Pepys describes this as being “next door” to the house of John Hayls, who lived on Southampton Street (now Southampton Place, just south of Bloomsbury Square).

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First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

The Crown’s address may be different from that given in the Description tab.

According to “Taverns and Tokens” it was located where the Bank of England now stands, facing the north end of Castle Alley. Crown Court is shown on Ogilby and Morgan’s map of 1677.

It was owned by Thomas Blagrave from 1663 to 1684, and Blagrave had previously owned the Antwerp Tavern near St Bartholomew’s Exchange and before that the King’s Head in New Fish Street. Blagrave prospered at the Crown and was one of the richest parishioners in the parish of St Christopher’s church, only slightly behind John Houblon who was one of the founders of the Bank of England, but ahead of everyone else. He and his wife, Jaine (sic), had at least one son named Charles who was baptised in 1661, so Pepys may have seen the toddler on his visits to the Crown.

Some people have conjectured that Thomas Blagrave was a relative of Thomas Blagrave the musician who was a friend of Pepys, but there’s no proof of this apart from the coincidence of their unusual names. It is, of course, a possibility.

The Crown was a large building that was assessed for taxation purposes at 19 hearths in 1668. It was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, so it couldn’t have been in Bloomsbury, but was soon rebuilt.

In the early 18th century it became a coffee house and survived into the 1760s when it was absorbed by the buildings of the Bank of England.

Source: “Taverns and Tokens of Pepys London” (1976) by George Berry, page 110-111.

Second Reading

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