John Aubrey: chronicler of the 17th century

John Aubrey chronicled one of the most turbulent periods in English history. Ruth Scurr reveals what his writings tell us about episodes such as the Civil War, Great Plague and Restoration, and the remarkable characters that shaped them...

A portrait of the writer and antiquarian John Aubrey

This article was first published in the April 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine

He was a pioneering antiquarian, a fellow of the Royal Society and witnessed the Civil War, the Restoration and the Great Fire of London. But above all John Aubrey was a writer at a time print culture was blossoming. He investigated the past, he recorded the world in which he lived, and in his acclaimed Brief Lives wrote biographies of eminent people that he knew. The result is a unique record of his time.

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