The diary of John Evelyn

Regular posts from the diary of John Evelyn

Month: September 1641 (page 1 of 2)

Tuesday 28 September 1641

Failing of an appointment, I was constrained to return to Dort for a bill of exchange1


  1. An unconditional written order from one person to another to pay a specified sum of money to a designated person -GS 

Monday 27 September 1641

But, on the 27th, we, impatient of the time and inhospitableness of the place, sailed again with a contrary and impetuous wind and a terrible sea, in great jeopardy; for we had much ado to keep ourselves above water, the billows breaking desperately on our vessel: we were driven into Williamstadt, a place garrisoned by the English, where the governor had a fair house. The works, and especially the counterscarp, are curiously hedged with quick, and planted with a stately row of limes on the rampart. The church is of a round structure1, with a cupola2  , and the town belongs entirely to the Prince of Orange, as does that of Breda, and some other places.

“Willemstadt”, Joan Blaeu, (1649)


  1. Almost certainly the Koepelkerk or “rounded church” -GS 

  2. A cupola is a small, most often dome-like, structure on top of a building -GS 

Saturday 25 September 1641

The 25th and 26th we made other essays; but were again repulsed to the harbor, where lay sixty vessels waiting to sail.

Ansicht von Dordrecht by Aelbert Cuyp (circa 1655)

Friday 24 September 1641

By this pass, having obtained another from the Prince of Orange, upon the 24th of September I departed through Dort; but met with very bad tempestuous weather, being several times driven back, and obliged to lie at anchor off Keele1 , other vessels lying there waiting better weather.

View of Dordrecht from the Dordtse Kil, Jan van Goyen (1644)


  1. possibly the Dordtsche Kil – a tidal creek connecting Dort (Dordrect) with Hollands Diep -GS 

Wednesday 22 September 1641

I went again to Rotterdam to receive a pass which I expected from Brussels, securing me through Brabant and Flanders, designing to go into England through those countries. The Cardinal Infante, brother to the King of Spain, was then governor.

Sunday 19 September 1641

The next morning, the 19th, we arrived at Dort, passing by the Decoys, where they catch innumerable quantities of fowl.

Saturday 18 September 1641

I went to see that most impregnable town and fort of Hysdune1, where I was exceedingly obliged to one Colonel Crombe, the lieutenant-governor, who would needs make me accept the honor of being captain of the watch, and to give the word this night. The fortification is very irregular, but esteemed one of the most considerable for strength and situation in the Netherlands. We departed toward Gorcum. Here Sir Kenelm Digby, traveling toward Cologne, met us.

Map of Heusden from Atlas van Loon (Author unknown) 1649.


  1. Heusden -GS 

Friday 17 September 1641

I was permitted to walk the round and view the works, and to visit a convent of religious women of the order of St. Clara1 (who by the capitulation were allowed to enjoy their monastery and maintenance undisturbed, at the surrender of the town twelve years since), where we had a collation and very civil entertainment. They had a neat chapel, in which the heart of the Duke of Cleves2 their founder, lies inhumed under a plate of brass. Within the cloister is a garden, and in the middle of it an overgrown lime tree, out of whose stem, near the root, issue five upright and exceeding tall suckers, or bolls, the like whereof for evenness and height I had not observed.

The chief church of this city is curiously carved within and without, furnished with a pair of organs, and a most magnificent font of copper.

Baptismal copper font by Aert van Tricht


  1. Order of the Poor Clares perhaps- GS 

  2. Arnold, Duke of Guelders, had his heart buried within a silver casket in the choir of the St Gertrude’s convent in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.  He was married to Catherine of Cleves, daughter of Adolph IV, Duke of Cleves – perhaps he is the Duke mentioned. Source: In the Shadow of Burgundy: The Court of Guelders in the Late Middle Ages by Gerard Nijsten p281 -GS  

Sunday 12 September 1641

I went toward Bois-le-Duc, where we arrived on the 16th, at the time when the new citadel was advancing, with innumerable hands, and incomparable inventions for draining off the waters out of the fens and morasses about it, being by buckets, mills, cochleas1, pumps, and the like; in which the Hollanders are the most expert in Europe. Here were now sixteen companies and nine troops of horse. They were also cutting a new river, to pass from the town to a castle not far from it. Here we split our skiff, falling foul upon another through negligence of the master, who was fain to run aground, to our no little hazard. At our arrival, a soldier conveyed us to the Governor, where our names were taken, and our persons examined very strictly.


  1. The spiral water-screw of Archimedes. –AD 

10 September 1641

I took a wagon for Dort, to be present at the reception of the Queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, Dowager1 of France, widow of Henry the Great, and mother to the French King, Louis XIII., and the Queen of England, whence she newly arrived, tossed to and fro by the various fortune of her life. From this city, she designed for Cologne, conducted by the Earl of Arundel and the Herr Van Bredrod2 . At this interview, I saw the Princess of Orange, and the lady her daughter3 , afterward married to the House of Brandenburgh. There was little remarkable in this reception befitting the greatness of her person; but an universal discontent, which accompanied that unlucky woman wherever she went4


  1. widower – GS 

  2. Possibly refers to a member of the Van Brederode family – a noble family from the Netherlands -GS 

  3. I believe this to be the Countess Louise Henriette of Nassau – GS 

  4. [In 1638 she had come to England from Holland. But the popular hatred of popery drove her back again in August, 1641. Lilly, the astrologer, thus speaks of her at this time:—“I beheld the Old Queen Mother of France departing from London, in Company of Thomas Earl of Arundel; a sad Spectacle of Mortality it was, and produced Tears from mine Eyes, and many other Beholders, to see an Aged lean decrepid poor Queen, ready for her Grave, necessitated to depart hence, having no Place of Residence in this World left her ” (Life and Death of King Charles, 1715, p. 49). Holland declined to harbour her, and she sought an asylum in the electorate of Cologne, where she died, 3rd July, 1642. There is a portrait of her by the younger Pourbus at Hampton Court, apparently painted subsequent to the assassination of Henry IV. by Ravaillac in l6l0.]. –AD 

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