Famous People from Cambridge University

Pepys, Samuel (1633-1703)

Diarist, naval administrator, and MP. He is best known for his diary, kept from 1660 until 1669, which provides a remarkable documentary Of Charles II's London. It was written in Thomas Shelton's system of shorthand, in six volumes, and was first deciphered in 1819.

Samuel Pepys was born on 23rd February 1633 over his father's tailor's shop in Salisbury Court between Fleet Street and The Thames. He moved to Brampton from London because of his health and fears of The Plague (from which several of his brothers died.)

The Pepys family originated from Cottenham although Samuel was born in London, the son of a tailor. One of his relations, Paulina Pepys, was married to Sir Sydney Montagu, which explains the connection between Samuel and Sir Sydney's son.

Pepys lived at Brampton for part of his boyhood and attended the Huntingdon Free School. He became Montagu's secretary in in 1660, after serving him in more minor capacities. He lived for a time in his house in Brampton which he inherited from his uncle and which still stands.

Pepys career in government began as secretary to Sir Edward Montagu under Charles II after which he was named clerk of the kings ships and a member of the navy board in 1660. By 1686 he was secretary of the Admiralty. His career in the British Navy was not without distinction, but his accomplishments will forever be overshadowed by his famous "Diary."

Pepys' Diary describes, in frank detail, his life and the times during the rule of Charles II between 1660 and 1669. Written in shorthand (due to his failing sight), the undabridged "Diary" was first translated and published between 1819 and 1822.

Pepys was born in London and educated at Cambridge University. He served in Parliament and counted among his friends Sir Issac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren.

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