Longer articles on broader topics.


Samuel Pepys and the Strange Wrecking of the Gloucester

by Nigel Pickford

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In 1682 a fleet of eight ships set sail from London to Edinburgh carrying James, Duke of York north to reunite with his wife Mary of Modena. Charles II was by now an ageing monarch, in poor health. He wanted to establish his younger brother and sister-in-law as rightful heirs to the throne, and with all due haste. Mary was pregnant and despite their Catholic religion…
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Walking Pepys's London

by Jacky Colliss Harvey

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As someone who has lived in and walked around and explored London their whole life, I did wonder how revelatory it would be to take fairly familiar walks with an unfamiliar guide. Having now followed two of the routes proposed by Jacky Colliss Harvey in her excellent guide to ‘Walking Pepys’s London’ , I realize that my capital nous is mainly geographical surface knowledge…
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A bill of exchange

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Reader Scott Mathias recently got in touch having bought a document signed by Samuel Pepys. It appears to be the “bill of exchange” mentioned by Pepys in his entry for 31 July 1667. Scott was kind enough to let us reproduce the document here…
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The Closet

by Danielle Bobker

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Danielle Bobker is Associate Professor, English Department, Concordia University, Montreal. In this book she examines the phenomenon of the “closet” in the long 18th century as a catch-all term for a range of intimate spaces. She considers the social significance of choosing closet companions, of privileged access, as well as the opportunities afforded for gossip…
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Q&A with Dr Kate Loveman

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A while back I asked for some questions to put to Dr Kate Loveman, who has written a lot about Pepys over the years. We had some great questions, and I added a couple of my own, and Dr Loveman has provided some fascinating answers…
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Pepys's Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-1689

by J. D. Davies

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Written by acclaimed naval historian J. D. Davies, this book won the Samuel Pepys Award in 2009. Davies has marshalled a formidable range and depth of information in this book, which he has arranged with almost Pepysian clarity and method. There are thirteen parts, each subdivided into several chapters…
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The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn

by Margaret Willes

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Over on the London Historians’ Blog there’s [a review of ‘The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn’ by Margaret Willes. In lieu of our own review of the book I thought it worth linking to this one, by Mike Paterson.
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Samuel Pepys and His Books

by Kate Loveman

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Mens cuiusque is est quisque: the mind is the man. Pepys adopted this quote from Cicero as his motto in later life. He had bookplates made featuring the Latin inscription beneath a portrait of himself in flourishing middle age. Always conscious of his public persona (some would say always a social climber)…
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Samuel Pepys and the Stolen Diary

by M J Lee

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Not a book for serious academics, this is a fast-paced bit of Pepysian fantasy in which Sam and Will Hewer set out to retrieve a necklace and the last volume of the diary, which have been stolen in mysterious circumstances.
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Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution

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With its current exhibition, the National Maritime Museum invites us to “Step into the curious and chaotic world of history’s greatest witness”. If you have the slightest curiosity about Pepys, the “curious man”, as John Evelyn described him, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
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The Invention of Improvement

by Paul Slack

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The Latham prize is given biennially by the Samuel Pepys Club for the book that makes the greatest contribution to our understanding of Samuel Pepys, his times or his contemporaries. This year the award went to Paul Slack for his book, ‘The Invention of Improvement’. What exactly does Professor Slack mean by “improvement” in seventeenth-century England?
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Plague: Murder has a New Friend

by C.C. Humphreys

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C.C. Humphreys’ novel tells a story that could easily be found within the pages of Sam’s Diary. For those fact driven Diary readers looking for strict adherence to historical accuracy it’s worth putting that on hold to enjoy the ride. For those who have enjoyed ‘Liza Pickard’s Restoration London: Everyday Life in London 1660-1670’, revel in Sam’s “stories of the streets”…
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Sunday Lunch with Mr and Mrs Pepys

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We are sitting in St Olave’s church, in the navy pew, a gallery on the south side with its own entrance from Seething Lane. Precedence is important and as guests of Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys, we are seated in front, with servants and clerks behind us. The vicar, Mr Mills, is just concluding the service. Wives are discreetly elbowing sleeping husbands…
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The Garden at the Navy Office

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There was a large garden at the Navy Office where Pepys lived and worked during the diary years. It stretched from behind the Office buildings down to the “Merchant’s Gate” or tradesman’s entrance, on Tower Hill. The premises on Seething Lane (where Pepys lived during the diary years) had been acquired by the Navy Office in 1654…
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The Bagwells

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John has written this essay about the Bagwell family of Deptford. Latham & Matthews describe William Bagwell as “ship’s carpenter and the complaisant husband of one of Pepys’s mistresses.”
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