Upon St. Bartholomew’s day, I went among the booksellers, and visited the famous Hondius and Bleaw‘s shop, to buy some maps, atlases, and other works of that kind1. At another shop, I furnished myself with some shells and Indian curiosities; and so, toward the end of August, I returned again to Haerlem by the river, ten miles in length, straight as a line, and of competent breadth for ships to sail by one another. They showed us a cottage where, they told us, dwelt a woman who had been married to her twenty-fifth husband, and being now a widow, was prohibited to marry in future; yet it could not be proved that she had ever made away with any of her husbands, though the suspicion had brought her divers times to trouble.

Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde. “The Great Market in Haarlem” (1696)

Haerlem is a very delicate town and hath one of the fairest churches2 of the Gothic design I had ever seen. There hang in the steeple, which is very high, two silver bells, said to have been brought from Damietta, in Egypt, by an earl of Holland, in memory of whose success they are rung out every evening3. In the nave hang the goodliest branches of brass for tapers that I have seen, esteemed of great value for the curiosity of the workmanship; also a fair pair of organs, which I could not find they made use of in divine service, or so much as to assist them in singing psalms, but only for show, and to recreate the people before and after their devotions, while the burgomasters were walking and conferring about their affairs. Near the west window hang two models of ships, completely equipped, in memory of that invention of saws under their keels, with which they cut through the chain of booms, which barred the port of Damietta.

Having visited this church, the fish-market, and made some inquiry about the printing-house, the invention whereof is said to have been in this town, I returned to Leyden.

At Leyden, I was carried up to the castle, or Pyrgus4, built on a very steep artificial mount, cast up (as reported) by Hengist the Saxon, on his return out of England, as a place to retire to, in case of any sudden inundations.

Frederik de Wit, De Burcht van Leiden (circa 1698)

The churches are many and fair; in one of them lies buried the learned and illustrious Joseph Scaliger, without any extraordinary inscription, who, having left the world a monument of his worth more lasting than marble, needed nothing more than his own name; which I think is all engraven on his sepulcher. He left his library to this University.


  1. The entry as to the booksellers, etc., is thus expressed in the earlier edition: “ I went to Hundius’s shop to buy some mapps, greatly pleased with the designes of that indefatigable person.Mr. Bleaw, the setter forth of the Atlas’s and other workes of that kind, is worthy seeing” (Diary, 1827, i. 32). – AD 

  2. The Groote Kerk AD 

  3. Local legend known as Wapenvermeerdering, or “Legend of the Haarlem shield” apparently false see Groote Kerk -GS 

  4. Pyrgus: greek (πύργος), a tower. Evelyn is referring to the Burcht van Leiden or Castle of Leiden.  -GS