John Graunt

A Brief Life* by John Aubrey (1626-97)

  Captaine John Graunt (afterwards, major) was borne 24š die Aprilis,  1620 at the seven Starres in Burhcin Lane, London, in the parish of St. Michael's Cornhill. He was the sonne of Henry Graunt.

  He wrote Observations on the Bills of Mortality  very ingeniosely (but I beleeve, and partly know, that he had his hint from his intimate and familiar friend Sir William Petty), to which he made some Additions,  since printed. And he intended, had he lived, to have writt more of the bills of the mortality; and also intended to have written something of religion.

  A man generally beloved; a faythfull friend. Often chosen for his prudence and justnes to be an arbitrator; and he was a great peace- maker. He had an excellent working head, and was very facetious and fluent in his conversation. To give him his due prayse, he was a very ingeniose and studious person, and generally beloved, and rose early in the morning to his study before shop-time. He understood Latin and French. He was a pleasant facetious companion, and very hospitable. He was bred-up (as the fashion then was) in the Puritan way; wrote short-hand dextrously; and after many yeares constant hearing and writing sermon-notes, he fell to buying and reading of the best Socinian bookes, and for severall yeares continued of that opinion. At last he turned a Roman Catholique, of which religion he dyed a great zealot.

  He was free of the drapers' company, and by profession was a haberdasher of small-wares. He had gone through all the offices of the city so far as common-councell-man. Captain of the trayned-bands severall yeares; major, 2 or 3 yeares. He was a common concell man 2 yeares, and then putt out (as also of his military employment in the trayned band) for his religion. He was admitted a fellowe of the Royall Societie, about 1663.

  He broke.[1] He dyed on Easter eve 1674 buryed on the Wednesday in Easter-weeke in St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Strete under the gallery about the middle (or more west) north side, anno aetatis suae  54.

  He had one son, a man, who dyed in Persia; one daughter, a nunne at I thinke, Gaunt. His widowe yet alive.

  Major John Graunt dyed on Easter-eve 1674, and was buryed the Wednesday following in St. Dunstan's church in Fleet street in the body of the said church under the piewes toward the gallery on the north side, i.e.  under the piewes (alias  hoggsties) of the north side of the middle aisle (what pitty 'tis so great an ornament of the citty should be buryed so obscurely!)

  He was my honoured and worthy friend -- cujus animae propitietur Deus, Amen.

  His death is lamented by all good men that had the happinesse to knowe him; and a great number of ingeniose persons attended him to his grave. Among others, with teares, was that ingeniose great virtuoso,  Sir William Petty, his old and intimate acquaintance, who was sometime a student at Brase-nose College.


* from Brief Lives and Other Selected Writings  by John Aubrey, edited and with an introduction and notes by Anthony Powell. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949, p 275-6.

[1] became bankrupt.