Brampton's most famous resident was Samuel Pepys. He was born on 23rd February 1633 over his father's tailor's shop in Salisbury Court between Fleet Street and The Thames. He moved to Brampton from London because of his health and because of fears of The Plague (from which several of his brothers died). Pepys’s uncle Robert (his father’s eldest brother) lived in Brampton, in what is now known as Pepys House. Samuel also lived there for a time between the ages of 7 and 11, and he attended the Grammar School in Huntingdon, which had been attended a few years earlier by Oliver Cromwell. The house, which is open most days between 10am and 6pm by prior arrangement, later became Samuel’s property. In 1667, fearing a Dutch invasion, he sent his wife from London to Brampton to bury his life savings in the garden. He returned two months later to retrieve his fortune, spending many an infuriating muddy hour locating his hidden wealth.
A path runs 400 yards SW from Pepys House to St mary Magdalene church where the famous diarist worshipped and where there is a memorial to his sister. Standing next to the church is the Black Bull, which is one of the oldest pubs in Brampton and is basically 16th century with 17th & 18th century additions. Pepys is known to have taken ale here and possibly stayed on occasion. On one of the walls in the restaurant is an extract from his diary praising the landlady Goody Stankers beer "fresh with a taste of worme wood which ever after did please me very well". Wormwood is an herb most famously used in distilling absinthe. There are 180 varieties in all and four of them grow wild in England. It was originally used to mask raw flavours of cheap wine, imparting a slightly medicinal "tonic" flavour – the word Vermouth comes from Wormwood.
Another local connection which brought Pepys to this part of the country involves nearby Hinchingbrooke House (also open to the public). This was the home of Sir Edward Mountagu the Earl of Sandwich who was Pepys’s generous benefactor and patron. Sir Edward, who was married to Pepys’s great aunt, bought Hinchingbrooke from Sir Oliver Cromwell (Oliver Cromwell’s uncle) on 20th June 1627. Both house and estate figure largely in Pepys’s diaries including details of the time and money spent on the improvements when Samuel was instructed to obtain the services of Mr. Kennard, master joiner of Whitehall to undertake the work.