The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.510923, -0.078776

1893 text

The Navy Office was erected on the site of Lumley House, formerly belonging to the Fratres Sancta Crucis (or Crutched Friars), and all business connected with naval concerns was transacted there till its removal to Somerset House.—The ground was afterwards occupied by the East India Company’s warehouses. The civil business of the Admiralty was removed from Somerset House to Spring Gardens in 1869.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Phil  •  Link

This was the location of the Navy Board… from 1654 to 1673. Latham's Companion describes its location as "the northern section of a large house on the e. side of Seething Lane, a few doors south of its junction with Crutched Friars, with a courtyard opening onto the Lane and garden stretching from the Lane to the n.-w. corner of Tower Hill."

From the map one can see there is now a Pepys Street at this location!

Martha Wishart  •  Link

I was in London in February, and went to look at Seething Lane, which is just around the corner from the Tower of London, to see if anything remotely pepysian was still there. The only link to Pepys remaining on the street is St Olave's church, which has a placard mentioning that it is the local church Pepys attended. There is now a Pepys Street running off of Seething Lane. I did not know about the Pepys exhibit until my last day in London, and missed it. Am now kicking myself!

Arbor  •  Link

I worked for some years in the [pretty dreadful] 1960s building now occupying the site... called Mariner House. It is immediately behind the Port of London Authority building which was built on the frontage to the Tower in Victorian times. I loved exploring the lanes and byways of the City... recommended to visitors.

vincent  •  Link

Seething Lane has a little hidaway for those who may want to have strong water in a brown paper bag listening to all those ghosts. On London city site of pocket parks.… Lane Gardens. - this garden is on the former site of the former Naval Office and official residence of the Clerk of the Acts.
Samuel Pepys resided here from July 1660 and is buried in nearby St Olave’s Church. A sculptured head of Pepys can be seen in the garden.

Arbor  •  Link

Another note about the area... on Crutched Friars... incidentally that's pronounced Crutch-ed... there is [on a warm day] still a wonderful smell of spices. The area was so permeated with spice in the 18th and 19th centuries from spice storage that it worked it's way into the brick. Visitors might like to 'smell out'!

Glyn  •  Link

The Admiralty was responsible for strategic decisions about the navy while the Naval Office was responsible for its day-to-day running. The Office (and hence, Pepys) was responsible for, among other things, the following:

* building, maintaining and equipping warships;

* providing ships to transport the Army overseas when necessary;

* recruiting and paying the seamen;

* purchasing, processing and supplying food;

* providing medical care afloat and ashore;

* being in overall control of, or negotiating with, the nation

Brian Lillis  •  Link

Fratres Sancta Crucis translates as Brothers (or Friars) of the Holy Cross. I have not come across either name previously but I assume that Crutched is purely a corruption of the word Crucis. Does anyone have any information on this order?

Glyn  •  Link

What Clerks did at the Navy Office.

Several decades after the Diary, and no doubt incorporating his improvements, this is what a senior financial clerk's working week was like in 1748:

John Russell held the post of "Extra Commissioner" there in 1748:

"On Mondays: collect and abstract all bills of exchange, yards and all Navy Bills for the week past, and examine the same with the Comptroller of the Treasurer's Account.
Tuesday examine all invalids and sign their tickets for payment [by the 'Chatham Chest'].
Wednesday: all day at the Pay Office.
Thursday: with the Comptroller receiving petions of poor seamen run on ships' books, and relieving such as appear just. And examine the transport accounts ... all in my office.
Friday, all day at the Pay Office.
Saturday: examine all imprest and contingent accounts for the Week. And attend the Board every night to dispatch orders and letters till 9 o'clock. And you know besides all this, that I am at calls [i.e. to pay off a ship when it arrives home], wherever a Commissioner is wanted; am just come from Woolwich paying off the "Rainbow"." - letter written 21 December, 1748.

Pepys was more senior than this, of course, but this was what his senior clerks would have had to do as well. You'll note that the Board met regularly in the evenings up until 9 pm.

Second Reading

John York  •  Link

Brian, the Wikipedia entry for Crutched Friars will answer your questions.…
Whilst your contention of the name derivation could be correct, it is suggested that they were named from a crutch or staff that the carried with them.
"They settled in London in 1249, where they gave their name to the locality, near Tower Hill, still called Crutched Friars."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From June, 1649, when the Commonwealth established its administration after the fall of the monarchy, the Navy Commissioners had occupied rooms in the Victualing Office on Little Tower Hill.

In 1653 the Navy Commissioners objected to the victualers’ on-site slaughterhouse, so in 1654 Sir John Wolstenholme Jr.’s house in Seething Lane was purchased for them for £2,400 and this became the Navy Office for many years.

Until September, 1653, each Navy Commissioner was allowed one clerk at £30 a year, scanty assistance for their work; the number was then doubled and two purveyors were added.

Seething Lane had many association with the navy and maritime interests, as it had been the town house of Sir John Wolstenholme Sr.

Sir John Wolstenholme, Sr. (1562–1639) was one of the richest merchants in London and took a prominent part in early English trade with America, as well as in colonization and maritime discovery.

In December, 1600, Wolstenholme was one of the incorporators of the East India Company; in 1609 became a member of the Council of the Virginia Co, and for many years was one of the farmers of Customs in London. He helped finance voyages to discover a northwest passage made by Henry Hudson in 1610 and William Baffin in 1615.

In 1619 Wolstenholme was appointed a Commissioner of the Navy, and in 1635 to the Commission for the Administration of the Chatham Chest.

He died in 1639 and was buried in Stanmore Church.

His son, Sir John Wolstenholme Jr., knighted in 1633, inherited the collection of the customs dues, and for many years was a leading member of the Court of the East India Company. There are many references to him in the minutes of the company.

Sir John Jr. supported the Royalist cause in the Civil War and subscribed liberally with money and plate, for which he was heavily fined by the Parliament, and his estates sequestrated to the value of £100,000.

Wolstenholme Jr. was declared a bankrupt in 1651 (it was said improperly so) and for several years he was in financial difficulties and it was then that his house in Seething Lane was sold.

Wolstenholme Jr, weathered the storm. At the Restoration he recovered his estates and his patent of Collector of Customs for London. He was created a baronet by Charles II in 1665.

After leaving Seething Lane, Sir John resided in Fenchurch Street, where he died in July, 1670, and was buried at Stanmore.

Sir John Jr. was an intimate friend of Chancellor Clarendon.

This 1952 paper was presented by Capt, William Robert Chaplin, of the Trinity House, London, and has information about the growth of shipbuilding under James I and Charles I, the Civil War, shipbuilding in Boston MASS, and the characters Major [Rear Admiral] Nehemiah Bourne was related to by marriage ... the Trinity House Brotherhood were his Puritan in-laws from Wapping during the Interregnum.

And yes, Pepys and the Diary are mentioned.…

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