Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was one of history's most famous diarists and certainly lived in "interesting times" enabling him to chronicle, amongst other things, the Great Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666.

Though Pepys' own family background was fairly humble (his father was a tailor and his grandfather a butcher) he had useful family connections - his father's cousin was an MP - and was able to obtain a university education and rise to being Lord of the Admiralty, where he was responsible for modernising the Royal Navy.

But he is best remembered for his colourful diary, with the entries often ending with the phrase now sometimes used for comic effect "and so to bed".

Burying the cheese (as recorded in his diary on the 4th September 1666) was not nearly so bizarre an action as we may think. It was probably extremely large and heavy and had a not inconsiderable monetary value - in those days cheese was sometimes given as a diplomatic gift.

Pepys and his family survived the fire but, frustratingly, we don't know the ultimate fate of the cheese!

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