Biblioteca Nacional de España
The Biblioteca Nacional de España is a major public library, the largest in Spain, one of the largest in the world. It is located on the Paseo de Recoletos; the library was founded by King Philip V in 1712 as the Palace Public Library. The Royal Letters Patent that he granted, the predecessor of the current legal deposit requirement, made it mandatory for printers to submit a copy of every book printed in Spain to the library. In 1836, the library's status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance. At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional. During the 19th century, confiscations and donations enabled the Biblioteca Nacional to acquire the majority of the antique and valuable books that it holds. In 1892 the building was used to host the Historical American Exposition. On March 16, 1896, the Biblioteca Nacional opened to the public in the same building in which it is housed and included a vast Reading Room on the main floor designed to hold 320 readers.
In 1931 the Reading Room was reorganised, providing it with a major collection of reference works, the General Reading Room was created to cater for students and general readers. During the Spanish Civil War close to 500,000 volumes were collected by the Confiscation Committee and stored in the Biblioteca Nacional to safeguard works of art and books held until in religious establishments and private houses. During the 20th century numerous modifications were made to the building to adapt its rooms and repositories to its expanding collections, to the growing volume of material received following the modification to the Legal Deposit requirement in 1958, to the numerous works purchased by the library. Among this building work, some of the most noteworthy changes were the alterations made in 1955 to triple the capacity of the library's repositories, those started in 1986 and completed in 2000, which led to the creation of the new building in Alcalá de Henares and complete remodelling of the building on Paseo de Recoletos, Madrid.
In 1986, when Spain's main bibliographic institutions - the National Newspaper Library, the Spanish Bibliographic Institute and the Centre for Documentary and Bibliographic Treasures - were incorporated into the Biblioteca Nacional, the library was established as the State Repository of Spain's Cultural Memory, making all of Spain's bibliographic output on any media available to the Spanish Library System and national and international researchers and cultural and educational institutions. In 1990 it was made an Autonomous Entity attached to the Ministry of Culture; the Madrid premises are shared with the National Archaeological Museum. The Biblioteca Nacional is Spain's highest library institution and is head of the Spanish Library System; as the country's national library, it is the centre responsible for identifying, preserving and disseminating information about Spain's documentary heritage, it aspires to be an essential point of reference for research into Spanish culture. In accordance with its Articles of Association, passed by Royal Decree 1581/1991 of October 31, 1991, its principal functions are to: Compile and conserve bibliographic archives produced in any language of the Spanish state, or any other language, for the purposes of research and information.
Promote research through the study and reproduction of its bibliographic archive. Disseminate information on Spain's bibliographic output based on the entries received through the legal deposit requirement; the library's collection consists of more than 26,000,000 items, including 15,000,000 books and other printed materials, 4,500,000 graphic materials, 600,000 sound recordings, 510,000 music scores, more than 500,000 microforms, 500,000 maps, 143,000 newspapers and serials, 90,000 audiovisuals, 90,000 electronic documents, 30,000 manuscripts. The current director of the Biblioteca Nacional is Ana Santos Aramburo, appointed in 2013. Former directors include her predecessors Glòria Pérez-Salmerón and Milagros del Corral as well as historian Juan Pablo Fusi and author Rosa Regàs. Given its role as the legal deposit for the whole of Spain, since 1991 it has kept most of the overflowing collection at a secondary site in Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid; the Biblioteca Nacional provides access to its collections through the following library services: Guidance and general information on the institution and other libraries.
Bibliographic information about its collection and those held by other libraries or library systems. Access to its automated catalogue, which contains close to 3,000,000 bibliographic records encompassing all of its collections. Archive consultation in the library's reading rooms. Interlibrary loans. Archive reproduction. Biblioteca Digital Hispánica, digital library launched in 2008 by the Biblioteca Nacional de España List of libraries in Spain Media related to Biblioteca Nacional de España at Wikimedia Commons Official site Official web catalog
Knole NT is a country house situated within Knole Park, a 1,000-acre park located to the south-east of Sevenoaks in west Kent. The house ranks in the top five of England's largest houses, under any measure used, occupying a total of four acres. Vita Sackville-West, who grew up there, recounts a legend that it is a calendar house:'its seven courtyards correspond to the days of the week, its fifty-two staircases to the weeks of the year, its three hundred and sixty-five rooms to the days of the year, but'I do not know that anyone has troubled to verify it.' The meticulous planning of a calendar house does not fit well with the organic growth and reconstruction of the house over more than 500 years. The current house dates back to the mid-15th century, with major additions in the 16th and the early 17th centuries, its grade I listing reflects its mix of late-medieval to Stuart structures, its central façade and state rooms. It is undergoing an extensive conservation project, to restore and develop the structures of the buildings, thus help to conserve its important collections.
The surrounding deer park has survived with varying degrees of management in the 400 years since 1600. Knole is located in the Weald of west Kent. To the north, the land slopes down to the Darenth valley and the narrow fertile pays of Holmesdale, at the foot of the North Downs; the land around Sevenoaks itself has sandy soils, with woodland, used in the Middle Ages in the traditional Wealden way, for pannage, rough pasture and timber. The Knole estate is located on well-drained soils of the Lower Greensand, it was close enough to London to allow easy access for owners who were involved with affairs of state and it was on'sounde, holesome grounde', in the words of Henry VIII. It had a plentiful supply of spring water; the knoll of land in front of the house gives it a sheltered position. The wooded nature of the landscape could provide not only timber but grazing for the meat needs of a grand household. Moreover, it made an excellent deer park; the dry valley between the house and the settlement of Sevenoaks makes a natural deer course, for a combined race and hunt between two dogs and fallow deer.
The earliest recorded owner of the core of the estate, in the 1290s, was Robert de Knole. However, nothing is known of any property. Two other families, the Grovehursts and the Ashburnhams, are known to have held the estate in succession until the 1360s, the manor of Knole is first mentioned in 1364. In 1419, the estate, which spread over 800 acres, had been bought by Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, and, by 1429, he had extended it to 1500 acres; the estate remained in the hands of the Langley family, it seems, until the mid-1440s when it had been acquired by James Fiennes, first Lord Say and Sele. The circumstances of this transfer are not known, but it is clear that Lord Saye was enlarging the estate by further, sometimes forcible, purchases of adjoining parcels of land. For example, in 1448 one Reginald Peckham was forced to sell land at Seal to Saye'on threat of death'. Forcible land transfers recur in the history of the house, including that between archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Henry VIII.
Lord Saye and Sele seems to have begun a building project at Knole, but it was incomplete by his death in 1450. His ruthless exploitation of his powerful position in Kent was a motivating factor in the Jack Cade Rebellion. James Fiennes' heir, second baron Saye and Sele, sold the property for 400 marks in 1456 to Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, he had a substantial property in the area, Otford Palace, but the drier, healthier site of Knole attracted him. Bourchier began building work by making substantial renovations of an existing house. Between 1456 and 1486, Bourchier and his bailiff for the Otford bailiwick, John Grymesdyche, oversaw substantial building work on the current house; the remodelled house must have been suitable for the archbishop by 1459, when he first stayed there, but he based himself there in his years after 1480, when, at the age of about 69, he appointed a suffragan. In 1480, Bourchier gave the house to the See of Canterbury. In subsequent years, Knole House continued to be enlarged, with the addition of a large courtyard, now known as Green Court, a new entrance tower.
These were long thought to be the work of one of Bourchier's successors, but the detailed study by Alden Gregory suggests that Bourchier was responsible. He took advantage of the political stability that followed the restoration of Edward IV in 1471 to invest further in his property After Bourchier's death in 1486, Knole was occupied by the next four archbishops: John Morton, Henry Deane, William Warham and Thomas Cranmer. Sir Thomas More appeared in revels there at the court of Archbishop Morton, whose cognizance of Benedictus Deus appears above and to either side of a large late Tudor fireplace here. Henry VII was an occasional visitor, as in early October and midwinter 1490. Archbishop Bourchier had enclosed the park with a pale to make a deer park and it seems that Henry VIII used to visit Archbishop Warham to hunt deer. After the death of Warham and before the appointment of his successor, Henry found his properties in nearby Otford and Knole useful residences for his daughter Mary, at the time
Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset
Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset was an English aristocrat and politician, with humanist and commercial interests. He was the eldest son of Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, by Cecily, daughter of Sir John Baker, his grandfather, Sir Richard Sackville, invited Roger Ascham to educate Robert with his own son, an incident in 1563 that Ascham introduced into his pedagogic work The Scholemaster as prompting the book. His tutor Claudius Hollyband dedicated to him the French language manuals The French Schoolemaster and The Frenche Littelton, which would see a combined total of fifteen editions through the year 1609, he matriculated from Hart Hall, Oxford, 17 December 1576, graduated B. A. and M. A. on 3 June 1579. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1580 but not called to the bar, was elected to the House of Commons in 1585 as member for Sussex, aged 23, by his father's influence. In 1588 he sat for Lewes, but represented the county again in 1592–3, 1597–8, 1601, 1604–8, he was a prominent member of the Commons, serving as a chairman of several committees.
At the same time, he held a patent for the supply of ordnance. He succeeded to the earldom of Dorset on the death of his father on 19 April 1608, he inherited from his father manors in Sussex, Essex and Middlesex, the principal seats being Knole and Buckhurst. Dorset survived his father less than a year, dying on 27 February 1609 at Dorset House, Fleet Street, London, he was buried in the Sackville Chapel at Withyham and left money for the building and endowment of Sackville College. Dorset married first, in February 1580, Lady Margaret, by only surviving daughter of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk suspected as a crypto-Catholic. By her he had six children, including: Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset Anne, married Sir Edward Seymour, eldest son of Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, secondly, Sir Edward Lewis by whom she had issue, her splendid monument with effigies of herself and her second husband survives in Edington Priory Church in Wiltshire.
Cecily, married Sir Henry Compton, K. B. Lady Margaret died on 19 August 1591. Dorset married, secondly, on 4 December 1592, daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorp, widow of, William Stanley, 3rd Baron Monteagle, secondly, Henry Compton, 1st Baron Compton. In 1608–9 Dorset found reason to complain of his second wife's misconduct, was negotiating with Archbishop Richard Bancroft and Lord Ellesmere for a separation from her when he died; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Sackville, Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
Withyham is a village and large civil parish in the Wealden district of East Sussex, England. The village is situated 7 miles south west of 3.5 miles from Crowborough. Withyham parish lies on the edge of Weald, in the valley of the River Medway, where a group of tributaries enter from the south, to the north of Ashdown Forest; the B2110 road passes between Groombridge and Forest Row. Much of the area is rural. New Groombridge is within the parish, Old Groombridge is in the Speldhurst District of Kent. Withyham village itself is small, containing a few houses, the church, a bed and breakfast, the Dorset Arms. Withyham is not included in the Domesday Book, although the manor of Buckhurst is, as "Biochest" (probably from the Saxon "boc hyrst" or beech wood. There have been two houses at Buckhurst for many centuries: the older Buckhurst House, now no more, the present day Buckhurst Park: both remained in the hands of the Sackville family for generations. Buckhurst Park is the family seat of the De La Warr earldom, William Sackville, 11th Earl De La Warr continues to live there.
Outside of Buckhurst, many of the houses in the village were built to contain estate workers. A significant number of council houses were built in the post war period at Balls Green near a now-closed station. Withyham was home to the Gildredge family, who moved to Eastbourne, acquiring a large share of the town's land by purchase and by marriage. "Gildredge House and estate was the property and residence of the family of the same name," says Thomas Walker Horsfield in his history of Sussex, "who afterwards removed to and became lords of the manor of Eastbourne." Today's Gildredge Park in Eastbourne is named for the family. The Gildredge family was related to the Eversfield family, who owned much of St. Leonards-on-Sea, as well as to the Levetts. According to the Sussex historian Mark Antony Lower, the ancient house and estate of Gildredge "gave name to a family of considerable antiquity, who subsequently had their chief residence at Eastbourne, gave their name to the manor of Eastbourne-Gildredge."
The Gildredge lands were carried by marriage into the Gilbert family, who continue to own much of Eastbourne. Withyham parish is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of the oldest available historical information concerning the Weald of Kent and Surrey, with records going back to 1288, relates to the parish church, St. Michael's; the village church is dedicated to St Michael and All Angels. According to early records, the church was completely rebuilt in the 14th century to contain a Sackville chapel. On 16 June 1663 the church was struck by lightning, melting the bells, causing a great deal of damage; the rebuilding of the church does not seem to have been finished until 1672 and the Sackville Chapel was not completed for another eight years. Of the old church only the lower part of the tower, the west wall from the belfry door to the north-west corner and the north and south east walls remained to be incorporated into the new building, it was around this time that the Rectory was built.
Important alterations were carried out in the 19th century, including a new south aisle, the removal of the low ceiling and a new south porch. In 1849 a set of four paintings was donated to the church: it is thought they are the work of Niccolò di Pietro Gerini; the paintings were sold at Sotheby's in London in 2012. There are eight bells in the tower: five recast after the rebuilding in 1674; these bells remained until 1908 when they were recast and a further two added. The ashes of David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir are buried at the church. Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset is buried there as well. Withyham is a large parish, is therefore divided into three electoral wards: Groombridge. Penn's Rocks is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the parish; this is a site of biological interest. Its sandstone outcrops providing a rare habitat for many bryophytes. Buckhurst Park historic seat of the Earls De La Warr, head of the Sackville family, Lutyens/Jekyll garden with Repton Park.
100 Acre wood of Winnie the Pooh fame is a part of the Buckhurst Estate To celebrate the millennium in Withyham, the 11th Earl De La Warr planted a yew sapling taken from a tree said to be 2000 years old – i.e. from the time of Christ. Sadly, the sapling was replanted by Earl De La Warr. A millennium map was commissioned by the Church to commemorate 1000 years of Withyham; the village has a regular bus service. The Metrobus 291 bus route serves East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, Crawley – as well as neighbouring villages. In nearby Ashurst there is a railway station. Ashurst station is on the Uckfield to London line via East Croydon. Trains are hourly in each direction; the village of Withyham features in Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Horror of the Heights" as the finding place of the Joyce-Armstrong Fragment, a real fragment of a diary detailing the airborne adventures of the author of the diary. The ashes of Vita Sackville-West, CH, poet and garden designer, are buried below the Sackville Chapel at Withyham Parish Church.
Withyham Priory Media related to Withyham at Wikimedia Commons
Fleet Street is a major street in the City of London. It runs west to east from Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster to Ludgate Circus at the site of the London Wall and the River Fleet from which the street was named. Having been an important through route since Roman times, businesses were established along the road during the Middle Ages. Senior clergy lived in Fleet Street during this period where there are several churches including Temple Church and St Bride's. Fleet Street became known for printing and publishing at the start of the 16th century and it became the dominant trade so that by the 20th century most British national newspapers operated from here. Much of the industry moved out in the 1980s after News International set up cheaper manufacturing premises in Wapping, but some former newspaper buildings are listed and have been preserved; the term Fleet Street remains a metonym for the British national press, pubs on the street once frequented by journalists remain popular.
Fleet Street has a significant number of monuments and statues along its length, including the dragon at Temple Bar and memorials to a number of figures from the British press, such as Samuel Pepys and Lord Northcliffe. The street is mentioned in several works by Charles Dickens and is where the murderous barber Sweeney Todd lived. Fleet Street is named after the River Fleet, which runs from Hampstead to the River Thames at the western edge of the City of London, it was established by the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, it was known as Fleet Bridge Street, in the early 14th century it became known as Fleet Street; the street runs east from Temple Bar, the boundary between the Cities of London and Westminster, as a continuation of the Strand from Trafalgar Square. It crosses Chancery Fetter Lane to reach Ludgate Circus by the London Wall; the road ahead is Ludgate Hill. The street numbering runs consecutively from west to east south-side and east to west north-side, it links the medieval boundaries of the City after the latter was extended.
The section of Fleet Street between Temple Bar and Fetter Lane is part of the A4, a major road running west through London, although it once ran along the entire street and eastwards past St Paul's Churchyard towards Cannon Street. The nearest London Underground stations are Temple, Chancery Lane, Blackfriars tube/mainline station and the City Thameslink railway station. London Bus routes 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76 and 172 run along the full length of Fleet Street, while route 341 runs between Temple Bar and Fetter Lane. Fleet Street was established as a thoroughfare in Roman London and there is evidence that a route led west from Ludgate by 200 AD. Local excavations revealed remains of a Roman amphitheatre near Ludgate on what was Fleet Prison, but other accounts suggest the area was too marshy for regular inhabitation by the Romans; the Saxons did not occupy the Roman city but established Lundenwic further west around what is now Aldwych and the Strand. Many prelates lived around the street during the Middle Ages, including the Bishops of Salisbury and St Davids and the Abbots of Faversham, Tewkesbury and Cirencester.
Tanning of animal hides became established on Fleet Street owing to the nearby river, though this increased pollution leading to a ban on dumping rubbish by the mid-14th century. Many taverns and brothels were established along Fleet Street and have been documented as early as the 14th century. Records show that Geoffrey Chaucer was fined two shillings for attacking a friar in Fleet Street, though modern historians believe this is apocryphal. An important landmark in Fleet Street during the late Middle Ages was a conduit, the main water supply for the area; when Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen following her marriage to Henry VIII in 1533, the conduit flowed wine instead of water. By the 16th century, Fleet Street, along with much of the City, was chronically overcrowded, a Royal proclamation in 1580 banned any further building on the street; this had little effect, construction continued timber. Prince Henry's Room over the Inner Temple gate dates from 1610 and is named after Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of James I, who did not survive to succeed his father.
The eastern part of the street was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, despite attempts to use the River Fleet to preserve it. Fire damage reached to about Fetter Lane, the special tribunal of the'Fire Courts' was held at Clifford's Inn, an inn of Chancery at the edge of the extent of the fire, to arbitrate on claimants' rights. Properties were rebuilt in the same style as before the fire. During the early-18th century, a notorious upper-class gang known as the Mohocks operated on the street causing regular violence and vandalism. Mrs Salmon's Waxworks was established at Prince Henry's Room in 1711, it had a display of macabre and black-humoured exhibits, including the execution of Charles I. The waxworks were a favourite haunt of William Hogarth, survived into the 19th century; the Apollo Society, a music club, was established in 1733 at the Devil Tavern on Fleet Street by composer Maurice Greene. In 1763, supporters of John Wilkes, arrested for libel against the Earl of Bute, burned a jackboot in the centre of the street in protest against Bute.
It led to violent demonstrations and rioting in 1769 and 1794. Tanning and other industries declined after the River Fleet was routed underground in 1766; the street was widened during the late-19th century, when Temple Bar was demolished and Ludgate Circus was constructed. The headquarters of the Anti-C
James VI and I
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless, he continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.
After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began. At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors, he achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie, The True Law of Free Monarchies, Basilikon Doron, he sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would be named after him: the Authorised King James Version.
Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch, he was committed to a peace policy, tried to avoid involvement in religious wars the Thirty Years' War that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain. James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England through Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII. Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, she and her husband, being Roman Catholics, faced a rebellion by Protestant noblemen. During Mary's and Darnley's difficult marriage, Darnley secretly allied himself with the rebels and conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio, just three months before James's birth.
James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, as the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch automatically became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" or "James Charles" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle, his godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England, Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews, whom she referred to as "a pocky priest", spit in the child's mouth, as was the custom; the subsequent entertainment, devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez, featured men dressed as satyrs and sporting tails, to which the English guests took offence, thinking the satyrs "done against them". James's father, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh in revenge for the killing of Rizzio. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Earl of Ross. Mary was unpopular, her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, suspected of murdering Darnley, heightened widespread bad feeling towards her.
In June 1567, Protestant rebels imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle. She was forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567 in favour of the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent; the care of James was entrusted to the Earl and Countess of Mar, "to be conserved and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle. James was anointed King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, on 29 July 1567; the sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland, the Kirk; the Privy Council selected George Buchanan, Peter Young, Adam Erskine, David Erskine as James's preceptors or tutors. As the young king's senior tutor, Buchanan subjected James to regular beatings but instilled in him a lifelong passion for literature and learning. Buchanan sought to turn James into a God-fearing, Protestant king who accepted the limitations of monarchy, as outlined in his treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos.
In 1568, Mary escaped from her i
John Aubrey was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is best known as the author of the Brief Lives, his collection of short biographical pieces, he was a pioneer archaeologist, who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, and, noted as the discoverer of the Avebury henge monument. The Aubrey holes at Stonehenge are named after him, although there is considerable doubt as to whether the holes that he observed are those that bear the name, he was a pioneer folklorist, collecting together a miscellany of material on customs and beliefs under the title "Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme". He set out to compile county histories of both Wiltshire and Surrey, although both projects remained unfinished, his "Interpretation of Villare Anglicanum" was the first attempt to compile a full-length study of English place-names. He had wider interests in applied mathematics and astronomy, was friendly with many of the greatest scientists of the day. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, thanks to the popularity of Brief Lives, Aubrey was regarded as little more than an entertaining but quirky and credulous gossip.
Only in the 1970s did the full breadth and innovation of his scholarship begin to be more appreciated. He published little in his lifetime, many of his most important manuscripts remain unpublished, or published only in partial form. Aubrey was born at Easton Piers or Percy, near Kington St Michael, Wiltshire, to a long-established and affluent gentry family with roots in the Welsh Marches, his grandfather, Isaac Lyte, lived at Lytes Cary Manor, now owned by the National Trust. Richard Aubrey, his father, owned lands in Herefordshire. For many years an only child, he was educated at home with a private tutor, he was "melancholy" in his solitude, his father was not intellectual. Aubrey read such books as came his way, including Bacon's Essays, studied geometry in secret, he was educated at the Malmesbury grammar school under Robert Latimer. He studied at the grammar school at Blandford Forum, Dorset, he entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1642, but his studies were interrupted by the English Civil War.
His earliest antiquarian work dates from this period in Oxford. In 1646 he became a student of the Middle Temple, he spent a pleasant time at Trinity in 1647, making friends among his Oxford contemporaries, collecting books. He spent much of his time in the country, in 1649 he first discovered the megalithic remains at Avebury, which he mapped and discussed in his important antiquarian work Monumenta Britannica, he was to show Avebury to Charles II at the King's request in 1663. His father died in 1652, leaving Aubrey large estates. Blessed with charm, generosity of spirit and enthusiasm, Aubrey went on to become acquainted with many of the most celebrated writers, scientists and aristocrats of his day, as well as an extraordinary breadth of less well-placed individuals: booksellers, the royal seamstress and instrument makers, he claimed that his memory was "not tenacious" by 17th-century standards, but from the early 1640s he kept thorough notes of observations in natural philosophy, his friends' ideas, antiquities.
He began to write "Lives" of scientists in the 1650s. In 1659 he was recruited to contribute to a collaborative county history of Wiltshire, leading to his unfinished collections on the antiquities and the natural history of the county, his erstwhile friend and fellow-antiquary Anthony Wood predicted that he would one day break his neck while running downstairs in haste to interview some retreating guest or other. Aubrey was an apolitical Royalist, who enjoyed the innovations characteristic of the Interregnum period while deploring the rupture in traditions and the destruction of ancient buildings brought about by civil war and religious change, he drank the King's health in Interregnum Herefordshire, but with equal enthusiasm attended meetings in London of the republican Rota Club. In 1663 Aubrey became a member of the Royal Society, he lost estate after estate due to lawsuits, till in 1670 he parted with his last piece of property and ancestral home, Easton Piers. From this time he was dependent on the hospitality of his numerous friends.
In 1667 he had made the acquaintance of Anthony Wood at Oxford, when Wood began to gather materials for his Athenae Oxonienses, Aubrey offered to collect information for him. From time to time he forwarded memoranda in a uniquely casual, epistolary style, in 1680 he began to promise the work "Minutes for Lives," which Wood was to use at his discretion. Aubrey died of an apoplexy while travelling, in June 1697, was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford. Aubrey approached the work of the biographer much as his contemporary scientists had begun to approach the work of empirical research by the assembly of vast museums and small collection cabinets. Collating as much information as he could, he left the task of verification to Wood, thereafter to posterity; as a hanger-on in great houses, he had little time and little inclination for systematic work, he wrote the "Lives" in the early morning while his hosts were sleeping off the effects of the night before. These texts were, as Aubrey