John Locke was born 29 Apr 1606 at Pensford, Somerset, England. He was the son of Nicholas Locke and Frances Lansden. John was a country lawyer and clerk to the Justices of the Peace in Chew Magna, who served as a captain of cavalry for the Parliamentary forces during the early part of the English Civil War.
John Locke was 23 when, on 15 Jul 1630, he married Agnes Keene, ten years his senior, and said to have been ‘a most beautiful woman’. Her family was local to Wrington where various members owned land and houses. Her elder brother (who married her husband’s sister Frances) took both her father’s name, Edmund, and his trade of tanner; another brother, John, was an attorney.
Both John and Agnes were Puritans. Agnes' brother Edmund Keene was clerk to Frances Baber and Alexander Popham. Alexander Popham (1605–1669) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1669. He too supported the Parliamentary cause and fought in the Parliamentary army with the rank of colonel.
John and Agnes Locke had been married just over a year when their first child, John was born; their second, Peter, died in infancy; and their third, Thomas, was born in August 1637.
John and Agnes' son, John Locke, was born on 29 Aug 1632, in a small thatched cottage beside the church in Wrington, Somerset, about 12 miles from Bristol, that belonged to his mother's family. He was baptised the same day. Soon after John's birth, the family moved to the market town of Pensford, about seven miles south of Bristol, and lived in a rural Tudor house in Belluton. Alexander Popham became patron of John Locke's firstborn son, philosopher John Locke.
John and Agnes had the following children:
When ill, and approaching his death in 1661, John Locke wrote to his elder son John, despondent at how little he had to leave him and his younger brother, Thomas.
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