7 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Damaris Page. The 'madame' of a seamens' brothel; 'the most Famous Bawd in the Towne.' Sir Edward Spragge -- and probably other commanders -- used her to furnish him with seamen. At a Trinity House dinner on 7 June 1669, according to a scandalised note by Pepys in his Navy White Book, Spragge told Pepys that as long as she lived 'hee was sure hee would not lack Men. This amon others Mr Evelin heard & took notice of it to mee with great affliction'. (L&M Companion )

For more about Pepys on Page, and her biography, scroll down here: http://www.portcities.org.uk/lond…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Damaris Page was one of the most notorious women of 17th century England.
She was born into severe poverty and hardship but rose to fame and riches.
She was the subject of several Grub Street pamphlets in 1660, characterised as 'The Wandring Whore' and the 'Crafty Bawd', she may have been one of the inspirations for Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders.

Damaris Page was born in Stepney around 1610, and worked as a prostitute throughout her teens.
In 1653 she married James Dry in a Bermondsey church, and in 1655 she was brought to court for bigamy. She was charged with having been married to a William Baker of Stepney for the previous 15 years, although there is no mention of this marriage in the parish records so it may have been fabricated.
Page was acquitted, and after the death of James Dry some years later she remained single.

Damaris Page appeared in court again, charged with the death of an Eleanor Pooley, who had died after Page had tried to perform an abortion with a 2-pronged fork. She was convicted of manslaughter, and would have been hanged had she not been pregnant.
Page was imprisoned in Newgate Gaol for 3 years.

Following her release, Damaris Page became a brothel owner. She ran the Three Tuns in Stepney for seamen and another brothel in Rosemary Lane (now Royal Mint Street), near the Tower of London, for the wealthier naval officers.
She agreed to press-gang her dock worker clientele for a fee, which made her very unpopular, and her house was targeted in the 'Bawdy House Riots' of 1668.
At this time Samuel Pepys described Page as "the most Famous Bawd in the Towne."

By the middle of the 17th century, Page had moved into property speculation, investing the money she had made into building new houses on the Ratcliffe Highway, north of Wapping, and around in residential areas near the Tower of London.
The income from these properties supported her for the rest of her life, and by her death in 1669 she had amassed a large fortune.

Source: Wikipedia - Damaris Page

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My best guess at an either damaged or censored report:

The life and death of Damaris Page (c. 1610 – 9 October 1669). That great, arch, metropolitan (old woman) of Ratcliff highway. Who (through age and sickness) departed this life at her manner of the Three Tuns in the parish of Stepney the 9th day of this present October, and was buried the Sunday following at St. George's in Southwark, with great lamentation of all the sister-hood.

Damaris Page, as is conjectured, was born about the Year 1601, and as it is thought in the Month of March because she was used to sturdy storms and bitter blasts which that Month is much subject unto she was in her time a woman of very great fame, for the Seamen had spread her name abroad into all the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, and the Isle of Pines also, in which Country she was had in very great repute and Veneration by the Inhabitants thereof, for those notable qualities with which she was endowed.


[DAMARIS PAGE] was most notably famous for keeping a house of, what shall I call it, for it had divers names, some called it the Seaman’s whirlpool, others Venus’ Bower, Cupid’s Pest-house, the Chyrurgion’s friend, the Hector’s Office, a Vaulting-School, the amorous Chace, a Brothel, a Stew the huck-strings’ Academy, the hole in the Wall, &c. But the down-right Seaman when he was gotten three quarters drunk, would call it in plain English, a Bawdy-house.

Page 2

And therefore although she kept great hospitality, she could not be said to keep a good house, and although she had many Female servants she kept few Maids, dealing much in brittle Ware that were often subject to cracks and flaws, whom the Chyrurgion was forced to play the Tinker with in mending them the other materials belonging to her house, were a close Box with a side bed to kennel in, clean linen, sweet powder, paint, patches, plaister, pint bottles of Wine at two shilling a bottle, Stepony, Raspberry ale, Cock ale, Cakes, a Barrel of Beer, a tub of new ale, a Gallon of Strong water, two Gallons of Brandy, Cans, Black pots, Pipes ready filled with stinking instead of Spanish Tobacco; Cards, a Pits-pot, and a piece of crotched chalk that should make two scores at once for the greater felicity in writing.

And although some have reported her to be of a very hasty froward, peevish disposition, yet we know contrarily that she was indued with a great stock of patience, as was evidently manifested when the unruly rabble on Easter Holy-days defaced her mansion of pleasure; breaking her goods, cutting in pieces her beds, making the feathers to fly about the streets, yet notwithstanding she were thus wronged, she was not heard to give them any bad words, but contrarily called them good gentlemen and pray gentlemen, with other Sugar-candy words, nothing savoring of scolding brangling, or impatiency at all.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


But although she had some virtues, certainly she had more vices, then any Smith hath to work withal, for she would lie (in her bed) every night; she would scold, but that she learned of her neighbors; she would drink, and eat too, else could she not have lived so long: she would talk, for she was not tongue-tied, yet was she very just of her word, for if she promised to help a man with a wh— she would not help him to an honest woman.

And what can be desired more I pray,
Then people for to do as they do say.

Page 3

And though some may think she got her living very lightly, and with much case, yet certainly they were greatly mistaken; for besides the rigor of the Laws which them of her occupation are liable unto, as Imprisonments, Cartings, and the like, there was besides great charges for Fines and Fees to Justices Clarks, Beadles, and such other inferior reliques of Authority; besides a great deal of charge for white and red to empayer decayed Nature, and to hide the furrows and wrinkles of old age, which should they have appeared, might have been very detrimental to one of her profession: and therefore whatsoever some may think, a B— doth not get her living with so much ease as the world supposeth, nor in that adventure of her danger of Carting to be slighted.

Now I would not have any one to be mistaken, to think because our Damaris died at Ratcliff Highway, that she was the old woman that was drowned there a Fortnight ago; No, be it known to you that she feared more burning then drowning; and besides too, wearing Cork-shoes, she was so light-heeled, that had she been thrown into the water, she would not have sunk.

No doubt but her ambition was very great in striving to imitate the examples of some former great Potentates and Noblemen, who upon the committing of some heinous Crimes, to expiate their sins, as they thought, would build Monasteries and Religious houses; which as that well-languages Historian Mr. Speed thinks, their foundations being lined in blood, or as bad matters was one great cause of their downfall in the time of King Henry VIII.
So she was very charitable to the Poor while she lived, which yet I may speak not as any ways blaming her, and, as I am informed, at her death gave, amongst other Legacies, money to buy Smocks for 100 poor Seamen’s widows, an example of which I wish many that detested her life would practice at their Deaths.

She died on Saturday morning the 9th day of October, and was with a great concourse of people attending her Corp, buried at St. George’s in Southwark on Sunday following in the afternoon, where now she rests in the Grave secure from a Shrove Tuesday rouse, or Easter holy days vexation.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Page 4

Her Elegy:
And is it true; is Damaris dead indeed
And hath put on Death's sable Ebbon Weed,
Hath grizzly death instead of Beef and Cabbidge
Trust her up deep in Grave both Bag and Baggage,
Then mourn ye Mobbs of Venus, each bright spark
That shines in Luteners Lane, and Whetstones Park,
Blow forth deep sighs and let your groans be runners
Let tears run from your eyes like drops through scummers
Let your eyes Rain make in the ground Meanders
And weep her Death like Hero's and Leanders.
Death on her house of Clay at last did seize,
And sack't the same worse then the Prentices;
There many a Seaman hath sat with his Doxy
And spent his Coin till he grew Foxy, Poxy:
Boarding of Friggots, until at the last
Lights of a fire-ship, and so spoils his Mast,
Well might you think mischief would on it come
Falling to rummaging her Powder-room,
Thus Souldiers may get wounds though not in Wars,
For Venus hurts do prove the greatest scars.
But whether goes my Muse; come back again
Sayl not thy lustre in a Pockey Vein,
Thy task it was to tell of death's Fegaries,
And nor of Surgeons and Apothecaries:
To meddle with no idle lustful Wench,
That takes in English, and pays back in French,
Thy task it, was to make an Elegy,
To show how, where, and when did Damaris dye
How sickness did her body Carbanado
And then death kill'd her with his great Granado,
Her Mobbs could not make cruel Mors to faint
He'd not be bribed with their Pox not Paint,
He knew she was a bit for his own Trencher,
They did mistake to think death was a Wencher,
Now she is gone and laid in ground full cool
The cheif being dead the rest may break up School,
And yet oft-times we by experience know
Great Oaks being gone, the Shrubs will faster grow,

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Page 5

Farewell thou noted Female, henceforth be
Famed with Lais, Thais, Chorrinna, Rhodope.
And yet so long as Luteners Lane stands still
Dog and Bitch yard, Whetstones Park, and Saffron hill,
Who listeth for to seek there he may find
Though thou art gone, more whores are left behind.


Pass by Reader, and forbear
To inquire who lies here,
We do not mean believe to cheat
Within here lies virtuous, modest, great,
And such like Epithets be spread,
Cozen the living belie the dead,
We boast no wonders beg no praise
Let this suffice and go your ways.

Page 6

Some few Legacies which she bestowed by word of mouth a little before her departure.
• Imprimis to all the Sisterhood in Nightingale Lane, Well close, Ratcliff Highway, and those petty places of Trading, two pence a piece, to buy thread to mend their stockings.
• Item, I give to all those who having handsome Wives of their own yet follow whores, the sum of four pence a piece to buy them a book called Green's groatsworth of wit.
• Item, I give to all the Dammee Hectorian blades about the Town, the sum of thirteen-pence half-penny a piece, to pay the successor of Squire Dun, his wages when they shall have need of him.
• Item, I give to all Thieves, Cut-purses, and Pick-pockets, good counsel to leave off their damnable Trade, or else they will fall Gallows ripe into the Hangman's budget.
• Item, To all rotten pockified Who (of which there is a great many) I give four-pence apiece, to buy them sweet powder, to keep them from stinking alive.
• Item, I bequeath to all young Sm•ll▪ Smocks that intend to follow Whores, this counsel beforehand: that they provide Money for the Apothecary and Chyrurgion.
• Item, I give to the Officers belonging to Fumblers Hall o.o.o.o.
• Item, I bequeath to him that shall write my Life and death the sum of ten shillings to be paid him by the bookseller.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Google Fumbler's Hall -- it was a often-used phrase that might give you some laughs. They were a ribald lot!

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.