Today is Sir Thomas Browne Day - but who was he?
PUBLISHED: 12:17 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:17 19 October 2018
17th century polymath Thomas Browne died on his birthday on October 19, 1682 - but why isn’t more known about him?
You may not immediately know who he is, yet most people in Norwich have walked past his statue on Hay Hill.
Thomas Browne spent most of his adult life in the city, living in his ‘patch’ of Hay Hill. Although famous around the world, he is not as well known to locals in his home city.
Thomas Browne was a polymath - a doctor, a scientist, a botanist, a naturalist, a philosopher and a writer. He asked questions about life, in the days when science as we know it now, didn’t exist. His house - now Pret a Manger - was a crazy clutter of curiosities, animals and objects.
He died on his birthday aged 77 and was buried in St Peter Mancroft Church alongside his family. In 1905, a statue of him was erected in Hay Hill and then in 2007, another set of marble and granite sculptures were installed as a ‘living room’ for the city.
To celebrate Browne and to highlight his existence, the Thomas Browne Project has started celebrating Sir Thomas Browne Day on October 19 every year. They are holding free events in Norwich which everyone is welcome to:
• 10:30am-11:30am - A tour of Browne artefacts in St Peter Mancroft Church by Barbara Miller - free
• 12:30-1:30pm - Costumed recital of extracts of Browne’s work by Browne enthusiast and scholar Kevin Faulkner on Hay Hill - free
• 7pm - Annual Sir Thomas Browne Talk by George Szirtes at the National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall, Kings Street - pay what you can
Happy Sir Thomas Browne Day!