Fun Facts Friday: Samuel Pepys

February 23, 2024

Samuel Pepys (23 February, 1633 – 26 May, 1703) was an English diarist and politician. His diary, which he kept for decades, gives us a glimpse into 17th-century life.

Fun Facts Friday: Samuel Pepys
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Fun Facts about Samuel Pepys:

  1. Samuel Pepys was the fifth of 11 siblings, all born on Fleet Street in London, England. His father, John Pepys was a tailor, and his mother, Margaret, was a butcher’s daughter.
  2. As an infant, he was sent to live with a nurse at Kingsland, before attending Huntingdon Grammar School, St. Paul’s School (London), continued to the University of Cambridge on a grant, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Magdalene College.
  3. In 1649 he attended the beheading of King Charles I in London. A high court found Charles I guilty of attempting to use his powers to” overthrow the rights and liberties of the people”. The execution is still considered a controversial event in English history.
  4. Pepys started to keep his diary on 1 January, 1660, recording his daily life for almost a decade. He wrote with openness, often about his weaknesses, and reported accurately of daily life, as well as major events.
  5. At the age of 22, Samuel Pepys married a descendant of French Huguenot immigrants, Elisabeth de St Michel. She was 14 years old at the time. We know his wife was born on 23 October, 1640 but not thanks to the famous diarist who never once mentioned her birthday – but he made sure to write about his own birthday every year.
  6. As chief secretary of the Admiralty Commission, Samuel Pepys helped reform the Royal Navy to become more professional. Undoubtedly, this is one of his great legacies along with the diary.
  7. Mr. Pepys was well educated and loved his wine, song, and women. However, the only Shakespeare play he seemed to like was Macbeth.
  8. When the Great Fire consumed London in September 1666, Mr. Pepys rushed to save his most valuable possessions. Among these were gold, papers, and a large wheel of rare Italian Parmesan cheese.
  9. The English consul in Algiers, Samuel Martin, gave a lion as a gift to Samuel Pepys. The lion was kept by Mr. Pepys as exotic pets were considered a status symbol in those days.
  10. Writer and radio personality F.P.A. (Franklin Pierce Adams) wrote a very successful column parodying Samuel Pepys’ Diary which was so popular it launched the careers of Dorothy Parker, James Thruber, and others.

Buy Samuel Pepys’ Diary from*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books


7 things you (probably) didn’t know about Samuel Pepys | History Extra

Samuel Pepys | Wikipedia

Samuel Pepys English diarist and naval administrator | Britannica

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Fun Facts Friday: Samuel Pepys
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Fun Facts Friday: Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys (23 February, 1633 – 26 May, 1703) was an English diarist and politician. His diary, which he kept for decades, gives us a glimpse into 17th-century life
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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