Ben Jonson is renowned as one of the most distinguished writers in the English language.
Jonson was born in the very north of England. Some of his family came from Scotland.
Ben Johnson was born two months after his clergyman father died. Ben was brought up in the Church of England like almost everyone else in the kingdom. His family had remained Anglicans during the reign of Mary Tudor 1553-58. Mary Tudor has brought back Catholicism. For their stubbornness the Jonson family had had their extensive lands confiscated. After Anglicanism was restored the Jonson’s property was not restored to them.
Jonson’s family moved to London when he was a baby. His mother married a bricklayer. Ben Jonson attended Westminster School which was one of the most illustrious in the land. Westminster School abuts onto Westminster Abbey. Indeed the Queen’s Scholars of Westminster have a role in the coronation. The school is almost within the shadow of Parliament. This school is usually not for the aristocracy but certainly for the most prosperous members of the middle classes. The Westminster boys were the sons of successful merchants, well to do bankers and thriving barristers. There may have been a sense of being declasse. A generation before his family had been part of the landed gentry. He was attending an elite school but was one of the poorest boys there. He was unable to afford a university education. He became a bricklayer instead.
Jonson was an autodidact.
Jonson died in 1572 in Westminster.