The Diary of Samuel Pepys

(Brief Selections)

Edited by Jack Lynch

[To come.]


[1] Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain but upon taking of cold.

[2] I lived in Axe yard, having my wife and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three.

[3] My wife, after the absence of her terms for seven weeks, gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year she hath them again. The condition of the State was thus. Viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the army all forced to yield. Lawson lies still in the River and Monck is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come in to the Parliament; nor is it expected that he will, without being forced to it.

[4] The new Common Council of the City do speak very high; and had sent to Monk their sword-bearer, to acquaint him with their desires for a free and full Parliament, which is at present the desires, and the hopes, and expectation of all. Twenty-two of the old secluded members having been at the House door the last week to demand entrance, but it was denied them; and it is believed that [neither] they nor the people will be satisfied till the House be filled.

[5] My own private condition very handsome, and esteemed rich, but indeed very poor; besides my goods of my house, and my office, which at present is somewhat uncertain. Mr. Downing master of my office.


1 January 1659/60

[1] Lordís Day. This morning (we living lately in the garret,) I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other, clothes but them.

[2] Went to Mr. Gunningís chapel at Exeter House, where he made a very good sermon upon these words: that in the fulness of time God sent his Son, made of a woman, etc.; showing that by "made under the law" is meant his circumcision, which is solemnized this day.

[3] Dined at home in the garret, where my wife dressed the remains of a turkey, and in the doing of it she burned her hand.

[4] I stayed at home all the afternoon, looking over my accounts.

[5] Then went with my wife to my father's, and in going observed the great posts which the City have set up at the Conduit in Fleet Street.

[6] Supped at my fatherís, where in came Mrs. Theophila Turner and Madam Morris, and supped with us. After that my wife and I went home with them, and so to our own home.


23 April 1661

[1] I lay with Mr. Shiply, and about 4 in the morning I rose.

Coronation Day.

[2] And got to the Abbey, where I followed Sir J. Denham, the Surveyor, with some company that he was leading in. And with much ado, by the favor of Mr. Cooper, his man, did get up into a great scaffold across the North end of the Abbey, where with a great deal of patience I sat from past 4 till 11 before the King came in. And a great pleasure it was to see the Abbey raised in the middle, all covered with red, and a throne (that is a chair) and footstool on the top of it; and all the officers of all kinds, so much as the very fidlers, in red vests.

[3] At last comes in the Dean and Prebends of Westminster, with the Bishops (many of them in cloth-of-gold copes), and after them the Nobility, all in their Parliament robes, which was a most magnificent sight. Then the Duke, and the King with a scepter (carried by my Lord Sandwich) and sword and mond before him, and the crown too.

[4] The King in his robes, bare-headed, which was very fine. And after all had placed themselves, there was a sermon and the service; and then in the choir at the high altar, the King passed through all the ceremonies of the coronation — which, to my great grief, I and most in the Abbey could not see. The crown being put upon his head, a great shout begun. And he came forth to the throne, and there passed more ceremonies: as, taking the oath, and having things read to him by the Bishop, and his lords (who put on their caps as soon as the King put on his crown) and bishops come and kneeled before him.

[5] And three times the King-at-Arms went to the three open places on the scaffold and proclaimed that if any one could show any reason why Charles Stuart should not be King of England, that now he should come and speak.

[6] And a general pardon also was read by the Lord Chancellor, and medals flung up and down by my Lord Cornwallis — of silver, but I could not come by any.

[7] But so great a noise, that I could make but little of the music; and indeed, it was lost to every body. But I had so great a list to piss, that I went out a little while before the King had done all his ceremonies, and went round the Abbey to Westminster Hall, all the way within rails, and 10,000 people, with the ground covered with blue cloth — and scaffolds all the way. Into the Hall I got — where it was very fine with hangings and scaffolds one upon another full of brave ladies; and my wife in one little one, on the right hand.

[8] Here I stayed walking up and down, and at last upon one of the side stalls I stood and saw the King come in with all the persons (but the soldiers) that were yesterday in the cavalcade; and a most pleasant sight it was to see them in their several robes. And the King came in with his crown on, and his scepter in his hand — under a canopy borne up by six silver staves, carried by Barons of the Cinqueports — and little bells at every end.

[9] And after a long time, he got up to the farther end, and all set themselves down at their several tables — and that was also a rare sight. And the King's first course carried up by the Knights of the Bath. And many fine ceremonies there was of the Heralds leading up people before him, and bowing; and my Lord of Albemarle's going to the kitchen and eat a bit of the first dish that was to go to the King's table.

[10] But above all was these three Lords, Northumberland and Suffolk and the Duke of Ormond, coming before the courses on horseback, and staying so all dinner-time, and at last to bring up Dymock the King's champion, all in armor on horseback, with his spear and target carried before him. And a Herald proclaims that if any dare deny Charles Stuart to be lawful King of England, here was a champion that would fight with him; and with these words the champion flings down his gauntlet, and all this he do three times in his going up towards the King's table. At last when he is come, the King drinks to him, and then sends him the cup which is of gold, and he drinks it off, and then rides back again with the cup in his hand.

[11] I went from table to table to see the Bishops and all others at their dinner, and was infinitely pleased with it. And at the Lords' table, I met with William Howe, and he spoke to my Lord for me, and he did give me four rabbits and a pullet, and so I got it and Mr. Creed and I got Mr. Mitchell to give us some bread, and so we at a stall eat it, as every body else did what they could get.

[12] I took a great deal of pleasure to go up and down, and look upon the ladies — and to hear the music of all sorts; but above all, the 24 violins.

[13] About 6 at night they had dined, and I went up to my wife, and there met with a pretty lady (Mrs. Frankleyn, a Doctor's wife, a friend of Mr. Bowyer's), and kissed them both — and by and by took them down to Mr. Bowyer's. And strange it is to think, that these two days have held up fair till now that all is done, and the King gone out of the Hall; and then it fell a-raining and thundering and lightening as I have not seen it do for some years — which people did take great notice of; God's blessing of the work of these two days — which is a foolery to take too much notice of such things.

[14] I observed little disorder in all this, but only the King's footmen had got hold of the canopy, and would keep it from the Barons of the Cinqueports, which they endeavored to force from them again, but could not do it till my Lord Duke of Albemarle caused it to be put into Sir R. Pye's hand till tomorrow to be decided.

[15] At Mr. Bowyer's, a great deal of company, some I knew, others I did not. Here we stayed upon the leads and below till it was late, expecting to see the fire-works, but they were not performed tonight: only the City had a light like a glory round about it with bonfires.

[16] At last I went to King Street, and there sent Crockford to my father's and my house, to tell them I could not come home tonight, because of the dirt, and a coach could not be had.

[17] And so after drinking a pot of ale alone at Mrs. Harper's I returned to Mr. Bowyer's, and after a little stay more I took my wife and Mrs. Frankleyn (who I proffered the civility of lying with my wife at Mrs. Hunt's tonight) to Axe-yard, in which at the further end there were three great bonfires, and a great many great gallants, men and women; and they laid hold of us, and would have us drink the King's health upon our knees, kneeling upon a faggot, which we all did, they drinking to us one after another — which we thought a strange frolic. But these gallants continued thus a great while, and I wondered to see how the ladies did tipple.

[18] At last I sent my wife and her bedfellow to bed, and Mr. Hunt and I went in with Mr. Thornbury (who did give the company all their wine, he being yeoman of the wine-cellar to the King) to his house; and there, with his wife and two of his sisters, and some gallant sparks that were there, we drank the King's health, and nothing else, till one of the gentlemen fell down stark drunk, and there lay spewing; and I went to my Lord's pretty well. But no sooner a-bed with Mr. Shepley but my head began to hum, and I to vomit, and if ever I was foxed it was now — which I cannot say yet, because I fell asleep and slept till morning — only, when I waked I found myself wet with my spewing. Thus did the day end with joy everywhere; and blessed be God, I have not heard of any mischance to any body through it all, but only to Serteant Glynne, whose horse fell upon him yesterday, and is like to kill him, which people do please themselves to see how just God is to punish the rogue at such a time as this; he being now one of the King's Serjeants, and rode in the cavalcade with Maynard, to whom people wish the same fortune.

[19] There was also this night in King Street, a woman had her eye put out by a boy's flinging a firebrand into the coach.

[20] Now, after all this, I can say that, besides the pleasure of the sight of these glorious things, I may now shut my eyes against any other objects, nor for the future trouble myself to see things of state and show, as being sure never to see the like again in this world.


25 April 1661

[1] Waked in the morning with my head in a sad taking through the last night's drink, which I am very sorry for; so rose and went out with Mr. Creed to drink our morning draft, which he did give me in chocolate to settle my stomach. And after that I to my wife, who lay with Mrs. Frankelyn at the next door to Mrs. Hunt's.

[2] And they were ready, and so I took them up in a coach, and carried the ladies to Paul's, and there set her down, and so my wife and I home — and I to the office.

[3] That being done my wife and I went to dinner to Sir W. Batten, and all our talk about the happy conclusion of these last solemnities.

[4] After dinner home, and advised with my wife about ordering things in my house, and then she went away to my father's to lie, and I stayed with my workmen, who do please me very well with their work.

[5] At night, set myself to write down these three days' diary, and while I am about it, I hear the noise of the chambers, and other things of the fire-works, which are now playing upon the Thames before the King; and I wish myself with them, being sorry not to see them.

[6] So to bed.


7 June 1665

[1] This morning my wife and mother rose about two a-clock; and with Mercer, Mary, the boy, and W. Hewer, as they had designed, took boat and down to refresh themselves on the water to Gravesend. I lay till 7 a-clock, then up, and to the office upon Sir G. Carteret's accounts again — where very busy. Thence abroad and to the Change, no news of certainty being yet come from the fleet. Thence to the Dolphin Taverne, where Sir J. Mennes, Lord Brouncker, Sir Thomas Harvy, and myself dined, upon Sir G. Carteret's charge — and very merry we were, Sir Thomas Harvy being a very droll. Thence to the office, and meeting Creed away with him to my Lord Treasurer's, there thinking to have met the goldsmiths, at Whitehall; but did not, and so appointed another time for my Lord to speak to them to advance us some money. Thence, it being the hottest day that ever I felt in my life, and it is confessed so by all other people the hottest they ever knew in England in the beginning of June — we to the New Exchange, and there drunk whey, with much entreaty getting it for our money, and would not be entreated to let us have one glasse more. So took water and to Foxhall to the Spring Garden and there walked an hour or two with great pleasure, saving our minds ill at ease concerning the fleet and my Lord Sandwich, that we have no news of them, and ill reports run up and down of his being killed, but without ground. Here stayed pleasantly walking and spending but 6d. till nine at night, and then by water to White Hall, and there I stopped to hear news of the fleet, but none come, which is strange, and so by water home, where, weary with walking and with the mighty heat of the weather, and for my wife's not coming home — I staying walking in the garden till 12 at night, when it begun to lighten exceedingly, through the greatness of the heat. Then despairing of her coming home, I to bed.

[2] This day, much against my will, I did in Drury Lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and "Lord have mercy upon us" writ there — which was a sad sight to me, being the first of the kind that, to my remembrance, I ever saw. It put me into an ill conception of myself and my smell, so that I was forced to buy some roll-tobacco to smell to and chaw — which took away the apprehension.


30 July 1665

[1] Up, and in my night gown, cap and neckcloth, undressed all day long, lost not a minute, but in my chamber, setting my Tangier accounts to rights. Which I did by night to my very heart's content, not only that it is done, but I find every thing right, and even beyond what, after so long neglecting them, I did hope for. The Lord of Heaven be praised for it.

[2] Will was with me today, and is very well again. It was a sad noise to hear our bell to toll and ring so often today, either for deaths or burials; I think five or six times.

[3] At night weary with my day's work, but full of joy at my having done it — I to bed, being to rise betimes tomorrow to go to the wedding at Dagnams.

[4] So to bed — fearing I have got some cold sitting in my loose garments all this day.


31 July 1665

[1] Up, and very betimes, by 6 a-clock at Deptford; and there find Sir G. Carteret, and my lady ready to go — I being in my new colored-silk suit, and coat trimmed with gold buttons and gold broad lace round my hands, very rich and fine. By water to the ferry, where, when we came, no coach there; and tide of ebb so far spent as the horse-boat could not get off on the other side the river to bring away the coach. So we were fain to stay there in the unlucky Isle of Dogs — in a chill place, the morning cool, and wind fresh, above two if not three hours to our great discontent. Yet being upon a pleasant errand, and seeing that it could not be helped, we did bear it very patiently; and it was worth my observing, I thought, as ever any thing, to see how upon these two scores, Sir G. Carteret, the most passionate man in the world, and that was in greatest haste to be gone, did bear with it, and very pleasant all the while, at least not troubled much so as to fret and storm at it.

[2] Anon the coach comes: in the mean time there coming a citizen thither with his horse to go over, that told us he did come from Islington this morning; and that Proctor the vintner of the Mitre in Wood Street, and his son, are dead this morning there — of the plague. He having laid out abundance of money there, and was the greatest vintner for some time in London for great entertainments.

[3] We, fearing the canonical hour would be past before we got thither, did with a great deal of unwillingness send away the license and wedding ring. So that when we came, though we drove hard with six horses, yet we found them gone from home; and going towards the church, met them coming from church, which troubled us. But, however, that trouble was soon over; hearing it was well done: they being both in their old cloaths; my Lord Crew giving her, there being three coachfuls of them. The young lady mighty sad, which troubled me; but yet I think it was only her gravity in a little greater degree than usual. All saluted her, but I did not till my Lady Sandwich did ask me whether I had saluted her or no. So to dinner, and very merry we were; but yet in such a sober way as never almost any wedding was in so great families — but it was much better. After dinner company divided, some to cards — others to talk. My Lady Sandwich and I up to settle accounts, and pay her some money — and mighty kind she is to me, and would fain have had me gone down for company with her to Hinchingbroke — but for my life I cannot.

[4] At night to supper, and so to talk; and which, methought, was the most extraordinary thing, all of us to prayers as usual, and the young bride and bridegroom too and so after prayers, soberly to bed; only I got into the bridegroom's chamber while he undressed himself, and there was very merry — till he was called to the bride's chamber, and into bed they went. I kissed the bride in bed, and so the curtains drawn with the greatest gravity that could be, and so good-night.

[5] But the modesty and gravity of this business was so decent, that it was to me indeed ten times more delightful than if it had been twenty times more merry and jovial.

[6] Whereas I feared I must have sat up all night, we did here all get good beds — and I lay in the same I did before with Mr. Brisband, who is a good scholler and sober man; and we lay in bed, getting him to give me an account of home, which is the most delightful talke a man can have of any traveler. And so to sleep — my eyes much troubled already with the change of my drink.

[7] Thus I ended this month with the greatest joy that ever I did any in my life, because I have spent the greatest part of it with abundance of joy, and honor, and pleasant journeys, and brave entertainments, and without cost of money; and at last live to see the business ended with great content on all sides.

[8] This evening with Mr. Brisband, speaking of enchantments and spells; I telling him some of my charms, he told me this of his own knowledge, at Bordeaux in France. The words these —

Voicy un corps mort
Royde come un baston
Froid comme marbre
Leger come un esprit
Levons te au nom de Jesus Christ.

He saw four little girls, very young ones, all kneeling, each of them, upon one knee; and one begun the first line, whispering in the eare of the next, and the second to the third, and the third to the fourth, and she to the first. Then the first begun the second line, and so round quite through, and, putting each one finger only to a boy that lay flat upon his back on the ground, as if he was dead; at the end of the words, they did with their four fingers raise this boy as high as they could reach, and he being there, and wondering at it (as also being afeared to see it, for they would have had him to have bore a part in saying the words, in the roome of one of the little girls that was so young that they could hardly make her learn to repeat the words), did, for fear there might be some sleight used in it by the boy, or that the boy might be light, call the cook of the house, a very lusty fellow, as Sir G. Carteret's cook, who is very big, and they did raise him in just the same manner.

[9] This is one of the strangest things I ever heard, but he tells it me of his own knowledge, and I do heartily believe it to be true. I enquired of him whether they were Protestant or Catholic girls; and he told me they were Protestant, which made it the more strange to me.

[10] Thus we end this month, as I said, after the greatest glut of content that ever I had; only under some difficulty because of the plague, which grows mightily upon us, the last week being about 1700 or 1800 [dead] of the plague.

[11] My Lord Sandwich at sea with a fleet of about 100 sail, to the Northward, expecting De Ruyter, or the Dutch East-India fleet.

[12] My Lord Hinchingbroke coming over from France, and will meet his sister at Scott's Hall.

[13] Myself having obliged both these families in this business very much; as both my Lady, and Sir G. Carteret and his Lady do confess exceedingly, and the latter do also now call me cousin, which I am glad of.

[14] So God preserve us all friends long, and continue health among us.


15 August 1665

[1] Up by 4 a-clock and walked to Greenwich, where called at Captain Cocke's and to his chamber, he being in bed — where something put my last night's dream into my head, which I think is the best that ever was dreamed — which was that I had my Lady Castlemayne in my arms and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream; but that since it was a dream, and that I took so much real pleasure in it, what a happy thing it would be if when we are in our graves (as Shakespeare resembles it) we could dream, and dream but such dreams as this, that then we should not need to be so fearful of death, as we are this plague-time. . . .

[2] It was dark before I could get home, and so land at Church-yard stairs, where, to my great trouble, I met a dead corpse of the plague, in the narrow ally just bringing down a little pair of stairs — but I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.


10 September 1665

[1] Lord's day. Walked home, being forced thereto by one of my watermen falling sick yesterday, and it was God's great mercy I did not go by water with them yesterday, for he fell sick on Saturday night, and it is to be feared of the plague. So I sent him away to London with his fellow.

[2] But another boat come to me this morning, whom I sent to Blackwell for Mr. Andrews. I walked to Woolwich, and there find Mr. Hill, and he and I all the morning at music and a song he hath set of three parts, methinks, very good. Anon comes Mr. Andrews, though it be a very ill day, and so after dinner we to music and sang till about 4 or 5 a-clock, it blowing very hard, and now and then raining, and wind and tide being against us, Andrews and I took leave and walked to Greenwich — my wife before I come out telling me the ill news that she hears that her father is very ill, and then I told her I feared of the plague, for that the house is shut up. And so she much troubled she did desire me to send them something; and I said I would, and will do so.

[3] But before I come out there happened news to come to the by an express from Mr. Coventry, telling me the most happy news of my Lord Sandwich's meeting with part of the Dutch; his taking two of their East India ships, and six or seven others, and very good prizes and that he is in search of the rest of the fleet, which he hopes to find upon the Wellbancke, with the loss only of the Hector, poor Captain Cuttle. This news do so overjoy me that I know not what to say enough to express it, but the better to do it I did walk to Greenwich, and there sending away Mr. Andrews, I to Captain Cocke's, where I find my Lord Brouncker and his mistress, and Sir J. Mennes. Where we supped (there was also Sir W. Doyly and Mr. Evelyn); but the receipt of this news did put us all into such an extacy of joy, that it inspired into Sir J. Mennes and Mr. Evelyn such a spirit of mirth, that in all my life I never met with so merry a two hours as our company this night was. Among other humors, Mr. Evelyn's repeating of some verses made up of nothing but the various acceptations of May and Can, and doing it so aptly upon occasion of something of that nature, and so fast, did make us all die almost with laughing, and did so stop the mouth of Sir J. Mennes in the middle of all his mirth (and in a thing agreeing with his own manner of genius), that I never saw any man so outdone in all my life; and Sir J. Mennes's mirth too to see himself outdone, was the crown of all our mirth.

[4] In this humor we sat till about 10 at night, and so my Lord and his mistress home, and we to bed — it being one of the times of my life wherein I was the fullest of true sense of joy.


14 September 1665

[1] Up, and walked to Greenwich, and there fitted myself in several businesses to go to London, where I have not been now a pretty while. But before I went from the office news is brought by word of mouth that letters are now just now brought from the fleet of our taking a great many more of the Dutch fleet, in which I did never more plainly see my command of my temper in my not admitting myself to receive any kind of joy from it till I had heard the certainty of it, and therefore went by water directly to the Duke of Albemarle, where I find a letter of the Lath from Solebay, from my Lord Sandwich, of the fleet's meeting with about eighteen more of the Dutch fleet, and his taking of most of them; and the messenger says, they had taken three after the letter was wrote and sealed; which being twenty-one, and the fourteen took the other day, is 45 sail — some of which are good, and others rich ships, which is so great a cause of joy in us all that my Lord and everybody is highly joyed thereat. And having taken a copy of my Lord's letter, I away back again to the Bear at the Bridge-foot, being full of wind and out of order, and there called for a biscuit and a piece of cheese and gill of sack — being forced to walk over the Bridge, toward the Change, and the plague being all thereabouts. Here my news was highly welcome, and I did wonder to see the Change so full, I believe 200 people; but not a man or merchant of any fashion, but plain men all. And Lord! to see how I did endeavor all I could to talk with as few as I could, there being now no observation of shutting up of houses infected, that to be sure we do converse and meet with people that have the plague upon them. I to Sir Robert Viner's, where my main business was about settling the business of Debusty's 5000l tallies — which I did for the present to enable me to have some money, and so home, buying some things for my wife in the way. So home, and put up several things to carry to Woolwich — and upon serious thoughts, I am advised by W. Griffin to let my money and plate rest there, as being as safe as any place, nobody imagining that people would leave money in their houses now, when all their families are gone. So for the present that being my opinion, I did leave them there still. But, Lord! to see the trouble that it puts a man to, to keep safe what with pain a man hath been getting together, and there is good reason for it. Down to the office, and there wrote letters to and again about this good news of our victory, and so by water home late —

[2] Where when I come home, I spent some thoughts upon the occurrences of this day, giving matter for as much content on one hand and melancholy on another, as any day in all my life — for the first, the finding of my money and plate, and all safe at London, and speeding in my business of money this day. The hearing of this good news to such excess, after so great a despair of my Lord's doing anything this year; adding to that, the decrease of 500 and more, which is the first decrease we have yet had in the sickness since it begun: and great hopes that the next week it will be greater. Then on the other side — my finding that though the Bill in general is abated, yet the City within the walls is encreased, and likely to continue so, and is close to our house there. My meeting dead corpses of the plague, carried to be buried close to me at noonday through the City in Fanchurch Street — to see a person sick of the sores, carried close by me by Gracechurch in a hackney-coach — my finding the Angel Tavern, at the lower end of Tower Hill, shut up, and more than that, the alehouse at the Tower-stairs, and more than that, the person was then dying of the plague when I was last there, a little while ago, at night, to write a short letter there, and I overheard the mistress of the house sadly saying to her husband somebody was very ill, but did not think it was of the plague — to hear that poor Payne my waterman hath buried a child, and is dying himself — to hear that a laborer I sent but the other day to Dagnams, to know how they did there, is dead of the plague; and that one of my own watermen, that carried me daily, fell sick as soon as he had landed me on Friday morning last, when I had been all night upon the water (and I believe he did get his infection that day at Brainford), and is now dead of the plague. To hear that Captain Lambert and Cuttle are killed in the taking these ships; and that Mr. Sidney Montague is sick of a desperate fever at my Lady Carteret's, at Scott's Hall &mdasy; to hear that Mr. Lewes hath another daughter sick — and lastly, that both my servants, W. Hewer and Tom Edwards, have lost their fathers, both in St. Sepulchre's parish, of the plague this week — do put me into great apprehensions of melancholy, and with good reason. But I put off the thoughts of sadness as much as I can, and the rather to keep my wife in good heart and family also. After supper (having eat nothing all this day) upon a fine tench of Mr. Shelden's taking, we to bed.


2 September 1666

[1] Lord's Day. Some of our maids sitting up late last night to get things ready against our feast today, Jane called us up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose and slipped on my nightgown, and went to her window, and thought it to be on the backside of Mark Lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I thought it far enough off; and so went to bed again and to sleep. About 7 rose again to dress myself, and there looked out at the window, and saw the fire not so much as it was and further off. So to my closet to set things to rights after yesterday's cleaning. By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that above 300 houses have been burned down tonight by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish Street, by London Bridge. So I made myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower, and there got up upon one of the high places, Sir J. Robinson's little son going up with me; and there I did see the houses at that end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the other side the end of the bridge — which, among other people, did trouble me for poor little Mitchell and our Sarah on the bridge. So down, with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it begun this morning in the King's baker's house in Pudding-lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus's Church and most part of Fish Street already. So I down to the water-side, and there got a boat and through bridge, and there saw a lamentable fire. Poor Mitchell's house, as far as the Old Swan, already burned that way, and the fire running further, that in a very little time it got as far as the Steelyard, while I was there. Everybody endeavoring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons I perceive were loath to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balconies till they were, some of them burned, their wings, and fell down.

[2] Having stayed, and in an hour's time seen the fire: rage every way, and nobody, to my sight, endeavoring to quench it, but to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire, and having seen it get as far as the Steelyard, and the wind mighty high and driving it into the City; and every thing, after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very stones of churches, and among other things the poor steeple by which pretty Mrs. Horsley lives, and whereof my old school-fellow Elborough is parson, taken fire in the very top, an there burned till it fall down — I to Whitehall with a gentleman with me who desired to go off from the Tower, to see the fire, in my boat — to Whitehall, and there up to the King's closet in the chapel, where people come about me, and did give them an account dismayed them all, and word was carried in to the King. So I was called for, and did tell the King and Duke of York what I saw, and that unless his Majesty did command houses to be pulled down nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much troubled, and the King commanded me to go to my Lord Mayor from him, and command him to spare no houses, but to pull down before the fire every way. The Duke of York bid me tell him that if he would have any more soldiers he shall; and so did my Lord Arlington afterwards, as a great secret. Here meeting, with Captain Cocke, I in his coach, which he lent me, and Creed with me to Paul's, and there walked along Watling Street, as well as I could, every creature coming away loaden with goods to save — and here and there sick people carried away in beds. Extraordinary good goods carried in carts and on backs. At last met my Lord Mayor in Canning Street, like a man spent, with a handkercher about his neck. To the King's message he cried, like a fainting woman, "Lord! what can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses; but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it." That he needed no more soldiers; and that, for himself, he must go and refresh himself, having been up all night. So he left me, and I him, and walked home — seeing people all almost distracted, and no manner of means used to quench the fire. The houses, too, so very thick thereabouts, and full of matter for burning, as pitch and tar, in Thames Street; and warehouses of oyle, and wines, and brandy, and other things. Here I saw Mr. Isaac Houblon, the handsome man, prettily dressed and dirty, at his door at Dowgate, receiving some of his brothers' things, whose houses were on fire; and, as he says, have been removed twice already; and he doubts (as it soon proved) that they must be in a little time removed from his house also — which was a sad consideration. And to see the churches all filling with goods by people who themselves should have been quietly there at this time.

[3] By this time it was about 12 a-clock; and so home, and there find my guests, which was Mr. Wood and his wife Barbary Sheldon, and also Mr. Moons: she mighty fine, and her husband; for aught I see, a likely man. But Mr. Moone's design and mine, which was to look over my closett and please him with the sight thereof, which he hath long desired, was wholly disappointed; for we were in great trouble and disturbance at this fire, not knowing what to think of it. However, we had an extraordinary good dinner, and as merry, as at this time we could be.

[4] While at dinner, Mrs. Batelier come to enquire after Mr. Woolfe and Stanes (who, it seems, are related to them), whose houses in Fish Street are all burned; and they in a sad condition. She would not stay in the fright.

[5] As soon as dined, I and Moone away and walked through the City, the streets full of nothing but people and horses and carts loaden with goods, ready to run over one another, and, removing goods from one burned house to another — they now removing out of Canning Street (which received goods in the morning) into Lombard Street and further; and among others I now saw my little goldsmith, Stokes, receiving some friend's goods, whose house itself was burned the day after. We parted at Paul's; he home, and I to Paul's Wharf, where I had appointed a boat to attend me, and took in Mr. Carcasse and his brother, whom I met in the streets and carried them below and above bridge to and again to see the fire, which was now got further, both below and above and no likelihood of stopping it. Met with the King and Duke of York in their barge, and with them to Queenhith and there called Sir Richard Browne to them. Their order was only to pull down houses apace, and so below bridge the water-side; but little was or could be done, the fire coming upon them so fast. Good hopes there was of stopping it at the Three Cranes above, and at Buttolph's Wharf below bridge, if care be used; but the wind carries it into the City so as we know not by the water-side what it do there. River full of lighters and boats taking in goods, and good goods swimming in the water, and only I observed that hardly one lighter or boat in three that had the goods of a house in, but there was a pair of Virginalls in it. Having seen as much as I could now, I away to White Hall by appointment, and there walked to St. James's Parks, and there met my wife and Creed and Wood and his wife, and walked to my boat; and there upon the water again, and to the fire up and down, it still encreasing, and the wind great. So near the fire as we could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one's face in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of firedrops — this is very true — so as houses were burned by these drops and flakes of fire, three or four, nay, five or six houses, one from another. When we could endure no more upon the water; we to a little alehouse on the Bankside, over against the Three Cranes, and there stayed till it was dark almost, and saw the fire grow; and, as it grew darker, appeared more and more, and in corners and upon steeples, and between churches and houses, as far as we could see up the hill of the City, in a most horrid malicious bloody flame, not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire. Barbary and her husband away before us. We stayed till, it being darkish, we saw the fire as only one entire arch of fire from this to the other side the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile long: it made me weep to see it. The churches, houses, and all on fire and flaming at once; and a horrid noise the flames made, and the cracking of houses at their ruins. So home with a sad heart, and there find every body discoursing and lamenting the fire; and poor Tom Hayter come with some few of his goods saved out of his house, which is burned upon Fish Street Hall. I invited him to lie at my house, and did receive his goods, but was deceived in his lying there, the news coming every moment of the growth of the fire; so as we were forced to begin to pack up our own goods; and prepare for their removal; and did by moonshine (it being brave dry, and moon: shine, and warm weather) carry much of my goods into the garden, and Mr. Hayter and I did remove my money and iron chests into my cellar — as thinking that the safest place. And got my bags of gold into my office, ready to carry away, and my chief papers of accounts also there, and my tallys into a box by themselves. So great was our fear, as Sir W. Batten hath carts come out of the country to fetch away his goods this night. We did put Mr. Hayter, poor man, to bed a little; but he got but very little rest, so much noise being in my house, taking down of goods.


3 September 1666

[1] About 4 a-clock in the morning, my Lady Batten sent me a cart to carry away all my money, and plate, and best things, to Sir W. Rider's at Bethnell Green; which I did, riding myself in my night-gown in the cart; and, Lord! to see how the streets and the highways are crowded with people running and riding, and getting of carts at any rate to fetch away things. I find Sir W. Rider tired with being called up all night, and receiving things from several friends. His house full of goods — and much of Sir W. Batten's and Sir W. Penn's. I am eased at my heart to have my treasure so well secured. Then home, with much ado to find a way, nor any sleep all this night to me nor my poor wife. But then and all this day she and I, and all my people laboring to get away the rest of our things, and did get Mr. Tooker to get me a lighter to take them in, and we did carry them (myself some) over Tower Hill, which was by this time full of people's goods, bringing their goods thither; and down to the lighter, which lay at next quay, above the Tower Dock. And here was my neighbour's wife, Mrs. Buckworth, with her pretty child, and some few of her things, which I did willingly give way to be saved with mine; but there was no passing with any thing through the postern, the crowd was so great.

[2] The Duke of York came this day by the office and spoke to us, and did ride with his guard up and down the City, to keep all quiet (he being now Generall, and having the care of all).

[3] This day, Mercer being not at home, but against her mistress's order gone to her mother's, and my wife going thither to speak with W. Hewer, met her there, and was angry; and her mother saying that she was not a 'prentice girl, to ask leave every time she goes abroad, my wife with good reason was angry, and, when she came home, bid her be gone again. And so she went away, which troubled me, but yet less than it would, because of the condition we are in, fear of coming into in a little time of being less able to keepe one in her quality. At night lay down a little upon a quilt of W. Hewer's in the office, all my own things being packed up or gone; and after me my poor wife did the like — we having fed upon the remains of yesterday's dinner, having no fire nor dishes, nor any opportunity of dressing any thing.


4 September 1666

[1] Up by break of day to get away the remainder of my things; which I did by a lighter at the Iron gate and my hands so few, that it was the afternoon before we could get them all away.

[2] Sir W. Penn and I to Tower Street, and there met the fire burning three or four doors beyond Mr. Howell's, whose goods, poor man, his trays, and dishes, shovels, &c., were flung all along Tower Street in the kennels, and people working therewith from one end to the other; the fire coming on in that narrow street, on both sides, with infinite fury. Sir W. Batten not knowing how to remove his wine, did dig a pit in the garden, and laid it in there; and I took the opportunity of laying all the papers of my office that I could not otherwise dispose of. And in the evening Sir W. Penn and I did dig another, and put our wine in it; and I my parmesan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things.

[3] The Duke of York was at the office this day, at Sir W. Penn's; but I happened not to be within. This afternoon, sitting melancholy with Sir W. Penn in our garden, and thinking of the certain burning of this office, without extraordinary means, I did propose for the sending up of all our workmen from Woolwich and Deptford yards (none whereof yet appeared), and to write to Sir W. Coventry to have the Duke of York's permission to pull down houses, rather than lose this office, which would, much hinder, the King's business. So Sir W. Penn he went down this night, in order to the sending them up to-morrow morning; and I wrote to Sir W. Coventry about the business, but received no answer.

[4] This night Mrs. Turner (who, poor woman, was removing her goods all this day — good goods, into the garden, and knows not how to dispose of them) — and her husband supped with my wife and I at night, in the office; upon a shoulder of mutton from the cook's, without any napkin or anything, in a sad manner, but were merry. Only now and then walking into the garden, and saw how horridly the sky looks, all on a fire in the night, was enough to put us out of our wits; and, indeed, it was extremely dreadful — for it looks just as if it was at us, and the whole heaven on fire. I after supper walked in the dark down to Tower Street, and there saw it all on fire, at the Trinity House on that side, and the Dolphin Tavern on this side, which was very near us; and the fire with extraordinary vehemence. Now begins the practice of blowing up of houses in Tower Street, those next the Tower, which at first did frighten people more than anything, but it stopped the fire where it was done — it bringing down the houses to the ground in the same places they stood, and then it was easy to quench what little fire was in it, though it kindled nothing almost. W. Hewer this day went to see how his mother did, and comes late home, telling us how he hath been forced to remove her to Islington, her house in Pye Corner being burned; so that the fire is got so far that way, and all the Old Bailey, and was running down to Fleet Street; and Paul's is burned, and all Cheapside. I wrote to my father this night, but the post-house being burned, the letter could not go.