Fynes Moryson

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Moryson, Fynes, traveller and author of an Itinerary, was born in Lincolnshire in the year 1566, and was educated at the University of Cambridge where he became a Fellow of Peter-House. Obtaining from the Master and Fellows of his house a licence to travel, he spent nearly ten years abroad. In 1598, soon after his return, he came to Ireland (where his brother, Sir Richard, was Vice-President of Munster), and was appointed secretary to the Lord-Deputy, Sir Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy.

He died about 1614. Three years afterwards was published a folio volume of 900 pages: An Itinerary, written by Fynes Moryson, gent., first in the Latine Tongue, and then translated by him into English: containing his Ten Yeeres Travell through the Twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turky, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. To Ireland are devoted 302 pages, principally an account of the wars of Tyrone.

His works are full of interest, and contain invaluable notes on the condition of the countries he visited, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants. The Irish portion of his Itinerary was published separately in 2 vols. at Dublin, in 1735. The Retrospective Review says of his works: "We speak advisedly and within bounds when we assert that Fynes Moryson's work need not dread a comparison with any other book of travels, so far as amusing and instructive details regarding manners and the state of society are concerned." Dibdin says: "His delicacy and purity are equal to his love of truth."

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

40. Biographical Division of English Cyclopaedia, with Supplement: Charles Knight, 7 vols. London, 1856-'72.

247. Moryson, Fynes: Itinerary. London, 1617.

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