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Samuel Pepys visits Dagnams
    (July 1665)


Dorina Neave in her book Romance of the Bosphorus, claims that Pepys watched the Great Fire of London from Dagnams. In fact his only documented stay at Dagnams was in 1665, (see below) The great fire in September 1666 is well documented in his diary and Pepys states that he was in London for the whole period of the fire. The myth was started by Dorina and has often been repeated since.

Del Smith   .

Pepys Diary. July 1665

13th. Above 700 died of the plague this week.

14th. I by water to Sir G. Carteret's, and there find my Lady Sandwich buying things for my Lady Jem's wedding: and my Lady Jem is beyond expectation come to Dagenham's, [ Dagenhams near Romford, now belonging to Sir Thomas Neave, Bart. This estate was devised by Mrs. Anne Rider, only surviving child of Sir Henry Wright, to her relative and friend Edward Carteret, Esq., Postmaster-General; whose daughters in 1749 sold it to Henry Muilman, Esq.; in 1772 it was again disposed of to Mr. Neave father of the present proprietor, who pulled down the old house
built by Sir H. W., and erected the present mansion on a different site, Vide LYSONS'S NVIRONS.] where Mr. Carteret is to go to visit her to-morrow; and my proposal of waiting on him, he being to go alone to all persons strangers to him, was well accepted, and so I go with him. But Lord! to see how kind my Lady Carteret is to her! Sends her most rich jewells, and provides bedding and things of all sorts most richly for her.

15th. Mr. Carteret, and I to the ferry-place at Greenwich, and there staid an hour crossing the water to and again to get our coach and horses over; and by and by set out, and so toward Dagenhams. But Lord! what silly discourse we had as to love- matters, he being the most awkerd man ever I met with in my life as to that business. Thither we come, and by that time it begun to be dark, and were kindly received by Lady Wright and my Lord Crewe. And to discourse they went, my Lord discoursing with him, asking of him questions of travell, which he answered well enough in a few words; but nothing to the lady from him at all. To supper, and after supper to talk again, he yet taking no notice of the lady. My Lord would have had me have consented to leaving the young people together to-night, to begin their amours, his staying being but to be little. But I advised against it, lest the lady might be too much surprised. So they led him up to his chamber, where I staid a little, to know how he liked the lady, which he told me he did mightily: but Lord! in the dullest insipid manner that ever lover did. So I bid him good night, and down to prayers with my Lord Crewe's family, and after prayers, my Lord and Lady Wright, and I, to consult what to do; and it was agreed at last to have them go to church together, as the family used to do, though his lameness was a great objection against it.

16th (Lord's day). I up, having lain with Mr. Moore in the chaplin's chamber. And having trimmed myself, down to Mr. Carteret; and we walked in the gallery an hour or two, it being a most noble and pretty house that ever, for the bigness, I saw. Here I taught him what to do: to take the lady always by the hand to lead her, and telling him that I would find opportunity to leave them together, he should make these and these compliments, and also take a time to do the like to Lord Crewe and Lady Wright. After I had instructed him, which he thanked me for, owning that he needed my teaching him, my Lord Crewe come down and family, the young lady among the rest; and so by coaches to church four miles off: where a pretty good sermon, and a declaration of penitence of a man that had undergone the Churche's censure for his wicked life. Thence back again by coach, Mr. Carteret having not had the confidence to take his lady once by the hand, coming or going, which I told him of when we come home, and he will hereafter do it. So to dinner. My Lord excellent discourse. Then to walk in the gallery, and to sit down. By and by my Lady Wright and I go out, (and then my Lord Crewe, he not by design,) and lastly my Lady Creme come out, and left the young people together. And a little pretty daughter of my Lady Wright's most innocently come out afterwards, and shut the door to, as if she had done it, poor child, by inspiration: which made us without have good sport to laugh at. They together an hour, and by and by church-time, whither he led her into the coach and into the church, where several handsome ladies. But it was most extraordinary hot that ever I knew it. Anon to supper, and excellent discourse and dispute between my Lord Crewe and the chaplin, who is a good scholler, but a nonconformist. Here this evening I spoke with Mrs. Carter, my old acquaintance, that hath lived with my lady these twelve or thirteen years, the sum of all whose discourse and others for her, is, that I would get her a good husband; which I have promised, but know not when I shall perform. After Mr. Carteret was carried to his chamber, we to prayers and then to bed.

17th. Up all of us, and to billiards; my Lady Wright, Mr. Carteret, myself, and every body. By and by the young couple left together. Anon to dinner; and after dinner Mr. Carteret took my advice about giving to the servants ten shillings among them. Before we went, I took my Lady Jem apart, and would know how she liked this gentleman, and whether she was under any difficulty concerning him. She blushed, and hid her face awhile; but at last I forced her to tell me. She answered that she could readily obey what her father and mother had done; which was all she could say, or I expect. So anon took leave, and for London. In our way Mr. Carteret did give me mighty thanks for my care and pains for him, and is mightily pleased.

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