Tag Archives: Samuel Pepys

Queen Henrietta Maria returns from exile (Samuel Pepys, 1660)

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“So to White Hall, where when I came I saw the boats going very thick to Lambeth, and all the stairs to be full of people.  I was told the Queen [Henrietta Maria of France, the widow of the executed Charles I, and the mother of the then recently restored Charles II] was a-coming [home from the continent, where she had been in exile since her husband’s execution]; so I got a sculler for sixpence to carry me thither and back again, but I could not get to see the Queen; so came back, and to my Lord’s, … and I supt with him, he being very merry  … .  [Eventually] … I took leave of my Lord and Lady, and …  coach …  home … .  So to bed.  I observed this night very few bonfires in the City, not above three in all London, for the Queen’s coming; whereby I guess that (as I believed before) her coming do please but very few”.

On a related note, Somerset House, which  was once owned by Henrietta Maria, is passed on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special (see also below).

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

Somerset House

Somerset House in 1722 (Kip)

The original Somerset House was built for the Lord Protector Somerset in 1547-50.  After Somerset’s  execution in 1552, it came to owned, occupied and modified in turn by the then-future Queen, Elizabeth I, in 1553; by    the then King, James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark, in 1603; by  the then-future King, Charles I, in 1619; and by the then King, Charles I’s wife, the French Henrietta Maria, in 1626.  It then survived the Civil War and Commonwealth of 1642-60, during which time it was temporarily appropriated by Parliamentarian authorities, as well as the Great Fire of 1666.  In 1669, the then King,  Charles II’s wife,  the Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, acquired it, and in 1692, shortly after Charles II had died and James II, who was a Catholic, had been deposed,  she relinquished it, fearing  for her safety there in the midst of what by that time had become a fiercely anti-Catholic populace.

Somerset House (2).JPG

Somerset House (1).JPG

Cool analytical light 005.JPG

It was then  allowed to fall into disrepair, and substantially demolished to make way for the present building in 1775.

Archaeology Room

Of the original, only some footings survive, in the “Archaeology Room” …

Catherine Guilermet, French servant to Henrietta Maria (d. 1633)

Edmund Fortescue, usher to Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza (d. 1674)

Fr Hyacint(h), priest (d. 1692).JPG

… together with some headstones from the former – Catholic – chapel, in the “Dead House”.

“The town begins to be lively again” (Samuel Pepys, 1665)

Lord have mercy on London

On this day in 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“The ‘Change pretty full, and the town begins to be lively again”.

The “Great Plague” was now well past its peak, and some semblance of normality was beginning to return to a stricken city.  The “Great Plague” killed at least 70000 people in London, and possibly as many as 100000 – far more than the “Black Death” of 1348-9, although far fewer in proportion to the overall population.  The “Bills of Mortality” show that of the 70000 recorded Plague deaths, only 10000 were in the 97 parishes within the walls of the City  – possibly because a significant proportion  of those inhabitants who could afford to do so had fled to the country.  The remaining 60000  Plague deaths were in the 16 parishes without the walls, the 5 in Westminster, and the 12 in Middlesex and Surrey.  Stepney was the worst affected, with 6500 deaths.

The Parish Clerks’ “Bills of Mortality” for the Plague Year of 1665 are examined at  the church of All Hallows Staining on our “London Wall” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City highlights” and “Great Fire of London” themed specials.  The bulk of the church collapsed in 1671, the foundations undermined by plague burials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

 

 

 

“There is Cooke’s head set up for a traitor” (Samuel Pepys, 1660)

Cook - Copy

Harrison - Copy

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“George Vines carried me up to the top of his  turret, where there is Cooke’s head set up for a traitor, and Harrison’s set up on the other side of Westminster Hall.  Here I could see them plainly, and also a very fair prospect about London”.

John Cook(e) was the chief prosecutor at Charles I’s trial at the end of the Civil War, and Thomas Harrison one of the  signatories  to his death warrant,  both hunted down and executed by Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy (see also October 13th, October 15th, October 17th and October 20th postings).

The Civil War is discussed on various of our walks, including the “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City highlights” and   “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

“I saw the limbs of some of our new traitors set upon Aldersgate” (Samuel Pepys, 1660)

The king's executioner

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“This afternoon, going through London, and calling at Crowe’s, the upholsterers, in Saint Bartholomew’s, I saw the limbs of some of our traitors set upon Aldersgate, which was a sad sight to see; and a bloody week this and the last have been, there being ten hanged, drawn and quartered”.

A number of the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I at the end of the Civil War in 1649 were hunted down and executed by Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 (see also October 13th, October 15th and October 17th postings).

The Civil War is discussed on various of our walks, including the   “Tudor and Stuart London” and   “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

“This morning Mr Carew was hanged and quartered” (Samuel Pepys, 1660)

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“This morning Mr Carew was hanged and quartered at Charing Cross, but his quarters, by a great favour, are not to be hanged up”.

John Carew

John Carew was   one of a number of the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I at the end of the Civil War in 1649 to be  hunted down and executed by Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 (see also October 13th posting).

The Civil War is discussed on various of our walks, including the “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City Highlights” and   “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

Rejoicing in the Torah (Samuel Pepys, 1663)

Plaque marking site of Creechurch Lane Synagogue (1657).JPG

And on this day in 1663, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“[A]fter dinner my wife and I, by Mr. Rawlinson’s conduct, to the Jewish Synagogue [on Creechurch Lane]: … Their service all in a singing way, and in Hebrew. And anon their Laws that they take out of the press are carried by several men, four or five several burthens in all, and they do relieve one another; and whether it is that every one desires to have the carrying of it, I cannot tell, thus they carried it round about the room while such a service is singing. And in the end they had a prayer for the King, which they pronounced his name in Portugall; but the prayer, like the rest, in Hebrew. But, Lord! to see the disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention, but confusion in all their service … would make a man forswear ever seeing them more and indeed I never did see so much, or could have imagined there had been any religion in the whole world so absurdly performed as this”.

Unbeknownst to him at the time, he had witnessed the service of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah), marking the end of the Sukkot(h), the  annual cycle of readings from the Torah, which is always a celebratory rather than a solemn event.  The associated activity  that most bewildered him was the Hakafot (dancing with the Torah).   There would almost certainly also have been drinking of ritual wine (symbolising life), although he does not mention it.  Indeed, a traditional source recommends performing the priestly blessing earlier than usual in the service, to make sure that the priests are still sober  when the time comes!

For more on Jewish London up to  the time of the Great Fire of 1666, see our March 16th and April 22nd  postings.

Exterior of Bevis Marks Synagogue.JPG

On a related note, Bevis Marks Synagogue, London’s oldest surviving Sephardic Synagogue, built in 1701 (as a replacement for Creechurch Lane Synagogue, originally built in 1657), is visited, although not entered, on various of our walks, including the “Historic Shoreditch and Spitalfields” standard walk.

Interior of Sandy's Row Synagogue.JPG

And Sandy’s Row Synagogue in Spitalfields, London’s oldest surviving Ashkenazi  Synagogue, founded in 1854 (on the former site of a French Huguenot Church, originally built  in 1766), is passed on our “Historic Shoreditch and Spitalfields” standard walk.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

 “Hanged, drawn and quartered” (Samuel Pepys, 1660)

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“[I]n the morning … I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition.  He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy.   It is said, that he said he was sure to come  shortly at the right hand of  Christ to judge them that now had judged him … .  Thus it was my chance to see … the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King [Charles I] at Charing Cross. Setting up shelves in my study”.

Harrison

Thomas Harrison was   one of a number of the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I at the end of the Civil War in 1649 to be  hunted down and executed by Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 (see Don Jordan and Michael Walsh’s “The King’s Revenge – Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History”).

The Civil War is discussed on various of our walks, including the “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City Highlights” and   “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the Our Guided Walks section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).