Longer articles on broader topics.

Sunday Lunch with Mr and Mrs Pepys

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 and we wait for more senior officers, Sir John Mennes and Sir William Coventry, to rise before making our exit down the canopied staircase and out into the churchyard. Going through the gate we cross Seething Lane. The cobbled surface is sticky with black, tarry London mud. Will Griffin the doorkeeper opens the heavy wooden gate and bows as we enter the Navy Office site.

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The Garden at the Navy Office

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 and had once been the home of Sir John Wolstenholme. Adjacent to this was a house and gardens belonging to Lord Lumley, which can be seen (middle right, north of Tower Hill) in the Agas map of 1591.

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