Samuel Pepys, 23 February 1633, Salisbury Court off Fleet Street, London, England - 26 May 1703, Clapham, London
- Famous for his diaries
- Good friends with James Houblon and his brothers
- Samuel Pepys diaries mention visits to his cousin who lived here in Ashtead.
According to Images of England: Ashtead, page 41, this was Samuel Page of Park Farm.
Samuel Pepys notes in his diaries just 2 visits to Ashtead, but describes remembering things differently than he did when he spent childhood days here.
For details of these visits, his thoughts on Elkanah Downes's sermon at St Giles and meeting there John Houblon
(later Sir John Houblon who became became the first Governor of the Bank of England and is pictured on the back of a £50 note) see
the excellent short article entitled The 6 visits of Mr. Pepys by
The Bourne Hall Museum
The 5 June 1958 edition of Country life has has a 2 page article on Ashtead Park Farm House the Farm-House where Pepys was a Lodger
- His diary entry for 25 July 1663 reads: "Having intended this day to go to Banstead Downes to see a famous race, I sent Will to get himself ready to go with me but I hear it is put off, because the Lords
do sit in Parliament to-day After some debate, Creed and I resolved to go to Clapham, to Mr Gauden's. When I come there, the first thing was to show me his house,
which is almost built I find it very regular and finely contrived, and the gardens and offices about it as convenient and as full of good variety as ever I saw in my life It is
true he hath been censured for laying out so much money but he tells me that he built it for his brother, who is since dead, who when he should come to be
Bishop of Winchester, which he was promised, (to which bishopricke at present there is no house), he did intend to dwell here By and by to dinner, and in comes Mr
Creed, I saluted his lady and the young ladies, and his sister, the Bishop's widow, who was, it seems, Sir W Russel's daughter, the Treasurer of the Navy, who I find to
be very well-bred, and a woman of excellent discourse Towards the evening we bade them adieu and took horse, being resolved that, instead of the race which fails us,
we would go to Epsom When we come there we could hear of no lodging, the town so full, but which was better, I went towards Ashsted, and there we got a lodging in
a little hole we could not stand upright in While supper was getting I walked up and down behind my cosen Pepys's house that was, which I find comes little short of
what I took it to be when I was a little boy."
- See also the Bibliomania entry for 25 July 1663 - where this extract came from
- He also has a diary entry for 14 July 1667
Source: Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.
- Historians owe most of their knowledge of the London of the 1660s to Samuel Pepys, England's greatest diarist.
He began his diary in 1660, the year that Puritan rule ended and the period called the Restoration began.
After the seriousness and sobriety of the Puritan years, Londoners now took great pleasure in attending the reopened theaters, where they enjoyed the comedies of John Dryden and other Restoration dramatists.
Pepys enjoyed London life to the full, and he wrote down practically everything he thought, felt, saw, or heard.
He describes the city's churches, theaters, and taverns, its streets and homes, and even the clothes that he and his wife wore.
Samuel Pepys was born in London on Feb. 23, 1633.
His father was a poor tailor.
Young Pepys probably owed his education to his father's cousin, Sir Edward Montagu (the "My Lord" of the diary), who later became first earl of Sandwich.
Pepys went to St Paul's School in London and then to Cambridge University.
At 22 he married a 15-year-old French girl, Elizabeth St Michel.
By 1655 Montagu had become an admiral, and Pepys was a clerk in his service.
In 1660 Pepys was on the ship that brought Charles II back to England.
He notes that the king "was in a sad poor condition for clothes and money."
Pepys himself had been poor up to this time.
After the Restoration his career advanced rapidly, and he became secretary of the Admiralty.
Many momentous happenings took place during the years covered in Pepys's diary.
He remained in London during the Great Plague of 1664-65, and he also saw the Great Fire of 1666.
He numbered among his friends many of the well-known people of the time, including the scientist Isaac Newton, the architect Christopher Wren, and the poet John Dryden.
Owing to failing eyesight, Pepys regretfully closed his diary on May 31, 1669.
His wife died later in the same year.
Pepys wrote his diary in Thomas Shelton's system of shorthand, but he complicated the more secret passages by using foreign languages and a cipher of his own invention.
Along with other books and papers, the diary went to his old college at Cambridge.
It was not deciphered until 1822.
An incomplete edition appeared in 1825, and the entire diary, except for a few passages deliberately omitted by the editors, was available by 1899.
An edition completed in 1983 includes the entire work.
In addition to its historical significance, the diary holds a high place in literature.
The style is vigorous, racy, and colloquial.
Because he intended it to be read only by himself, Pepys was completely honest.
He admits to being greedy, deceitful, and vain, but he also reveals acts of kindness.
Pepys did not become blind as he had feared, and in his later years he helped put through a great shipbuilding program.
Great Britain's continuing tradition as a maritime power was based to a great extent on Pepys's accomplishments.
The revolution of 1688 ended his official career.
He died in London on May 26, 1703.
Source: Concise Dictionary of National Biography
- Diarist; son of John Pepys, a London tailor, was educated at St Paul's School, London, and Trinity Hall and Magdalene College, Cambridge; MA, 1660; entered the family of his father's first cousin,
Sir Edward Montagu (afterwards first earl of Sandwich), 1660; `clerk of the king's ships' and a clerk of the privy seal, 1660; FRS, 1664, president, 1684-6; MP, Castle Rising, 1673-9, and Harwich, 1679 and 1685-7;
surveyor-general of the Victualling Office, 1665, in which capacity he showed himself an energetic official and a zealous reformer of abuses; committed to the Tower of London on charge of complicity with the Popish Plot,
and deprived of his offices, 1679, but released, 1680; secretary of the Admiralty, 1673-9 and 1684-9; deprived of the secretaryship of the Admiralty at the Revolution, after which he lived in retirement, chiefly at Clapham.
Fifty volumes of his manuscripts are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
His Diary (1659-69) remained in cipher in Magdalene College, Cambridge, until 1825, when it was deciphered by John Smith and edited by Lord Braybrooke.
An enlarged edition by Mynors Bright appeared in 1875-9, and the whole, except a few passages which could not be printed, was published in eight volumes (1893, etc.) by Henry B. Wheatley.
Source: The Hutchinson New Century Encyclopedia
- English diarist.
His diary 1659-69 was a unique record of both the daily life of the period and his own intimate feelings.
Written in shorthand, it was not deciphered until 1825.
Pepys was imprisoned 1679 in the Tower of London on suspicion of being connected with the Popish Plot.
Born in London, he entered the navy office 1660, and was secretary to the Admiralty 1672-79, publishing Memoires of the Navy 1690.
He was reinstated 1684 but finally deprived of his post after the 1688 Revolution, for suspected disaffection.
Source: Hutchinson The Encyclopedia of Britain
- English naval administrator and diarist.
His diary (1660-69) is a unique record of the daily life of the period, the historical events of the Restoration, the manners and scandals of the court, naval administration, and Pepys's own interests, weaknesses, and intimate feelings.
Written in shorthand, it was not deciphered until 1825.
Pepys entered the Navy Office in 1660 and was secretary to the Admiralty from 1672-79.
He was imprisoned in 1679 in the Tower of London on suspicion of being connected with the Popish Plot.
He was reinstated to scretary to the Admiralty in 1684, but was finally deprived of his post after the 1688 Revolution.
He published Memoires of the Navy in 1690.
Pepys abandoned writing his diary because he believed, mistakenly, that his eyesight was about to fail - in fact it continued to serve him for 30 or more years of active life.
The original manuscript of the Diary, preserved in Cambridge together with other papers, is in six volumes, containing more than 3,00 pages.
It is closely written in a cipher (a form of shorthand), which Pepys probably used in case his journal should fall into unfriendly hands durig his life or be rashly published after his death.
Highlights include his accounts of the Great Plague of London in 1665, the Fire of London in 1666, and the sailing up the Thames of the Dutch fleet in 1667
Source: The History Today Who's Who in British History
- diarist and administrator.
Secretary to the Admiralty (1672-9) under First Lord of the Admiralty Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, he was dismissed because of his close attachment to the Duke of York (the future James II) and attendant accusations of popery.
Re-appointed from 1684 he served until the Glorious Revolution, presiding over a phase of naval expansion, and has since been celebrated as a naval reformer
He is best known for hos diary in which he candidly chronicled his daily life, which he left with the rest of his library to Magdalene College, Cambridge: the surviving volumes in cipher date between 1660 and 1669, and were first deciphered and published in 1825.
The marvellously vivid descriptions and his experiences in the Great Plague and the Freat Fire of London have shaped our impression of these events, but he also endeared himself to readers, and provided the archetype for diary writers, by his rueful accounts of his varying fortunes in martital and extra-marital relations.
Extract: Encyclopædia Britannica
- English diarist and naval administrator, celebrated for his Diary (first published in 1825), which gives a fascinating picture of the official and upper-class life of Restoration London from Jan. 1, 1660, to May 31, 1669.
Pepys was the son of a working tailor who had come to London from Huntingdonshire, in which county, and in Cambridgeshire, his family had lived for centuries as monastic reeves, rent collectors, farmers, and, more recently, small gentry.
His mother, Margaret Kite, was the sister of a Whitechapel butcher.
But, though of humble parentage, Pepys rose to be one of the most important men of his day, becoming England's earliest secretary of the Admiralty and serving in his time as member of Parliament, president of the Royal Society
(in which office he placed his imprimatur on the title page of England's greatest scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica), master of Trinity House and of the Clothworkers' Company, and a baron of the Cinque Ports.
He was the trusted confidant both of Charles II, from whom he took down in shorthand the account of his escape after the Battle of Worcester, and of James II, whose will he witnessed before the royal flight in 1688.
The friends of his old age included Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, John Evelyn, Sir Godfrey Kneller, John Dryden, and almost every great scholar of the age.
Samuel Pepys (pronounced peeps) was sent, after early schooling at Huntingdon, to St Paul's School, London.
In 1650 he was entered at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, but instead went as a sizar to Magdalene College, obtaining a scholarship on the foundation.
In March 1653 he took his B.A. degree and in 1660 that of M.A.
In December 1655 he married a penniless beauty of 15, Elizabeth Marchant de Saint-Michel, daughter of a French Huguenot refugee.
At this time he was employed as factotum in the Whitehall lodgings of his cousin Adm. Edward Montagu, later 1st earl of Sandwich, who was high in the lord protector Cromwell's favour.
In his diary Pepys recalls this humble beginning, when his young wife "used to make coal fires and wash my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch! in our little room at Lord Sandwich's; for which I ought forever to love and admire her, and do."
About the same time he was appointed to a clerkship of £50 per annum in the office of George Downing, one of the tellers of the Exchequer, after whom Downing Street was later named.
It was while working in Downing's office and living in a small house in Axe Yard that on January 1, 1660, he began his diary.
A few months later he sailed, as his cousin's secretary, with the fleet that brought back Charles II from exile.
Appointed, through Montagu's interest at court, clerk of the acts of the navy at a salary of £350 per annum and given an official residence in the navy office in Seething Lane, he became in the next few years a justice of the peace, a commissioner for and, later, treasurer of, Tangier, and surveyor of naval victualling.
In the summer of 1662 he occupied his leisure moments by learning the multiplication table, listening to lectures on shipbuilding, and studying the prices of naval stores: "into Thames Street, beyond the Bridge, and there enquired among the shops the price of tar and oil, and do find great content in it, and hope to save the King money by this practise."
At the same time, he began his habit of making careful entries of all contracts and memoranda in large vellum books - beautifully ruled by Elizabeth Pepys and her maids - and of keeping copies of his official letters.
The qualities of industry and devotion to duty that Pepys brought to the service of the Royal Navy became realized during the Second Dutch War of 1665-67 - years in which he remained at his post throughout the Plague and saved the navy office in the Great Fire of London.
Before trouble with his eyesight caused him to discontinue his diary in 1669 - an event followed by the death of his wife - these qualities had won him the trust of the King and his brother James, the duke of York, the lord high admiral.
Entitled secretary of the affairs of the Admiralty of England and remunerated by a salary of £500 per annum, he combined the modern offices of first lord and secretary of the Admiralty, both administering the service and answering for it in Parliament.
With his habitual courage and industry, he set himself to rebuild the naval edifice that the inefficiency and corruption of his enemies had shattered, securing in 1686 the appointment of a special commission "for the Recovery of the Navy."
When Pepys retired, he had created a navy strong enough to maintain a long ascendancy in the world's seas.
When Pepys became associated with the navy in 1660, the line of battle had consisted of 30 battleships of a total burden of approximately 25,000 tons and carrying 1,730 guns.
When he laid down his office, he left a battle line of 59 ships of a total burden of 66,000 tons and carrying 4,492 guns.
Not only had he doubled the navy's fighting strength, but he had given it what it had never possessed before and what it never again lost - a great administrative tradition of order, discipline, and service.
"To your praises," declared the orator of Oxford University, "the whole ocean bears witness; truly, sir, you have encompassed Britain with wooden walls."
Pepys's last 14 years, despite attempts by his political adversaries to molest him, were spent in honourable retirement in his riverside house in York Buildings, amassing and arranging the library that he ultimately left to Magdalene College, Cambridge, corresponding with scholars and artists,
and collecting material for a history of the navy that he never lived to complete, though he published a prelude to it in 1690, describing his recent work at the Admiralty, entitled Memoires relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England for ten years determined December 1688.
He died at the Clapham home of his former servant and lifelong friend William Hewer.
The diary by which Pepys is chiefly known was kept between his 27th and 36th years.
Written in Thomas Shelton's system of shorthand, or tachygraphy, with the names in longhand, it extends to 1,250,000 words, filling six quarto volumes in the Pepys Library.
One of the more comical entries in his diary refers to a country cousin, named Stankes, who came to stay with him in London.
Pepys had been looking forward to showing him the sights of the town - But Lord! what a stir Stankes makes, with his being crowded in the streets, and wearied in walking in London, and would not be wooed by my wife and Ashwell to go to a play, nor to White Hall, or to see the lions, though he was carried in a coach.
I never could have thought there had been upon earth a man so little curious in the world as he is.
He is both Everyman and the recording angel; his diary paints not only his own infirmities but the frailty of all mankind.
- See also full Encyclopædia Britannica article Samuel Pepys