John Sayer and the Sayer almshouses

John Sayer’s fine marble tomb in the east end of the north aisle of St Peter’s church records that he was 53 at the time of his death in 1682 and that he was the head cook to Charles II and it appears that he was a devoted servant staying loyal to the king in exile during the period of the Commonwealth. Sayer’s acquaintances included the diarist Samuel Pepys who recorded the following passage in September 1661: “I went with Captain Morrice into the King’s Privy Kitchen to Mr Sayers, the master Cook, and there had a good slice of beef or two to our breakfast; and from thence he took us into the wine cellar where, by my troth, we were very merry, and I drank so much wine that I was not fit for business”. In his will dated July 1681, Sayer bequeathed £1000 in trust “for the building of an almshouse and the purchasing of lands for the relief of the poor in Berkhamsted St Peter”.

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Sayer almshouses

Tony Statham, Chronicle, Vol III, pp.23-25

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