[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.” P.G.]
Longer articles on broader topics.
Dedicated to Phil Gyford and the community he created:
to friends made along the way and to those who have left us.
Samuel Pepys was anxious. He had been promised a house to go with his new job at the Navy Office, at the extraordinary salary of £350 per annum. The newly restored Monarchy meant a complete changeover of staff in all areas of the administration. The Commonwealth mandarins were being superseded by the King’s Men and Samuel Pepys, having played an active role in returning Charles to the throne alongside his cousin and patron Sir Edward Mountagu, was rewarded with the position of Clerk of the Acts.
John Evelyn also kept his diary during the events of September 1666 and, given their length, it seems appropriate to give them a home here. The diary entries below are taken from this source (mirror). I’ve included all of Evelyn’s relevant entries, so, if you know nothing about what happens during the Fire, some of the below might count as SPOILERS!
As you know, on days when John Evelyn and Pepys exchanged letters, there’s now a link to the relevant letter on this site. The letters are also often posted in the annotations for that day’s diary entry, but as one of Evelyn’s letters to Pepys for 26 March 1666 is long and has a lot of tabular data, Terry Foreman had the good idea of posting it in the In-Depth Articles section. So here is the exchange of four letters for today:
[The author Andrew Godsell recently got in touch having written Legends of British History and he offered the book’s biographical sketch of Pepys for publication here. It covers his whole life (and beyond) so there are “spoilers” towards the end if you don’t know what’s coming. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this overview of Sam’s life. You can buy Legends of British History at Amazon.co.uk. P.G.]
In the year 1664 we celebrated the mid-point of Sam’s Diary, perhaps with a mixture of happiness for all of the time shared together and a touch of sadness too, as we know that in a few years the Diary will end.
[Disclaimer: The publishers sent me a free copy of the book, which I passed on to Jeannine to review; we were under no obligation to say something good about it! Phil.]
This magnificent piece of work by Long and Long explores the outlandish charges of treason brought against Sam during the Popish Plots, and then brilliantly unfolds the mysteries, men and motives fabricating those accusations. This true story is based on a vast collection of facts, letters and notes from widely diverse and seemingly unrelated sources, which have been analyzed and synthesized to reveal an amazingly intricate network of lies, fraud, forgeries, espionage, swindles, etc. directed to bring about the downfall of Sam as a step towards destroying the Duke of York. The narrative style moves through the complex intrigues in a fashion that is highly readable and thoroughly engaging.
Sam’s diary affords us the wonderful opportunity to see his world and view the individuals surrounding him through his eyes. The men and women that he writes of have been uniquely recorded and preserved for prosperity. Years before Sam kept his diary, on a small island that lies between England and France, another diarist, the Jersey born, Jean Chevalier, kept a diary of his own. In the book, Jean Chevalier and His Times1 the author Arthur Charles Saunders tells us that Chevalier was the “Pepys” of the island, and that “self”, which is so significant in Sam’s diary, is very minor in this diary. Quite like Sam, Chevalier was very interested in “his fellow men and, as incident followed incident during those eight troublous years 1643 - 1651” (Saunders, p. 13.) he recorded the details:
The following letter of acknowledgement and inventory of the items in the tailor shop are from Helen Truesdell Heath’s “The Letters of Samuel Pepys and His Family Circle” (See at Amazon UK, US). In this inventory are the details of the items which Tom acknowledges have been ‘lent’ to him by his father for his accommodation. All information and quotations set forth herein come from Heath’s above referenced book.