John Aubrey, 1627-1697: “Sot That I Am!”

When John Aubrey was eight years old, he met the forty-seven year old philosopher Thomas Hobbes on a country road, beginning a friendship that would last the rest of the old man’s life.

He had a knack for friendship, Aubrey.  An only child of  respectable Wiltshire gentry, he was given to wandering the countryside and chatting up the locals, not least of all the geriatrics whose memories went back as far as King Edward VI.   He was educated somewhat haphazardly at home (a stray copy of Bacon, another of geometry) and later more traditionally at Malmesbury  Grammar School before matriculating at Trinity Oxford just in time (1642) for the English Civil War to cut short his studies.*   He was off then to study law at Middle Temple – another line of inquiry he dropped. Continue reading