Hillhouse is in Chatham.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 08 April 1661. 08 Apr 1661. Up early, my Lady Batten knocking at her door that comes into one of my chambers. I did give directions to my people and workmen, and so about 8 o'clock we took barge at the Tower, Sir William Batten (60) and his lady, Mrs. Turner (38), Mr. Fowler and I A very pleasant passage and so to Gravesend, where we dined, and from thence a coach took them and me, and Mr. Fowler with some others came from Rochester to meet us, on horseback. At Rochester, where alight at Mr. Alcock's and there drank and had good sport, with his bringing out so many sorts of cheese. Then to the Hillhouse at Chatham, where I never was before, and I found a pretty pleasant house and am pleased with the arms that hang up there. Here we supped very merry, and late to bed; Sir William telling me that old Edgeborrow, his predecessor, did die and walk in my chamber, did make me some what afeard, but not so much as for mirth's sake I did seem. So to bed in the treasurer's chamber.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 August 1662. 02 Aug 1662. Up early, and got me ready in my riding clothes, and so to the office, and there wrote letters to my father and wife against night, and then to the business of my office, which being done, I took boat with Will, and down to Greenwich, where Captain Cocke (45) not being at home I was vexed, and went to walk in the Park till he come thither to me: and Will's forgetting to bring my boots in the boat did also vex me, for I was forced to send the boat back again for them. I to Captain Cocke's (45) along with him to dinner, where I find his lady still pretty, but not so good a humour as I thought she was. We had a plain, good dinner, and I see they do live very frugally. I eat among other fruit much mulberrys, a thing I have not eat of these many years, since I used to be at Ashted, at my cozen Pepys's.
After dinner we to boat, and had a pleasant passage down to Gravesend, but it was nine o'clock before we got thither, so that we were in great doubt what to do, whether to stay there or no; and the rather because I was afeard to ride, because of my pain...; but at the Swan, finding Mr. Hemson and Lieutenant Carteret (21) of the Foresight come to meet me, I borrowed Mr. Hemson's horse, and he took another, and so we rode to Rochester in the dark, and there at the Crown Mr. Gregory, Barrow, and others staid to meet me. So after a glass of wine, we to our barge, that was ready for me, to the Hill-house, where we soon went to bed, before we slept I telling upon discourse Captain Cocke (45) the manner of my being cut of the stone, which pleased him much.
So to sleep.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 03 August 1662. 03 Aug 1662. Lord's Day. Up early, and with Captain Cocke (45) to the dock-yard, a fine walk, and fine weather. Where we walked till Commissioner Pett (51) come to us, and took us to his house, and showed us his garden and fine things, and did give us a fine breakfast of bread and butter, and sweetmeats and other things with great choice, and strong drinks, with which I could not avoyde making my head ake, though I drank but little. Thither came Captain Allen of the Foresight, and the officers of the yard to see me.
Thence by and by to church, by coach, with the Commissioner, and had a dull sermon. A full church, and some pretty women in it; among others, Beck Allen, who was a bride-maid to a new married couple that came to church to-day, and, which was pretty strange, sat in a pew hung with mourning for a mother of the bride's, which methinks should have been taken down.
After dinner going out of the church saluted Mrs. Pett, who came after us in the coach to church, and other officers' wives. The Commissioner staid at dinner with me, and we had a good dinner, better than I would have had, but I saw there was no helping of it.
After dinner the Commissioner and I left the company and walked in the garden at the Hill-house, which is very pleasant, and there talked of our businesses and matters of the navy.
So to church again, where quite weary, and so after sermon walked with him to the yard up and down and the fields, and saw the place designed for the wet dock. And so to his house, and had a syllabub, and saw his closet, which come short of what I expected, but there was fine modells of ships in it indeed, whose worth I could not judge of.
At night walked home to the Hill-house, Mr. Barrow with me, talking of the faults of the yard, walking in the fields an hour or two, and so home to supper, and so Captain Cocke (45) and I to bed. This day among other stories he told me how despicable a thing it is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit. And that, in his time, there was some repairs to be made of the gallows there, which was very fine of stone; but nobody could be got to mend it till the Burgomaster, or Mayor of the town, with all the companies of those trades which were necessary to be used about those repairs, did go in their habits with flags, in solemn procession to the place, and there the Burgomaster did give the first blow with the hammer upon the wooden work; and the rest of the Masters of the Companys upon the works belonging to their trades; that so workmen might not be ashamed to be employed upon doing of the gallows' works.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 August 1662. 04 Aug 1662. Up by four o'clock in the morning and walked to the Dock, where Commissioner Pett (51) and I took barge and went to the guardships and mustered them, finding them but badly manned; thence to the Sovereign, which we found kept in good order and very clean, which pleased us well, but few of the officers on board.
Thence to the Charles, and were troubled to see her kept so neglectedly by the boatswain Clements, who I always took for a very good officer; it is a very brave ship.
Thence to Upnor Castle, and there went up to the top, where there is a fine prospect, but of very small force; so to the yard, and there mustered the whole ordinary, where great disorder by multitude of servants and old decrepid men, which must be remedied.
So to all the storehouses and viewed the stores of all sorts and the hemp, where we found Captain Cocke's (45) (which he came down to see along with me) very bad, and some others, and with much content (God forgive me) I did hear by the Clerk of the Ropeyard how it was by Sir W. Batten's (61) private letter that one parcel of Alderman Barker's' was received.
At two o'clock to dinner to the Hill-house, and after dinner dispatched many people's business, and then to the yard again, and looked over Mr. Gregory's and Barrow's houses to see the matter of difference between them concerning an alteration that Barrow would make, which I shall report to the board, but both their houses very pretty, and deserve to be so, being well kept.
Then to a trial of several sorts of hemp, but could not perform it here so well as at Woolwich, but we did do it pretty well.
So took barge at the dock and to Rochester, and there Captain Cocke (45) and I and our two men took coach about 8 at night and to Gravesend, where it was very dark before we got thither to the Swan; and there, meeting with Doncaster, an old waterman of mine above bridge, we eat a short supper, being very merry with the drolling, drunken coachman that brought us, and so took water. It being very dark, and the wind rising, and our waterman unacquainted with this part of the river, so that we presently cast upon the Essex shore, but got off again, and so, as well as we could, went on, but I in such fear that I could not sleep till we came to Erith, and there it begun to be calm, and the stars to shine, and so I began to take heart again, and the rest too, and so made shift to slumber a little. Above Woolwich we lost our way, and went back to Blackwall, and up and down, being guided by nothing but the barking of a dog, which we had observed in passing by Blackwall, and so, [Continued tomorrow]
Diary of Samuel Pepys 11 July 1663. 11 Jul 1663. Up early and to the Dock, and with the Storekeeper and other officers all the morning from one office to another.
At noon to the Hill-house in Commissioner Pett's (52) coach, and after seeing the guard-ships, to dinner, and after dining done to the Dock by coach, it raining hard, to see "The Prince" launched, which hath lain in the Dock in repairing these three years. I went into her and was launched in her.
Thence by boat ashore, it raining, and I went to Mr. Barrow's, where Sir J. Minnes (64) and Commissioner Pett (52); we staid long eating sweetmeats and drinking, and looking over some antiquities of Mr. Barrow's, among others an old manuscript Almanac, that I believe was made for some monastery, in parchment, which I could spend much time upon to understand. Here was a pretty young lady, a niece of Barrow's, which I took much pleasure to look on.
Thence by barge to St Mary Creeke; where Commissioner Pett (52) (doubtful of the growing greatness of Portsmouth by the finding of those creeks there), do design a wett dock at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks towards £10,000. And the place, indeed, is likely to be a very fit place, when the King (33) hath money to do it with.
Thence, it raining as hard as it could pour down, home to the Hillhouse, and anon to supper, and after supper, Sir J. Minnes (64) and I had great discourse with Captain Cox and Mr. Hempson about business of the yard, and particularly of pursers' accounts with Hempson, who is a cunning knave in that point. So late to bed and, Mr. Wayth being gone, I lay above in the Treasurer's (56) bed and slept well. About one or two in the morning the curtains of my bed being drawn waked me, and I saw a man stand there by the inside of my bed calling me French dogg 20 times, one after another, and I starting, as if I would get out of the bed, he fell a-laughing as hard as he could drive, still calling me French dogg, and laid his hand on my shoulder. At last, whether I said anything or no I cannot tell, but I perceived the man, after he had looked wistly upon me, and found that I did not answer him to the names that he called me by, which was Salmon, Sir Carteret's clerk, and Robt. Maddox, another of the clerks, he put off his hat on a suddaine, and forebore laughing, and asked who I was, saying, "Are you Mr. Pepys?" I told him yes, and now being come a little better to myself, I found him to be Tom Willson, Sir W. Batten's (62) clerk, and fearing he might be in some melancholy fit, I was at a loss what to do or say. At last I asked him what he meant. He desired my pardon for that he was mistaken, for he thought verily, not knowing of my coming to lie there, that it had been Salmon, the Frenchman, with whom he intended to have made some sport. So I made nothing of it, but bade him good night, and I, after a little pause, to sleep again, being well pleased that it ended no worse, and being a little the better pleased with it, because it was the Surveyor's clerk, which will make sport when I come to tell Sir W. Batten (62) of it, it being a report that old Edgeborough, the former Surveyor, who died here, do now and then walk.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 12 July 1663. 12 Jul 1663. Lord's Day. Up, and meeting Tom Willson he asked my pardon again, which I easily did give him, telling him only that it was well I was not a woman with child, for it might have made me miscarry. With Sir J. Minnes (64) to church, where an indifferent good sermon. Here I saw Mrs. Becky Allen, who hath been married, and is this day churched, after her bearing a child. She is grown tall, but looks very white and thin, and I can find no occasion while I am here to come to have her company, which I desire and expected in my coming, but only coming out of the church I kissed her and her sister and mother-in-law.
So to dinner, Sir J. Minnes (64), Commissioner Pett (52), and I, &c., and after dinner walked in the garden, it being a very fine day, the best we have had this great while, if not this whole summer. To church again, and after that walked through the Rope-ground to the Dock, and there over and over the Dock and grounds about it, and storehouses, &c., with the officers of the Yard, and then to Commissioner Pett's (52) and had a good sullybub and other good things, and merry. Commissioner Pett (52) showed me alone his bodys as a secrett, which I found afterwards by discourse with Sir J. Minnes (64) that he had shown them him, wherein he seems to suppose great mystery in the nature of Lynes to be hid, but I do not understand it at all.
Thence walked to the Hill-house, being myself much dissatisfied, and more than I thought I should have been with Commissioner Pett (52), being, by what I saw since I came hither, convinced that he is not able to exercise the command in the Yard over the officers that he ought to do, or somebody else, if ever the service be well looked after there. Sat up and with Sir J. Minnes (64) talking, and he speaking his mind in slighting of the Commissioner, for which I wish there was not so much reason. For I do see he is but a man of words, though indeed he is the ablest man that we have to do service if he would or durst. Sir J. Minnes (64) being gone to bed, I took Mr. Whitfield, one of the clerks, and walked to the Dock about eleven at night, and there got a boat and a crew, and rowed down to the guard-ships, it being a most pleasant moonshine evening that ever I saw almost. The guard-ships were very ready to hail us, being no doubt commanded thereto by their Captain, who remembers how I surprised them the last time I was here. However, I found him ashore, but the ship in pretty good order, and the arms well fixed, charged, and primed.
Thence to the Soveraign, where I found no officers aboard, no arms fixed, nor any powder to prime their few guns, which were charged, without bullet though.
So to the London, where neither officers nor any body awake; I boarded her, and might have done what I would, and at last could find but three little boys; and so spent the whole night in visiting all the ships, in which I found, for the most part, neither an officer aboard, nor any men so much as awake, which I was grieved to find, specially so soon after a great Larum, as Commissioner Pett (52) brought us word that he [had] provided against, and put all in a posture of defence but a week ago, all which I am resolved to represent to the Duke.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 13 July 1663. 13 Jul 1663. So, it being high day, I put in to shore and to bed for two hours just, and so up again, and with the Storekeeper and Clerk of the Rope-yard up and down the Dock and Rope-house, and by and by mustered the Yard, and instructed the Clerks of the Cheque in my new way of Callbook, and that and other things done, to the Hill-house, and there we eat something, and so by barge to Rochester, and there took coach hired for our passage to London, and Mrs. Allen, the clerk of the Rope-yard's wife with us, desiring her passage, and it being a most pleasant and warm day, we got by four o'clock home. In our way she telling us in what condition Becky Allen is married against all expectation a fellow that proves to be a coxcomb and worth little if any thing at all, and yet are entered into a way of living above their condition that will ruin them presently, for which, for the lady's sake, I am much troubled.
Home I found all well there, and after dressing myself, I walked to the Temple; and there, from my cozen Roger (46), hear that the judges have this day brought in their answer to the Lords, That the articles against my Chancellor (54) are not Treason; and to-morrow they are to bring in their arguments to the House for the same. This day also the King (33) did send by my Lord Chamberlain (61) to the Lords, to tell them from him, that the most of the articles against my Chancellor (54) he himself knows to be false.
Thence by water to Whitehall, and so walked to St. James's, but missed Mr. Coventry (35). I met the Queen-Mother (53) walking in the Pell Mell, led by my Lord St. Alban's (58). And finding many coaches at the Gate, I found upon enquiry that the Duchess (26) is brought to bed of a boy; and hearing that the King (33) and Queen (24) are rode abroad with the Ladies of Honour to the Park, and seeing a great crowd of gallants staying here to see their return, I also staid walking up and down, and among others spying a man like Mr. Pembleton (though I have little reason to think it should be he, speaking and discoursing long with my Lord D'Aubigne (43)), yet how my blood did rise in my face, and I fell into a sweat from my old jealousy and hate, which I pray God remove from me.
By and by the King (33) and Queen (24), who looked in this dress (a white laced waistcoat and a crimson short pettycoat, and her hair dressed ci la negligence) mighty pretty; and the King (33) rode hand in hand with her. Here was also my Baroness Castlemaine (22) rode among the rest of the ladies; but the King (33) took, methought, no notice of her; nor when they 'light did any body press (as she seemed to expect, and staid for it) to take her down, but was taken down by her own gentleman. She looked mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat (which all took notice of), and yet is very handsome, but very melancholy: nor did any body speak to her, or she so much as smile or speak to any body. I followed them up into White Hall, and into the Queen's (24) presence, where all the ladies walked, talking and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying one another's by one another's heads, and laughing. But it was the finest sight to me, considering their great beautys and dress, that ever I did see in all my life. But, above all, Mrs. Stewart (16) in this dress, with her hat cocked and a red plume, with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and excellent taille, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I think, in my life; and, if ever woman can, do exceed my Baroness Castlemaine's (22), at least in this dress nor do I wonder if the King (33) changes, which I verily believe is the reason of his coldness to my Baroness Castlemaine's (22). Here late, with much ado I left to look upon them, and went away, and by water, in a boat with other strange company, there being no other to be had, and out of him into a sculler half to the bridge, and so home and to Sir W. Batten (62), where I staid telling him and Sir J. Minnes (64) and Mrs. Turner (40), with great mirth, my being frighted at Chatham by young Edgeborough, and so home to supper and to bed, before I sleep fancying myself to sport with Mrs. Stewart (16) with great pleasure.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 August 1663. 01 Aug 1663. Up betimes and got me ready, and so to the office and put things in order for my going.
By and by comes Sir G. Carteret (53), and he and I did some business, and then Mr. Coventry (35) sending for me, he staying in the boat, I got myself presently ready and down to him, he and I by water to Gravesend (his man Lambert with us), and there eat a bit and so mounted, I upon one of his horses which met him there, a brave proud horse, all the way talking of businesses of the office and other matters to good purpose.
Being come to Chatham, we put on our boots and so walked to the yard, where we met Commissioner Pett (52), and there walked up and down looking and inquiring into many businesses, and in the evening went to the Commissioner's and there in his upper Arbor sat and talked, and there pressed upon the Commissioner to take upon him a power to correct and suspend officers that do not their duty and other things, which he unwillingly answered he would if we would own him in it.
Being gone thence Mr. Coventry (35) and I did discourse about him, and conclude that he is not able to do the same in that yard that he might and can and it maybe will do in another, what with his old faults and the relations that he has to most people that act there. After an hour or two's discourse at the Hill-house before going to bed, I see him to his and he me to my chamber, he lying in the Treasurer's and I in the Controller's chambers.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 August 1663. 02 Aug 1663. Lord's Day. Up and after the barber had done he and I walked to the Docke, and so on board the Mathias, where Commissioner Pett (52) and he and I and a good many of the officers and others of the yard did hear an excellent sermon of Mr. Hudson's upon "All is yours and you are God's", a most ready, learned, and good sermon, such as I have not heard a good while, nor ever thought he could have preached.
We took him with us to the Hill-house, and there we dined, and an officer or two with us. So after dinner the company withdrew, and we three to private discourse and laid the matters of the yard home again to the Commissioner, and discoursed largely of several matters.
Then to the parish church, and there heard a poor sermon with a great deal of false Greek in it, upon these words, "Ye are my friends, if ye do these things which I command you".
Thence to the Docke and by water to view St Mary Creeke, but do not find it so proper for a wet docks as we would have it, it being uneven ground and hard in the bottom and no, great depth of water in many places. Returned and walked from the Docke home, Mr. Coventry (35) and I very much troubled to see how backward Commissioner Pett (52) is to tell any of the faults of the officers, and to see nothing in better condition here for his being here than they are in other yards where there is none. After some discourse to bed. But I sat up an hour after Mr. Coventry (35) was gone to read my vows, it raining a wonderful hard showre about 11 at night for an hour together.
So to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 03 August 1663. 03 Aug 1663. Up both of us very betimes and to the Yard, and see the men called over and choose some to be discharged. Then to the Ropehouses and viewed them all and made an experiment which was the stronger, English or Riga hemp, the latter proved the stronger, but the other is very good, and much better we believe than any but Riga. We did many other things this morning, and I caused the Timber measurer to measure some timber, where I found much fault and with reason, which we took public notice of, and did give them admonition for the time to come.
At noon Mr. Pett (52) did give us a very great dinner, too big in all conscience, so that most of it was left untouched. Here was Collonell Newman and several other gentlemen of the country and officers of the yard.
After dinner they withdrew and Commissioner Pett (52), Mr. Coventry (35) and I sat close to our business all the noon in his parler, and there run through much business and answered several people. And then in the evening walked in the garden, where we conjured him to look after the yard, and for the time to come that he would take the whole faults and ill management of the yard upon himself, he having full power and our concurrence to suspend or do anything else that he thinks fit to keep people and officers to their duty. He having made good promises, though I fear his performance, we parted (though I spoke so freely that he could have been angry) good friends, and in some hopes that matters will be better for the time to come.
So walked to the Hillhouse (which we did view and the yard about it, and do think to put it off as soon as we can conveniently) and there made ourselves ready and mounted and rode to Gravesend (my riding Coate not being to be found I fear it is stole) on our way being overtaken by Captain Browne that serves the office of the Ordnance at Chatham. All the way, though he was a rogue and served the late times all along, yet he kept us in discourse of the many services that he did for many of the King's party, lords and Dukes, and among others he recovered a dog that was stolne from Mr. Cary (head-keeper of the buck-hounds to the King (33)) and preserved several horses of the Duke of Richmond's (24), and his best horse he was forst to put out his eyes and keep him for a stallion to preserve him from being carried away. But he gone at last upon my enquiry to tell us how (he having been here too for survey of the Ropeyard) the day's work of the Rope-makers become settled, which pleased me very well. Being come to our Inn Mr. Coventry (35) and I sat, and talked till 9 or 10 a-clock and then to bed.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 04 August 1665. 04 Aug 1665. Up at five o'clock, and by six walked out alone, with my Lady Slanning, to the Docke Yard, where walked up and down, and so to Mr. Pett's (54), who led us into his garden, and there the lady, the best humoured woman in the world, and a devout woman (I having spied her on her knees half an houre this morning in her chamber), clambered up to the top of the banquetting-house to gather nuts, and mighty merry, and so walked back again through the new rope house, which is very usefull; and so to the Hill-house to breakfast and mighty merry.
Then they took coach, and Sir G. Carteret (55) kissed me himself heartily, and my Lady several times, with great kindnesse, and then the young ladies, and so with much joy, bade "God be with you!" and an end I think it will be to my mirthe for a great while, it having been the passage of my whole life the most pleasing for the time, considering the quality and nature of the business, and my noble usage in the doing of it, and very many fine journys, entertainments and great company. I returned into the house for a while to do business there with Commissioner Pett (54), and there with the officers of the Chest, where I saw more of Sir W. Batten's (64) business than ever I did before, for whereas he did own once under his hand to them that he was accountable for £2200, of which he had yet paid but £1600, he writes them a letter lately that he hath but about £50 left that is due to the Chest, but I will do something in it and that speedily.
That being done I took horse, and Mr. Barrow with me bore me company to Gravesend, discoursing of his business, wherein I vexed him, and he me, I seeing his frowardness, but yet that he is in my conscience a very honest man, and some good things he told me, which I shall remember to the King's advantage.
So home, and found all things well, and letters from Dover that my Lord Hinchingbrooke (17) is arrived at Dover, and would be at Scott's hall this night, where the whole company will meet. I wish myself with them.
After writing a few letters I took boat and down to Woolwich very late, and there found my wife and her woman upon the key hearing a fellow in a barge, that lay by, fiddle. So I to them and in, very merry, and to bed, I sleepy and weary.
Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 October 1665. 02 Oct 1665. We having sailed all night (and I do wonder how they in the dark could find the way) we got by morning to Gillingham, and thence all walked to Chatham; and there with Commissioner Pett (55) viewed the Yard; and among other things, a teame of four horses come close by us, he being with me, drawing a piece of timber that I am confident one man could easily have carried upon his back. I made the horses be taken away, and a man or two to take the timber away with their hands. This the Commissioner did see, but said nothing, but I think had cause to be ashamed of.
We walked, he and I and Cocke (48), to the Hill-house, where we find Sir W. Pen (44) in bed and there much talke and much dissembling of kindnesse from him, but he is a false rogue, and I shall not trust him, but my being there did procure his consent to have his silk carried away before the money received, which he would not have done for Cocke (48) I am sure.
Thence to Rochester, walked to the Crowne, and while dinner was getting ready, I did there walk to visit the old Castle ruines, which hath been a noble place, and there going up I did upon the stairs overtake three pretty mayds or women and took them up with me, and I did 'baiser sur mouches et toucher leur mains1' and necks to my great pleasure: but, Lord! to see what a dreadfull thing it is to look down the precipices, for it did fright me mightily, and hinder me of much pleasure which I would have made to myself in the company of these three, if it had not been for that. The place hath been very noble and great and strong in former ages.
So to walk up and down the Cathedral, and thence to the Crowne, whither Mr. Fowler, the Mayor of the towne, was come in his gowne, and is a very reverend magistrate. After I had eat a bit, not staying to eat with them, I went away, and so took horses and to Gravesend, and there staid not, but got a boat, the sicknesse being very much in the towne still, and so called on board my Lord Bruncker (45) and Sir John Minnes (66), on board one of the East Indiamen at Erith, and there do find them full of envious complaints for the pillageing of the ships, but I did pacify them, and discoursed about making money of some of the goods, and do hope to be the better by it honestly.
So took leave (Madam Williams being here also with my Lord (45)), and about 8 o'clock got to Woolwich and there supped and mighty pleasant with my wife, who is, for ought I see, all friends with her mayds, and so in great joy and content to bed.
Note 1. TT. baiser sur mouches et toucher leur mains. Kiss their beauty spots and touched their hands.