John Wilmot

Photo added by Kristen Conrad

John Wilmot

Oxfordshire, England
Death 26 Jul 1680 (aged 33)
Woodstock, West Oxfordshire District, Oxfordshire, England
Burial Spelsbury, West Oxfordshire District, Oxfordshire, England
Memorial ID 14995907 · View Source
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English Nobility, Poet, Author. The son of Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, and Anne St. John, he became the 2nd Earl of Rochester upon his father's death in 1658. In the court of Charles II, Wilmot was reknowned for his hard drinking, sexual impropriety, and lecherous behavior. He was part of a debauched group of noblemen called the "Merry Men" by poet Andrew Marvell. Wilmot's poetry was at once admired and infamous for its sexual openness, and his book "Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery", published in the mid-1670's, is considered the first piece of erotic literature published in the English language. His poetry was influenced by metaphysical poet John Donne; and while Wilmot lacked the skill of Donne, he made up for it with an acerbic wit and sharp tongue. He was banished from court by Charles II for staging a licentious play lampooning the King's reign. He then set himself up as "Dr. Bendo", a quack doctor who cured barrenness. By the age of 30 Wilmot was dying of syphilis, other venereal diseases, and the results of years of binge drinking. He famously attended Parliament with his rotting nose covered in a silver nasion. In 1667 Wilmot married heiress Elizabeth Malet, over whom he had been sent to prison for attempting to abduct. They had two sons and a daughter. He had another daughter by his mistress, actress Elizabeth Barry. A known atheist, Wilmot converted to the Anglican church on his deathbed. He died at his estate in Oxfordshire at the age of 33. A book about the Earl's life, entitled "The Libertine", was published in 1994, and subsequently made into a stage play and a major motion picture. Most of Wilmot's poetry was not published under his name until after his death.

Bio by: Kristen Conrad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kristen Conrad
  • Added: 20 Jul 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14995907
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Wilmot (1 Apr 1647–26 Jul 1680), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14995907, citing All Saints Churchyard, Spelsbury, West Oxfordshire District, Oxfordshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .