Sunday 28 March 1669

(Lord’s day). Lay long talking with pleasure with my wife, and so up and to the Office with Tom, who looks mighty smug upon his marriage, as Jane also do, both of whom I did give joy, and so Tom and I at work at the Office all the morning, till dinner, and then dined, W. Batelier with us; and so after dinner to work again, and sent for Gibson, and kept him also till eight at night, doing much business. And so, that being done, and my journal writ, my eyes being very bad, and every day worse and worse, I fear: but I find it most certain that stronge drinks do make my eyes sore, as they have done heretofore always; for, when I was in the country, when my eyes were at the best, their stronge beere would make my eyes sore.

So home to supper, and by and by to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link


1550s, "trim, neat, spruce, smart," possibly an alteration of Low Ger. smuk "trim, neat," from M.L.G. smücken "to adorn," and smiegen "to press close" (see smock). The meaning "having a self-satisfied air" is from 1701, an extension of the sense of "smooth, sleek" (1580s), which was commonly used of attractive women and girls.…

Jenny  •  Link

I use the word "smug" to describe someone self satisfied and very pleased with themselves. That is how it is used in New Zealand. I'm sure Tom did look "smug", he was now a man and now knows all about the ways of the world with his lovely wife by his side. It's an inspired word and probably describes most newly married couples today.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Jenny, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, you are post-1701.

Jenny  •  Link

Oops. lol

Well, I'm sure Tom looked smug as we know it!

Peter Last  •  Link

I have had to read entries for two days, but it isn't too late to point out that it was the practice then and for a long time beforehand for the family and guests to put a newly wed husband into bed with his bride, often with a posset of wine to inspire his ardor.

A topical note is the declaration Charles II made to William of Orange when putting him to bed with his sister Mary: "Now, nephew, bestride her well, and do your best, for England and Saint George!"

They produced no surviving children and the throne thereby passed to the next sister, Queen Anne. She had a huge brood, poor thing, but the Prince of Denmark's syphilis led to most dying young. The only one to get to adolescence was killed when thrown from a horse.

The outcome was the Hanoverians, and England missed the aged Princess Sophia to acquire George I.

Just as at our weddings cans and other clattering objects are tied to the car the newlyweds drive away in, so then it was held to be very funny to tie bells to the bedclothes

Katherine  •  Link

Every time Sam mentions his eyesight, I dread the end of the diary. I realize eyeglasses were uncommon, but he was a member of the Royal Society. Wouldn't they have known about corrective lenses?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...when I was in the country, when my eyes were at the best, ..." Did pollution in the city affect his eyes, I wonder? Smoke from coal fires??

Chris Squire  •  Link

OED offers:

‘smug, adj. Etym: Of doubtful origin . .
1. a. Of male persons: Trim, neat, spruce, smart; in later use, having a self-satisfied, conceited, or consciously respectable air. The word has been in very common use from the 16th cent., and the earlier sense shades imperceptibly into the later, so that quotations cannot be separated.
. . 1669 S. Pepys Diary 28 Mar. (1976) IX. 500 To the office with Tom, who looks mighty smug upon his marriage.’

Mary  •  Link

"but I find it most certain that stronge drinks do make my eyes sore, as they have done heretofore always; for, when I was in the country, when my eyes were at the best, their stronge beere would make my eyes sore:"

This just sounds to me like Sam trying to fix on some reason (any mundane reason) for the worsening weakness of his eyes. Most people try to rationalize the reasons for this ill or that in the hope that the actual cause may not prove to be something irreversible.

martinb  •  Link

"Every time Sam mentions his eyesight, I dread the end of the diary."

Katherine probably speaks for us all. But there is another way of looking at it: his eyes have been giving him so much trouble that perhaps we should be grateful Pepys has got as far with this diary as he has. He could easily have given up months ago, but he didn't and as a result we've had a long succession of "bonus" entries for some time now.

I know it's not much consolation in the face of an imminent ending.

Frank G  •  Link

A topical note is the declaration Charles II made to William of Orange when putting him to bed with his sister Mary: “Now, nephew, bestride her well, and do your best, for England and Saint George!” "

In fact Charles' sister married the father of the William of Orange who failed to have children with Charles' niece, the daughter of the Duke of York.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

In her book Claire Tomalin suggests at this point that a peeved Sam, annoyed at Tom and Jane's wedding preventing his stone feast from being properly celebrated, deliberately set up his schedule to keep him away from home for the day of the wedding. I don't really see it from the recent and current entries, but one could also note that Bess could equally be accused of deliberately punishing Sam by ignoring his beloved feast day.

Second Reading

psw  •  Link

Claire Tomalin is as likely to be correct on both of them.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"In her book Claire Tomalin suggests at this point that a peeved Sam, annoyed at Tom and Jane's wedding preventing his stone feast from being properly celebrated, deliberately set up his schedule to keep him away from home for the day of the wedding."

Another explanation occurred to me today: Pepys didn't want to give Tom 'the talk' because he is so fond of Jane, and left it up to Hewer. Elizabeth no doubt did her part with the bride.

But as I speculated before, I suspect Pepys was just being cheap, selfish and political.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Wouldn't they have known about corrective lenses?"

"The need to wear glasses was continuously supported by the ophthalmology studies of the 17th century. The first scholar to separate and order the lenses according to their corrective power was the Portuguese notary Deça de Valdes: in 1623 he put together a scientific table of lenses approaching that of the inches, now replaced by dioptrics. His work ”Using lenses for all kinds of sight problems” was ahead of his time and established what will be confirmed almost three centuries later by the great masters of ophthalmology.

Following the developments in the processing of wire drawing, metal frames, especially copper ones were increasingly used as, along with an appropriate shaping of the bridge, they could sit alone on the nose. This process being so simple and the resulting price being so low, the conditions were ready for mass production and an even greater distribution on the market.

The search continued to find new ways to secure spectacles firmly in front of the eyes: one was to tie the lenses to a supporting ribbon around the head, one was to join them right behind the ears another was a bar that was placed under the wig or hat.

The British optician Edward Scarlett was the first to perfect, between 1727 and 1730, the “temple glasses“: they were equipped with rigid side-arms pressing on the temples ending in large loops.

Another important innovation of the 18th century was the invention of bifocals or split lenses. ..."

More from…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Society at large would become demoralized by the use of spectacles; they would give one man an unfair advantage over his fellows, and every man an unfair advantage over every woman, who could not be expected, on æsthetic and intellectual grounds, to adopt the practice." -- Robert Crosse (1605-1683) Puritan divine

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A contemporary view of Exeter, Devon is left to us by Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, who visited in the spring of 1669.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. Sometimes I got confused making the N.S./O.S. date conversions, so I apologize if they are wrong:


On 28 March/7 April 1669, his highness went to the cathedral church at the hour of prayer, about nine o'clock, and stood a considerable time in conversation with Signor Castiglini and Sergeant-Major Andrews, in the body of the church, observing with much curiosity the place set apart for the offices of religion, which are performed according to their Anglican Liturgy, by the clergy, assisted by the bishops who is, at present.

Dr. Antony Sparrow, lately elected to this see; which was vacated by the translation of Dr. Seth Ward to that of Salisbury.

[Dr. Anthony Sparrow, Bishop of Exeter…
[Bishop Seth Ward FRS… ]

The bishop was seated in a marble tabernacle, on the Epistle-side, on a seat covered with red cloth, dressed in the habit which was used by the Catholic bishops of the kingdom before the apostacy; namely, a surplice over a black vest, and a mantle of the same color; on his head he wore a small cap, similar to that of the Roman pontiffs, without any other ornament; and before him, on the edge of the tabernacle, over which was extended a large canopy of red cloth, was placed a cushion, and on that the book; and under the tabernacle, on a level with the floor of the church, in an inclosure of wood, stood the wife of the bishop, and his children, no less than nine in number.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In the prebendal stalls, sat, according to their rank, the dignitaries and canons, in their canonical habits, i.e. a surplice, and a "mantle of black silk, differing in shape from that of the bishop, as being narrower both before and behind. These, in conjunction with other regular choristers, sang the psalms in the English language, in a chant similar to the Gregorian, making their pauses to the sound of the organ, which has been erected lately on the wall separating the choir from the rest of the church, and is of a most exquisite tone.


In reciting the prayers ordained by their ritual, they all fell on their knees, the choir making alternate responses; and after a chapter from scripture, and from one of the epistles of St. Paul, had been read, a minister went to the altar in his surplice, and turning round to the people, read distinctly, standing, the Commandments of the Decalogue; and at each commandment, the choir answered in their own language, with a musical cadence, "Lord, have mercy upon us."

When this was over, a hymn was first given out by a singer under the pulpit, and then sung by the whole choir; and this being ended, the preacher, in his surplice, immediately began his sermon, leaning on a cushion placed in the middle of the pulpit, which is opposite to the bishop's seat, who is obliged to attend at the prescribed times, both at morning prayers and at vespers, and at all the other offices.

Departing hence, his highness went to see the ancient castle, and then making a tour round the walls of the city on the outside, he returned home to dinner, entertaining at table, besides the usual gentlemen, Colonel Gascoyne, the two brothers Rolle, Mr. Ford, one of the two lieutenants of the county, lately appointed secretary to Lord Robert [RUPERT?], for the purpose of accompanying him to Ireland, and Major Andrews.

[John and Dennis Rolle, sons of one of the two Deputy Lieutenants of Devon, John Rolle MP.
[Mr. Ford – the other Deputy Lieutenant of Devon under Gen. Monck, Duke of Albemarle.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link



After dinner, Mr. Kirkam, who is the only Catholic gentleman in the county, came to pay his respects to his highness, and soon afterwards, Sir John Rolle, who came from his house in the country, on purpose to pay his obeisance.

[John Rolle MP https://www.historyofparliamenton… John married by lic. 28 Feb. 1648, Florence, da. and coheir of Dennis Rolle of Stevenstone, which lies to the east of Torrington.]

After their departure, his highness went to Sir John Rolle's house, to visit his wife, who received him in a room where were assembled, along with her, her three daughters; Miss Earl, sister of a rich gentleman of the county, who, they said, was to be the wife of the eldest son of Sir John above-mentioned; and three sisters of Mr. Kirkam, who were unmarried, and Catholics, cousins on the mother's side to Sir John Rolle.

[John Rolle MP came from a junior branch of the Rolle family, who inherited after many male deaths. He was a Cornish farmer before that, so his mother, Grace Roberts Rolle and her family, were probably not gentry.]

His highness conversed standing, and on taking leave, returned directly home, and passed the evening without any other occurrence worth mentioning.

Exeter, the capital of the county of Devonshire, is a small city, situated on the river Isca [EXE], about 10 miles from the sea.

The river [EXE] there empties itself into a large bay, up which the largest vessels, even those of 300 tons burden, can pass safely as far as Topsham, a village 3 miles from Exeter; whence merchandize is conveyed in smaller boats quite up to the city.


The advantage of this commerce is very great; about 30,000 persons being continually employed in the county, in making baize and different sorts of light cloth.

It is sold to all parts, being sent to the West Indies, Spain, France, and Italy; but the greater part goes into the Levant.

The very best cloth is also made, both for home consumption and for exportation; but the trade in this is not considerable, in comparison with the other.

There is not a cottage in all the county, nor in that of Somerset, where white lace is not made in great quantities; so that not only the whole kingdom is supplied with it, but it is exported in very great abundance.

The population of the city is from 20,000 to 25,000 souls; amongst which, according to the custom of the kingdom, there is no nobility except such as come from time to time from their country houses, which are their constant residence, to look after their affairs.

The form of the buildings is that which is usual throughout the kingdom.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The cathedral church of St. Peter is a very considerable edifice; the architecture is Gothic; but it deserves praise from its size, and from having its exterior faced with stone. The facade is ornamented with different figures in stone, both in high and low relief, representing Saints both of the Old and New Testament.

Many of these have been injured and broken in the time of Cromwell, as at that time (the episcopal dignity having become extinct along with the authority of the parliament, and with it the ecclesiastical hierarchy, without any new institutions having been appointed for the government of their churches) various sects arose with full liberty to every man to form articles of faith at his pleasure; and they were the more approved, the farther they were removed from ecclesiastical discipline: of these, the most considerable (although agreeing with them in Calvinism, yet disagreeing in their particular rites) were those of the Presbyterians and Independents.


Cromwell was a favorer of the latter sect; because it left to the civil ttiagi^ti^te^" a jurisdiction entirely unrestricted.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The church is long, and divided in the inside into three open naves. The arches are low, and rest upon round pillars; over these are galleries which run almost round the whole church; it is lighted in every direction by large windows, in the glass of which are reflected the figures of saints, as also, round the body of the church, the tombs, and the marble monuments of the ancient Catholic bishops, whose statues have been defaced by the scorn and derision of the Independents.

It is the residence, as has been already said, of the bishop; whose revenue, formerly of 5,000/.s sterling, was reduced, after the alienations made by Cromwell, to 500.


At present, some estates having lapsed to it, it has again risen to 800/.; and there are hopes that it will daily be augmented by lapses of a similar kind.
There are said to be 12 canons, besides 4 ministers, whose business it is to preach.

The music of this church is reckoned amongst the best in the kingdom, owing to the good stipends which the chapter is enabled to give, in consequence of its excellent revenues, which are entirely distinct from those of the bishop.

To the chapter, which might with greater propriety be called the opera of the church, belongs every tiling relating to worship and to the church service.
There are 20 other parishes; but no other church or public building can be compared to the cathedral.

At the bottom of the body of the church, where the altar stands, are written on two large tables the ten commandments; at the sides of which are painted Moses and Aaron: over these tables is the cipher of the name of Jesus.

On the altar table is laid a covering of red velvet, which, extending itself on each side, falls in front down to the ground; and over this is spread a tablecloth. On one side of the table, is a large cushion of velvet of the same color; and this supports a silver basin and chalice.


There are likewise two vessels for preserving the wine which they make use of at the Lord's Supper, and two candlesticks of brass.

On the Gospel-side, stands the ancient seat of the bishop, but the present one is in a large marble tabernacle, surmounted by a very high lantern; the ornaments of which being taken from the Passion of Christ our Lord, shew it to have been formerly (as was the custom in ancient times) the Pix of the most Holy Sacrament. Now the seat of the bishop is there, in which he assists at the service, and curtains of taffeta are stretched from pillar to pillar; this throne is placed on the Epistle side, at the head of the choir, which is in the body of the church, in the middle aisle.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The other public building of the city is the Old Castle, which is a square enclosure, surrounded by walls with ancient towers, dismantled indeed both of guns and troops, there being in the city no other soldiers than the militia before described, commanded by the lieutenants, who are created by the king, and who in this county are 8 in number.

In the castle are two buildings, where, at stated times, are held the courts of justice; the one on the right, being appropriated to civil, the other to criminal causes.

The city is entirely surrounded by walls with towers, built by king Athelstan, son of Edward I, in the year 924.


These extend as far as the river, over which is a bridge of stone with 10 arches, which leads to a large suburb on the other side.

The city is intersected almost in the middle by a very large and straight street, full of very rich shops, which is its best and most considerable part.
In the square of the cathedral is a most beautiful summer walk, under the shade of trees, into several rows of which it is distributed, like those which are customary in Holland.

The head of the county is the sheriff; he is usually one of the principal gentry of the county, is changed every year, and is chosen by the king.

The militia is dependent upon the lieutenants, who also are chosen by the king, but under orders of the general.

For settling the civil and criminal causes of the county, four times a-year, that is, every three months, the assize, or assembly of jitclfcature, meets, at which two judges of the parliament are present, who come from London on purpose, together with certain other deputies of the county, to see that the laws of the kingdom are rigorously observed.

The especial civil government of the city is administered according to the general usage of the kingdom, by the mayor, assisted by aldermen and bailiffs; the former of whom are 5, and the latter 13.


The aldermen, as well as the mayor, wear a very noble dress, being a large gown of red cloth with a cape lined with black skin, plaited full above the waist, which is rather high, and entirely lined with yellow skin, with stripes of black velvet, which in front, that is, on each side of the opening, falls down almost to the ground.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The bailiffs likewise wear gowns of black cloth, richly laced with velvet of the same color. When the magistracy goes out on any occasion of ceremony, a page goes before, in a robe of black cloth, with a mace in his hand; he is followed by 8 other inferior officers in a similar dress, but much longer; afterwards come 4 mace-bearers in cloth gowns that reach to the ground, with a silver collar round their necks, from which hangs a medal, carrying small silver maces in their hands, which rest on their right shoulders.

Then comes the sword-bearer, as they call him; he always walks in boots, in a robe of black velvet, reaching to the ground; a large sword in his hand, the insignia of justice, and a red hat on his head, embroidered with gold, which is never taken off, except to the king himself, because it was the cap of Henry VIII, who, in passing through Exeter, made a present of it for this particular service.
The mayor comes last, on the right hand of the oldest of the aldermen; the other 4 come behind, two and two.


The Kirkham family of Blagdon, near Paignton, were an old Devonian family, but their ancestral home had transferred to the Blount family in 1630 through marriage. The man Cosmo met probably came from a junior branch of the family.


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

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