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

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Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My Devonshire paper has an Opinion piece today on statues, history, slavery, and how many Devonians are ignorant of the fact that only a handful of ships from Plymouth initiated the first English slaving expeditions from Africa to the Americas.

It asks if people know that after the 1560s Devonians hardly engaged in slavery? Two dozen ships left Devon to enslave Africans out of the nearly 12,000 voyages conducted from other English ports.

Also in the 1500's some Africans lived in Plymouth and Barnstaple, probably because of privateering. Documents show these men and women were free servants, not slaves. [That didn't last - sj]

Upsetting to some is the fact that more white Devonians were taken hostage and enslaved in North Africa than Equatorial Africans were seized as slaves by Devonians. (That isn't true for many English counties; the Barbary pirates’ made a significant impact on Devon for centuries.)

On-going research will probably show substantial Devonian trade from the late 1500s to the early 1800s was in slave-produced goods (sugar, rum, tobacco, cotton). There was also direct investment in, or ownership of, slave plantations – but as of 2020 there is no evidence any Devon estate or country house was purchased with, or built from, such wealth.

It is impossible to disentangle the British Empire from any economic or cultural legacy in the United Kingdom. For centuries the economy was centered on adding to its colonies, and the exploitation of foreign commodities.

In 17th century Devon this meant the harvesting of Canadian fish and whales which made Dartmouth, Plymouth, Teignmouth, Bideford and Barnstaple wealthy at the expense of native Canadians. This fishing provided the economic foundation for those ports. Should we now view the quaint 17th century streets of Dartmouth with shame?

The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Dartmouth and Plymouth will be celebrated in the United States in 2020 as a valiant fight for religious freedom. But the Pilgrims sought (1) freedom to practice their own Puritan form of worship, and (2) freedom to persecute anyone who dissented from it. They carried out their plans: Quakers were hanged for practicing their faith.

Today we would label the Pilgrims as extremists, bigots and/or fundamentalists -- certainly not humanitarians.
In addition, the Puritans’ New World was the result of taking land from its rightful owners.

As we know from studying Pepys, it is impossible for any figure from the past to meet modern expectations with respect for gender, race, disability, religion, sexuality, class, household violence and age.

Pictures of Raleigh and Dartmouth, and more Devonshire musings on uncomfortable subjects at…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

According to this article, the Commonwealth (before Pepys' time) made a significant investment in the development of Plymouth as a Naval victualling and trading base:

"Archaeologists are beginning a major investigation that could reveal early evidence of Plymouth’s status as an epicenter of global trade.
"Experts from the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Archaeology Society will be carrying out excavations on part of the earliest victualling yard for the Royal Navy in Plymouth, sited at Commercial Wharf to the south of the Barbican.
"The area was used for nearly 200 years to supply the Navy with bread, biscuits and beef until those operations moved to Royal William Yard in the 19th century.

"Conservation work on the quay wall at Commercial Wharf has revealed important 17th century material. This has included pottery and clay pipes dating to the second half of the 17th century from Italy, Iberia, France, Holland and the Rhineland, as well as English pottery from North Devon and Somerset.
Archaeologists have also found tableware, jars, a candlestick and a strange unglazed shard that was probably part of a Spanish wine amphora or olive oil jar, never before seen in Plymouth.
"They hope to uncover more such items with the possibility of finding earlier items from around the time of the Mayflower’s departure from Plymouth.

'University of Plymouth maritime archaeologist Martin Read said: “Plymouth has always had a much higher proportion of imported pottery from southern Europe and the Mediterranean than elsewhere. It was probably brought back by fishermen after selling their salted cod, with something like 40% of the ceramics recovered in Plymouth from this time having been imported. This is an exciting opportunity to examine part of an early victualling yard. There are very few of these sites that have not been later redeveloped and built over, so the area is of international importance.”'

For photos of the pottery and more info., but sadly none of the 17th century buildings, see "…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, visited Plymouth, Devonshire, in the Spring of 1669. Storms had blown him off course, so he landed in Ireland, then went to the Isles of Scilly, and was now in Plymouth on his way to London.

I've standardized names, scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I struggle with the N.S./O.S. dates, so I apologize if I got them wrong:

The captain then coming on board, presented to his highness letters from Colonel Gascoyne, written two days before at Plymouth; but a few hours afterwards, when the frigate began to enter the harbor, he came himself to make his obeisance to his highness, bringing with him Major Andrews, deputy to Sir Charles Cotterel, the master of the ceremonies, and introducer of ambassadors at court.


He was commissioned by the king to offer his services, and accompany his highness on his journey, and to see that every necessary accommodation was provided for his lodgings. Being therefore introduced into the state cabin, he paid his respects to his highness, and then went back on deck, where he had not stood long, before the Signors Antonio Antinori and Lorenzo del Rosso appeared in another boat.

Having anchored in the middle of the bay of Plymouth, the frigate saluted the fortress with 11 guns, and, receiving 11 in reply, acknowledged them with 3, which, however, did not remain unanswered; the castle also saluted the frigate with 7 guns, and she returned the salute with 5.

His highness then landing, the frigate saluted with all the ordnance, both in the upper and lower tiers, making altogether, 21 rounds. To this salute succeeded that of the castle, and to that succeeded the fortress and the forts which guard the entrance of the two banks; altogether, 60 discharges.

On disembarking, the mayor and aldermen, in their habits of ceremony, came to receive and compliment his highness, which, as it had not been notified to him, he could not avoid.


A few paces farther on, stood the military governor expecting him, who paid his respects to him in the name of his majesty, and then accompanied him to his lodging, with all the military officers, walking between a double line of soldiers of the garrison, under arms, with colors flying, trumpets sounding, and drums beating, besides the festive shouts and acclamations of a very numerous population, who, for want of room in the public streets, had filled the roofs of the houses and the shrouds and rigging of the ships which were at anchor in the dock.

A lodging was prepared for his highness in the house of Mr. Jennings, one of the principal merchants, and, at present, alderman of the town.

The governor then arrived, and having been introduced into his highness's apartment, soon after retired.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

With the same view of making their obeisance, there arrived from their country seats Sir Richard Edgecumbe and Mr. Prideaux, both gentlemen of consideration in the county, who were immediately introduced by Signor Gascoyne; and, when they were gone, his highness retired to rest.

[SPOILER: Sir Richard Edgcumbe MP FRS (1640-1688) weds Lady Anne Montagu (1656-1728), daughter of Adm. Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich and Jemima Crewe in January, 1671 [when she’s aged 14].… ]

On 23 March/2 April, 1669 the 2 captains and the officers of the frigate came to pay their respects to his highness, and to thank him for the liberal presents they had received from him.


Captain Hart had received the sum of 1,000 crowns; Captain Fooly, 100/.s sterling; the lieutenant of the frigate the same; and the pilot, besides his share of 200 pistoles given to be divided amongst the soldiers and Sailors, a gold medal, with his highness's portrait.

After these had departed, the governor arrived, who introduced all his captains, ensigns, and other chief officers of the garrison, to congratulate his highness; and, after these, he was congratulated by Sir William Stroude, one of the gentry of the province.

After dinner, his highness, attended by the governor, embarked to see the two rivers which disembogue themselves into this harbor; but the weather being very SitdWy, he was obliged to return before he had well put off from the shore.

Soon afterwards, he walked on foot to the city to view two churches; and, on his return home, he stopped at a shop where marbles are sold, such as are found in the province; and at the house of an ingenious mechanic, a maker of watches and other automatical machines.

On 25 March/3 April, 1669 the captains came to take leave of his highness, and, with them, two young gentlemen volunteers, who were presented by Signor Castiglione, in the name of his highness, with two rich gold collars.

Afterwards, Mr. Stroude arrived, and shewed his highness different specimens of the mines of lead, tin, and loadstone, lately discovered by him in that neighborhood.

His highness made him stay and dine with him, in company with the governor, that is, the lieutenant of my Lord John Grenvile, Earl of Bath, first gentleman of the chamber to the king.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The following day he was taken to see the fortress, where, both on his entrance and departure, he was saluted by all the guns, and by three discharges of musketry from the soldiery, who, happening to be on parade at the time his highness arrived at the governor's quarters, drew up in squadrons under his windows.

In the saloon, was the governor's wife and four other ladies, with whom his highness partook of a collation prepared for him, after which he went with them to see the house and private armory of the governor.

Having made the tour of the fortifications and bastions, as far as the weather permitted (an^.-a y^jry lieayj snow beginning to fall) he returned home.

At 7 o'clock of the same day, his highness, accompanied by the governor, went into a boat, and by the assistance of the tide, was carried to Saltash, a small town on the right bank of the river Tamar, where formerly flourished the same commerce which is now transferred to Plymouth.

It was his intention to have gone higher up, in order to see the new tin mines lately discovered by Sir W. Stroude; but having arrived at the last-mentioned place very late, in consequence of the wind being against him, he resolved to return, after having made a short perambulation through the lower parts of the city.


On his return, passing under the castle of St. Frances, he was saluted by it with discharges of artillery, and the same compliment was paid by the entrenchments which guard the mouth of the eastern river, which his highness, having reached after a long walk, returned back to dinner.

He detained the governor to dinner, and at the bottom of the table, below the gentlemen of his suite, he caused the master of the house to be seated.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Today he did not go out, and conversed a long time with the governor, who took him to see the plan of a new fortification.

After him, Sir Richard Edgcumbe, and Mr. Prideaux came to pay their respects and wish him a good journey, and thus the day ended; his departure for Exeter being determined upon for the day following.

Plymouth, in the last century, was a poor village, inhabited by fishermen. It is now so increased in buildings and population, that it may be reckoned among the best cities of England, having between 12,000 and 15.000 inhabitants.

This great advantage it derives from the capaciousness and convenience of a large bay, which extending itself inland between two promontories, not only admits ships to a tranquil and secure sheltering place, but conveys them with the tide, which is here very powerful, into two other bays still farther inland, being the spacious channels of two rivers, which empty themselves into the sea, one to the west, and the other to the east of the farthest point of the larger bay.


The first, which is the Tamar, is navigable for 6 miles by the largest men of war which the king possesses, and for 10 by merchant ships of all kinds, and as its windings form frequent bays, surrounded by mountains, it affords them perfectly secure places of retreat.

Vessels could formerly get 3 or 4 miles up the other river, but as the Channel is narrower, and the cutting down of the roads for the purpose of reducing the land to a state of cultivation, has loosened the earth from the neighboring mountains, this, coming down with the rain, has so filled up the bottom, that little more than a mile is practicable for the larger frigates.

On the sea side, towards the east, and near the coast, is a small isolated mountain, called St. Michael's, capable of defending to a certain extent, the first entrance of the port.

There are other fortifications at the mouths of the rivers; on the Tamar, is an ancient castle, called St. Francis; on the highest part of a small island, and on the Plym, an entrenchment of earth, well supplied with artillery; a similar one defends the mouth of the dock, towards the city and others are disposed on a rock which protects, in front, the whole length of the bay.


All these are, nevertheless, commanded by the new citadel, which the king built to be a check upon the inhabitants, who shewed themselves on a former occasion, prone to sedition; and that spirit being now fostered by the influx of wealth, which a flourishing commerce produces, renders them objects of reasonable suspicion. This citadel is placed on the top of a mountain, which forms the bottom of the bay from without, and serves as a defense to the port, against the sail, hence it commands equally the sea and the town, and batters or defends, as occasion may require, all the before-mentioned fortifications.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The building is all of stone and is furnished with breastwork. The plan is totally irregular, having 3 demi-bastions, and 4 entire ones, of different proportions.
In the interior of it, it is said, that the king wishes to build a private habitation for himself. The governor of it is my Lord John Granvile, Earl of Bath; and Sir Skelton is his lieutenant.

Five companies, of about 70 men each, officers and soldiers, are on duty there; one of these belongs to the duke's regiment. The men are very handsome, and in excellent order; 4 companies wearing red jackets, lined with yellow, and that of the duke, yellow, with red lining.


In the citadel and the forts, are, altogether, 130 pieces of cannon, the greater part of iron; Cromwell having carried off all the brass ones from the different fortresses, in order to equip the vessels of his fleet.

The city cannot be seen from the sea, and is almost shut up by a gorge of the mountains, on the lowest skirt of which it is situated. Its extent is not very considerable.

The buildings are antique, according to the English fashion; lofty and narrow, with pointed roofs, and the fronts may be seen through, owing to the magnitude of the glass windows in each of the different stories. They are occupied from top to bottom.

There are two churches of gothic architecture.

In spirituals, Plymouth is subject to the bishop of Exeter; in temporals, it has the ordinary government, composed of the mayor, the head of the council, and 36 inferior magistrates, called aldermen, who are chosen every year in the month of May; but of these, only 24 give their attendance: their dress is a gown, reaching to the ground, made of black cloth, richly ornamented with stripes of velvet, also black, and having square collars lined with skin of the same color.


The life of the city is navigation. The inhabitants export lead and tin in greater quantities than any other article, and with these they go to the Canaries, and to the Western Islands. To Barbados, in the new world, and in every part of Europe, they act as carriers, conveying merchandize from place to place, at an immense profit to themselves.

Hence it is that, in Plymouth, only women and boys are to be seen; the greater part of the men living at sea; and hence also, the town is exceedingly well supplied; all the necessaries of life being found there, and everything exempt from duty, except wine, which, as it is not produced in this island, is necessarily imported from foreign countries; and not only is there great plenty of meat, cloth, and linen, but of many other articles that administer to luxury and to pleasure; and silversmiths, watchmakers, jewelers, and other artists of this description, are not wanting.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the neighborhood are very rich veins of marble of different colors, some of which are black veined with white, and take a most beautiful polish.

At a little distance, some mines of tin have been opened on the estate of Sir Berkley, which yield 80 per cent., besides a considerable quantity of gold and silver; not far from these they have discovered another of load-stone, which, although very far from rich, shews that the earth has a great disposition to the production of minerals.

The sea produces oysters in great abundance, and of excellent quality, and the rivers, a great quantity of salmon.


Plymouth is on the edge of the county of Devonshire, divided from Cornwall by the river Tamar.

Besides the tax of two shillings, which the inhabitants and neighborhood pay annually, and which is called road right, the king derives very considerable advantage from the customs of this port; every ship which anchors here being obliged to pay 5 per cent on the merchandize they discharge; half of which, however, is returned, whenever it is reshipped for other parts.

They likewise pay 4-pence per ton for the lights which burn in the lighthouses at night.

On 26 March/5 April, 1669 Sir Jonathan Spark came to pay his respects to the serene prince, accompanied by his son. This gentleman is an inhabitant of Plymouth, in the neighborhood of which he possesses an estate of 1,000/.s a year; consequently he is considered the principal person of the place.

The governor then came to take leave, and afterwards Sir Richard Edgcumbe and Mr. Prideaux came in, to wish his highness a good journey. About 3 they dined, and towards 5, took their departure; his highness being attended by the governor on horseback, who, when they had got 2 miles from Plymouth, appeared at the coach-door, to take leave once more.


He had wished to have paraded the military, as was done on his highness's arrival, but the latter courteously declined it.

When they had proceeded about a mile after the governor's departure, there came galloping up to the coach, Sir Copleston Bampfylde, with his wife and sister. They happened to be hunting in that neighborhood, and wished not to lose the opportunity of performing an act of respect to his highness. The serene prince stopped the carriage, and received their compliments, but did not alight to salute them, not knowing, till afterwards, who the ladies were.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

If you wish to read the next installment of Cosmo's unofficial visit to England, it is posted in the encyclopedia under SALISBURY.
If you'd like to read about his visits to Exeter, Axminster, Dorchester and Krewkern, and his thoughts on the lace industry and other things Devon and Dorset, go to the original book (link above).

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