Monday 8 June 1668


Father’s servants (father having in the garden told me bad stories of my wife’s ill words), 14s.
one that helped at the horses, 2s.
menders of the highway, 2s.
Pleasant country to Bedford, where, while they stay, I rode through the town; and a good country-town;
and there, drinking, 1s.
We on to Newport; and there ’light, and I and W. Hewer to the Church,
and there give the boy 1s.
So to Buckingham, a good old town. Here I to see the Church, which very good, and the leads, and a school in it:
did give the sexton’s boy 1s.
A fair bridge here, with many arches: vexed at my people’s making me lose so much time;
reckoning, 13s. 4d.
Mighty pleased with the pleasure of the ground all the day. At night to Newport Pagnell; and there a good pleasant country-town, but few people in it. A very fair — and like a Cathedral — Church; and I saw the leads, and a vault that goes far under ground, and here lay with Betty Turner’s sparrow: the town, and so most of this country, well watered. Lay here well, and rose next day by four o’clock: few people in the town: and so away.
Reckoning for supper, 19s. 6d.
poor, 6d.
Mischance to the coach, but no time lost.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Buckingham, a good old town. Here I to see the Church, which very good, and the leads, and a school in it:...A fair bridge here, with many arches:....most of this country, well watered."

Compare *Through England On a Side Saddle, IN THE TIME OF WILLIAM AND MARY. BEING THE DIARY OF

"Buckinghamtown..., a very neate place and we passed the river Ouise over a very high bridge tho' the river seemed not then so very full, but it swells after great raines which makes them build their arches so large."…

Katherine  •  Link

How'd the sparrow get into the story?

PHE  •  Link

'De rekening' is Dutch for 'the bill' in a restaurant. Living in Belgium, I have been learning some Dutch and surprised at seeing the strong link with English and especially some of our older expressions, words and some grammatical constructions.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

A fascinating piece of journalistic note-taking. Enough detail to remind him of the fuller stories when time allows and, most important, a list of expenses.

Georgiana Wickham  •  Link

"Reckoning, 13s. 4d"

The National Archives estimates this is about £55 in today's terms. Is this just for lunch in Buckingham? I know Pepys is doing well now, but this still seems a lot to me.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

14s to keep the staff happy after Queen Bess' rages. Peace at home, priceless.

I suppose, given the lack of grim reports and Bess' managing to hang on through the full visit this time, things began ok with our fair lady bringing and happily bestowing Pall's wedding gifts and reasonably content visiting Lady Sandwich, then boredom, worry over what Sam was up to, annoyance with Papa-in-law's comments about her dress, late mornings, airs, flirations, etc, etc...Stir in Pall's newfound pleasure in being her own mistress with a devoted Jackson and it's not hard to see an explosion in progress...

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wonder if the sparrow was the early warning equivalent of a canary in the mine.

Or perhaps...

"There's a special providence even in the fall of a sparrow, Betty."

"Oh, Mr. Pepys...That's beautiful, sir. Where be it from, sir?"

"Shakespeare, dearest Betty...From 'Hamlet', the soulful young prince himself. My favorite play..."

"Oh, yes..."

"Yes, Betty...A special providence has brought us together...Here. Now. You see, Betty...A Clerk of the Acts of His Royal Majesty's Navy is like any other man...Same hopes, same dreams. Only a COA is more...Lonely, Betty."

"I can see that Mr. P. Oh, me sparrow...Oh..."

"Damned bird...My periwig is not a nesting...Hmmn...God damnit, stupid bird." shakes fist at sparrow perched on vault rock.

Distinctly hear a birdsized chuckle there...

"Sorry, sir. He likes to target dark, warm places..." Betty, apologetically...Sam shaking hastily removed wig...Damn, any water about?

Hmmn...? Perhaps an opportunity to avoid a total loss?

"Yes...As do I...Dearest Betty...Oh...Damn, you bird!!!"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

On the road for a sight-seeing tour of towns and country SW of Brampton and NW of London.

"“Reckoning, 13s. 4d”

The National Archives estimates this is about £55 in today’s terms. Is this just for lunch in Buckingham? I know Pepys is doing well now, but this still seems a lot to me."

One wonders how many were Pepys's "people" at this point, but even so....

Chris Faulkner  •  Link

There is a local expression which I've not heard since I was a boy; where a shop or restaurant 'reckoned up' the bill. Which means to total all the purchases. I used to take my Mothers grocery order to the local shop and when I picked it up later, was always told to make sure it had been 'reckoned up properly', making sure the shopkeeper hadn't 'accidentally' over charged.

cgs  •  Link

Three R's
No longer required, now
Listening to tape
no cursive writing key pad
Use computer type calculator key pad
Ergo no need to know therefore I am

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I to see the Church, which very good, and the leads, and a school in it:"

L&M: The Royal Latin School occupied a chantry chapel in St Peter's Church -- the only church in Buckingham at that time. The church was rebuilt 1777-81 and again in the 19th century. Descriptions in R. Symonds, Diary (ed. Long), p. 20 [1644][ Browne Willis, Hist. Buck. (1745), ch. xii.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At night to Newport Pagnell"

L&M: Presumably a slip for Bicester, which lay between Buckingham and Oxford. The description of the town and of the church, however, fits not Bicester but Newport, which Pepys had passed through earlier in the day.

psw  •  Link

cgs annotations...some of my favorites...making me laugh out loud. A wit he rightly r.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Meanwhile, back in London,

June 8. 1668
Warham Jennett, jun., to Williamson.

Sends a letter for Lord Arlington, brought from Lisbon in the James.

Still continues his employment in the Post Office under Sir John [Bennet] and Mr. [A?] Ellis, but can hardly give content, and is almost weary of it.
There are such rates from above put upon all sorts of letters that merchants and others cannot endure it; has written about it, and for some encouragement to be given to seamen bringing ship letters into the office, which would very much advance it, yet no notice is taken;
has been refused bags to put the letters in.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 77.]

June 8. 1668
Thos. Holden to Hickes.

The Indian Merchant from Jamaica reports that place in thriving condition.

Two great ships have arrived from Havre de Grace, bound to Rochelle for salt,
as also a Frenchman bound for Dieppe.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 78.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I know Pepys is doing well now, but this still seems a lot to me.
"One wonders how many were Pepys' "people" at this point, but even so."

We learned today that William Hewer is with them ... was he there from the start, in which case, who is dealing with Angelsey's request for a meeting about paying off the seamen? And who's putting the mail neatly in the PENDING box?

And we know, young Betty Turner is there ... so presumably are Elizabeth and her enticing companion, Deb. Plus Tom Edwards. So that's at least 6 people, which is comfortable for the coach.

Then you've got the coach driver and his assistant, and they eat, as do the 4 horses pulling the coach.

I don't think 13/4 and 19/6 are too much for 8 people's meals, plus 4 horses.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I think Terry's date on Celia Fienne's travel diary is a typo.

From the website he links to:

"Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary, Being the Diary of Celia Fiennes. By Celia Fiennes, 1662-1741." With an introduction by Emily Wingfield Griffiths, 1828-1917. London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1888.

In the Introduction it states, "The perusal of these quaint and straight-forward pages, in which there is little pretence to style, gives a good idea of what England was two hundred years back. The only actual date mentioned is 1695."

So her observations were made about 50 years after Pepys' tour.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

So, Mr. Pepys, welcome back. And you had thought of retiring early to Brampton? See how empty the past couple of days have been, how dull the conversation, how all alike those sheep are, and how you sprang back to life on this little escapade to Newport, like a withered plant that finally got water? But now there you are, buzzing about, moving non-stop, visiting the crypt, clambering on the leads, seething with impatience at those sloths who can't keep up and -- the horror -- waste your time. And spending money! That, Hewer, is life!

Of course a Natural Philosopher could have filled pages with inventories of grasshoppers, Proust would have explored the endless reaches of his inner feelings... but not you. It's only when this bridge of many arches came into view that the spark returned.

Or perhaps..? Papa Pepys, seeing how this time you wouldn't just flit in and out like a tourist, put you to work a little? "There's 25 carts of hay to bring in and the rain is coming - We need every pair of arms!" "Sweet lord, son, here everybody knows what to do when the calf's coming out sideways". "We've fattened this pig for when you'd take the time to stay at last - the honour of killing it is yours! Take this knife".

Sam and Will Hewer, back-broken after those three hours of fieldwork, are now sprawled on benches in some farmyard and sample the surprisingly strong booze these country folk brew around here. Sam fumbles with his notebook and gives up.

"Uhhh no I can't", Sam says, slurring his words. Will nods in sympathy. "And you know what, Will, even here, they're heeere, watchin' me - so I gan't".

"Who's here, boss? The children?" (Two dozen are always here of course, watching the strangers' every move).

"Nuuh - Them who watch when I write, Will. I can feel them. The people from the vut... from the future".

"People from the future watch when you write, boss? Wow, far out." But Sam is snoring away already, head on the rough table in his spilled liquor. One of the kids discreetly sponges the drink with his sleeve.

Third Reading

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