Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

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thomas-hobbesThomas Hobbes of Malmesbury was an English philosopher, best known for his work on political philosophy and his 1651 text Leviathan. He is recognised as one of the founders of Western political philosophy.

Hobbes was born in 1588, prematurely (supposedly because his mother feared invasion by the Spanish Armada at the time), in the Westport area of Malmesbury. He spent the first 14 years of his life in Malmesbury, attending Westport Church School and growing up very much part of the Malmesbury community. At 14, he then left for Oxford to continue his education. His family remained in the same household in Westport, and Hobbes returned to visit Malmesbury on multiple occasions throughout his life.

A plaque locating the birthplace of Thomas Hobbes can be seen on St. Mary’s Lane, and descendants of the Hobbes family still live in the town to this day.


Bowen, John. (Edited By Allnatt, Graham), A Story of Malmesbury (Hackman Print, Rhondda: 2000).

Hodge, Dr. Bernulf., A History of Malmesbury (5th Edition; The Friends of Malmesbury Abbey, Minety: 1990). (last accessed on 07/07/2011).


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