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A group of History Society members visited Pepys House in Brampton on 5th July 2023. They were shown around the house by Paul Gray, chairman of the Samuel Pepys Trust.


The house was built around the end of the 16th century as a yeoman’s home. The core of the house is a long rectangular timber framed structure with a cross wing of uncertain date. A second parallel wing was added in the 18th century. It was originally owned by Pepys’s uncle Robert, who was probably employed as a bailiff by the Montagus on the Hinchingbrooke estate.

Pepys House: Activities

You enter the house from the north, straight into the hall. Here there is a large brick and timber fireplace. The room is furnished with a dining table given by a descendant of Will Hewer, a great friend and confidant of Pepys. It is here that Robert, Samuel’s uncle was laid out after his death in 1661. It is said that the summer heat resulted in an overpowering smell which demanded that the casket was removed to the garden for the remaining of his laying out. It was guarded by his servants for fear of body snatchers.


On Robert’s death the house was inherited by Pepys who installed his parents and sister Paulina in the property. Samuel never lived full time at the house, though he visited often, and he mentioned the house in his diaries. One of the most interesting entries was dated October 1667 following the Dutch attack on Royal Navy ships in the River Medway. He had tried to save his possessions by taking them from his London home to a safer place, his gold coins he buried in the garden at Brampton. When he returned to find them later in 1667, he had forgotten the exact location of the burial and his diary describes his distress as he frantically dug up his garden in the dead of the night. Eventually, he was satisfied that he had found almost all the coins and he returned to London with them hidden under his carriage seat.

Pepys was related to the Montagu family of Hinchingbrooke House and often visited them from Brampton. Samuel went to Huntingdon Grammar School during the Civil War, whose alumni included Oliver Cromwell and Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich. Later, he went on to study at St Paul’s and then to Magdalene College, Cambridge sponsored by the Earl. 
The building’s structure is exposed on the outside of the building where a small section of the “skin” is cut away to show the wattle and daub which filled the spaces between the wooden frames. It would have been finished with a layer of lime mortar which is permeable and prevents wooden timbers from rotting.

Pepys House: Activities

To the right of the entrance hall is the kitchen, which has a brick fireplace where cooking would have taken place. It is thought that original stairs were adjacent to this fireplace and lead to the upper floor.


Leaded windows in the room have a crazy patchwork effect where they have been mended over the years. 
Many of the main structural beams and windows are original and the whole building is listed as Grade 1, so can’t now be altered without permission.

The upstairs rooms show blocked off windows where the second parallel wing was added. These later additions included an upstairs drawing room for Lady Mary Montagu, a dining room and more modern kitchen on the ground floor.

Pepys House: Activities

After Pepys’s death his heir and nephew John Jackson, Paulina’s son, let the house to a succession of tenants. Later in the 18th century, the house was absorbed into the Hinchingbrooke estate. 
Modifications continued over the years including the addition of a Georgian styled dining room which looks out over the rear garden.

Pepys House: Welcome

In 1927 the 9th Earl of Sandwich granted a 99-year lease to the Samuel Pepys Club which commissioned the Scottish architect WA Forsyth to restore the house. His work had a considerable impact and is an important part of the history of the building. He reconfigured the house and added Arts and Crafts features including door latches and a staircase. 
The club continued to let Pepys House, its first tenant being the poet, John Drinkwater. In 1963 six acres of surrounding meadowland were purchased freehold to maintain the site's integrity and, in 1971, the club’s leasehold was transferred to a charitable trust. In 2017 the Pepys House Trust acquired the freehold of the house and meadow.  
More recently the Trust has made the decision to increase public access to the house and offer it as a base for Pepys educational activities aimed at schools, students and Pepys enthusiasts. 
We were one of the first groups to enjoy this new era of greater access, even more so as the house was vacant between tenancies.

Pepys House: Text
Pepys House: Image
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