Diary of Jefferay (Jeffrey) Boys of Betteshanger, Kent, and Grey's inn, London, kept in Gallen 1667, A New Almanack

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Mike Webb

Purchased with the generous support of the Friends of the Bodleian.

Department of Special Collections
Contact Information
Search Online Catalogues

Consulting material: To consult archives and manuscripts, a full and unrestricted Bodleian reader's card (Group A) is required. You should apply for your card at the Admissions Office.

Pre-ordering: Before your visit you may order up to ten items by emailing specialcollections.bookings@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Please be advised that some collection material is held offsite; we advise pre-ordering at least two working days before your visit to ensure material is available on your arrival.

Shelfmark(s): MS. Don. e. 251
Title: Diary of Jefferay (Jeffrey) Boys of Betteshanger, Kent, and Grey's inn, London, kept in Gallen 1667, A New Almanack
Dates of Creation: 9 Jan - 25 Dec 1667
Extent: 1 volume
Language(s) of Material: English


Jefferay (Jeffrey) Boys (1643-1703) was a lawyer of Gray’s Inn, one of the sons of John Boys (d.1678), possessor of the manor of Betteshanger in Kent. He is identical with the author of another diary, dated 1671, also in a Gallen almanac, the contents of which were published by G.J Gray as 'The Diary of Jeffrey Boys of Gray’s Inn, 1671', in Notes & Queries, 159, no.26, (1930), pp.452-456. The original manuscript of that diary cannot now be traced, but the editor identified Boys as a close acquaintance of Aphra Behn, referred to only as 'Astrea', who gave him a copy of her play 'The Amorous Prince'.

Scope and Content

Brief diary with one page for each month. Boys records his social life, with many references to dining and dancing in post-Fire London. Most of the people named in the diary are members of Grey's Inn or Boys's Kentish relatives, including step brothers and sisters. At the end of the volume (reversed) are 10 pages of instructions for dances, with and dance steps for each part. The dances are 'A Health to Betty', 'Punks Delight', 'Margery Cree', 'Irish Trott', 'Have att thy Coat old woman', 'Amarillis', 'Black Jacke', 'What you please', 'Devells Dreame', 'Buffe Coat', 'New Figarys', 'The Frier & The Nun', 'Richmond or the Gunfleet', 'New Exchange', 'Cavililly Man', 'Jack a Dandy' ('for 8'), 'Hunsdon House' ('square dance'), 'Dull Sir John' ('square dance').

Some notable entries in the diary include:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Samuel Gedge Ltd., Catalogue XXIII, Nov. 2016

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Don. e. 251, fols. 1-2].

Access Point(s)

Behn | Aphra | 1640-1689 | poet and dramatist

Boys | Family | of Betteshanger

Boys | Jefferay | c1643-1703 | of Betteshanger, Kent

17th century


Country dances -- England -- 17th century

Diaries -- 17th century

Kent | EnglandLondon | Middlesex x Greater London
Transformation from XML (EAD 2.0) to HTML
04 October 2017