam has won a rep for diligence and painstaking attention to his work among some important men not strictly creatures of the Court...Very useful thing.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Col. John Birch

L&M note he was a Presbyterian and like Pepys had served the Commonwealth.

Mary  •  Link

Griffin's account of the churches,taverns etc. burnt and saved in the Great Fire.

This sounds like the birth of one of those typical urban myths.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I was at school in Lichfield (The Friary School) and we had an excruciating School Hymn (written by the head mistress) which had a verse beginning

The Mother Church of Mercia scarred
By Civil War, her beauty marred
When Hackett came to save her....

Mercifully, the rest of that verse seems to have escaped me.

Lichfield Cathedral was beseiged and Cromwell's troops, firing on it, toppled the main spire (Lichfield is unique in being a three spired cathedral.) The replacement is in a slightly different coloured sandstone.

Hackett had suffered under the parliamentary regime and was rewarded with the then joint diocese of Coventry and Lichfield. He was then expected to restore the very badly damaged cathedral (used as stables by the successful Parliamentary troops), so it was a rather double-edged reward. Wikipedia information on him here:

nix  •  Link

"Bishop's lease" --

“though I am in debt, yet I have a mind to one thing, and that is a Bishop’s lease” --

I haven't been able to find "Bishop's lease" in my legal reference books, but Googled up this explanation on a Trollope discussion board:

A "Bishop's lease" was something akin to a living- it was land allocated to a particular bishopric/cathedral, originally with the idea that the tithe goods would support the administrative clergy of the cathedral. By Trollope's time , all tithes had been commutated into a cash figure. So, in order to get the cash, the cathedral rented it out. Bishop's leases were usually a pretty low rent.,9605

nix  •  Link

More on Bishop's leases, thanks to the redoubtable Terry Forman --

In the reign of Charles I. an act was passed, "prohibiting all bishops, and other ecclesiastical corporations, from setting their lands for above the term of twenty-one years: the rent reserved to be half the real value of such lands at the time they were set." As Swift points out, about the time of the Reformation, a trade was carried on by the popish bishops, who felt that their terms of office would be short, and who, consequently, to get what benefit they could while in office, "made long leases and fee-farms of great part of their lands, reserving very inconsiderable rents, sometimes only a chiefry." It was owing to a continuance in this traffic by the bishops when they became Protestants, and to a recognition of the injustice of such alienation, that the legislature passed the act.…


If I understand the quoted passage correctly, cash-strapped bishops, whose tenure was uncertain because of the conflict with Rome, were leasing out church lands for a much longer term than the individual bishop's life expectancy, trading off low annual rents in the out years for a large up-front payment.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ironic note: within a decade of this day Durham Yard will become a bit, ah, sketchy

"From some satirical verses, printed by Anthony a Wood, respecting Le Tellier, Archbishop and Duke of Rheims, who came to England in April 1677 to “treat about a marriage with the Lady Mary, daughter of the Duke of York, with the Dauphin,” it would seem that even then Durham Yard was a place of questionable resort. For—

The bishop who from France came slowly o’er
Did go to Betty Beaulie’s;

and this Betty, we are told in a note, was “an old bawd in Durham Yard.” 3 In Dryden’s Sir Martin Marr-all, the scene of which is laid in Covent Garden, Lady Dupe speaks of [the stairs in] Durham Yard as if it were the usual landing-place for that neighbourhood [ Act I, Scene i ] ; and in The Taller of June’ 7, 1709, mention is made of “a certain lady who left her coach at the New Exchange door in the Strand, and whipt down Durham Yard into a boat with a young gentleman for Fox Hall.” "…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Connecting two recent threads in the Diary, I wonder if it's correct to infer that Kate Joyce's problems with her husband's estate stem from the fact that her house is on Bishop's lease land (in this case the Bishop of St. Paul's), as opposed to "the King's liberty."

nix  •  Link

A Dean is not the same as a Bishop (Australian Susan may be able to clarify the distinction), so it isn't clear whether it is technically "bishop's lease" land. But it looks to me that, regardless of who owns the freehold, it is within the territorial jurisdiction of the Dean of St. Paul's.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Basically, the Dean of a Cathedral runs the Cathedral, A Bishop runs the Diocese.

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