Famous 17th Century British Writers

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 1 John Locke

John Locke
6
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 29, 1632
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wrington, Somerset, England
Died: October 28, 1704
John Locke, also known as The Father of Liberalism, was a prominent Enlightenment Age philosopher. A qualified physician, Locke postulated the theory of mind, empiricism, and the idea of tabula rasa. His ideas influenced the social contract theory, the works of Kant and Rousseau, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

 2 Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes
7
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 5, 1588
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westport, Wiltshire, England
Died: December 4, 1679

Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher. Widely regarded as the co-founder of modern political philosophy, Hobbes is best known for his influential book Leviathan. Apart from political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes also contributed immensely to various other fields, such as ethics, theology, geometry, history, and jurisprudence.

 3 Walter Raleigh

Walter Raleigh
5
Famous As: Politician, Writer, Explorer
Birthdate: 1552 AD
Birthplace: Hayes Barton, England
Died: October 29, 1618
English explorer Walter Raleigh is best remembered for his involvement in the Siege of Smerwick and for colonizing North America. He made smoking tobacco popular in England. His accounts of his first voyage to South America led to the legend of El Dorado. He was executed to please the Spanish.
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 4 John Milton

John Milton
7
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1608
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheapside, London, England
Died: November 8, 1674

John Milton was an English poet whose epic poem Paradise Lost is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature. Milton's other celebrated work Areopagitica is counted among history's most impassioned and influential defenses of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. John Milton’s works have influenced other prominent writers, such as Thomas Hardy and George Eliot.

 5 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift
5
Famous As: Satirist & Author of 'Gulliver's Travels',' A Tale of a Tub' and 'A Modest Proposal'
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 6 John Donne

John Donne
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 22, 1572
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 31, 1631
English metaphysical poet John Donne is best known for his touch of sensuality and spirituality in his poems. One of his best-known poems is The Canonization. He had also worked on Latin translations, elegies, sermons, and epigrams. He was known for his reckless lifestyle, that affected his financial status. 

 7 Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe
4
Famous As: Author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders
Birthdate: 1660 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 24, 1731
Daniel Defoe was an English trader, pamphleteer, and spy, who is best remembered for his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. He also helped in popularizing the novel format of writing in Britain. He was a forerunner of business journalism, too, and also traded in hosiery, woollen goods, and wine.
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 8 Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys
5
Famous As: Member of Parliament
Birthdate: February 23, 1633
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 26, 1703

 9 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
97
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

 10 Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn
6
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 10, 1640
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canterbury, England
Died: April 16, 1689

 11 William Penn

William Penn
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 14, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 30, 1718

William Penn was a writer and one of the earliest members of the Quakers. He is credited with founding the Province of Pennsylvania. He also oversaw the planning and development of the city of Philadelphia. Penn has several universities and schools named in his honor, including the William Penn University in Iowa. 

 12 Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison
5
Famous As: Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 1, 1672
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milston, United Kingdom
Died: June 17, 1719
Best known for his articles in the iconic 18th-century periodicals The Tatler and The Spectator, English essayist Joseph Addison had a lifelong collaboration with Richard Steele. Educated at Oxford, he excelled in Latin and classics. A prominent Whig, he mostly wrote on the social and cultural trends of his time.

 13 Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 31, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Winestead, England
Died: August 16, 1678

 14 John Dryden

John Dryden
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 9, 1631
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, England
Died: May 12, 1700

 15 Roger Williams

Roger Williams
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 12, 1603
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1683 AD

Roger Williams was a 17th-century Puritan minister and theologian. He founded Providence Plantations, which later became the US state of Rhode Island. He advocated for fair dealings with Native Americans and believed in religious freedom. He disapproved of perpetual chattel slavery. After being expelled by the Puritan leaders, he founded the First Baptist Church in America. 

 16 John Bunyan

John Bunyan
4
Famous As: Writer, Preacher
Birthdate: November 1, 1628
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elstow, Bedfordshire, England
Died: August 31, 1688

John Bunyan, the noted author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, was known for his belief in Puritanism. The son of a brazier, he initially quit school to join his father’s trade. He was later inspired by chapbooks, to write his iconic works and has also become a preacher.

 17 Thomas Browne

Thomas Browne
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 19, 1605
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 19, 1682

Thomas Browne was an English author and polymath who wrote several books on varied fields, such as religion, medicine, science, and the esoteric. Browne incorporated different styles of writing depending upon the genre he was working on. Over the years, his writing has influenced several other writers like Herman Melville. Browne's works have been admired by personalities like William Osler.

 18 Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
3
Famous As: philosopher, scientist, poet, science fiction writer
Birthdate: 1623 AD
Birthplace: Colchester, England
Died: December 15, 1673

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish was an English poet, philosopher, playwright, fiction writer, and scientist. Margaret, who had the audacity to publish her works without using a pen name at a time when female writers remained anonymous, was ahead of her time. Not surprisingly, she was considered eccentric and earned the nickname Mad Madge. Her works gained popularity in the 1980s.

 19 Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 20, 1612
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Northampton, England
Died: September 16, 1672

 20 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 15, 1689
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 21, 1762

 21 Thomas Nashe

Thomas Nashe
5
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: October 31, 1567
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Died: 1601 AD

 22 Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: July 17, 1674
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Southampton, Kingdom of England
Died: November 25, 1748

 23 Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: August 19, 1689
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mackworth
Died: July 4, 1761

 24 John Gay

John Gay
3
Famous As: Dramatist & Poet
Birthdate: June 30, 1685
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barnstaple
Died: December 4, 1732

 25 John Harington

John Harington
3
Famous As: English author
Birthdate: August 4, 1561
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kelston, United Kingdom
Died: November 20, 1612

Though a witty author, John Harington is better remembered as the inventor of the flush toilet. He was banished from the royal court for the cockiness of his language in his written works. He also earned a knighthood and later came to be known as Queen Elizabeth’s “saucy godson.”

 26 Emilia Lanier

Emilia Lanier
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 31, 1569
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bishopsgate, London, England
Died: March 31, 1645

 27 Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 14, 1613
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Strensham, England
Died: September 25, 1680

 28 Izaak Walton

Izaak Walton
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 9, 1593
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stafford, England
Died: December 15, 1683

One of the greatest biographers of the 17th century, Izaak Walton was also a lover of fishing and had penned one of the most detailed treatises on fishing, The Compleat Angler. His notable works also include his biographies on John Donne and Henry Wotton. He was also a staunch Royalist.

 29 William Congreve

William Congreve
3
Famous As: Playwright, Poet, Writer, Translator
Birthdate: January 24, 1670
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leeds
Died: January 19, 1729

 30 George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 30, 1628
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 16, 1687

 31 Edward Winslow

Edward Winslow
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 18, 1595
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Droitwich Spa, England
Died: May 8, 1655

 32 Richard Hakluyt

Richard Hakluyt
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 23, 1616

English geographer Richard Hakluyt is remembered for his marked political influence and his continuous support of the British colonization of North America. A priest, he was associated with the Westminster Abbey. He also penned reports such as Discourse of Western Planting, which was appreciated by Queen Elizabeth I.

 33 John Vanbrugh

John Vanbrugh
3
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 24, 1664
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 26, 1726

Apart from being a Baroque-style architect, John Vanbrugh was also a well-known dramatist of the Restoration era. His works include the iconic The Provoked Wife and The Relapse, or, Virtue in Danger. His most-loved designs include Lord Carlisle’s Castle Howard in Yorkshire. A staunch Whig, he was also part of the Kit-Cat Club.

 34 John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
3
Famous As: Former Lord Privy Seal
Birthdate: September 8, 1647
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 24, 1721

 35 Robert Burton

Robert Burton
1
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: February 8, 1577
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leicestershire,
Died: January 25, 1640

 36 John Lyly

John Lyly
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1553 AD
Birthplace: Kent, England
Died: October 31, 1606

 37 John Fletcher

John Fletcher
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: November 30, 1579
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rye, Sussex, England
Died: July 31, 1625

 38 Mary Sidney

Mary Sidney
3
Famous As: Countess
Birthdate: October 27, 1561
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tickenhill Palace, Bewdley, Worcs, England
Died: September 25, 1621

 39 Edmond Hoyle

Edmond Hoyle
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1672 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 29, 1769

 40 Algernon Sidney

Algernon Sidney
2
Famous As: Diplomat, Politician, Writer
Birthdate: January 15, 1623
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baynard's Castle, London
Died: December 7, 1683

 41 John Aubrey

John Aubrey
2
Famous As: Antiquary
Birthdate: March 12, 1626
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kington St Michael, Wiltshire, England
Died: June 7, 1697

 42 John Evelyn

John Evelyn
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 31, 1620
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: February 27, 1706

 43 Sir Robert Filmer

Sir Robert Filmer
2
Famous As: Political scientist
Birthdate: 1588 AD
Birthplace: Kent
Died: May 26, 1653

 44 Michael Drayton

Michael Drayton
2
Famous As: Poet Who Came to Prominence in the Elizabethan Era
Birthdate: 1563 AD
Birthplace: Hartshill, England
Died: December 23, 1631

 45 Mary Astell

Mary Astell
3
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Feminist
Birthdate: November 12, 1666
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: May 11, 1731

 46 Thomas Campion

Thomas Campion
2
Famous As: Famous for Writing Over a Hundred Lute Songs, Masques for Dancing
Birthdate: February 12, 1567
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 1, 1620

 47 Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 9, 1617
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Woolwich, London, England
Died: 1657 AD

 48 Abraham Cowley

Abraham Cowley
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1618 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 28, 1667

 49 Edward Taylor

Edward Taylor
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1642 AD
Birthplace: Coventry, England
Died: June 29, 1729

Edward Taylor was a colonial American poet, physician, and pastor. His poetry, which has been characterized as Metaphysical, remained unpublished for 200 years. However, after its publication, Taylor's work has established him as one of the greatest writers of his generation. Edward Taylor’s works have been compared to the works of Baroque poets like Francisco de Quevedo and Giambattista Marino.

 50 Jeremy Taylor

Jeremy Taylor
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 15, 1613
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Died: August 13, 1667