This week is Being Human, the annual festival of the humanities and the arts – this year on the theme of ‘Lost and Found’. For its contribution, the IHR takes you back to the 1660s, and the loss of Charles II’s warship, The London, which sank in the Thames estuary in March 1665, and was found and excavated from 2005.

On 22 November the IHR hosted an evening of underwater archaeology, sea shanties and Restoration coffee houses. Commemoration of The London now continues into December with an exhibition at the IHR of artefacts recovered from the wreck, including pipes, pots, shoes and musket balls.

IHR Digital’s modest contribution to all things Restoration is the British History Online quiz: 10 questions on the (often wonderful, sometimes bizarre) eating and drinking habits of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), who worked at the Navy Board in 1665. You’ll find all the answers in British History Online (, the IHR’s free digital library of medieval and early modern primary sources. Send us your answers by Friday 2 December.

British History Online ‘Being Human’ 2017 Quiz – The Food and Drinke of Samuel Pepys

British History Online (BHO) is a free digital library of 1200 medieval and early modern primary sources volumes, created by IHR Digital. It includes nearly 500 references to Samuel Pepys, including many to his habits during the 1660s. Use BHO to answer the following 10 questions on Samuel’s tastes in food and drinke.

  1. What did Samuel Pepys acquire ‘by the BARREL’ from Billingsgate market?
  1. What was Pepys’s laxative of choice in 1664?
  1. In the same year, Pepys was recommended what as treatment for the stone?
  1. What did Pepys consider as a ‘very easy, speedy, and cleanly’ alternative to shaving?
  1. What were the ingredients of ‘Plague water’, given to Pepys in 1665?
  1. What fruit did Pepys consider ‘now a great rarity since the war, none to be had’ in 1666?
  1. For what culinary dish did Pepys use a ‘hanging jack’?
  1. What ingredients went to make, in Pepys’ opinion, ‘the best universal sauce in the world’?
  1. In 1668 Pepys purchased ‘a hundred of sparrowgrass’ at 1s. 8d. which he and Mrs Pepys ate with ‘a little bit of salmon’. We still do the same: what is ‘sparrowgrass’?
  1. To what did Pepys refer when he spoke, in 1669, of a ‘very fine drink; but, it being new, I was doubtful whether it might not do me hurt’?

Yemail your answers to, marked ‘BHO: Pepys’.

Deadline, Friday 2 December

Winner receives an annual subscription to British History Online.