John Aubrey F.R.S.

John Aubrey F.R.S. (1626 - 1697)

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John Aubrey F.R.S.
Born in Easton-Pierce, Wiltshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Oxford, Englandmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 28 Aug 2016
This page has been accessed 433 times.

Categories: Fellows of the Royal Society.


John Aubrey, FRS, antiquarian and biographer, born March 12, 1626, is the son of Richard Aubrey and Debroah Lyte. His birth given name is Johannes, however he is universally known as John. He never married.

He is the great grandson of the distinguished Dr. William Aubrey, D.C.L.

While not of the aristocracy, the Aubrey/Awbrey family are referred to as landed gentry. His cousin, Sir John Aubrey, was made Baronet in 1660.

John was very ill for the first 11 or 12 years of his life. Consequently, he was raised in isolation from other children. During his times of confinement, he associated with tradesmen and country people that visited his parents' home. From them he learned various skills, local superstitions, and local history. He also used his solitude to enhance his mind.

In 1638, he was sent to boarding school at Blandford, Dorset and finished at the top of his class. From there he went to Oxford in 1642, but his studies were interrupted by the Civil War. His father feared for his safety and brought him home. His family supported the Royalist cause and when Oxford was under their control, John went back. There he contracted smallpox and again returned home.

In 1646, he began attending the Middle Temple (London law school). In 1648, his father was dying and he returned home to attend to his affairs and did not return to complete his degree.

John was never successful in several attempts to marry.

Financial problems plagued him most of his adult life. He had been led to believe his father would leave him a large fortune which did not happen. Instead, he was left several properties and a significant debt.

Antiquarian: John had a life-long interest in archaeology and travelled extensively in Britain investigating many sites. He wrote many papers on his findings. At the request of King Charles II, he conducted a study of the ancient stones at Avebury. In addition, he studied Stonehenge. One of his findings was a ring of depressions which were later named Aubrey's Holes by another archeologist. Those studies resulted in him often being referred to as the "Father of Archaeology."

Biographer: He wrote extensively on a variety of subjects. In particular, he wrote about well-known British persons depicted in his work Brief Lives. That work results in his being considered the father of British biography. Interestingly, he published only one work, Miscellanies. The remainder of his writings were published after his death.

Fellow of the Royal Society: As a member of Trinity College, Oxford, and then of the Middle Temple in London, Aubrey frequented the circles from which the Royal Society sprang and it is therefore wholly in character that he should have been one of the signatories on December 5, 1660 to the proposals for the formation of a society to hold regular meetings for experimental and discussion. However, his membership of the society was not formally proposed, by Dr. Walter Charleton, until December 24, 1662. Elected on January 7 and admitted on January 21, 1663. Aubrey was named on May 23, 1663 as one of the original Fellows of what had become, by Charles II’s charters, the Royal Society. The Royal Society

After most of his fortune was gone, he lived with relatives and friends, often --on the run to avoid pursuing creditors.

John had passed through Oxford on his way to Wiltshire in June, 1697 when he died of apoplexy. He was buried in the churchyard at St. Mary Magdalen's Church, Oxford.[1][2] His grave is unmarked. It was 150 years after his death before an entry in The Register of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford was found. It reads:

“1697. John Aubrey, a stranger, was buryed Jun. 7th”

He would have preferred burial in a barrow near Broad Chalke farm because:

“Our bones, in consecrated ground, never lie quiet.” [3]

John Aubrey had earlier written: “our bones in consecrated ground never lie quiet and in London once in ten years (or thereabout) the Earth is carried to the Dung-wharf.”[4]

Most of his writings currently reside at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Those originally left to the Ashmolean Museum were transferred to the Bodleian Library in 1860. Many of his studies were never completed.


  1. Brittion, John published Memoir of John Aubrey, F.R.S. in 1845
  2. Wikipedia – John Aubrey
  3. Scurr, Ruth published John Aubrey, My Own Life in 2016
  4. Dick, Oliver published Aubrey’s Brief Lives in 1949 and 2015

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John Aubrey, FRS, 1666
John Aubrey, FRS, 1666


On 25 Apr 2018 at 22:23 GMT Stuart Awbrey wrote:

Removed British Isles 1500-Present sticker - no source that any Aubrey/Awbrey was of the nobility.

John is 27 degrees from Rosa Parks, 26 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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