29 November – born at Black Notley, son of local blacksmith
6 December – christened
September – started at Braintree Grammar School
Entered Cambridge University, sponsored by money from the will of Thomas Hobbs. Started at Catherine Hall college as a pupil of Daniel Duckfield
Transferred to Trinity as a pupil of James Duport after Duckfield’s death
Took his B.A. degree from the University of Cambridge
Elected Minor Fellow at Trinity College
Suffered a long illness
During convalescence took long walks and began the study of botany
Appointed Lecturer in Greek and later that year achieved his M.A.
Appointed Tutor and spent the next nine years teaching Greek, mathematics and humanities. Among his pupils were Francis Willughby, Peter Courthope and Phillip Skippon. It was during this time that he began his travels throughout the U.K.
Ordained at London by Bishop Robert Sanderson of Lincoln.
Published: Cambridge Flora
Act of Uniformity passed. Ray refused to subscribe to it and left the University of Cambridge.
Began travelling widely on the Continent with Willughby, Skippon and other friends, studying local floral and fauna, with a brief spell during the winter of 1664 studying anatomy in Padua. Ray’s notes added to drawings of fishes obtained in Hamburg (Germany) is now kept in the British Library (https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/john-ray-a-book-of-fishes)
Returned to Essex
Admitted Fellow of the Royal Society
Finalised the purchase of the house ‘Dewlands’ at Black Notley for his mother (his father having died in 1656). Spent part of the year at Middleton, Warwickshire, the family home of Willughby.
At Middleton experimenting with sap, seeds and leaves. Discovered mono- and di-cotyledons. Was consulted by settlers in America on the best method of obtaining sap from the maple tree to make into syrup
Changed his name to the spelling of Ray which we know today, without the W. Published ‘Catalogue of English Plants’ and ‘Collection of English Proverbs’
Published: Observations, including Catalogue of European Plants
Published: Collection of English Words and Proverbs
Published: ‘Three-Language Dictionary’ of Greek, Latin and English
Published: ‘The Ornithology of Francis Willughby’ (in Latin, [SK2] published in English in 1678). Latin was still the common international language of university educated people. Willughby’s widow contributed to the cost of the illustrations.
Mother died. He and his wife moved into ‘Dewlands’ at Black Notley
Birth of their first children, twin girls named Margaret and Mary
Published: ’History of Fish’ (in Latin) based on Willughby’s notes, but augmented by Ray and Martin Lister. Its publication was financially supported by the Royal Society, and the first volume of the ‘History of Plants’ (in Latin)
Birth of his daughter Catherine.
Birth of daughter Jane. He also published the second volume of his dictionary of three languages.
Published: Wisdom of God, his important theological work.
Death of daughter Mary and illness of his wife and daughter Margaret.
Ray seriously ill. Doctor William Derham and Sir Hans Sloane visit Ray to discuss the future of his works.
Published: Volume three of History of Plants and continued to work on insects, begun by Willughby.
Ray died at ‘Dewlands’ on 17 January.
Posthumous publication of his History of Insects, Synopsis of Birds and Fish, Philosophical Letters and Select Remains.