Before 1100. St Benet Gracechurch was known as Grass Church given the nearby haymarket. St Benet is a shortened form of St Benedict of Nursia who founded Western monasticism. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren 1632-1723.
On 30 Oct 1623 Christopher Wren 1632-1723 was born.
John Evelyn's Diary 11 July 1654. 11 Jul 1654. Was the Latin sermon, which I could not be at, though invited, being taken up at All Souls, where we had music, voices, and the orbos, performed by some ingenious scholars. After dinner, I visited that miracle of a youth, Mr. Christopher Wren (30), nephew to the Bishop of Ely. Then Mr. Barlow (46) (since Bishop of Lincoln), bibliothecarius of the Bodleian Library, my most learned friend. He showed us the rarities of that most famous place, manuscripts, medals, and other curiosities. Among the MSS. an old English Bible, wherein the Eunuch mentioned to be baptized by Philip, is called the Gelding: "and Philip and the Gelding went down into the water", etc. The original Acts of the Council of Basil 900 years since, with the bulla, or leaden affix, which has a silken cord passing through every parchment; a MS. of Venerable Bede of 800 years antiquity; the old Ritual secundum usum Sarum exceeding voluminous; then, among the nicer curiosities, the "Proverbs of Solomon", written in French by a lady, every chapter of a several character, or hand, the most exquisite imaginable; an hieroglyphical table, or carta, folded up like a map, I suppose it painted on asses' hide, extremely rare; but, what is most illustrious, there were no less than 1,000 MSS. in nineteen languages, especially Oriental, furnishing that new part of the library built by Archbishop Laud (80), from a design of Sir Kenelm Digby (51) and the Earl of Pembroke (33). In the closet of the tower, they show some Indian weapons, urns, lamps, etc., but the rarest is the whole Alcoran, written on one large sheet of calico, made up in a priest's vesture, or cope, after the Turkish and Arabic character, so exquisitely written, as no printed letter comes near it; also, a roll of magical charms, divers talismans, and some medals.
Then, I led my wife (19) into the Convocation House, finely wainscoted; the Divinity School, and Gothic carved roof; the Physic, or Anatomy School, adorned with some rarities of natural things; but nothing extraordinary save the skin of a jackal, a rarely-colored jackatoo, or prodigious large parrot, two humming birds, not much bigger than our bumblebee, which indeed I had not seen before, that I remember.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 October 1663. 02 Oct 1663. Up betimes and by water to St. James's, and there visited Mr. Coventry (35) as a compliment after his new coming to town, but had no great talk with him, he being full of business. So back by foot through London, doing several errands, and at the 'Change met with Mr. Cutler, and he and I to a coffee-house, and there discoursed, and he do assure me that there is great likelyhood of a war with Holland, but I hope we shall be in good condition before it comes to break out. I like his company, and will make much of his acquaintance.
So home to dinner with my wife, who is over head and eares in getting her house up, and so to the office, and with Mr. Lewes, late, upon some of the old victuallers' accounts, and so home to supper and to bed, up to our red chamber, where we purpose always to lie. This day I received a letter from Mr. Barlow, with a Terella1, which I had hoped he had sent me, but to my trouble I find it is to present from him to my Lord Sandwich (38), but I will make a little use of it first, and then give it him.
Note 1. Professor Silvanus P. Thompson, F.R.S., has kindly supplied me with the following interesting note on the terrella (or terella): The name given by Dr. William Gilbert, author of the famous treatise, "De Magnete" (Lond. 1600), to a spherical loadstone, on account of its acting as a model, magnetically, of the earth; compass-needles pointing to its poles, as mariners' compasses do to the poles of the earth. The term was adopted by other writers who followed Gilbert, as the following passage from Wm. Barlowe's "Magneticall Advertisements" (Lond. 1616) shows: "Wherefore the round Loadstone is significantly termed by Doct. Gilbert Terrella, that is, a little, or rather a very little Earth: For it representeth in an exceeding small model (as it were) the admirable properties magneticall of the huge Globe of the earth" (op. cit, p. 55). Gilbert set great store by his invention of the terrella, since it led him to propound the true theory of the mariners' compass. In his portrait of himself which he had painted for the University of Oxford he was represented as holding in his hand a globe inscribed terella. In the Galileo Museum in Florence there is a terrella twenty-seven inches in diameter, of loadstone from Elba, constructed for Cosmo de' Medici. A smaller one contrived by Sir Christopher Wren (39) was long preserved in the museum of the Royal Society (Grew's "Rarities belonging to the Royal Society", p. 364). Evelyn was shown "a pretty terrella described with all ye circles and skewing all y magnetic deviations" (Diary, July 3rd, 1655).
Diary of Samuel Pepys 21 February 1666. 21 Feb 1666. Up, and with Sir J. Minnes (66) to White Hall by his coach, by the way talking of my brother John (25) to get a spiritual promotion for him, which I am now to looke after, for as much as he is shortly to be Master in Arts, and writes me this weeke a Latin letter that he is to go into orders this Lent. There to the Duke's chamber, and find our fellows discoursing there on our business, so I was sorry to come late, but no hurte was done thereby. Here the Duke (32), among other things, did bring out a book of great antiquity of some of the customs of the Navy, about 100 years since, which he did lend us to read and deliver him back again.
Thence I to the Exchequer, and there did strike my tallys for a quarter for Tangier and carried them home with me, and thence to Trinity-house, being invited to an Elder Brother's feast; and there met and sat by Mr. Prin (66), and had good discourse about the privileges of Parliament, which, he says, are few to the Commons' House, and those not examinable by them, but only by the House of Lords.
Thence with my Lord Bruncker (46) to Gresham College, the first time after the sicknesse that I was there, and the second time any met. And here a good lecture of Mr. Hooke's (30) about the trade of felt-making, very pretty. And anon alone with me about the art of drawing pictures by Prince Rupert's (46) rule and machine, and another of Dr. Wren's (42)1 but he says nothing do like squares, or, which is the best in the world, like a darke roome, [The camera obscura.] which pleased me mightily.
Thence with Povy (52) home to my house, and there late settling accounts with him, which was very troublesome to me, and he gone, found Mr. Hill (36) below, who sat with me till late talking, and so away, and we to bed.
Note 1. Afterwards the famous Sir Christopher Wren (42). He was one of the mainstays of the Royal Society.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 16 February 1667. 16 Feb 1667. Up, and to the office, where all the morning. Among other things great heat we were all in on one side or other in the examining witnesses against Mr. Carcasse about his buying of tickets, and a cunning knave I do believe he is, and will appear, though I have thought otherwise heretofore.
At noon home to dinner, and there find Mr. Andrews (35), and Pierce and Hollyard (58), and they dined with us and merry, but we did rise soon for saving of my wife's seeing a new play this afternoon, and so away by coach, and left her at Mrs. Pierce's, myself to the Excise Office about business, and thence to the Temple to walk a little only, and then to Westminster to pass away time till anon, and here I went to Mrs. Martin's to thank her for her oysters...[Note. Missing text: 'and there yo did hazer tout ce que je would con her, and she grown la plus bold moher of the orbis so that I was almost defessus of the pleasure que ego was used para tener with ella.']
Thence away to my Lord Bruncker's (47), and there was Sir Robert Murray (59), whom I never understood so well as now by this opportunity of discourse with him, a most excellent man of reason and learning, and understands the doctrine of musique, and everything else I could discourse of, very finely. Here come Mr. Hooke (31), Sir George Ent, Dr. Wren (43), and many others; and by and by the musique, that is to say, Signor Vincentio, who is the master-composer, and six more, whereof two eunuches, so tall, that Sir T. Harvey (41) said well that he believes they do grow large by being gelt as our oxen do, and one woman very well dressed and handsome enough, but would not be kissed, as Mr. Killigrew (55), who brought the company in, did acquaint us. They sent two harpsicons before; and by and by, after tuning them, they begun; and, I confess, very good musique they made; that is, the composition exceeding good, but yet not at all more pleasing to me than what I have heard in English by Mrs. Knipp, Captain Cooke (51), and others. Nor do I dote on the eunuches; they sing, indeed, pretty high, and have a mellow kind of sound, but yet I have been as well satisfied with several women's voices and men also, as Crispe of the Wardrobe. The women sung well, but that which distinguishes all is this, that in singing, the words are to be considered, and how they are fitted with notes, and then the common accent of the country is to be known and understood by the hearer, or he will never be a good judge of the vocal musique of another country. So that I was not taken with this at all, neither understanding the first, nor by practice reconciled to the latter, so that their motions, and risings and fallings, though it may be pleasing to an Italian, or one that understands the tongue, yet to me it did not, but do from my heart believe that I could set words in English, and make musique of them more agreeable to any Englishman's eare (the most judicious) than any Italian musique set for the voice, and performed before the same man, unless he be acquainted with the Italian accent of speech. The composition as to the musique part was exceeding good, and their justness in keeping time by practice much before any that we have, unless it be a good band of practised fiddlers.
So away, here being Captain Cocke (50), who is stole away, leaving them at it, in his coach, and to Mrs. Pierce's, where I took up my wife, and there I find Mrs. Pierce's little girl is my Valentine, she having drawn me; which I was not sorry for, it easing me of something more that I must have given to others. But here I do first observe the fashion of drawing of mottos as well as names; so that Pierce, who drew my wife, did draw also a motto, and this girl drew another for me. What mine was I have forgot; but my wife's was, "Most virtuous and most fair"; which, as it may be used, or an anagram made upon each name, might be very pretty.
Thence with Cocke (50) and my wife, set him at home, and then we home.
To the office, and there did a little business, troubled that I have so much been hindered by matters of pleasure from my business, but I shall recover it I hope in a little time.
So home and to supper, not at all smitten with the musique to-night, which I did expect should have been so extraordinary, Tom Killigrew (55) crying it up, and so all the world, above all things in the world, and so to bed. One wonder I observed to-day, that there was no musique in the morning to call up our new-married people, which is very mean, methinks, and is as if they had married like dog and bitch.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 24 February 1667. 24 Feb 1667. Lord's Day. Up, and with Sir W. Batten (66), by coach; he set me down at my Lord Bruncker's (47) (his feud there not suffering him to 'light himself), and I with my Lord by and by when ready to White Hall, and by and by up to the Duke of York (33), and there presented our great letter and other papers, and among the rest my report of the victualling, which is good, I think, and will continue my pretence to the place, which I am still afeard Sir W. Coventry's (39) employment may extinguish. We have discharged ourselves in this letter fully from blame in the bad success of the Navy, if money do not come soon to us, and so my heart is at pretty good rest in this point.
Having done here, Sir W. Batten (66) and I home by coach, and though the sermon at our church was begun, yet he would 'light to go home and eat a slice of roast beef off the spit, and did, and then he and I to church in the middle of the sermon. My Lady Pen (43) there saluted me with great content to tell me that her daughter (16) and husband (26) are still in bed, as if the silly woman thought it a great matter of honour, and did, going out of the church, ask me whether we did not make a great show at Court today, with all our favours in our hats.
After sermon home, and alone with my wife dined. Among other things my wife told me how ill a report our Mercer hath got by her keeping of company, so that she will not send for her to dine with us or be with us as heretofore; and, what is more strange, tells me that little Mis. Tooker hath got a clap as young as she is, being brought up loosely by her mother.... [Note. Missing text 'having been in bed with her mother when her mother hath had a man come into bed and lay with her.']
In the afternoon away to White Hall by water, and took a turn or two in the Park, and then back to White Hall, and there meeting my Lord Arlington (49), he, by I know not what kindness, offered to carry me along with him to my Lord Treasurer's (59), whither, I told him, I was going. I believe he had a mind to discourse of some Navy businesses, but Sir Thomas Clifford (36) coming into the coach to us, we were prevented; which I was sorry for, for I had a mind to begin an acquaintance with him. He speaks well, and hath pretty slight superficial parts, I believe.
He, in our going, talked much of the plain habit of the Spaniards; how the King (36) and Lords themselves wear but a cloak of Colchester bayze, and the ladies mantles, in cold weather, of white flannell: and that the endeavours frequently of setting up the manufacture of making these stuffs there have only been prevented by the Inquisition: the English and Dutchmen that have been sent for to work, being taken with a Psalmbook or Testament, and so clapped up, and the house pulled down by the Inquisitors; and the greatest Lord in Spayne dare not say a word against it, if the word Inquisition be but mentioned.
At my Lord Treasurer's (59) 'light and parted with them, they going into Council, and I walked with Captain Cocke (50), who takes mighty notice of the differences growing in our office between Lord Bruncker (47) and Sir W. Batten (66), and among others also, and I fear it may do us hurt, but I will keep out of them.
By and by comes Sir S. Fox (39), and he and I walked and talked together on many things, but chiefly want of money, and the straits the King (36) brings himself and affairs into for want of it. Captain Cocke (50) did tell me what I must not forget: that the answer of the Dutch, refusing The Hague for a place of treaty, and proposing the Boysse, Bredah, Bergen-op-Zoome, or Mastricht, was seemingly stopped by the Swede's Embassador (though he did show it to the King (36), but the King (36) would take no notice of it, nor does not) from being delivered to the King (36); and he hath wrote to desire them to consider better of it: so that, though we know their refusal of the place, yet they know not that we know it, nor is the King (36) obliged to show his sense of the affront. That the Dutch are in very great straits, so as to be said to be not able to set out their fleete this year.
By and by comes Sir Robert Viner (36) and my Lord Mayor to ask the King's directions about measuring out the streets according to the new Act for building of the City, wherein the King (36) is to be pleased1. But he says that the way proposed in Parliament, by Colonel Birch (51), would have been the best, to have chosen some persons in trust, and sold the whole ground, and let it be sold again by them, with preference to the old owner, which would have certainly caused the City to be built where these Trustees pleased; whereas now, great differences will be, and the streets built by fits, and not entire till all differences be decided. This, as he tells it, I think would have been the best way. I enquired about the Frenchman2 that was said to fire the City, and was hanged for it, by his own confession, that he was hired for it by a Frenchman of Roane, and that he did with a stick reach in a fire-ball in at a window of the house: whereas the master of the house, who is the King's baker, and his son, and daughter, do all swear there was no such window, and that the fire did not begin thereabouts. Yet the fellow, who, though a mopish besotted fellow, did not speak like a madman, did swear that he did fire it: and did not this like a madman; for, being tried on purpose, and landed with his keeper at the Tower Wharfe, he could carry the keeper to the very house. Asking Sir R. Viner (36) what he thought was the cause of the fire, he tells me, that the baker, son, and his daughter, did all swear again and again, that their oven was drawn by ten o'clock at night; that, having occasion to light a candle about twelve, there was not so much fire in the bakehouse as to light a match for a candle, so that they were fain to go into another place to light it; that about two in the morning they felt themselves almost choked with smoke, and rising, did find the fire coming upstairs; so they rose to save themselves; but that, at that time, the bavins3 were not on fire in the yard. So that they are, as they swear, in absolute ignorance how this fire should come; which is a strange thing, that so horrid an effect should have so mean and uncertain a beginning.
By and by called in to the King (36) and Cabinet, and there had a few insipid words about money for Tangier, but to no purpose.
Thence away walked to my boat at White Hall, and so home and to supper, and then to talk with W. Hewer (25) about business of the differences at present among the people of our office, and so to my journall and to bed. This night going through bridge by water, my waterman told me how the mistress of the Beare tavern, at the bridge-foot, did lately fling herself into the Thames, and drowned herself; which did trouble me the more, when they tell me it was she that did live at the White Horse tavern in Lombard Street, which was a most beautiful woman, as most I have seen. It seems she hath had long melancholy upon her, and hath endeavoured to make away with herself often.
Note 1. See Sir Christopher Wren's (43) "Proposals for rebuilding the City of London after the great fire, with an engraved Plan of the principal Streets and Public Buildings", in Elmes's "Memoirs of Sir Christopher Wren", Appendix, p.61. The originals are in All Souls' College Library, Oxford. B.
Note 2. "One Hubert, a French papist, was seized in Essex, as he was getting out of the way in great confusion. He confessed he had begun the fire, and persisted in his confession to his death, for he was hanged upon no other evidence but that of his own confession. It is true he gave so broken an account of the whole matter that he was thought mad. Yet he was blindfolded, and carried to several places of the city, and then his eyes being opened, he was asked if that was the place, and he being carried to wrong places, after he looked round about for some time, he said that was not the place, but when he was brought to the place where it first broke out, he affirmed that was the true place. "Burnet's Own Time", book ii. Archbishop Tillotson (36), according to Burnet, believed that London was burnt by design.
Note 3. brushwood, or faggots used for lighting fires.
Survey London Volume 20 Part 3 Pages 101 103 Volume 20. In 1669 Shaver's Hall with all its appurtenances was bought by Thomas Panton, succinctly described by the Dictionary of National Biography as a "gambler," who in 1671 petitioned the Privy Council "that having been at great charge in purchasing a parcell of ground, lying at Pickadilly, part of it being the two bowling greens fronting the Haymarket, the other part lying on the north of Tennis Court," he might have leave to continue with his development of the property in spite of the king's "late proclamation" against building. Sir Christopher Wren (45) reported that "by opening a new street from the Hay-markett into Leicester-fields" Panton's scheme would "ease in some measure the great passage of the Strand, and will cure the noysomness of that part," and recommended that a licence to build be granted provided that the houses were built of brick "with sufficient scantlings, good paving in the streets, and sufficient sewers and conveighances for the water." Panton Street first appears in the ratebooks in 1674 and Oxendon Street, named after Baker's son-in-law, in 1675. Panton was also responsible for the erection of houses on the east side of the Haymarket at this time.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 21 March 1669. 21 Mar 1669. Lord's Day. Up, and by water over to Southwarke; and then, not getting a boat, I forced to walk to Stangate; and so over to White Hall, in a scull; where up to the Duke of York's (35) dressing-room, and there met Harry Saville (27), and understand that Sir W. Coventry (41) is come to his house last night. I understand by Mr. Wren (40) that his friends having, by Secretary Trevor (45) and my Lord Keeper (63), applied to the King (38) upon his first coming home, and a promise made that he should be discharged this day, my Lord Arlington (51) did anticipate them, by sending a warrant presently for his discharge which looks a little like kindness, or a desire of it; which God send! though I fear the contrary: however, my heart is glad that he is out.
Thence up and down the House. Met with Mr. May (47), who tells me the story of his being put by Sir John Denham's (54) place, of Surveyor of the King's Works, who it seems, is lately dead, by the unkindness of the Duke Buckingham (41), who hath brought in Dr. Wren (45): though, he tells me, he hath been his servant for twenty years together in all his wants and dangers, saving him from want of bread by his care and management, and with a promise of having his help in his advancement, and an engagement under his hand for £1000 not yet paid, and yet the Duke of Buckingham (41) so ungrateful as to put him by: which is an ill thing, though Dr. Wren is a worthy man. But he tells me that the King (38) is kind to him, and hath promised him a pension of £300 a-year out of the Works; which will be of more content to him than the place, which, under their present wants of money, is a place that disobliges most people, being not able to do what they desire to their lodgings. Here meeting with Sir H. Cholmly (36) and Povy (55), that tell me that my Lord_Middleton (61) is resolved in the Cabal that he shall not go to Tangier; and that Sir Edward Harlow [Harley], whom I know not, is propounded to go, who was Governor of Dunkirke, and, they say, a most worthy brave man, which I shall be very glad of.
So by water (H. Russell coming for me) home to dinner, where W. Howe comes to dine with me; and after dinner propounds to me my lending him £500, to help him to purchase a place-the Master of the Patent Office, of Sir Richard Piggott. I did give him a civil answer, but shall think twice of it; and the more, because of the changes we are like to have in the Navy, which will not make it fit for me to divide the little I have left more than I have done, God knowing what my condition is, I having not attended, and now not being able to examine what my state is, of my accounts, and being in the world, which troubles me mightily. He gone, I to the office to enter my journall for a week. News is lately come of the Algerines taking £3000 in money, out of one of our Company's East India ships, outward bound, which will certainly make the war last; which I am sorry for, being so poor as we are, and broken in pieces. At night my wife to read to me, and then to supper, where Pelling comes to see and sup with us, and I find that he is assisting my wife in getting a licence to our young people to be married this Lent, which is resolved shall be done upon Friday next, my great day, or feast, for my being cut of the stone. So after supper to bed, my eyes being very bad.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 30 April 1669. 30 Apr 1669. Up, and by coach to the coachmaker's: and there I do find a great many ladies sitting in the body of a coach that must be ended by to-morrow: they were my Lady Marquess of Winchester, Bellassis, and other great ladies; eating of bread and butter, and drinking ale. I to my coach, which is silvered over, but no varnish yet laid on, so I put it in a way of doing; and myself about other business, and particularly to see Sir W. Coventry (41), with whom I talked a good while to my great content; and so to other places-among others, to my tailor's: and then to the belt-maker's, where my belt cost me 55s., of the colour of my new suit; and here, understanding that the mistress of the house, an oldish woman in a hat hath some water good for the eyes, she did dress me, making my eyes smart most horribly, and did give me a little glass of it, which I will use, and hope it will do me good.
So to the Mr. Cutler's, and there did give Tom, who was with me all day a sword cost me 12s. and a belt of my owne; and set my own silver-hilt sword a-gilding against to-morrow. This morning I did visit Mr. Oldenburgh, and did see the instrument for perspective made by Dr. Wren (45), of which I have one making by Browne; and the sight of this do please me mightily.
At noon my wife come to me at my tailor's, and I sent her home and myself and Tom dined at Hercules' Pillars; and so about our business again, and particularly to Lilly's (50), the varnisher about my prints, whereof some of them are pasted upon the boards, and to my full content.
Thence to the frame-maker's one Morris, in Long Acre, who shewed me several forms of frames to choose by, which was pretty, in little bits of mouldings, to choose by. This done, I to my coach-maker's, and there vexed to see nothing yet done to my coach, at three in the afternoon; but I set it in doing, and stood by it till eight at night, and saw the painter varnish which is pretty to see how every doing it over do make it more and more yellow; and it dries as fast in the sun as it can be laid on almost; and most coaches are, now-a-days done so, and it is very pretty when laid on well, and not pale, as some are, even to shew the silver. Here I did make the workmen drink, and saw my coach cleaned and oyled; and, staying among poor people there in the alley, did hear them call their fat child Punch, which pleased me mightily that word being become a word of common use for all that is thick and short. At night home, and there find my wife hath been making herself clean against to-morrow; and, late as it was, I did send my coachman and horses to fetch home the coach to-night, and so we to supper, myself most weary with walking and standing so much, to see all things fine against to-morrow, and so to bed. God give a blessing to it! Meeting with Mr. Sheres, he went with me up and down to several places, and, among others, to buy a perriwig, but I bought none; and also to Dancre's (44), where he was about my picture of Windsor, which is mighty pretty, and so will the prospect of Rome be.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 08 May 1669. 08 May 1669. Up, and to the Office, and there comes Lead to me, and at last my vizards are done, and glasses got to put in and out, as I will; and I think I have brought it to the utmost, both for easiness of using and benefit, that I can; and so I paid him 15s. for what he hath done now last, in the finishing them, and they, I hope, will do me a great deal of ease. At the Office all the morning, and this day, the first time, did alter my side of the table, after above eight years sitting on that next the fire. But now I am not able to bear the light of the windows in my eyes, I do begin there, and I did sit with much more content than I had done on the other side for a great while, and in winter the fire will not trouble my back.
At noon home to dinner, and after dinner all the afternoon within, with Mr. Hater, Gibson, and W. Hewer (27), reading over and drawing up new things in the Instructions of Commanders, which will be good, and I hope to get them confirmed by the Duke of York (35), though I perceive nothing will effectually perfect them but to look over the whole body of the Instructions, of all the Officers of a ship, and make them all perfect together. This being done, comes my bookseller, and brings me home bound my collection of papers, about my Addresse to the Duke of York (35) in August, which makes me glad, it being that which shall do me more right many years hence than, perhaps, all I ever did in my life: and therefore I do, both for my own and the King's sake, value it much.
By and by also comes Browne, the mathematical instrument maker, and brings me home my instrument for perspective, made according to the description of Dr. Wren's (45), in the late Transactions; and he hath made it, I think, very well, and that, that I believe will do the thing, and therein gives me great content; but have I fear all the content that must be received by my eyes is almost lost.
So to the office, and there late at business, and then home to supper and to bed.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 July 1669. 09 Jul 1669. In the morning was celebrated the Encænia of the New Theater, so magnificently built by the munificence of Dr. Gilbert Sheldon (71), Archbishop of Canterbury, in which was spent,£25,000, as Sir Christopher Wren (45), the architect (as I remember), told me; and yet it was never seen by the benefactor, my Lord Archbishop having told me that he never did or ever would see it. It is, in truth, a fabric comparable to any of this kind of former ages, and doubtless exceeding any of the present, as this University does for colleges, libraries, schools, students, and order, all the universities in the world. To the theater is added the famous Sheldonian printing house. This being at the Act and the first time of opening the Theater (Acts being formerly kept in St. Mary's Church, which might be thought indecent, that being a place set apart for the immediate worship of God, and was the inducement for building this noble pile), it was now resolved to keep the present Act in it, and celebrate its dedication with the greatest splendor and formality that might be; and, therefore, drew a world of strangers, and other company, to the University, from all parts of the nation.
The Vice-Chancellor, Heads of Houses, and Doctors, being seated in magisterial seats, the Vice-Chancellor's chair and desk, Proctors, etc., covered with brocatelle (a kind of brocade) and cloth of gold; the University Registrar read the founder's grant and gift of it to the University for their scholastic exercises upon these solemn occasions. Then followed Dr. South (34), the University's orator, in an eloquent speech, which was very long, and not without some malicious and indecent reflections on the Royal Society, as underminers of the University; which was very foolish and untrue, as well as unseasonable. But, to let that pass from an ill-natured man, the rest was in praise of the Archbishop and the ingenious architect. This ended, after loud music from the corridor above, where an organ was placed, there followed divers panegyric speeches, both in prose and verse, interchangeably pronounced by the young students placed in the rostrums, in Pindarics, Eclogues, Heroics, etc., mingled with excellent music, vocal and instrumental, to entertain the ladies and the rest of the company. A speech was then made in praise of academical learning. This lasted from eleven in the morning till seven at night, which was concluded with ringing of bells, and universal joy and feasting.
John Evelyn's Diary 19 February 1671. 19 Feb 1671. This day dined with me Mr. Surveyor, Dr. Christopher Wren (47), and Mr. Pepys (37), Clerk of the Acts, two extraordinary, ingenious, and knowing persons, and other friends. I carried them to see the piece of carving which I had recommended to the King (40). Note. Those of Grinling Gibbons Sculptor 1648-1721 (22) - see John Evelyn's Diary 18 January 1671.
John Evelyn's Diary 01 March 1671. 01 Mar 1671. I caused Mr. Gibbon (22) to bring to Whitehall his excellent piece of carving, where being come, I advertised his Majesty (40), who asked me where it was; I told him in Sir Richard Browne's (66) (my father-in-law) chamber, and that if it pleased his Majesty (40) to appoint whither it should be brought, being large and though of wood, heavy, I would take care for it. "No", says the King (40), "show me the way, I'll go to Sir Richard's (66) chamber", which he immediately did, walking along the entries after me; as far as the ewry, till he came up into the room, where I also lay. No sooner was he entered and cast his eyes on the work, but he was astonished at the curiosity of it; and having considered it a long time, and discoursed with Mr. Gibbon (22), whom I brought to kiss his hand, he commanded it should be immediately carried to the Queen's (32) side to show her. It was carried up into her bedchamber, where she and the King (40) looked on and admired it again; the King (40), being called away, left us with the Queen (32), believing she would have bought it, it being a crucifix; but, when his Majesty (40) was gone, a French peddling woman, one Madame de Boord, who used to bring petticoats and fans, and baubles, out of France to the ladies, began to find fault with several things in the work, which she understood no more than an ass, or a monkey, so as in a kind of indignation, I caused the person who brought it to carry it back to the chamber, finding the Queen (32) so much governed by an ignorant Frenchwoman, and this incomparable artist had his labor only for his pains, which not a little displeased me; and he was fain to send it down to his cottage again; he not long after sold it for £80, though well worth £100, without the frame, to Sir George Viner (32).
His Majesty's (40) Surveyor, Mr. Wren (47), faithfully promised me to employ him (22). I having also bespoke his Majesty (40) for his work at Windsor Castle, which my friend, Mr. May (49), the architect there, was going to alter, and repair universally; for, on the next day, I had a fair opportunity of talking to his Majesty (40) about it, in the lobby next the Queen's (32) side, where I presented him with some sheets of my history. I thence walked with him through St James' Park to the garden, where I both saw and heard a very familiar discourse between ... and Mrs. Nelly (21), as they called an impudent comedian, she looking out of her garden on a terrace at the top of the wall, and ... [Note. the elipsis here is John Evelyn being coy about the King's (40) conversation with Nell Gwyn.] standing on the green walk under it. I was heartily sorry at this scene. Thence the King (40) walked to the Duchess of Cleveland (30), another lady of pleasure, and curse of our nation.
John Evelyn's Diary 27 June 1675. 27 Jun 1675. At Ely House, I went to the consecration of my worthy friend, the learned Dr. Barlow (51), Warden of Queen's College, Oxford, now made Bishop of Lincoln. After it succeeded a magnificent feast, where were the Duke of Ormond (64), Earl of Lauderdale (59), the Lord Treasurer (43), Lord Keeper (69), etc.
John Evelyn's Diary 28 February 1676. 28 Feb 1676. [Note. Date adjusted to 28 Feb since original entry stated 29 Feb when it isn't a leap year.] I dined with Mr. Povey (62), one of the Masters of Requests, a nice contriver of all elegancies, and exceedingly formal. Supped with Sir J. Williamson, where were of our Society Mr. Robert Boyle (49), Sir Christopher Wren (52), Sir William Petty (52), Dr. Holden, subdean of his Majesty's (45) Chapel, Sir James Shaen, Dr. Whistler, and our Secretary, Mr. Oldenburg (57).
John Evelyn's Diary 27 November 1677. 27 Nov 1677. Dined at the Lord Treasurer's (45) with Prince Rupert (57), Viscount Falkenburg (50), Earl of Bath (49), Lord O'Brien (35), Sir John Lowther (22), Sir Christopher Wren (54), Dr. Grew (36), and other learned men.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 June 1679. 17 Jun 1679. I was godfather to a son of Sir Christopher Wren (55), surveyor of his Majesty's (49) buildings, that most excellent and learned person, with Sir William Fermor (30), and my Lady Viscountess Newport, wife of the Treasurer of the Household (59).
John Evelyn's Diary 30 August 1680. 30 Aug 1680. I went to visit a French gentleman, one Monsieur Chardin (36), who having been thrice in the East Indies, Persia, and other remote countries, came hither in our return ships from those parts, and it being reported that he was a very curious and knowing man, I was desired by the Royal Society to salute him in their name, and to invite him to honor them with his company. Sir Joseph Hoskins and Sir Christopher Wren (56) accompanied me. We found him at his lodgings in his eastern habit, a very handsome person, extremely affable, a modest, well-bred man, not inclined to talk wonders. He spoke Latin, and understood Greek, Arabic, and Persian, from eleven years' travels in those parts, whither he went in search of jewels, and was become very rich. He seemed about 36 years of age. After the usual civilities, we asked some account of the extraordinary things he must have seen in traveling over land to those places where few, if any, northern Europeans used to go, as the Black and Caspian Sea, Mingrelia, Bagdad, Nineveh, Persepolis, etc. He told us that the things most worthy of our sight would be, the draughts he had caused to be made of some noble ruins, etc.; for that, besides his own little talent that way, he had carried two good painters with him, to draw landscapes, measure and design the remains of the palace which Alexander burned in his frolic at Persepolis, with divers temples, columns, relievos, and statues, yet extant, which he affirmed to be sculpture far exceeding anything he had observed either at Rome, in Greece, or in any other part of the world where magnificence was in estimation. He said there was an inscription in letters not intelligible, though entire. He was sorry he could not gratify the curiosity of the Society at present, his things not being yet out of the ship; but would wait on them with them on his return from Paris, whither he was going the next day, but with intention to return suddenly, and stay longer here, the persecution in France not suffering Protestants, and he was one, to be quiet.
He told us that Nineveh was a vast city, now all buried in her ruins, the inhabitants building on the subterranean vaults, which were, as appeared, the first stories of the old city, that there were frequently found huge vases of fine earth, columns, and other antiquities; that the straw which the Egyptians required of the Israelites, was not to burn, or cover the rows of bricks as we use, but being chopped small to mingle with the clay, which being dried in the sun (for they bake not in the furnace) would else cleave asunder; that in Persia are yet a race of Ignicolæ, who worship the sun and the fire as Gods; that the women of Georgia and Mingrelia were universally, and without any compare, the most beautiful creatures for shape, features, and figure, in the world, and therefore the Grand Seignor and Bashaws had had from thence most of their wives and concubines; that there had within these hundred years been Amazons among them, that is to say, a sort or race of valiant women, given to war; that Persia was extremely fertile; he spoke also of Japan and China, and of the many great errors of our late geographers, as we suggested matter for discourse. We then took our leave, failing of seeing his papers; but it was told us by others that indeed he dared not open, or show them, till he had first showed them to the French King; but of this he himself said nothing.
John Evelyn's Diary 05 May 1681. 05 May 1681. Came to dine with me Sir William Fermor (32), of Northamptonshire, and Sir Christopher Wren (57), his Majesty's (50) architect and surveyor, now building the Cathedral of St. Paul, and the column in memory of the city's conflagration, and was in hand with the building of fifty parish churches. A wonderful genius had this incomparable person.
John Evelyn's Diary 30 November 1681. 30 Nov 1681. Sir Christopher Wren (58) chosen President [of the Royal Society], Mr. Austine, Secretary, with Dr. Plot, the ingenious author of the "History of Oxfordshire". There was a most illustrious appearance.
John Evelyn's Diary 25 May 1682. 25 May 1682. I was desired by Sir Stephen Fox (55) and Sir Christopher Wren (58) to accompany them to Lambeth, with the plot and design of the college to be built at Chelsea, to have the Archbishop's approbation. It was a quadrangle of 200 feet square, after the dimensions of the larger quadrangle at Christ church, Oxford, for the accommodation of 440 persons, with Governor of and officers. This was agreed on.
Between 1685 and 1688 Belton House was built on behalf of John Brownlow 3rd Baronet Brownlow 1659-1697 (25) in the style of Carolean architecture. The architect may have been William Winde or Christopher Wren 1632-1723 (61).
Around 1690 Daniel Finch 2nd Earl Nottingham 7th Earl Winchilsea 1647-1730 (42) commissioned the building of Burley-on-the-Hill House as it is known today. Christopher Wren 1632-1723 (66) was consulted. The designs of Montague House and Devonshire House were reviewed.
John Evelyn's Diary 05 May 1695. 05 May 1695. I came to Deptford from Wotton, in order to the first meeting of the Commissioners for endowing an hospital for seamen at Greenwich; it was at the Guildhall, London. Present, the Archbishop of Canterbury (58), Lord Keeper, Lord Privy Seal, Lord Godolphin (49), Duke of Shrewsbury (34), Duke of Leeds (63), Earls of Dorset (52) and Monmouth (37), Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy, Sir Robert Clayton, Sir Christopher Wren (71), and several more. The Commission was read by Mr. Lowndes, Secretary to the Lords of the Treasury, Surveyor-General.
John Evelyn's Diary 04 June 1696. 04 Jun 1696. A committee met at Whitehall about Greenwich Hospital, at Sir Christopher Wren's (72), his Majesty's (66) Surveyor-General. We made the first agreement with divers workmen and for materials; and gave the first order for proceeding on the foundation, and for weekly payments to the workmen, and a general account to be monthly.
John Evelyn's Diary 30 June 1696. 30 Jun 1696. I went with a select committee of the Commissioners for Greenwich Hospital, and with Sir Christopher Wren (72), where with him I laid the first stone of the intended foundation, precisely at five o'clock in the evening, after we had dined together. Mr. Flamstead (49), the King's (66) Astronomical Professor, observing the punctual time by instruments.
John Evelyn's Diary 09 June 1698. 09 Jun 1698. To Deptford, to see how miserably the Czar had left my house, after three months making it his Court. I got Sir Christopher Wren (74), the King's (68) surveyor, and Mr. London, his gardener, to go and estimate the repairs, for which they allowed £150 in their report to the Lords of the Treasury. I then went to see the foundation of the Hall and Chapel at Greenwich Hospital.
In 1711 Godfrey Kneller 1646-1723 (64). Portrait of Christopher Wren 1632-1723 (87).
On 08 Mar 1723 Christopher Wren 1632-1723 (99) died.