Friday 14 May 1669

Up, and to St. James’s to the Duke of York, and thence to White Hall, where we met about office business, and then at noon with Mr. Wren to Lambeth, to dinner with the Archbishop of Canterbury; the first time I was ever there and I have long longed for it; where a noble house, and well furnished with good pictures and furniture, and noble attendance in good order, and great deal of company, though an ordinary day; and exceeding great cheer, no where better, or so much, that ever I think I saw, for an ordinary table: and the Bishop mighty kind to me, particularly desiring my company another time, when less company there. Most of the company gone, and I going, I heard by a gentleman of a sermon that was to be there; and so I staid to hear it, thinking it serious, till by and by the gentleman told me it was a mockery, by one Cornet Bolton, a very gentleman-like man, that behind a chair did pray and preach like a Presbyter Scot that ever I heard in my life, with all the possible imitation in grimaces and voice. And his text about the hanging up their harps upon the willows: and a serious good sermon too, exclaiming against Bishops, and crying up of my good Lord Eglinton, a till it made us all burst; but I did wonder to have the Bishop at this time to make himself sport with things of this kind, but I perceive it was shewn him as a rarity; and he took care to have the room-door shut, but there were about twenty gentlemen there, and myself, infinitely pleased with the novelty. So over to White Hall, to a little Committee of Tangier; and thence walking in the Gallery, I met Sir Thomas Osborne, who, to my great content, did of his own accord fall into discourse with me, with so much professions of value and respect, placing the whole virtue of the Office of the Navy upon me, and that for the Comptroller’s place, no man in England was fit for it but me, when Sir J. Minnes, as he says it is necessary, is removed: but then he knows not what to do for a man in my place; and in discourse, though I have no mind to the other, I did bring in Tom Hater to be the fittest man in the world for it, which he took good notice of. But in the whole I was mightily pleased, reckoning myself now fifty per cent. securer in my place than I did before think myself to be. Thence to Unthanke’s, and there find my wife, but not dressed, which vexed me, because going to the Park, it being a most pleasant day after yesterday’s rain, which lays all the dust, and most people going out thither, which vexed me. So home, sullen; but then my wife and I by water, with my brother, as high as Fulham, talking and singing, and playing the rogue with the Western barge-men, about the women of Woolwich, which mads them, an so back home to supper and to bed.

16 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

High praise from the Archbishop...I wonder if the comic sermon was a hair nervous whistling, given the palatial luxury was exactly what the late revolution frowned on.


So, Sam was worried about being seen with fancy coat sleeves and carriage the other day, but now is angry at Bess not being ready to drive over and show off.

Ric Jerrom  •  Link

A bit of argie-bargie, hey? the women of Woolwich probably Arsenal supporters and those beefy Western watermen no doubt from Chelsea. Sam's surely a soccer agnostic and far more intrigued by the intricacies of cricket: bet he bowled a mean googly before the eye trouble kicked in... I came late to the Diary in this form and I'm sorry for it: Phil, and all you regular and irregular contributors, have improved and civilised my existence this last couple of years: lots of other people's too, I'm sure. Salutations! How can this be coming to an end?!

Rick Ansell  •  Link

'Western Barge Men'. Pepys is talking about the men who crewed the Western Barges, a distinct type of craft, rather than Barge Men from the West. The Western Barges were different from the familiar Thames Sailing Barge. They traded upriver, to the west (hence the name), rather than down into the Estury and out to sea.

In Pepys time they looked like they had since medieval times, like a large (some were 90ft x 12ft or larger) Punt, flat bottomed, shallow and swim headed. They drew only around four feet loaded with up to 200 tons of freight. They has a combined towing and sailing mast amidships, which could be lowered for bridges and set a square sail. There was little shelter for the crew, they lived under a canvas tilt at the stern. When being towed the motive power would be men gangs of men, Bow Haulers, rather than the more expensive horses that were used in later centuries.

In Pepys time the river had nothing most people would recognise as locks until you reached Abingdon and Oxford, where three had been built in 1633, The river was tidal until Staines. At Henley the bridge stopped most traffic and separate barges worked above the bridge with cargo being transshipped from those vessels or land transport.

Higher up it was obstructed by millers dams, which were passed by Flash Locks (rather than the modern Pound Locks like those built in the Oxford area), basically a hole in the dam which would be opened to allow a boat to surf down to a lower level or be winched up against the out-flowing water. It wasted water, was slow and dangerous and the millers charged you to use it. Yet some survived on the main navigation channel of the Thames into the 1930s. You can see a small one in action about halfway down this page:


andy  •  Link

about the women of Woolwich

In the East End around 1982 there was a song about

"O! The wild women of Wonga!
Do all their shopping in Wapping"

The spice warehouses were still there at the time. Ah! memory.

ONeville  •  Link

Fascinating entry today. The Archbishop living it up, although it was but an ordinary day. Wasn't washing anyone's feet, then. 'Come back, Sam, when it's a bit quieter, although I don't know when that will be'. I don't suppose we know if he ever did? Was Lambeth Palace the same building as it is now? If so, we know what 'voices' the current Archbishop is hearing.

After speaking with Sir Thomas Osborne (any relation to the current Chancellor, I wonder) Sam obviously felt far more comfortable in his position and able to do a bit of showing off. Wife not dressed? Keep up Bess!

Thank you Rick for your knowledgeable contribution on the barges, they seemed well suited to the job they had to do and is an example to me of man's ability to apply technology to the best advantage.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Thanks for a fascinating diversion, Rick.
One question - what is 'swim headed' ?

Also a fine illustration of Sam's volatility. 'Mightily pleased', 'vexed', still 'vexed', 'home sullen' then whooping it up on the river, making fun of the bargemen.

sue nicholson  •  Link

Swim-headed: Boat or barge with a flattened, square end (bow or stern) raked to overhang the water at an angle of about 45 degrees.

Rick Ansell  •  Link

As Sue says, 'Swim Headed' is a simple wedge-shaped bow without a Stem (point), although the bow may narrow as it goes forward. I don't know about 45 degrees, I have seen some that are considerably more shallow in angle. Most Punts are Swim Headed. Photographs of a modern Swim Headed Lighter on this page.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did bring in Tom Hater to be the fittest man in the world for it, which he took good notice of."

L&M note Hayter became joint-Clerk of the Acts, with Pepys' brother John, when Pepys became Swxretary to the Admiralty in 1673.

Mark S  •  Link

"playing the rogue with the Western barge-men"

From Boswell's Life of Johnson, an anecdote told to Boswell by by Bennet Langton:

'It is well known that there was formerly a rude custom for those who were sailing upon the Thames, to accost each other as they passed, in the most abusive language they could invent, generally, however, with as much satirical humour as they were capable of producing. Addison gives a specimen of this ribaldry, in Number 383 of The Spectator, when Sir Roger de Coverly and he are going to Spring-garden. Johnson was once eminently successful in this species of contest; a fellow having attacked him with some coarse raillery, Johnson answered him thus, "Sir, your wife, _under pretence of keeping a bawdy-house_, is a receiver of stolen goods."

Australian Susan  •  Link

For ONeville - short answer is yes, more or less - here's some more information about Lambeth palace

PS to Mark S - Love the Johnson anecdote! Sam would have appreciated it, but probably thought it slightly naughty to say out loud and would not have had the nerve to do it himself.

Tom Carr  •  Link

Great entry and annotations today - I am really going to miss all of you!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"his text about the hanging up their harps upon the willows"

Psalm 137:2 KJV

137 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"he knows not what to do for a man in my place; and in discourse, though I have no mind to the other, I did bring in Tom Hater to be the fittest man in the world for it, which he took good notice of. "

Hayter became joint-Clerk of the Acts, with Pepys's brother John, when Pepys became Secretary to the Admiralty in 1673. (L&M)

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