Authorised form of nameAubrey; John (1626 - 1697); antiquary and biographer
Other forms of surnameAwbrey
Dates1626 - 1697
Place of birthEaston Pierse [Percy] Wiltshire, England, Europe
Date of birth12 March 1626
Place of deathOxford, England, Europe
Dates and placesBurial:
Church of St Mary Magdalene, Oxford, England, Europe (7 June 1697)
Research fieldTopography
Natural history
Grammar school in Blandford St Mary, Dorset (1637/38); Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1641); Middle Temple (admitted 1646)
Discovered the megaliths at Avebury, Wiltshire (1649); inherited estates in Wiltshire, Herefordshire and Wales from his father (1652) but dissipated them through law suits, selling the last of his property (1670) and his library (1677); formed topographical collections on Surrey and North Wiltshire; assisted Anthony Wood with his 'Antiquities of Oxford'; wrote 'Brief Lives' of his notable contemporaries
Membership categoryOriginal Fellow
Date of election20/05/1663
Age at election36
ProposerWalter Charleton
Royal Society activityCommittee and panels:
Committee for Agriculture [Georgical] (1664)
Other Royal Society activityPresented an invention of a clepsydra (1667); Made telescopic astronomical observations (1668); Submitted topographical observations of Wiltshire and Surrey (1668-)
RelationshipsParents: Richard Aubrey and Deborah Lyte
Additional relatives: great-grandfather William Aubrey
Published worksRCN: 25627
RCN: 25625
RCN: 25622
General contextAubrey was generally sceptical and anti-clerical in his religious views, which was clear in his 'Hypothesis ethicorum et scala religionis', of which a manuscript unfortunately does not survive. His good reputation and wide network of social connections is visible in his autobiographical notes, e.g. on Robert Hooke (FRS 1663), Seth Ward (FRS 1663), or Thomas Hobbes. His 'Brief Lives' is one of the best known literary works of his time. His work 'Monumentum Britannica' (c.1693) remained vital for the study of archaeology. His contributions to the Society showcase a wide range of interests in natural history, astronomy, manufacturing, topography, and agriculture.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library

Aubrey J, IM006593.jpg

Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Foster; ODNB
Robert G Frank, Jr, 'John Aubrey, FRS, John Lydall, and Science at Commonwealth Oxford' in NR 1972-3 vol 27 pp 193-217, plate
J Buchanan-Brown, 'The Books Presented to the Royal Society by John Aubrey, FRS' in NR 1973-4 vol 28 pp 167-193
S Mendyk, 'Robert Plot: Britain's "Genial Father of County Natural Histories"' in NR 1984-85 vol 39 pp 159-177
R Lewis, 'The publication of John Wilkins's Essay (1668): some contextual considerations' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp133-146
P Breeze, 'The ancestry of Robert Hooke: John Hooke of Wroxhall' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 269-271
L Jardine, 'The 2003 Wilkins Lecture: Dr Wilkins's boy wonders' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 107-129
The election date is Aubrey's re-election date into the Society after the grant of the second charter in April 1663. All Fellows admitted in a two-month window after this charter, until 22 June 1663, are considered Original Fellows. He was previously elected on 7 January 1663 and admitted into the Society on 21 January 1663.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8372
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/004655Aubrey, Johnnd
IM/000157Aubrey, Johnnd
DM/5/80'Recommended to Mr Aubrey'c.1660s
CLP/12i/17/2Plate, aero-clepsydra by [John Aubrey][1667]
CLP/4i/34/1Manuscript, 'Observations on winds' by John Aubrey 14 December 16715 February 1673
CLP/12i/17Paper, 'On a clepsydra' by [John] Awbrey [Aubrey] [1667]
CLP/7i/28Paper, regarding observations of Surrey, Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, London, Hampshire and Sussex by John Aubrey7 April 1668
DM/5/64Minutes of meetings of the Committee for Agriculture (endorsed as 'Transactions of the Georgicall Committee')October 1664-February 1665
MS/92Manuscript copy of 'Memoires of Naturall Remarques in the county of Wilts, to which are annexed observables of the same kind in the county of Surrey and Flynt-shire' by John Aubrey transcribed by B G Cramer6 June 16851690-1691
CLP/12i/17/1Manuscript, 'On a clepsydra' by [John] Awbrey [Aubrey] [1667]
EL/P1/55Copy of a letter, from Andrew Paschall to Mr [John] Aubrey13 January 1674
EL/P1/56Copy of a letter, from Andrew Paschall to Mr [John] Aubrey18 January 1676
CLP/4i/34Paper, 'Observations on winds' by John Aubrey 14 December 16715 February 1673
EL/P1/39Letter, from Francis Potter to John Aubrey22 February 1663
EL/A/45Letter, from John Aubrey to Edmond Halley, dated at London31 August 1695
CLP/4i/34/2Drawing, device for measuring wind by William Brouncker5 February 1673
CLP/8i/24Figure, nubecula or cloudy stars near the constellation Hydra produced by Mr [John] Aubrey1668
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