Samuel Pepys, Southwark,The Bear at Bridge Foot
Abraham Browne took over the Bear in late 1666 after the White Horse tavern in Lombard Street had burned down in the Great Fire, Browne occupied the White Horse as early as 1641 - his first wife Penelope died in 1652 and he married again to Frances, having children by both wives.
It appears that Abraham was significantly older than his second wife Frances. On 8 March 1666 Pepys wrote after a visit to the White Horse: "Here by chance I saw the mistresse of the house I have heard much of, and a very pretty woman she is indeed, and her husband the simplest-looking fellow and old that ever I saw".
Sadly, Frances later drowned herself in the Thames by flinging herself from a window at the Bear as recorded by Pepys on 24 February 1667: "This night going through bridge by water, my waterman told me how the mistress of the Beare tavern, at the bridge-foot, did lately fling herself into the Thames, and drowned herself; which did trouble me the more, when they tell me it was she that did live at the White Horse tavern in Lumbard Streete, which was a most beautiful woman, as most I have seen. It seems she hath had long melancholy upon her, and hath endeavoured to make away with herself often."
On 3rd April 1667 Pepys writes- "Here I hear how the King is not so well pleased of this marriage between the Duke of Richmond and Mrs. Stewart, as is talked; and that he [the Duke] by a wile did fetch her to the Beare, at the Bridge-foot, where a coach was ready, and they are stole away into Kent, without the King's leave; and that the King hath said he will never see her more;"
Previously in February the same year Pepys had written in relation to the medal for the Peace of Breda, (Item 1648 in the Historical Medal Section above),
"At my goldsmith's did observe the King's new Medall, where in little there is Mrs. Steward's face, as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life I think - and a pretty thing it is that he should choose her face to represent Britannia by".
Pepys mentions the Bear at least ten times, the pub being named no doubt after the bear baiting which took place in Southwark.
Ex. George Berry Collection.
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