Samuel Pepys

pepysThe Diaries of Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys recorded his experiences during in the Great Plague and the Great Fire in his famous diaries .

Since there are few Mashburn records in this time period, we turn to Pepys’ diaries and other sources for an understanding of how our ancestors lived in 17th century London. Pepys’ diaries are especially useful because he wrote them (using a secret code) for his own pleasure and we enjoy the full extent of his candor in both personal and public matters.

As the Secretary of the Navy, Pepys was in constant contact with sea-going men. There is no doubt that he had a passing acquaintance with Edward Lloyd since Pepys was a frequent visitor to Lloyd’s Coffee House.

Samuel Pepys At St. Dunstan’s

Pepys mentions many places in his diaries that our Mashburns would have been familiar with. One entry, in particular, is rather amusing:

Diary Entry, 18 August 1667

I walked towards White Hall, but, being wearied, turned into St. Dunstan’s Church, where I heard an able sermon by the minister of the place; and stood by a pretty, modest maid, whom I did labour to take by the hand and the body; but she would not, but got futher and further from me; and, at last, I could perceive her to take pins out of her pocket to prick me if I should touch her again-which seeing I did forbear, and was glad I did spy her design.

And then I fell to gaze upon another pretty maid in a pew close to me, and she on me; and I did go about to take her hand, which she suffered a little and then withdrew. So the sermon ended, and the church broke up, and my amours ended also, and so took coach and home, and there took my wife, and to Islington with her.

In this very church in 1685, Edward Mashburn, Sr. married his second wife, Elizabeth Nash. Although we do not know where Elizabeth was living at the time of Pepys’ visit to St. Dunstan’s, it is gratifying to imagine her as the “pretty, modest maid” with the needle.


Bryant, Arthur. “Pepys, Samuel,” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 27 Novemeber. 2011 from

Gyford, Phil. (2011). The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Retrieved 28 November 2011 from