John Donne (1572 - 1631) MP

‹ Back to Donne surname

Is your surname Donne?

Research the Donne family

John Donne's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Birthplace: London, Greater London, UK
Death: Died
Cause of death: Possibly stomach cancer
Occupation: English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period.
Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About John Donne

English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period.

John Donne was born in London, into a Roman Catholic family when practice of that religion was illegal in England.[6] Donne was the third of six children. His father, John Donne, was of Welsh descent, and a warden of the Ironmongers Company in the City of London. Donne's father was a respected Catholic who avoided unwelcome government attention out of fear of persecution.[7][8]

Donne's father died in 1576, leaving his wife, Elizabeth Heywood, the responsibility of raising their children.[8] Elizabeth Heywood was also from a recusant Catholic family, the daughter of John Heywood, the playwright, and sister of Rev. Jasper Heywood, a Jesuit priest and translator. She was a great-niece of the Catholic martyr Thomas More.[9] This tradition of martyrdom would continue among Donne’s closer relatives, many of whom were executed or exiled for religious reasons.[10] Donne was educated privately; however there is no evidence to support the popular claim that he was taught by Jesuits.[11] Donne's mother married Dr. John Syminges, a wealthy widower with three children, a few months after Donne's father died. In 1577, his mother died, followed by two more of his sisters, Mary and Katherine, in 1581.

view all 16

John Donne's Timeline

January 21, 1572
London, Greater London, UK
Age 32
Age 44
March 31, 1631
Age 59