Friday 12 June 1668


Up, finding our beds good, but lousy; which made us merry. We set out, the reckoning and servants coming to 9s. 6d.
my guide thither, 2s.
coachman, advanced, 10s.
So rode a very good way, led to my great content by our landlord to Philips-Norton, with great pleasure, being now come into Somersetshire; where my wife and Deb. mightily joyed thereat, —[They were natives of that county. - B.]— I commending the country, as indeed it deserves. And the first town we came to was Brekington, where, we stopping for something for the horses, we called two or three little boys to us, and pleased ourselves with their manner of speech, and did make one of them kiss Deb., and another say the Lord’s Prayer (hallowed be thy kingdom come). At Philips-Norton I walked to the Church, and there saw a very ancient tomb of some Knight Templar, I think; and here saw the tombstone whereon there were only two heads cut, which, the story goes, and credibly, were two sisters, called the Fair Maids of Foscott, that had two bodies upward and one belly, and there lie buried. Here is also a very fine ring of six bells, and they mighty tuneable.
Having dined very well, 10s.
we come before night to the Bath; where I presently stepped out with my landlord, and saw the baths, with people in them. They are not so large as I expected, but yet pleasant; and the town most of stone, and clean, though the streets generally narrow. I home, and being weary, went to bed without supper; the rest supping.

9 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Up, finding our beds good, but lousy; which made us merry."

Perhaps they sang and danced? Somehow I can't picture lice making one merry. But I suppose if one must travel in the 17th century, one must be prepared to make merry with them. Interesting that Bess didn't grouse about them...She always seems able to bear anything and even eager to when Sam's with her, even to that time she nearly killed herself riding with him and collapsed at the inn.

Mary  •  Link

"hallowed be thy kingdom come"

Not, of course, the exact wording of the Lord's Prayer. Is Pepys recording an amusing mistake by a small boy?

Mary  •  Link

L&M reads "our beds good, but we lousy."

Jackie  •  Link

Getting lousy from the beds is probably the reward for pulling rank the night before and getting the landlord to turf a peddlar out of the bed which he'd clearly paid for and settled in to.

JWB  •  Link

Fair Maids & Knight Templar:

"There is good reason to believe the legend, for its oddity and for the fact that the church saw fit to commemorate the sisters. Foscott is a hamlet a few miles from Norton. When Pepys saw the tomb, the effigy of the two sisters was cut in stone on the floor of the nave. This has since disappeared except for the two heads which are set on the wall inside the tower, one clearly defined and one much worn.

The ancient tomb, thought by Pepys to be that of a Knight Templar, is now thought to be that of a man of law, dated from circa 1460."

-brief historical guide to Norton St Philip, adapted from a village tour written in 1978 by Jeremy Taylor, Sita Smyth and Pat Lawless

Terry Foreman  •  Link

“Having dined very well”

"The Fleur de Lys.
Across the road from the George [Inn}, stands a building which, from internal evidence of its beam structure, may be nearly as old as the George itself. It was opened as an inn in 1584. Not long afterwards, in 1615, Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James the First, stopped here to dine on her way back from taking the waters at Bath. Dinner for herself and her retinue cost £2 13s 0d. Samuel Pepys, his wife and maid, also dined here on their way to Bath in 1668. Their bill was 10s, 0d. On the north wall of the 'Fleur' can still be seen a coat of arms, much worn away, but with sufficient detail left to suggest the arms of the Fortescue family who owned land in the district in the 16th century. An interesting link between Norton St Philip and the Wars of the Roses: John Fortescue, who had married Isabella, daughter of John Jamyss of Philip's Norton, was Chief Justice to King Henry VI and so supported the Lancastrian cause. Later he was pardoned by the victorious Yorkist King, Edward IV."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At Philips-Norton I walked to the Church, and there saw a very ancient tomb of some Knight Templar, I think;"

L&M: It was in fact the tomb of an unidentified lawyer, c. 1469, in barrister's gown; now in the s. aisle: illust. in J.C. Collinson, Hist. Somerset (ed. Braikenridge), iii., pt. 3, p. 371.

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