Samuel Pepys exhibit to highlight historic Restoration

Diaries by the 1st Earl of Sandwich and his cousin Samuel Pepys, marking an historic royal moment, will be a highlight for visitors to Mapperton House, this summer.

The day King Charles II boarded a ship on the coast of Holland to return from exile on 23 May 1660 was chronicled by both men, who were in attendance on the Charles, formerly the Naseby.

The then Admiral Edward Montagu was head of the fleet and captained the ship on the King’s triumphal return to English soil after nine years.

Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, and Montagu’s younger cousin, was a clerk in the Navy Office at the time and later became Secretary to the Navy, responsible for preparing the fleet for the Dutch Wars.

Later given the title of Earl of Sandwich as recognition for his part in restoring Charles to the throne, Edward Montagu’s handwritten journal gives a fascinating picture of a hugely important day in the history of the English monarchy.

Pepys’ writings include lively and often amusing accounts direct from the King on how his dishevelled state meant he was often mistaken for a “rogue’ during his flight from Cromwell’s forces and how he at one point was forced to drink alcohol to prove he wasn’t a Roundhead.

The Earl of Sandwich says: ”Samuel Pepys captures everyone’s imagination and he seems the perfect vehicle to explain what was happening in the 17th century, especially when the King came back to claim the throne.

“The soon-to-be 1st Earl was given the task of bringing his Majesty home on board his ship, the newly renamed ‘Charles’.

“We hope our visitors will enjoy this exhibit and we are very lucky to have our team of volunteer guides on hand to help us interpret these wonderful stories.”

Mapperton House is open for guided tours from 2 April 2017.