Richard Brathwait

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Richard Brathwait
Richard Braithwaite.PNG
Died1673 (aged 84–85)
Notable work
Drunken Barnaby's Four Journeys

Richard Brathwait or Brathwaite (1588 – 4 May 1673) was an English poet.


He was born at Burnishead, near Kendal. He entered Oriel College, Oxford in 1604, and remained there for some years, pursuing the study of poetry and Roman history. He moved to Cambridge to study law and afterwards to London to the Inns of Court. His father, Thomas, died in 1610, and the son went down to live on the estate he inherited.[1] He was married[2] at Hurworth, 4 May 1617, to Frances, daughter of James Lawson, of Nesham Abbey.

On the death of his elder brother, Sir Thomas Brathwait, in 1618, Richard became the head of the family, and an important personage in the county, being deputy-lieutenant and justice of the peace. In 1633 his wife died and he wrote her epitaph; in 1639 he married again. His only son by this second marriage, Sir Strafford Brathwait, was killed at sea.[1]. Brathwait is believed to have served with the Royalist army in the Civil War.[citation needed]

Frontispiece to A Solemne Joviall Disputation, 1617

He was the author of many works of very unequal merit, of which the best known is Drunken Barnaby's Four Journeys, which records his pilgrimages through England in rhymed Latin (said by Southey to be the best of modern times), and doggerel English verse. The English Gentleman (1631) and English Gentlewoman are in a much more decorous strain. Other works are The Golden Fleece (1611) (poems), The Poet's Willow, A Strappado for the Devil (a satire), and Art Asleepe, Husband?

His 1613 book, "The Yong Mans Gleanings," is the first known use of the word computer.[3]

An extract from both “Drunken Barnaby” and his “epitaph to Frances, (his wife)” appears in “The Bishoprick Garland” by (Sir) Cuthbert Sharp.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brathwait, Richard". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ "The Bishoprick Garland page 39" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Richard Braithwaite coined the phrase 'computer'". Centre for Computing History.


External links[edit]

  • Works by or about Richard Brathwait in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Barbara A. Reed, "Richard Brathwait: A Case Study of Publishing and Conduct Literature in Seventeenth-Century England," (M.A. Thesis, Arizona State University, 2000).