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The Cornish Pasty

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Samuel Pepys' Diary

Entries dated 6th January 1660 to 4th December 1668


Here we find some real historical record to do with pasties .....

SAMUEL PEPYS FRS, MP (23 February 1633 - 26 May 1703)

There are 46 dates in the Pepys' diaries that mention pasty. On almost all occasions "venison pasty" is specified although the first entry (6th January 1659/1660) says that pasty was obviously beef.

The entry for 17th October 1661 was a pasty of salted pork. The pasties are described as being very good, good or poor (although occasionally this is not specified).

On 10th July 1666, he wrote: "I were afeard to send a venison-pasty that we have for supper to-night to the cook's to be baked, for fear of their offering violence to it" .....

On 28th July 1666, he had a Warrens pasty!

And - on 16th August 1667, he had "a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil"

The details of the entries, viz. sentences containing the word "pasty", are given below.

Some Pepys links

Wikipedia -Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys Diary - Homepage

Pepys diary online ***

[The year did not legally begin in England before the 25th March until the act for altering the style fixed the 1st of January as the first day of the year, and previous to 1752 the year extended from March 25th to the following March 24th. Thus since 1752 we have been in the habit of putting the two dates for the months of January and February and March 1 to 24--in all years previous to 1752. Practically, however, many persons considered the year to commence with January 1st, as it will be seen Pepys did. ]

6th January 1659/1660 - "From thence I went to my office, where we paid money to the soldiers till one o'clock, at which time we made an end, and I went home and took my wife and went to my cosen, Thomas Pepys, and found them just sat down to dinner, which was very good; only the venison pasty was palpable beef, which was not handsome."

20th July 1660 - "This morning I sent my wife to my father's and he is to give me L5 worth of pewter. After we rose at the office, I went to my father's, where my Uncle Fenner and all his crew and Captain Holland and his wife and my wife were at dinner at a venison pasty of the venison that I did give my mother the other day."

1st September 1660 - "Thence to the Privy Seal to see how things went there, and I find that Mr. Baron had by a severe warrant from the King got possession of the office from his brother Bickerstaffe, which is very strange, and much to our admiration, it being against all open justice. Mr. Moore and I and several others being invited to-day by Mr. Goodman, a friend of his, we dined at the Bullhead upon the best venison pasty that ever I eat of in my life, and with one dish more, it was the best dinner I ever was at. Here rose in discourse at table a dispute between Mr. Moore and Dr. Clerke, the former affirming that it was essential to a tragedy to have the argument of it true, which the Doctor denied, and left it to me to be judge, and the cause to be determined next Tuesday morning at the same place, upon the eating of the remains of the pasty, and the loser to spend 10s.

4th September 1660 - I did many things this morning at home before I went out, as looking over the joiners, who are flooring my dining room, and doing business with Sir Williams both at the office, and so to Whitehall, and so to the Bullhead, where we had the remains of our pasty,

12th October 1660 - "Office day all the morning, and from thence with Sir W. Batten and the rest of the officers to a venison pasty of his at the Dolphin, where dined withal Col. Washington, Sir Edward Brett, and Major Norwood, very noble company."

1st December 1660 - "To my Lord's, and did give up my audit of his accounts, which I had been then two days about, and was well received by my Lord. I dined with my Lord and Lady, and we had a venison pasty."

22nd May 1961 - "To Westminster, and there missed of my Lord, and so about noon I and W. Howe by water to the Wardrobe, where my Lord and all the officers of the Wardrobe dined, and several other friends of my Lord, at a venison pasty."

5th July 1661 - "At home, and in the afternoon to the office, and that being done all went to Sir W. Batten's and there had a venison pasty, and were very merry. At night home and to bed."

27th July 1661 - "From thence to the Wardrobe, where my wife met me, it being my Lord of Sandwich's birthday, and so we had many friends here, Mr. Townsend and his wife, and Captain Ferrers lady and Captain Isham, and were very merry, and had a good venison pasty."

27th August 1661 - "Hence to the office, and there sat till noon, and then my wife and I by coach to my cozen, Thos. Pepys, the Executor, to dinner, where some ladies and my father and mother, where very merry, but methinks he makes but poor dinners for such guests, though there was a poor venison pasty."

17th October 1661 - "At the office all the morning, at noon my wife being gone to my coz Snow's with Dr. Thomas Pepys and my brother Tom to a venison pasty (which proved a pasty of salted pork);"

11th December 1661 - "My brother Tom and then Mr. Moore came to me this morning, and staid a while with me, and then I went out, and in my way met with Mr. Howell the Turner, who invited me to dine this day at Mr. Rawlinson's with some friends of his, officers of the Towre, at a venison pasty, which I promised him, and so I went to the Old Bayly, and there staid and drank with him, who told me the whole story how Pegg Kite has married herself to a weaver, an ugly fellow, to her undoing, of which I am glad that I have nothing to do in it."

14th August 1662 - "So to my office to prepare business, and then we met and sat till noon, and then Commissioner Pett and I being invited, went by Sir John Winter's coach sent for us, to the Mitre, in Fenchurch street, to a venison-pasty; where I found him a very worthy man; and good discourse."

20th August 1662 - "We had a venison pasty, and other good plain and handsome dishes; the mistress of the house a pretty, well-carriaged woman, and a fine hand she hath; and her maid a pretty brown lass."

21st August 1662 - "At noon, though I was invited to my uncle Fenner's to dinner to a haunch of venison I sent him yesterday, yet I did not go, but chose to go to Mr. Rawlinson's, where my uncle Wight and my aunt, and some neighbour couples were at a very good venison pasty."

9th October 1662 - "I should this day have dined at Sir W. Pen's at a venison pasty with the rest of our fellows, but I could not get time, but sent for a bit home, and so between one and two o'clock got on horseback at our back gate, with my man Will with me, both well-mounted on two grey horses."

25th November 1662 - "Up and to the office all the morning, and at noon with the rest, by Mr. Holy, the ironmonger's invitation, to the Dolphin, to a venison pasty, very good, and rare at this time of the year,"

1st December 1662 - "Thence I to my Lord Sandwich's, to Mr. Moore, to talk a little about business; and then over the Parke (where I first in my life, it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skeates, which is a very pretty art), to Mr. Coventry's chamber to St. James's, where we all met to a venison pasty, and were very merry, Major Norwood being with us, whom they did play upon for his surrendering of Dunkirk."

7th May 1663 - "At noon down by barge with Sir J. Minnes (who is going to Chatham) to Woolwich, in our way eating of some venison pasty in the barge, I having neither eat nor drank to-day, which fills me full of wind."

14th June 1664 - "After much mirthe, discoursing to the ladies in defence of the city against the country or court, and giving them occasion to invite themselves to-morrow to me to dinner, to my venison pasty, I got their mother's leave, and so good night, very well pleased with my day's work, and, above all, that I have seen my Lord's mistresse."

15th June 1664 - "And anon at noon comes Mr. Creed by chance, and by and by the three young ladies:--[Lord Sandwich's daughters.]-- and very merry we were with our pasty, very well baked; and a good dish of roasted chickens; pease, lobsters, strawberries."

2nd July 1664 - "At noon to the 'Change, and there, which is strange, I could meet with nobody that I could invite home to my venison pasty, but only Mr. Alsopp and Mr. Lanyon, whom I invited last night, and a friend they brought along with them. So home and with our venison pasty we had other good meat and good discourse."

13th July 1664 - "Up and to my office, at noon (after having at an alehouse hard by discoursed with one Mr. Tyler, a neighbour, and one Captain Sanders about the discovery of some pursers that have sold their provisions) I to my Lord Sandwich, thinking to have dined there, but they not dining at home, I with Captain Ferrers to Mr. Barwell the King's Squire Sadler, where about this time twelvemonths I dined before at a good venison pasty."

21st July 1664 - "A good venison pasty, and very merry, and pleasant I made myself with my Lady, and she as much to me."

31st July 1664 - "Up, and to church, where I have not been these many weeks. So home, and thither, inviting him yesterday, comes Mr. Hill, at which I was a little troubled, but made up all very well, carrying him with me to Sir J. Minnes, where I was invited and all our families to a venison pasty. Here good cheer and good discourse."

1st August 1664 - "Thence taking up Harman and his wife, carried them to Anthony Joyce's, where we had my venison in a pasty well done; but, Lord! to see how much they made of, it, as if they had never eat any before, and very merry we were, but Will most troublesomely so, and I find he and his wife have a most wretched life one with another, but we took no notice, but were very merry as I could be in such company."

6th June 1665 - "But by and by to sleep again, and then rose and to the office, where very busy all the morning, and at noon to dinner with Sir G. Carteret to his house with all our Board, where a good pasty and brave discourse"

9th June 1665 - "We had a very good venison pasty, this being instead of my stone-feast the last March, and very merry we were, and the more I know the more I like Mr. Honiwood's conversation."

15th August 1665 - "Thence he and I to Sir J. Minnes's by invitation, where Sir W. Batten and my Lady, and my Lord Bruncker, and all of us dined upon a venison pasty and other good meat, but nothing well dressed."

31st August 1665 - "I down by appointment to Greenwich, to our office, where I did some business, and there dined with our company and Sir W. Boreman, and Sir The. Biddulph, at Mr. Boreman's, where a good venison pasty, and after a good merry dinner I to my office, and there late writing letters, and then to Woolwich by water, where pleasant with my wife and people, and after supper to bed."

9th September 1665 - "At noon, by invitation, to my Lord Bruncker's, all of us, to dinner, where a good venison pasty, and mighty merry."

19th December 1665 - "I thought to have had him to Sir J. Minnes to a good venison pasty with the rest of my fellows, being invited, but seeing much company I went away with him and had a good dinner at home."

10th July 1666 - "At noon home to dinner and then to the office; the yarde being very full of women (I believe above three hundred) coming to get money for their husbands and friends that are prisoners in Holland; and they lay clamouring and swearing and cursing us, that my wife and I were afeard to send a venison-pasty that we have for supper to-night to the cook's to be baked, for fear of their offering violence to it: but it went, and no hurt done."

ditto - "I with them till almost 9 at night, and then they and we and Mrs. Mercer, the mother, and her daughter Anne, and our Mercer, to supper to a good venison-pasty and other good things, and had a good supper, and very merry, Mistresses Bateliers being both very good-humoured."  

28th July 1666 - "Here we sat and at noon to dinner to the Pope's Head, where my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse dined and Commissioner Pett, Dr. Charleton, and myself, entertained with a venison pasty by Sir W. Warren."

Webmaster - ..... not from St Just, Cornwall, surely?!

14th August 1666 - "We had invited to a venison pasty Mr. Batelier and his sister Mary, Mrs. Mercer, her daughter Anne, Mr. Le Brun, and W. Hewer; and so we supped, and very merry."

9th September 1666 - "I walked to Bednall Green, and there dined well, but a bad venison pasty at Sir W. Rider's"

24th November 1666 - "Here was a good venison pasty or two and other good victuals; but towards the latter end of the dinner I rose, and without taking leave went away from the table, and got Sir J. Minnes' coach and away home, and thence with my report to my Lord Treasurer's, where I did deliver it to Sir Philip Warwicke for my Lord, who was busy, my report for him to consider against to-morrow's council."

11th December 1666 - "We had a good venison pasty and other good cheer, and as merry as in so good, innocent, and understanding company I could be."

1st August 1667 - "At noon my wife and I dined at Sir W. Pen's, only with Mrs. Turner and her husband, on a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil."

5th August 1667 - "Home, and dined with my wife at Sir W. Pen's, where a very good pasty of venison, better than we expected, the last stinking basely, and after dinner he and my wife and I to the Duke of York's house, and there saw "Love Trickes, or the School of Compliments;" a silly play, only Miss [Davis's] dancing in a shepherd's clothes did please us mightily."

14th November 1667 - "At the office close all the morning. At noon, all my clerks with me to dinner, to a venison pasty; and there comes Creed, and dined with me, and he tells me how high the Lords were in the Lords' House about the business of the Chancellor, and that they are not yet agreed to impeach him."

15th November 1667 - "The truth is, every body says he is very able, but to hear how he laughs at all the King's musick here, as Blagrave and others, that they cannot keep time nor tune, nor understand anything; and that Grebus, the Frenchman, the King's master of the musick, how he understands nothing, nor can play on any instrument, and so cannot compose: and that he will give him a lift out of his place; and that he and the King are mighty great! and that he hath already spoke to the King of Grebus would make a man piss. I had a good dinner for them, as a venison pasty and some fowl, and after dinner we did play, he on the theorbo."

13th June 1668 - "And so brought us a back way by surprize to his house, where a substantial good house, and well furnished; and did give us good entertainment of strawberries, a whole venison-pasty, cold, and plenty of brave wine, and above all Bristoll milk, where comes in another poor woman, who, hearing that Deb. was here, did come running hither, and with her eyes so lull of tears, and heart so full of joy, that she could not speak when she come in, that it made me weep too: I protest that I was not able to speak to her, which I would have done, to have diverted her tears." (Webmaster - the editor's inserts here are edited out of this entry for this electric pasty web page)

20th August 1668 - "Betimes at my business again, and so to the office, and dined with Brouncker and J. Minnes, at Sir W. Pen's at a bad pasty of venison, and so to work again, and at it till past twelve at night, that I might get my great letter (Webmaster - the letter is edited out here) to the Duke of York ready against to-morrow, which I shall do, to my great content. So to bed."

10th September 1668 - "And we spent the morning in finishing the Victualler's contract, and so I by water home, and there dined with me Batelier and his wife, and Mercer, and my people, at a good venison-pasty; and after dinner I and W. Howe, who come to see me, by water to the Temple, and met our four women, my wife, M. Batelier, Mercer, and Deb., at the Duke's play-house, and there saw "The Maid in the Mill," revived--a pretty, harmless old play."

4th December 1668 - "By and by comes my uncle, and then to dinner, where a venison pasty and very merry, and after dinner I carried my wife and her to Smithfield, where they sit in the coach, while Mr. Pickering, who meets me there, and I, and W. Hewer, and a friend of his, a jockey, did go about to see several pairs of horses, for my coach; but it was late, and we agreed on none, but left it to another time: but here I do see instances of a piece of craft and cunning that I never dreamed of, concerning the buying and choosing of horses."

There are 46 entries above (some mentioning the pasty more then once) and 50 occurrences of the word "pasty".




"Pepys's own diary covering the years 1660 to 1669 is preserved in six volumes, written in Shelton's shorthand, which only looks superficially like Pitman's. This too has recently been definitively edited by Robert Latham, C.B.E., F.B.A., Fellow and Pepys Librarian (1972-82)."


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