The brilliant 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born prematurely as a result of his mother’s fear of the looming Spanish Armada. He was born and raised in a thatched cottage in Westport, Malmesbury. Although the cottage no longer stands, his residence is commemorated on location at the back of the town’s United Reformed Church (URC).
There is a small plaque on a wall near St Mary’s Street, and an information board on the church’s grounds that give some insight into Hobbes’s dwelling. Also visible from this location is the church where his father, Thomas Hobbes Sr., was the vicar.
Hobbes is considered one of the premier philosophers of his time. In 1651, Hobbes published the book Leviathon and further developed his political philosophy, as well as his social contract theory. He has also been immortalized in the form of a tiger through Bill Waterson’s famous Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.
Know Before You Go
There is a butcher shop at the Gloucester Road end of St Mary's St. called "Thomas of Malmesbury" that also honors the memory of Hobbes. Hanging on one of the walls of the shop is a map of the town as it would have looked during the heyday of the philosopher.