An Industrious Mind: the Worlds of Sir Simonds D'Ewes
Author: J. Sears McGee
Publisher: Stanford University Press
This is the first biography of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Baronet, a member of the Long Parliament, Puritan, lawyer, historian and antiquarian who lived from 1602-1650. He studied at St. John's College, Cambridge (1618-1620) and the Middle Temple (1620-1626). Because his country seat at Stowlangtoft in Suffolk is only a day's ride from Cambridge, he visits the university on numerous occasions and maintained ties with dons there. He took the Parliamentarian side against King Charles I, and his extensive journal of the Long Parliament, together with his autobiography, correspondence, and other papers offer a comprehensive view of the life of a seventeenth-century English gentleman, his opinions, thoughts, and prejudices during this tumultuous time. D'Ewes left over 70 volumes of papers, the largest archive of personal papers of any individual in early modern Europe and was also a collector of books and manuscripts on a grand scale. Although conservative in social and political terms, his Puritanism prevented him from joining his Royalist younger brother Richard during the civil war. He followed news of national and international events and conveyed them to his friends and family members in many hundreds of letters. These letters allow us to understand not only his analysis of public events but also his private life. His relations with his parents, siblings, two wives, and children appear in full.
Sunday 1 March 2015