Thomas Traherne, Poet 1636 or 1637-1674

The son of a shoemaker, Thomas Traherne came to Brasenose at the age of fifteen in 1653 and took his B.A. in 1656. He was admitted as incumbent of Credenhill near Hereford in 1657 and held the living for the rest of his life. At some point he became domestic chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Keeper of the Seal to Charles II, and remained with the family until his death.

For two centuries Traherne was known only for two works, Roman Forgeries (1673) and Christian Ethicks (published posthumously in 1675). But in 1896-1897 came the first of several discoveries, when manuscripts of prose and poetry were purchased from two book barrows in London. Several more discoveries were made in the course of the twentieth century, and Traherne is now seen as one of the great mystical poets of the Anglican church.

For more information about Thomas Traherne and his works please visit The Oxford Traherne.

The Bodleian Library holds a collection of Traherne manuscripts.



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