Samuel Purchas

Birth: 1575


Samuel Purchas (1575?–1626) was an English compiler of works on travel and discovery, was born at Thaxted, Essex, and graduated at St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1600; later he became B.D., with which degree he was admitted at Oxford in 1615. In 1604 he was presented by James I. to the vicarage of Eastwood, Essex, and in 1614 became chaplain to Archbishop Abbot and rector of St Martin’s, Ludgate, London. He had previously spent much time in London on his geographical work.

In 1613 he published Purchas, his Pilgrimage; or, Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages (4th ed. much enlarged, 1626); in 1619 Purchas, his Pilgrim. Microcosmus, or the histories of Man. Relating the wonders of his Generation, vanities in his Degeneration, Necessity of his Regeneration; and in 1625 Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes, containing a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells, by Englishmen and others (4 vols.). This continuation of Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations was partly based on MSS. left by Hakluyt.

The fourth edition of the Pilgrimage is usually catalogued as vol. v. of the Pilgrimes, but the two works are essentially distinct. Purchas died in September or October 1626, according to some in a debtors’ prison. None of his works was reprinted till the Glasgow reissue of the Pilgrimes in 1905–1907. As an editor and compiler Purchas was often injudicious, careless and even unfaithful; but his collections contain much of value, and are frequently the only sources of information upon important questions affecting the history of exploration.


1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume 22. pg. 659.

Books & Publications

Book Title Date
Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) Purchas His Pilgrimage 1613
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