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
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.