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Sir John Birkenhead or Berkenhead (24 March 1616 – 4 December 1679) was a British political writer and journalist, imprisoned several times during the Commonwealth for his obtrusive royalism.

Birkenhead was educated at Witton Grammar School, Northwich.[1] He proceeded to Oxford University, and was a Fellow of All Souls' from 1639 to 1648.[2] Birkenhead began producing England's first official news-book Mercurius Aulicus in 1643. The principal writer was Peter Heylin but Birkenhead brought satire, slanders and incisive polemics which the parliamentary party found difficult to rebuff.

His loyalty to the royalist party was rewarded on the restoration of the monarchy when he was made licenser of the press and joint editor, with Henry Muddiman, of the new official news-book Mercurius Publicus. His contribution to journalism after the restoration was slight, concentrating more on a political career and being elected MP for Wilton, Wiltshire in June 1661. He was knighted the following year and was a founding member of the Royal Society. In 1664 he was sworn in as a Master of Requests, serving until his death.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Margaret Crum (1971). "Review". The Review of English Studies. NS 22 (85): 81–83. JSTOR 512036. 
  2. ^ "Birkenhead, John (BRKT657J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ "Masters of Requests". Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 

Bibliography

  • Thomas, Peter W. (1969). Sir John Berkenhead, 1617-1679: A Royalist Career in Politics and Polemics. Oxford: Clarendon Press (OUP). 

3 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

Sir John Birkenhead (1617–4 December 1679), kt 1662, founding member of the Royal Society.

He was most notable as a political writer and journalist.

Birkenhead began producing *Mercurius Aulicus* in 1643. In communicating the affaires of Court, *Mercurius Aulicus* can claim to be Englands first regular newspaper, printed at Oxford and reprinted in London almost throughout the entire war. The principle writer was Peter Heylin but Birkenhead brought satire, slanders and incisive polemics which the parliamentary party found difficult to rebuff.

His loyalty to the royalist party was rewarded on the restoration of the monarchy when he was made licenser of the press and joint editor, with Henry Muddiman, of the new official news-book *Mercurius Publicus*.

His contribution to journalism after the restoration was slight, concentrating more on a political career and being elected MP for Wilton, Wiltshire in June 1661.

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Birkenhead

Terry F  •  Link

mage of Mercurius Aulicus. Communicating the Intelligence and Affaires of the Court
7[6]-13[12] April [1645]
The British Library E.279.(8.)
Copyright ©2000, The British Library Board
http://www.bl.uk/popups/aulicus.html

Pedro  •  Link

More on Berkenhead.

Antonia Fraser, King Charles II...

"When Sir John Berkenhead tried to avert the imposition of a tax on playhouses on the grounds that they had been of much service to the King, Sir John Coventry enquired cheekily whether he meant the men or the women players...?

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1662