Pepys’s Poops!

Ah, Samuel Pepys.

Our greatest diarist, Restoration man about town, zero-times winner of Husband of the Year.

He’s someone who celebrated the date of his bladder-stone removal like clockwork, but once forgot his wedding anniversary. He’s probably the first known Englishman to record in detail the time he bought pornography (from a bookshop on the Strand, in case you need to know for a friend).

But if there’s one thing you probably didn’t know about our Sammy, it’s that he was obsessed with bodily functions.

He chronicles the Plague and Great Fire of London, the Second Dutch War, and the ins and outs of Restoration politics; but then mixes it all with accounts of his flatulence, his piles, and some exceedingly French activities with his ‘thing’.

So, here, for your utterly delectable disgust, is a panoply of potties, a Pandemonium of plopping. A Seething Lane smorgasbord of Stuart-Age shite.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, are Pepys’s Poops…


  1. When a dog-turd got him feeling all democratic.

25 May 1660: I spoke with the Duke of York about business, who called me Pepys by name, and upon my desire did promise me his future favour. I went, and Mr Mansell and one of the King’s footmen, with a dog that the King loved (which shit in the boat, which made us laugh and me think that a King and all that belong to him are but just as others are)…

  1. When his neighbour’s toilet leaked quite horribly, but Pepys was Very British about it.

20 October 1660: This morning one came to me to advise with me where to make me a window into my cellar… and going down my cellar to look, I put my foot into a heap of turds, by which I find that Mr Turner’s house of office is full and comes into my cellar, which doth trouble me; but I will have it helped.

‘Do you think this is toilet paper?’
  1. That time his mate was a bit racist about the Portuguese.

25 September 1662: This evening I took a while at Sir W. Batten’s with Sir J. Mennes etc, where he told us, among many other things, how in Portugal they scorn to make a seat for a house of office. But they do shit all in pots and so empty them in the river.

  1. The time he waited all day, and then….

7 October 1663: … my pain continued on me mightily, that I keeped within all day in great pain, and could break no wind nor have any stool after my physic had done working. So in the evening I took coach and to Mr Hollyard’s, but he was not at home; and so home again. And whether the coach did me good or no I know not, but having a good fire in my chamber, I begun to break six or seven small and great farts; and so to bed and lay in good ease all night, and pissed pretty well in the morning.

  1. The time he called in on a friend in the City.

29 October 1663: At noon I went forth, and by coach to Guildhall (by the way calling to shit at Mr Rawlinson’s) and there was admitted; and meeting with Mr Proby (Sir R. Ford’s son) and Lieutenant-Colonel Baron, a city commander, we went up and down to see the tables.

  1. When a lady-friend made a terrible decision about her dog….

5 November 1665: After an hour’s talk we to bed – the lady mightily troubled about a pretty little bitch she hath, which is very sick and will eat nothing. And the jest was, I could hear her in her chamber bemoaning the bitch; and by and by taking her to bed with her, the bitch pissed and shit abed, and she was fain to rise and had coals out of my chamber to dry the bed again.

  1. But when your neighbour ruins a night out with the wife, what else can you do but sing…

30 April 1666: In the evening with my wife and Mercer by coach to take the air as far as Bow, and eat and drank in the coach by the way, and with much pleasure and pleased with my company: at night home and up to the leads; but were, contrary to expectation, driven down again with a stink, by Sir William Penn’s emptying of a shitten pot in their house of office close by; which doth trouble me, for fear it do hereafter annoy me. So down to sing a little, and then to bed.

A throne fit for a King.
  1. Then, when a trip to the spa gave him just what he needed…

14 July 1667: We got to Epsom by 8 o’clock to the well, where much company; and there we light and I drank the water; they did not, but do go about and walk a little among the women, but I did drink four pints and had some very good stools by it.

  1. … and when Biblical Logistics were questioned, but thankfully they checked out just fine.

27 May 1668: Made the boy to read to me out of Dr Wilkins his Real Character, and particularly about Noah’s Ark, wherein he doth give a very good account thereof, showing how few the number of several species of beasts and fowls were that were to be in the Ark, and that there was room enough for them and their food and dung.

* * *

And finally, don’t you just hate it when it’s the most joyous, longed-for, happiest day of the century, but you just gotta pee.

23 April 1661. Coronation Day. But so great a noise, that I could make but little of the music, and indeed, it was lost to everybody. But I had so great a list to piss, that I went out a little while before the King had done all his ceremonies and went round the Abbey to Westminster Hall, all the way within the rails…


5 Comments Add yours

  1. toutparmoi says:

    If I’d survived being cut for the stone in the 17th century, I’d consider that a far more important event than my wedding anniversary. And, considering the amount Pepys wrote, his scatological details are few and far between. But some things (like a sick pet shitting in the bed, logical considerations about animals on board, and busting for a pee at an important event) are timeless. No matter what century you’re talking about.

  2. I am so glad that you have brought Pepys up to scratch by blogging about him on wordpress. He is in danger of being forgotten. 8 years ago I bought all the copies of his annual diary for £1 from the public library (they only wanted to keep 1666 – the Fire of London Year). I agree with you about bodily functions – he used to write about travelling to pubs via canals especially those that had the best lavatories for a “good shite”. He wrote about what he ate daily and of visits to bawdy houses (prostitutes) and even to his mistress. He loved the way that Dutch girls were very forward and paid for themselves. He often missed his wife’s anniversary and suffered for it.

  3. slam2011 says:

    I expect he’d been toasting the King patriotically on Coronation Day – ‘Ah! His Royal Majesty, G-d bless him! – a toast with you, Sir!’. Loyal toasts can play havoc with your waterworks.

  4. Noirfifre says:

    Ah Pepys sounds like the type of people who are interesting in what others may consider peculiar or odd. He sounds like who can make a bland story interesting.

  5. a gray says:

    Today, of course, we are above all such things.

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