12th March 1626 - birth of antiquarian John Aubrey

Stonehenge John Aubrey

On 12th March 1626 John Aubrey was born at Kington Saint Michael in north Wiltshire. He lived for much of his life in south Wiltshire, in Broadchalke.

He was friendly with Thomas Hobbes and Bishop Seth Ward.

He surveyed Avebury for King Charles II, and Stonehenge, possibly also for the King.

At Stone Henge, he discovered the ring of holes just inside the ditch which are still known as ‘the Aubrey holes’.

As I understand it Aubrey was the first to connect Stonehenge with the word ‘Druids’.

His ‘Monumenta Britannica’, according to the Dictionary of National Biography ‘remains the foundation text of modern archaeology’. It might also be said that his ‘Brief Lives’ are one of the foundations of modern biography.

He does seem to have been a difficult or eccentric man

Ralph Sheldon said that he was ‘as mad as anyone almost in the university of Bedlam’[1]. Anthony Wood, who had been a patron of Aubrey, described him in a court case as ‘a shiftless person, roving and magotie-headed, and sometimes little better than crased’


[1] Adam Fox, ‘Aubrey, John (1626–1697)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/886, accessed 10 March 2014]


From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Aubrey