On or before 02 Oct 1621 Hugh May Architect 1621-1684 was born to [his father] John May of Rawmere. The seventh son. He was baptised on 02 Oct 1621.
John Evelyn's Diary 17 October 1664. 17 Oct 1664. I went with my Lord Viscount Cornbury, to Cornbury, in Oxfordshire, to assist him in the planting of the park, and bear him company, with Mr. Belin and Mr. May (43), in a coach with six horses; dined at Uxbridge, lay at Wycombe.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 October 1664. 18 Oct 1664. At Oxford. Went through Woodstock, where we beheld the destruction of that royal seat and park by the late rebels, and arrived that evening at Cornbury, a house lately built by the Earl of Denbigh (91) [Note. Mistake by Evelyn; should be Earl of Danby], in the middle of a sweet park, walled with a dry wall. The house is of excellent freestone, abounding in that part, (a stone that is fine, but never sweats, or casts any damp); it is of ample dimensions, has goodly cellars, the paving of the hall admirable for its close laying. We designed a handsome chapel that was yet wanting: as Mr. May (43) had the stables, which indeed are very fair, having set out the walks in the parks and gardens. The lodge is a pretty solitude, and the ponds very convenient; the park well stored.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 21 August 1665. 21 Aug 1665. Called up, by message from Lord Bruncker (45) and the rest of my fellows, that they will meet me at the Duke of Albemarle's (56) this morning; so I up, and weary, however, got thither before them, and spoke with my Lord, and with him and other gentlemen to walk in the Parke, where, I perceive, he spends much of his time, having no whither else to go; and here I hear him speake of some Presbyter people that he caused to be apprehended yesterday, at a private meeting in Covent Garden, which he would have released upon paying £5 per man to the poor, but it was answered, they would not pay anything; so he ordered them to another prison from the guard.
By and by comes my fellow-officers, and the Duke (31) walked in, and to counsel with us; and that being done we departed, and Sir W. Batten (64) and I to the office, where, after I had done a little business, I to his house to dinner, whither comes Captain Cocke (48), for whose epicurisme a dish of partriges was sent for, and still gives me reason to think is the greatest epicure in the world.
Thence, after dinner, I by water to Sir W. Warren's and with him two hours, talking of things to his and my profit, and particularly good advice from him what use to make of Sir G. Carteret's (55) kindnesse to me and my interest in him, with exceeding good cautions for me not using it too much nor obliging him to fear by prying into his secrets, which it were easy for me to do.
Thence to my Lord Bruncker (45), at Greenwich, and Sir J. Minnes (66) by appointment, to looke after the lodgings appointed for us there for our office, which do by no means please me, they being in the heart of all the labourers and workmen there, which makes it as unsafe as to be, I think, at London. Mr. Hugh May (43), who is a most ingenuous man, did show us the lodgings, and his acquaintance I am desirous of.
Thence walked, it being now dark, to Sir J. Minnes's (66), and there staid at the door talking with him an hour while messengers went to get a boat for me, to carry me to Woolwich, but all to no purpose; so I was forced to walk it in the darke, at ten o'clock at night, with Sir J. Minnes's (66) George with me, being mightily troubled for fear of the doggs at Coome farme, and more for fear of rogues by the way, and yet more because of the plague which is there, which is very strange, it being a single house, all alone from the towne, but it seems they use to admit beggars, for their owne safety, to lie in their barns, and they brought it to them; but I bless God I got about eleven of the clock well to my wife, and giving 4s. in recompence to George, I to my wife, and having first viewed her last piece of drawing since I saw her, which is seven or eight days, which pleases me beyond any thing in the world, to bed with great content but weary.
John Evelyn's Diary 27 August 1666. 27 Aug 1666. I went to St. Paul's church, where, with Dr. Wren (80), Mr. Pratt (46), Mr. May (44), Mr. Thomas Chicheley (52), Mr. Slingsby, the Bishop of London (74), the Dean of St. Paul's, and several expert workmen, we went about to survey the general decays of that ancient and venerable church, and to set down in writing the particulars of what was fit to be done, with the charge thereof, giving our opinion from article to article. Finding the main building to recede outward it was the opinion of Chicheley and Mr. Pratt (46) that it had been so built aborigine for an effect in perspective, in regard of the height; but I was, with Dr. Wren (80), quite of another judgment, and so we entered it; we plumbed the uprights in several places. When we came to the steeple, it was deliberated whether it were not well enough to repair it only on its old foundation, with reservation to the four pillars; this Mr. Chicheley (52) and Mr. Pratt (46) were also for, but we totally rejected it, and persisted that it required a new foundation, not only in regard of the necessity, but for that the shape of what stood was very mean, and we had a mind to build it with a noble cupola, a form of church-building not as yet known in England, but of wonderful grace. For this purpose, we offered to bring in a plan and estimate, which after much contest, was at last assented to, and that we should nominate a committee of able workmen to examine the present foundation. This concluded, we drew all up in writing, and so went with my Lord Bishop to the Dean's.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 25 November 1666. 25 Nov 1666. Lord's Day. Up, and with Sir J. Minnes (67) by coach to White Hall, and there coming late, I to rights to the chapel, where in my usual place I heard one of the King's chaplains, one Mr. Floyd (39), preach. He was out two or three times in his prayer, and as many in his sermon, but yet he made a most excellent good sermon, of our duty to imitate the lives and practice of Christ and the saints departed, and did it very handsomely and excellent stile; but was a little overlarge in magnifying the graces of the nobility and prelates, that we have seen in our memorys in the world, whom God hath taken from us.
At the end of the sermon an excellent anthem; but it was a pleasant thing, an idle companion in our pew, a prating, bold counsellor that hath been heretofore at the Navy Office, and noted for a great eater and drinker, not for quantity, but of the best, his name Tom Bales, said, "I know a fitter anthem for this sermon", speaking only of our duty of following the saints, and I know not what. "Cooke should have sung, 'Come, follow, follow me.'" I After sermon up into the gallery, and then to Sir G. Carteret's (56) to dinner; where much company. Among others, Mr. Carteret and my Lady Jemimah, and here was also Mr. [John] Ashburnham (63), the great man, who is a pleasant man, and that hath seen much of the world, and more of the Court.
After dinner Sir G. Carteret (56) and I to another room, and he tells me more and more of our want of money and in how ill condition we are likely to be soon in, and that he believes we shall not have a fleete at sea the next year. So do I believe; but he seems to speak it as a thing expected by the King (36) and as if their matters were laid accordingly.
Thence into the Court and there delivered copies of my report to my Lord Treasurer (59), to the Duke of York (33), Sir W. Coventry (38), and others, and attended there till the Council met, and then was called in, and I read my letter. My Lord Treasurer (59) declared that the King (36) had nothing to give till the Parliament did give him some money. So the King (36) did of himself bid me to declare to all that would take our tallys for payment, that he should, soon as the Parliament's money do come in, take back their tallys, and give them money: which I giving him occasion to repeat to me, it coming from him against the 'gre'1 I perceive, of my Lord Treasurer (59), I was content therewith, and went out, and glad that I have got so much.
Here staid till the Council rose, walking in the gallery. All the talke being of Scotland, where the highest report, I perceive, runs but upon three or four hundred in armes; but they believe that it will grow more, and do seem to apprehend it much, as if the King of France (28) had a hand in it. My Lord Lauderdale (50) do make nothing of it, it seems, and people do censure him for it, he from the beginning saying that there was nothing in it, whereas it do appear to be a pure rebellion; but no persons of quality being in it, all do hope that it cannot amount to much. Here I saw Mrs. Stewart (19) this afternoon, methought the beautifullest creature that ever I saw in my life, more than ever I thought her so, often as I have seen her; and I begin to think do exceed my Baroness Castlemayne (25), at least now.
This being St. Catherine's day, the Queene (57) was at masse by seven o'clock this morning; and Mr. Ashburnham (62) do say that he never saw any one have so much zeale in his life as she hath: and, the question being asked by my Baroness Carteret (64), much beyond the bigotry that ever the old Queen-Mother (57) had.
I spoke with Mr. May (45) who tells me that the design of building the City do go on apace, and by his description it will be mighty handsome, and to the satisfaction of the people; but I pray God it come not out too late.
The Council up, after speaking with Sir W. Coventry (38) a little, away home with Captain Cocke (49) in his coach, discourse about the forming of his contract he made with us lately for hempe, and so home, where we parted, and I find my uncle Wight (64) and Mrs. Wight and Woolly, who staid and supped, and mighty merry together, and then I to my chamber to even my journal, and then to bed. I will remember that Mr. Ashburnham (62) to-day at dinner told how the rich fortune Mrs. Mallett (15) reports of her servants; that my Lord Herbert (25) would have had her; my Lord Hinchingbrooke (18) was indifferent to have her2 my Lord John Butler (23) might not have her; my Lord of Rochester (19) would have forced her3 and Sir———Popham (20), who nevertheless is likely to have her, would kiss her breach to have her.
Note 1. Apparently a translation of the French 'contre le gre', and presumably an expression in common use. "Against the grain" is generally supposed to have its origin in the use of a plane against the grain of the wood.
Note 2. They had quarrelled (see August 26th). She, perhaps, was piqued at Lord Hinchingbroke's (18) refusal "to compass the thing without consent of friends" (see February 25th), whence her expression, "indifferent" to have her. It is worthy of remark that their children intermarried; Lord Hinchingbroke's (18) son (18) married Lady Rochester's (15) daughter. B.
Note 3. Of the lady (15) thus sought after, whom Pepys calls "a beauty" as well as a fortune, and who shortly afterwards, about the 4th February, 1667, became the wife of the Earl of Rochester (19), then not twenty years old, no authentic portrait is known to exist. When Mr. Miller, of Albemarle Street, in 1811, proposed to publish an edition of the "Memoires de Grammont", he sent an artist to Windsor to copy there the portraits which he could find of those who figure in that work. In the list given to him for this purpose was the name of Lady Rochester. Not finding amongst the "Beauties", or elsewhere, any genuine portrait of her, but seeing that by Hamilton she is absurdly styled "une triste heritiere", the artist made a drawing from some unknown portrait at Windsor of a lady of a sorrowful countenance, and palmed it off upon the bookseller. In the edition of "Grammont" it is not actually called Lady Rochester, but "La Triste Heritiere". A similar falsification had been practised in Edwards's edition of 1793, but a different portrait had been copied. It is needless, almost, to remark how ill applied is Hamilton's epithet. B.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 27 January 1667. 27 Jan 1667. Lord's Day. Up betimes, and leaving my wife to go by coach to hear Mr. Frampton (44) preach, which I had a mighty desire she should, I down to the Old Swan, and there to Michell and staid while he and she dressed themselves, and here had a 'baiser' or two of her, whom I love mightily; and then took them in a sculler (being by some means or other disappointed of my own boat) to White Hall, and so with them to Westminster, Sir W. Coventry (39), Bruncker (47) and I all the morning together discoursing of the office business, and glad of the Controller's business being likely to be put into better order than formerly, and did discourse of many good things, but especially of having something done to bringing the Surveyor's matters into order also.
Thence I up to the King's closet, and there heard a good Anthem, and discoursed with several people here about business, among others with Lord Bellasses (52), and so from one to another after sermon till the King (36) had almost dined, and then home with Sir G. Carteret (57) and dined with him, being mightily ashamed of my not having seen my Lady Jemimah so long, and my wife not at all yet since she come, but she shall soon do it.
I thence to Sir Philip Warwicke (57), by appointment, to meet Lord Bellasses (52), and up to his chamber, but find him unwilling to discourse of business on Sundays; so did not enlarge, but took leave, and went down and sat in a low room, reading Erasmus "de scribendis epistolis", a very good book, especially one letter of advice to a courtier most true and good, which made me once resolve to tear out the two leaves that it was writ in, but I forebore it.
Thence I through the garden into the Park, and there met with Roger Pepys (49), and he and I to walk in the Pell Mell. I find by him that the House of Parliament continues full of ill humours, and he seems to dislike those that are troublesome more than needs, and do say how, in their late Poll Bill, which cost so much time, the yeomanry, and indeed two-thirds of the nation, are left out to be taxed, that there is not effectual provision enough made for collecting of the money; and then, that after a man his goods are distrained and sold, and the overplus returned, I am to have ten days to make my complaints of being over-rated if there be cause, when my goods are sold, and that is too late. These things they are resolved to look into again, and mend them before they rise, which they expect at furthest on Thursday next.
Here we met with Mr. May (45), and he and we to talk of several things, of building, and such like matters; and so walked to White Hall, and there I skewed my cozen Roger (49) the Duchesse of York (29) sitting in state, while her own mother (49) stands by her; he had a desire, and I shewed him my Baroness Castlemayne (26), whom he approves to be very handsome, and wonders that she cannot be as good within as she is fair without. Her little black boy came by him; and, a dog being in his way, the little boy called to the dog: "Pox of this dog!"—"Now", says he, blessing himself, "would I whip this child till the blood come, if it were my child!" and I believe he would. But he do by no means like the liberty of the Court, and did come with expectation of finding them playing at cards to-night, though Sunday; for such stories he is told, but how true I know not1.
After walking up and down the Court with him, it being now dark and past six at night, I walked to the Swan in the Palace yard and there with much ado did get a waterman, and so I sent for the Michells, and they come, and their father Howlett and his wife with them, and there we drank, and so into the boat, poor Betty's head aching.
We home by water, a fine moonshine and warm night, it having been also a very summer's day for warmth. I did get her hand to me under my cloak.... [Missing text: 'and did oter sa gans, but ella ne voudroit tocar mi cosa today, whatever the matter was, and I was loath to contrendre her to faire, de peur qu’ell faisait son mari prendre notice thereof and did remove her glove, but she didn't want to touch my thing today, whatever the matter was, and I was loath to force her to to it, for fear that she would cause her husband to take notice thereof'.] So there we parted at their house, and he walked almost home with me, and then I home and to supper, and to read a little and to bed. My wife tells me Mr. Frampton is gone to sea, and so she lost her labour to-day in thinking to hear him preach, which I am sorry for.
Note 1. There is little reason to doubt that it was such as Evelyn describes it at a later time. "I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and prophaneness, gaming, and all dissoluteness, and, as it were, total forgetfulness of God (it being Sunday evening) which this day se'nnight I was witness of; the King (36) sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth (17), Cleveland (26), Mazarin (20), &c. A French boy singing love songs in that glorious gallery, whilst about twenty of the great courtiers and other dissolute persons were at basset round a large table, a bank of at least £2,000 in gold before them; upon which two gentlemen who were with me made reflexions with astonishment. Six days after was all in the dust". B.
In Jun 1668 Hugh May Architect 1621-1684 (46) was appointed Comptroller of the King's Works and Clerk to the Recognizances.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 17 January 1669. 17 Jan 1669. Lord's Day. To church myself after seeing every thing fitted for dinner, and so, after church, home, and thither comes Mrs. Batelier and her two daughters to dinner to us; and W. Hewer (27) and his mother, and Mr. Spong. We were very civilly merry, and Mrs. Batelier a very discreet woman, but mighty fond in the stories she tells of her son Will.
After dinner, Mr. Spong and I to my closet, there to try my instrument Parallelogram, which do mighty well, to my full content; but only a little stiff, as being new.
Thence, taking leave of my guests, he and I and W. Hewer (27) to White Hall, and there parting with Spong, a man that I mightily love for his plainness and ingenuity, I into the Court, and there up and down and spoke with my Lords Bellassis and Peterborough about the business now in dispute, about my deputing a Treasurer to pay the garrison at Tangier, which I would avoid, and not be accountable, and they will serve me therein. Here I met Hugh May (47), and he brings me to the knowledge of Sir Henry Capell (30), a Member of Parliament, and brother of my Lord of Essex (37), who hath a great value, it seems, for me; and they appoint a day to come and dine with me, and see my books, and papers of the Office, which I shall be glad to shew them, and have opportunity to satisfy them therein. Here all the discourse is, that now the King (38) is of opinion to have the Parliament called, notwithstanding his late resolutions for proroguing them; so unstable are his councils, and those about him. So staying late talking in the Queen's (30) side, I away, with W. Hewer (27) home, and there to read and talk with my wife, and so to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 February 1669. 02 Feb 1669. Up, and to the office, where all the morning, and home to dinner at noon, where I find Mr. Sheres; and there made a short dinner, and carried him with us to the King's playhouse, where "The Heyresse", not-withstanding Kinaston's (29) being beaten, is acted; and they say the King (38) is very angry with Sir Charles Sedley for his being beaten, but he do deny it. But his part is done by Beeston, who is fain to read it out of a book all the while, and thereby spoils the part, and almost the play, it being one of the best parts in it; and though the design is, in the first conception of it, pretty good, yet it is but an indifferent play, wrote, they say, by my Lord Newcastle. But it was pleasant to see Beeston come in with others, supposing it to be dark, and yet he is forced to read his part by the light of the candles: and this I observing to a gentleman that sat by me, he was mightily pleased therewith, and spread it up and down. But that, that pleased me most in the play is, the first song that Knepp sings, she singing three or four; and, indeed, it was very finely sung, so as to make the whole house clap her.
Thence carried Sheres to White Hall, and there I stepped in, and looked out Mr. May (47), who tells me that he and his company cannot come to dine with me to-morrow, whom I expected only to come to see the manner of our Office and books, at which I was not very much displeased, having much business at the Office, and so away home, and there to the office about my letters, and then home to supper and to bed, my wife being in mighty ill humour all night, and in the morning I found it to be from her observing Knepp to wink and smile on me; and she says I smiled on her; and, poor wretch! I did perceive that she did, and do on all such occasions, mind my eyes. I did, with much difficulty, pacify her, and were friends, she desiring that hereafter, at that house, we might always sit either above in a box, or, if there be [no] room, close up to the lower boxes.
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 20 April 1669. 20 Apr 1669. Up; and to the Office, and my wife abroad with Mary Batelier, with our own coach, but borrowed Sir J Minnes's coachman, that so our own might stay at home, to attend at dinner; our family being mightily disordered by our little boy's falling sick the last night; and we fear it will prove the small-pox.
At noon comes my guest, Mr. Hugh May (47), and with him Sir Henry Capell (31), my old Lord Capel's (61) son, and Mr. Parker; and I had a pretty dinner for them; and both before and after dinner had excellent discourse; and shewed them my closet and my Office, and the method of it to their great content; and more extraordinary, manly discourse and opportunity of shewing myself, and learning from others, I have not, in ordinary discourse, had in my life, they being all persons of worth, but especially Sir H. Capell (31), whose being a Parliament-man, and hearing my discourse in the Parliament-house, hath, as May (47) tells me, given him along desire to know and discourse with me. In the afternoon we walked to the Old Artillery-Ground near the Spitalfields, where I never was before, but now, by Captain Deane's (35) invitation, did go to see his new gun tryed, this being the place where the Officers of the Ordnance do try all their great guns; and when we come, did find that the trial had been made; and they going away with extraordinary report of the proof of his gun, which, from the shortness and bigness, they do call Punchinello. But I desired Colonel Legg to stay and give us a sight of her performance, which he did, and there, in short, against a gun more than as long and as heavy again, and charged with as much powder again, she carried the same bullet as strong to the mark, and nearer and above the mark at a point blank than theirs, and is more easily managed, and recoyles no more than that, which is a thing so extraordinary as to be admired for the happiness of his invention, and to the great regret of the old Gunners and Officers of the Ordnance that were there, only Colonel Legg did do her much right in his report of her. And so, having seen this great and first experiment, we all parted, I seeing my guests into a Hackney coach, and myself, with Captain Deane (35), taking a Hackney coach, did go out towards Bow, and went as far as Stratford, and all the way talking of this invention, and he offering me a third of the profit of the invention; which, for aught I know, or do at present think, may prove matter considerable to us: for either the King (38) will give him a reward for it, if he keeps it to himself, or he will give us a patent to make our profit of it: and no doubt but it will be of profit to merchantmen and others, to have guns of the same force at half the charge. This was our talk: and then to talk of other things, of the Navy in general: and, among other things, he did tell me that he do hear how the Duke of Buckingham (41) hath a spite at me, which I knew before, but value it not: and he tells me that Sir T. Allen (57) is not my friend; but for all this I am not much troubled, for I know myself so usefull that, as I believe, they will not part with me; so I thank God my condition is such that I can; retire, and be able to live with comfort, though not with abundance. Thus we spent the evening with extraordinary good discourse, to my great content, and so home to the Office, and there did some business, and then home, where my wife do come home, and I vexed at her staying out so late, but she tells me that she hath been at home with M. Batelier a good while, so I made nothing of it, but to supper and to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 19 May 1669. 19 May 1669. With my coach to St. James's; and there finding the Duke of York (35) gone to muster his men, in Hyde Park, I alone with my boy thither, and there saw more, walking out of my coach as other gentlemen did, of a soldier's trade, than ever I did in my life: the men being mighty fine, and their Commanders, particularly the Duke of Monmouth (20); but me-thought their trade but very easy as to the mustering of their men, and the men but indifferently ready to perform what was commanded, in the handling of their arms. Here the news was first talked of Harry Killigrew's (32) being wounded in nine places last night, by footmen, in the highway, going from the Park in a Hackney-coach towards Hammersmith, to his house at Turnham Greene: they being supposed to be my Lady Shrewsbury's (27) men, she being by, in her coach with six horses; upon an old grudge of his saying openly that he had lain with her.
Thence by and by to White Hall, and there I waited upon the King (38) and Queen (30) all dinner-time, in the Queen's (30) lodgings, she being in her white pinner and apron, like a woman with child; and she seemed handsomer plain so, than dressed. And by and by, dinner done, I out, and to walk in the Gallery, for the Duke of York's (35) coming out; and there, meeting Mr. May (47), he took me down about four o'clock to Mr. Chevins's (67) lodgings, and all alone did get me a dish of cold chickens, and good wine; and I dined like a Prince, being before very hungry and empty.
By and by the Duke of York (35) comes, and readily took me to his closet, and received my petition, and discoursed about my eyes, and pitied me, and with much kindness did give me his consent to be absent, and approved of my proposition to go into Holland to observe things there, of the Navy; but would first ask the King's leave, which he anon did, and did tell me that the King (38) would be a good master to me, these were his words, about my eyes, and do like of my going into Holland, but do advise that nobody should know of my going thither, but pretend that I did go into the country somewhere, which I liked well. Glad of this, I home, and thence took out my wife, and to Mr. Holliard's (60) about a swelling in her cheek, but he not at home, and so round by Islington and eat and drink, and so home, and after supper to bed. In discourse this afternoon, the Duke of York (35) did tell me that he was the most amazed at one thing just now, that ever he was in his life, which was, that the Duke of Buckingham (41) did just now come into the Queen's (30) bed-chamber, where the King (38) was, and much mixed company, and among others, Tom Killigrew (57), the father of Harry (32), who was last night wounded so as to be in danger of death, and his man is quite dead; and [Buckingham (41)] there in discourse did say that he had spoke with some one that was by (which all the world must know that it must be his whore, my Lady Shrewsbury (27)), who says that they did not mean to hurt, but beat him, and that he did run first at them with his sword; so that he do hereby clearly discover that he knows who did it, and is of conspiracy with them, being of known conspiracy with her, which the Duke of York (35) did seem to be pleased with, and said it might, perhaps, cost him his life in the House of Lords; and I find was mightily pleased with it, saying it was the most impudent thing, as well as the most foolish, that ever he knew man do in all his life.
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 25 September 1672. 25 Sep 1672. I dined at Lord John Berkeley's (70), newly arrived out of Ireland, where he had been Deputy; it was in his new house, or rather palace; for I am assured it stood him in near £30,000. It was very well built, and has many noble rooms, but they are not very convenient, consisting but of one Corps de Logis; they are all rooms of state, without closets. The staircase is of cedar, the furniture is princely: the kitchen and stables are ill placed, and the corridor worse, having no report to the wings they join to. For the rest, the fore-court is noble, so are the stables; and, above all, the gardens, which are incomparable by reason of the inequality of the ground, and a pretty piscina. The holly hedges on the terrace I advised the planting of. The porticos are in imitation of a house described by Palladio; but it happens to be the worst in his book, though my good friend, Mr. Hugh May (50), his Lordship's architect, effected it.
In Nov 1673 Hugh May Architect 1621-1684 (52) was appointed Comptroller of the Works at Windsor Castle.
John Evelyn's Diary 18 April 1680. 18 Apr 1680. On the earnest invitation of the Earl of Essex (48), I went with him to his house at Cashiobury, in Hertfordshire. It was on Sunday, but going early from his house in the square of St. James, we arrived by ten o'clock; this he thought too late to go to church, and we had prayers in his chapel. The house is new, a plain fabric, built by my friend, Mr. Hugh May (58). There are divers fair and good rooms, and excellent carving by Gibbons, especially the chimney-piece of the library. There is in the porch, or entrance, a painting by Verrio, of Apollo and the Liberal Arts. One room pargeted with yew, which I liked well. Some of the chimney mantels are of Irish marble, brought by my Lord from Ireland, when he was Lord-Lieutenant, and not much inferior to Italian. The tympanum, or gable, at the front is a bass-relievo of Diana hunting, cut in Portland stone, handsomely enough. I do not approve of the middle doors being round: but, when the hall is finished as designed, it being an oval with a cupola, together with the other wing, it will be a very noble palace. The library is large, and very nobly furnished, and all the books are richly bound and gilded; but there are no MSS., except the Parliament Rolls and Journals, the transcribing and binding of which cost him, as he assured me, £500.
No man has been more industrious than this noble Lord in planting about his seat, adorned with walks, ponds, and other rural elegancies; but the soil is stony, churlish, and uneven, nor is the water near enough to the house, though a very swift and clear stream runs within a flight-shot from it in the valley, which may fitly be called Coldbrook, it being indeed excessively cold, yet producing fair trouts. It is a pity the house was not situated to more advantage: but it seems it was built just where the old one was, which I believe he only meant to repair; this leads men into irremediable errors, and saves but a little.
The land about is exceedingly addicted to wood, but the coldness of the place hinders the growth. Black cherry trees prosper even to considerable timber, some being eighty feet long; they make also very handsome avenues. There is a pretty oval at the end of a fair walk, set about with treble rows of Spanish chestnut trees.
The gardens are very rare, and cannot be otherwise, having so skillful an artist to govern them as Mr. Cooke, who is, as to the mechanic part, not ignorant in mathematics, and pretends to astrology. There is an excellent collection of the choicest fruit.
As for my Lord, he is a sober, wise, judicious, and pondering person, not illiterate beyond the rate of most noblemen in this age, very well versed in English history and affairs, industrious, frugal, methodical, and every way accomplished. His Lady (44) (being sister of the late Earl of Northumberland (35)) is a wise, yet somewhat melancholy woman, setting her heart too much on the little lady, her daughter (6), of whom she is over fond. They have a hopeful son (9) at the Academy.
My Lord was not long since come from his Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, where he showed his abilities in administration and government, as well as prudence in considerably augmenting his estate without reproach. He had been Ambassador-extraordinary in Denmark, and, in a word, such a person as became the son of that worthy hero his father (72) to be, the late Lord Capel, who lost his life for King Charles I.
We spent our time in the mornings in walking, or riding, and contriving [alterations], and the afternoons in the library, so as I passed my time for three or four days with much satisfaction. He was pleased in conversation to impart to me divers particulars of state, relating to the present times. He being no great friend to the D—— [Note. Probably Barbara Villiers 1st Duchess of Cleveland 1640-1709 (39)] was now laid aside, his integrity and abilities being not so suitable in this conjuncture. 21st. I returned to London.
John Evelyn's Diary 29 October 1682. 29 Oct 1682. Being my birthday, and I now entering my great climacterical of 63, after serious recollections of the years past, giving Almighty God thanks for all his merciful preservations and forbearance, begging pardon for my sins and unworthiness, and his blessing on me the year entering, I went with my Lady Fox to survey her building, and give some directions for the garden at Chiswick; the architect is Mr. May (61), somewhat heavy and thick, and not so well understood: the garden much too narrow, the place without water, near a highway, and near another great house of my Lord Burlington (14), little land about it, so that I wonder at the expense; but women will have their will.
On 21 Feb 1684 Hugh May Architect 1621-1684 (62) died.