The Great London Fire and a $900 cheese

Today I happened to see this article: Costco selling 'magnificent' 72-pound cheese wheel for $900
giant cheese

If you’re charmed by parm, Costco’s latest outlandishly oversized item may seem too gouda brie true – but it’s the real deal…

This naturally led me to think of 17th-century influencer Samuel Pepys burying his prize Parmesan cheese in the yard when the Great Fire hit London. When I decided to read his account, I realized that today is the anniversary of that disastrous fire which broke out 353 years ago, on September 2, 1666.

Pepys write in his blog diary:

Mr. Hater and I did remove my money and iron chests into my cellar, as thinking that the safest place. And got my bags of gold into my office, ready to carry away, and my chief papers of accounts also there, and my tallys into a box by themselves… About four o'clock in the morning, my Lady Batten sent me a cart to carry away all my money, and plate, and best things, to Sir W. Rider's at Bednall-greene. Which I did riding myself in my night-gowne in the cart… Sir W. Batten not knowing how to remove his wine, did dig a pit in the garden, and laid it in there; and I took the opportunity of laying all the papers of my office that I could not otherwise dispose of. And in the evening Sir W. Pen and I did dig another, and put our wine in it; and I my Parmazan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things.

Pepys' description of the whole three-day period of the fire, and then its aftermath, is a sobering read. Online at Samuel Pepys Diary — September 1666.

London Fire, 1666

Fr Silouan Thompson

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