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Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)

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Diarist and Master of Trinity House
Known for

Samuel Pepys 1633-1703
View full size imageSamuel Pepys (1633-1703). © NMM

Keeping his diaries, which cover ten years that saw such historical events as the coronation of Charles II (1660), the Great Plague (1665) and the Great Fire of London (1666), and give an unrivalled insight into London life in those years.

Establishing a professional naval service for the first time in English history.

Leading a vigorous social and private life. He was fond of drinking and woke up in a pool of his own vomit after celebrating the coronation of Charles II. He also liked flirting with women; his wife once caught him with a female servant.



Port connection

His work at the navy led to the largest shipbuilding programme England had ever seen.

As Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board, he worked at the Royal Dockyards.

As Master of Trinity House he drew up a new Charter for the organisation.


Interesting fact

It is clear that Pepys did not want anyone to read his diary. He wrote in a special form of shorthand, and his diaries were not deciphered for over a century.

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Life story
1633 23 February born in Salisbury Court, London.
1655 Married Elizabeth Marchant Saint-Michel.
1658 Had a bladder stone removed, a dangerous operation.
1660 Appointed Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board.
1665 Leading member of the Navy Board.
1669 His wife Elizabeth died.
1673-1679 Secretary of the Admiralty.
1679 Imprisoned in the Tower of London, accused of selling naval secrets to the French.
1684-1689 Secretary for Admiralty Affairs.
1684-1686 President of the Royal Society.
1685-1686 Master of Trinity House.
1689 Left public service.
1690 Arrested again on suspicion of Jacobite tendencies.
1699 Awarded the honour of Freeman of the City of London.
1703 Died 26 May in Clapham and was buried at St Olave, Hart Street in the City.

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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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