Sunday 16 May 1669

(Lord’s day). My wife and I at church, our pew filled with Mrs. Backewell, and six more that she brought with her, which vexed me at her confidence. Dined at home and W. Batelier with us, and I all the afternoon drawing up a foul draught of my petition to the Duke of York, about my eyes, for leave to spend three or four months out of the Office, drawing it so as to give occasion to a voyage abroad which I did, to my pretty good liking; and then with my wife to Hyde Park, where a good deal of company, and good weather, and so home to supper and to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I all the afternoon drawing up a foul draft of my petition to the Duke of York about my eyes, for leave to spend three or four months out of the office, drawing it so as to give occasion to a voyage abroad...."

L&M note "[i]t was presented on the 19th May, [and] refers to the "ill condition whereto the restless exercises of his Eyes requisite to the seasonable dispatching of the Worke of his Place during the late Warr have unhappily reduced him .. [He has] fruitlessly made many medicinal attempts ...[ but is told by his doctors that ] nothing but a considerable relaxation from Worke can bee depended upon either for recovery of what Portion of his Sight hee hath lost, or securing the remainder." + corrections.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys is requesting sick leave to give his eyes a rest. He has complained that writing several diary entries has pained his eyes. Perhaps he'll give the diary a rest and just keep a descriptive accompt-book, as he did last June.

ONeville  •  Link

'Foul' = rough draft, I am assuming. 'Mrs Backwell's confidence' What a cheek.

Larry Bunce  •  Link

Mrs. Backwell could probably assume the office pew would be empty on a typical Sunday.

Dorothy Willis  •  Link

Were the pews actually sold to people or was it just that certain pews were where people usually sat and they came to think of it as "their" pew? The latter was commonplace in my childhood. Every family had their place where they sat every Sunday and they were not happy if some innocent visitor took "their" seats. But I know that in the 19th century, at least in New York City, pews were actually bought and sold.

sue nicholson  •  Link

Dorothy, Navy Office Pew

The Navy Office had a separate pew at St Olave’s church across Seething Lane on the corner of Hart St. (19.8.60) “This morning Sir W Batten, Pen and myself went to church to the churchwardens, to demand a pew, which at present could not be given us, but we are resolved to have one built”.
The resulting addition to St Olave’s consisted of three pews in a gallery on the South side of the church with its own canopied entrance and external steps. The place where the door went through the wall is still visible but sadly no other trace of the pew remains.
There was a certain amount of jostling for precedence, another power struggle which Pepys was determined to win. On Easter Day, 30.3.62, Elizabeth sat in the pew in front of Sam “and by that means the precedence of the pew which my Lady Batten and her daughter takes, is confounded. And after sermon she and I did stay behind them in the pew and went out by ourselves a good while after them - which we judge a very fine project hereafter, to avoid contention.”
However Pepys himself was not above taking the rules of precedence seriously. On 24th August later that year, he was hoist with his own petard when Will Griffin the Office doorkeeper, and Tom Hewett a clerk, “got into the pew next to our backs where our mayds sit; but when I came they went out, so forward some people are to outrun themselves.”

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"then with my wife to Hyde Park, where a good deal of company"

Presumably the carriage-set scrum.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Hyde Park

Elizabeth checking out the latest fashions and then scurrying to Unthank's to give instructions. Wonder if she made sketches? And Sam costing everyone else's horses and coaches and noting the paint jobs on them - and making sure he is seen by the right people. Happy days.

Dorothy Willis  •  Link

Thanks for the info.

If the Navy Office paid for the pew, no wonder they are irritated when someone uses it without permission. And using the private entrance too! (Talk about status!) But I bet the people at the church allowed its use -- for a tip -- when it looked as if no one was coming to the service.

horn  •  Link

Or maybe the navy or the church needed some

Pew Police or maybe a
Few Pew Police Policies?

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