SAMUEL PEPYS AND DEB WILLET AFTER THE DIARY 1
Samuel Pepys's affair with his wife's companion Deborah Willet is one of the most celebrated episodes in his journal of the 1660s. When Pepys ended his journal in May 1669, he also believed that he had ended contact with Deb. Unable to trace her in the historical record, scholars have been forced to accept this conclusion. However, new evidence shows that Deb Willet did not disappear from Pepys's life. Rather, she married soon after the end of the diary and her husband, the clergyman Jeremiah Wells, quickly became a client of Pepys. This article explores the evidence on the connections between the three in the 1670s, offering a case study of one individual's role in Pepys's patronage network, and reflecting back upon events in the journal.
c1 St Anne's College, Oxford, OX2 6HS [email protected]
1 I would like to thank Anna Greening, archivist at All Hallows Barking, Aude Fitzsimons at the Pepys Library, and Michael Riordan, archivist at St John's College, Oxford, for their assistance.