Saturday 13 June 1668


Up at four o’clock, being by appointment called up to the Cross Bath, where we were carried one after one another, myself, and wife, and Betty Turner, Willet, and W. Hewer. And by and by, though we designed to have done before company come, much company come; very fine ladies; and the manner pretty enough, only methinks it cannot be clean to go so many bodies together in the same water. Good conversation among them that are acquainted here, and stay together. Strange to see how hot the water is; and in some places, though this is the most temperate bath, the springs so hot as the feet not able to endure. But strange to see, when women and men herein, that live all the season in these waters, that cannot but be parboiled, and look like the creatures of the bath! Carried away, wrapped in a sheet, and in a chair, home; and there one after another thus carried, I staying above two hours in the water, home to bed, sweating for an hour; and by and by, comes musick to play to me,
extraordinary good as ever I heard at London almost, or anywhere: 5s.
Up, to go to Bristol, about eleven o’clock, and paying my landlord that was our guide from Chiltern, 10s.
and the serjeant of the bath, 10s.
and the man that carried us in chairs, 3s. 6d.
Set out towards Bristoll, and come thither (in a coach hired to spare our own horses); the way bad, but country good, about two o’clock, where set down at the Horse’shoe, and there,
being trimmed by a very handsome fellow, 2s.
walked with my wife and people through the city, which is in every respect another London, that one can hardly know it, to stand in the country, no more than that. No carts, it standing generally on vaults, only dog-carts.1 So to the Three Crowns Tavern I was directed; but, when I come in, the master told me that he had newly given over the selling of wine; it seems, grown rich; and so went to the Sun; and there Deb. going with W. Hewer and Betty Turner to see her uncle [Butts], and leaving my wife with the mistress of the house, I to see the quay, which is a most large and noble place; and to see the new ship building by Baily, neither he nor Furzer being in town. It will be a fine ship.
Spoke with the foreman, and did give the boys that kept the cabin 2s.
Walked back to the Sun, where I find Deb. come back, and with her, her uncle, a sober merchant, very good company, and so like one of our sober, wealthy, London merchants, as pleased me mightily.
Here we dined, and much good talk with him, 7s. 6d.
a messenger to Sir John Knight, who was not at home, 6d.
Then walked with him [Butts] and my wife and company round the quay, and to the ship; and he shewed me the Custom-house, and made me understand many things of the place, and led us through Marsh Street, where our girl was born. But, Lord! the joy that was among the old poor people of the place, to see Mrs. Willet’s daughter, it seems her mother being a brave woman and mightily beloved! And so brought us a back way by surprize to his house, where a substantial good house, and well furnished; and did give us good entertainment of strawberries, a whole venison-pasty, cold, and plenty of brave wine, and above all Bristoll milk, where comes in another poor woman, who, hearing that Deb. was here, did come running hither, and with her eyes so full of tears, and heart so full of joy, that she could not speak when she come in, that it made me weep too: I protest that I was not able to speak to her, which I would have done, to have diverted her tears. His wife a good woman, and so sober and substantiall as I was never more pleased anywhere.
Servant-maid, 2s.
So thence took leave, and he with us through the city, where in walking I find the city pay him great respect, and he the like to the meanest, which pleased me mightily. He shewed us the place where the merchants meet here, and a fine Cross yet standing, like Cheapside.
And so to the Horseshoe, where paid the reckoning, 2s. 6d.
We back, and by moonshine to the Bath again, about ten-o’clock: bad way;
and giving the coachman 1s.
went all of us to bed.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

""...sleds, or sledges, which they call 'gee hoes,' without wheels....""

gee-ho[†], »• [< gee-ho, v.] A kind of heavy sled. See the extract.
....They drew all their heavy goods here [to Bristol] on sled* or sledges, which they call Gee-hoes, without wheels. Defoe, Tour through Great Britain, II. 314.
.....Ply close at inns upon the coming in of waggons and yee-ho-coaches. Tom Brown, Works, II. 262.

gee 2 (jee)
Used to command an animal pulling a load to turn to the right.
intr.v. geed, gee·ing, gees
To turn to the right.…

Cp. THE DIARY OF CELIA FIENNES (1685): "South-hampton is...a very neate clean town and the Streets well pitch'd and kept so, by their Carrying all their Carriages on Sleds as they do in holland, and permit no Cart to go about in ye town, and keep it Clean Swept ­"…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"above all Bristoll milk"

PROVERBS. "Bristol milk.'']

Though as many elephants are fed as cows grased within the walls of this city, yet great plenty of this metaphorical milk, whereby xeres or sherry sack is intended. Some will have it called milk, because (whereas nurses give new-born babes in some places pap, in others water and sugar) such wine is the first moisture given infants in this city. It is also the entertainment of course, which the courteous Bristolians present to all strangers, when first visiting their city.
The history of the worthies of England By Thomas Fuller

Bristol Cream
Bristol Cream is a brand of Spanish sherry that has been imported into and bottled in Bristol, England since 1796 by John Harvey & Sons of Bristol. Contrary to popular belief, the term "cream sherry" does not reflect the use of any dairy ingredients in the recipe. The popular story is that in the 1860s, a visitor to the Harveys' cellars was given a taste of a new blend of sherry. When compared to Bristol Milk, she said, "If that be Milk, then this is Cream." The enterprising Harveys named the new blend "cream sherry" accordingly.…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Quite a reception for our shy Willet... I wonder if it played any role in subsequent events by raising her in Sam's estimation. In any case it's neat to see another servant of Sam's showing the wide range of dimensions and social mobility such people could have. Jane with her book and feisty spirit...Mercer with her easy transition from independent, no-nonsense-taking (from Bess anyway) servant to beloved family friend...Had Sam remained a junior clerk, minus Sandwich's patronage, he would probably be doffing cap to Miss Willet and her wealthy uncle as their carriage passed the poor clerk and his wife on their way to the cheaper visitors' lodgings.

Mary  •  Link

At last we see the official justification for Sam's West Country jaunt. He's on a business trip. In an age when roads could be in very bad state and travel a somewhat risky business, it shouldn't be too difficult for Sam to justify the length of his time away from the office if the Duke of York starts to ask awkward questions.

Peter Taylor  •  Link

Sam and his entourage are having a wonderful holiday.

NJM  •  Link

I was born and brought up in London and later moved to the West Country and worked in Bristol for 7 years. I always said that I found it to be a smaller version of London - with the river, the docks and the financial/banking district. How good to find that Sam thought the same so many years before me !
I am going to Dr. Johnson's House in London on Thursday evening to see a dramatisation in costume of "Pepys & the Playhouse". Looking forward to it - should be enlightening & entertaining ! About as close as it is probably able to be back in the period !

GrahamT  •  Link

I remember my mother buying a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream each Christmas. Now I know where the name came from.

tonyt  •  Link

Marsh Street, Bristol still exists but it must be many a year since a little girl was born there as it is now made up entirely of office buildings. The 'Marsh' itself was soon to disappear - built over to form Queen's Square, notorious as the site of the 1831 Bristol Reform Riots.

Will Norton  •  Link

As a native of Bristol (Bristolian), I am happy to read about Sam's trip to my hometown. I wonder how Bristol would have looked in 1668. It was heavily bombed in the second world war, and not much of the medieval city remains now (apart from the area around Corn st. with the famous Bristol nails).

I had never heard of the sleds used to transport goods though. I wonder why we were not taught that in history lessons in primary school!

My parents still live between Bristol and Bath; the country is still good but the roads quite bad...

JWB  •  Link

goutes ?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"goutes ?"

Good Q, JWB: I didn't notice that.

A search of etymologyonline,com for "goute" yields gutter (n.)
late 13c., "watercourse, water drainage channel along the side of a street," from Anglo-Norman gotere, from O.Fr. guitere, goutiere (13c., Mod.Fr. gouttière) "gutter, spout" (of water), from goute "a drop," from L. gutta "a drop." Meaning "furrow made by running water" is from 1580s. Meaning "trough under the eaves of a roof to carry off rainwater" is from mid-14c. Figurative sense of "low, profane" is from 1818. In printers' slang, from 1841.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I wonder how Bristol would have looked in 1668. It was heavily bombed in the second world war, and not much of the medieval city remains now...."

Will Norton, the 126 pics flickr has today of "pre-war bristol" aren't all 1668, but....…

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

We still buy a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream each Christmas. They still sell Bristol Milk.

PHE  •  Link

Like NJM, I am also from London and South East. I lived in Bristol for about 7 years, and also had the same sense that it felt like a smaller version of London. I think that also helps to explain why many other south easterners have settled there for good and feel quite at home. Another factor is that Bristol doesn't seem to show an 'anti-southerner' feeling that we southerners often feel 'up north'.

I also worked in Bath during the same period, and did some work on Cross Bath. This is the smallest of the baths and I can totally appreciate Sam's concern that too many people in it "canot be so clean". But his comment comes some 200 years before the risk of water borne disease began to be understood.

tonyt  •  Link

To see how Bristol looked in 1668 you need look no further than the superb 1673 Plan of Bristol by Jacob Millerd : 'AN EXACT DELINEATION OF THE FAMOUS CITTY OF BRISTOLL AND SUBURBS thereof together with all the High wayes, throughfares, streets, lanes and public passages therein Contained,Composed by a Scale Ichnographically Described,Engraven and Published by Ia: Millerd, Cittizen and Inhabitant there'

I have a full size #about 60cm x 60cm# print of this Plan on my wall and refer to it frequently. You really need this size to appreciate the detail but smaller versions can no doubt be found on the internet. Various archeological digs have shown this Plan to be remarkably accurate

language hat  •  Link

Smaller indeed -- the best I can do is this unusably tiny version:…

Why hasn't someone put online a full-sized version that you can zoom in on, as has been done with so many maps? Or am I just unable to locate it?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I to see the quay, which is a most large and noble place; and to see the new ship building by Baily, neither he nor Furzer being in town. It will be a fine ship."

L&M: This was the Edgar, launched on 29 July; a 3rd-rate, costing over £6000. Francis Bailey was one of the few shup-builders with yards largew enough for the construction of a warship (he built two others in the '70s), but it was contrary to normal policy to have warships built elsewhere than in the royal yards. See B. Pool, Navy Board contracts, 1660-1832, pp. 13-14; R. C. Anderson (comp,), Lists of Men of War, 1650-1700, pt. l (Engl. Ships, 1649-1702, nos. 565, 609. Daniel Furzer was also a shipbuilder.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Up at four o’clock, being by appointment called up to the Cross Bath,"

L&M: A triangular bath so-called from the cross in the middle; being the coolest, it was the one most used in summer. Gentlemen sat in seats around the cross, ladies sat at the side under the arches.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Carried away, wrapped in a sheet, and in a chair,"

L&M: A bath-chair: cf. Fiennes, loc. cit.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He shewed us the place where the merchants meet here, and a fine Cross "

L&M: A (?)13th-century cross(enlarged and beautified in 1633) which stood at the junction of the four main streets of the city; removed 1733; now at Stourhead, Wilts. Bristol High Cross was a monumental market cross erected in 1373 in the centre of Bristol. It was built in Decorated Gothic style on the site of an earlier Anglo-Saxon cross, to commemorate the granting of a charter by Edward III to make Bristol a county, separate from Somerset and Gloucestershire.[1] It was moved to the Stourhead Estate in 1765.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

tonyt posted (above) "The 'Marsh' itself was soon to disappear - built over to form Queen's Square, notorious as the site of the 1831 Bristol Reform Riots."

The Bristol Riots of 1831 took place after the House of Lords rejected the second Reform Bill, which aimed to get rid of some of the rotten boroughs and give Britain's fast growing industrial towns such as Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds greater representation in the House of Commons. Bristol had been represented in the House of Commons since 1295, but by 1830 only 6,000 of the 104,000 population had the vote.[5]…


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: June 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 418-468. British History Online…

June 13. 1668
John Pocock to Hickes.

A vessel from St. Malo report that the French there are very uncivil,

and that the French King has set the Knights of Malta upon the Dutch,

and is endeavouring to cause the Bishop of Munster and other princes of Germany to break with them;

also that Monsieur Colbert is coming over to England, only to endeavour to persuade us to be neuter if the French break with Holland, which they think will shortly be.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 114.]

June 13. 1668
Anth. Thorold to Hickes.

A Lyme vessel from St. Malo with canvas reports that the peace with Spain is proclaimed there, which caused a great rise in their linens;
also that 3 men-of-war of 30 guns each arrived there from Brest, and that the coast is clear of Ostenders.
A Breton has also arrived from Crosick with salt.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 115.]

June 13. 1668
Ralph Hope to Williamson.

Some persons have thrown down 13 or 14 perches of Sir Rob. Townshend's new enclosures in the park, about which there has been so much trouble already;
all possible diligence has been used by the mayor and justices to, and is expected in town tomorrow.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 116.]

The name perch derives from the Ancient Roman unit, the pertica. The measure also has a relationship to the military pike of about the same size. Both measures date from the 16th century, when the pike was still utilized in national armies. The tool has largely been supplanted by electronic tools such as surveyor lasers (Lidar) and optical target devices for surveying lands.….


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

June 13. 1668
John Russell to the Navy Commissioners.

Prays them to send 2 hoys for plank at Stockwith, as it is damaged lying there, and in danger of the tide's carrying it adrift.
Has sent his account of the money laid out for the conversion of 2,000 trees, and for carriage, and desires to have them passed, and some money sent to pay the land carriage.
[1-½ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 241, No. 118.]

June 13, 1668
John Runting, master of the St. Peter, to the Navy Commissioners.

Understands they have sold his vessel to Sir Wm. Warren, and has daily expected their order for the discharge and payment of himself and company.

The men are impatient for their pay, as the ship was sent up to be paid.
Is advised by the master of attendance not to come to their Honours until there are orders to give Possession of the ship to another.
Asks an order that he may be cleared and his company.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 241, No. 119.]

June 13. 1668
Hab. Wiles to the Navy Commissioners.

I was informed on coming here that my ketch was discharged.
I asked what I should do with the 12 men, and was told I must keep them on board till money come to pay them.
I send 5 books containing the names of all the men pressed, or who came volunteers, with their entries and discharge.
I hope you will order my imprest money;
I have not received one penny since October 1665.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 120]

June 13, 1668
Edward and Eve ketch, Portsmouth.
Arthur Goodwin, master, to the Navy Commissioners.

I have been employed in transporting pressed men, for the supply of frigates fitted out at Portsmouth Harbour;

this being ended, the Commissioner here intends discharging me, which will be much to my hindrance, being ordered out of the river, and having had but a small time in the service.

I pray an order for my discharge where I was first employed.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 121.]

June 13, 1668
The Victory.
Capt. John Hubbard to Thos. Hayter.

Being ordered to Chatham, asks for 30 printed tickets for discharge of some persons.
Was desired by Sir Jeremy Smith to send the enclosed, and request him to mind the business concerning Dawson.
[S.P. Dom., Car II. 241, No. 122.]

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