John Tradescant, the Younger

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About John Tradescant, the Younger

John Tradescant the Younger

Birth date: 4 August 1608

Birth Place: Meopham, Kent

Date of Death: 22 April 1662

Place of Death: London, England.

He was buried beside his father in the churchyard of St-Mary-at-Lambeth which is now established as the Museum of Garden History.

In his will, dated 4 April 1661, and proved on 5 May 1662, Jihn made his wife the sole executrix, and requested the he " interred as neere as can be to my late deceased Father.. and my sonne," bequeaths 10l. to his daughter Frances Norman, 5s. each to his 'namesakes Robert Tredescant and Thomas Tredescant of Walberswick,' and adds, 'Item, I giue, devize, and bequeath my Closet of Rarities to my dearly beloved wife Hester Tredescant during her naturall Life, and after her decease I guive and bequeath the same to the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, to which of them shee shall think fitt at he decease' Parents [5]

Father: John Tradescant the Elder

Mother: Elizabeth - according to an Ancestry Yree


1st Wife - 29 Feb 16- Jane Hurte died in May 1634 according to The Church Wardens' Account of St. Mary's, Lambeth according to Vol. 19 Dictionary of National Biography -

2nd Wife - 27 Sep 1638 Hester Pooks

According to [3] and [4] his wife, who out lived him, was found drowned in a pond in April 1678, presumably having committed suicide.

Children: Frances and John who died in 1652

There is a portrait of Hester and the two children at

Occupation: Botanist and gardener and plant collector

Honours and Awards:


Educated at The King's School, Canterbury.

He became a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners at the age of 26.

Unlike his father, who engaged other people to bring back specimens, he travelled to Virginia between 1628-1637 (and possibly two more trips by 1662) to collect plants.

Among the seeds he brought back to England were American trees, such as Magnolias, Bald Cypress and Tulip tree, and garden plants such phlox and asters. Also introduced the Yukka plant.

He added his American acquisitions such as the ceremonial cloak of Chief Powhatan, one of the most important Native American relics, to the cabinet of curiosities.

Tradescant Road, off South Lambeth Road in Vauxhall, marks the former boundary of the Tradescant estate, where the collection was kept.

He succeeded as head gardener to Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria after his father died, making gardens at the Queen's House, Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones, from 1638 to 1642, when the queen fled the Civil War.

Tradescant bequeathed his library and museum to Elias Ashmole (1617–1692), whose name it bears as the core of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where the Tradescant collections remain largely intact.


Virginia in 1637, 1642 and 1654


"He published the contents of his father's celebrated collection as Musaeum Tradescantianum — books, coins, weapons, costumes, taxidermy, and other curiosities — dedicating the first edition to the Royal College of Physicians (with whom he was negotiating for the transfer of his botanic garden), and the second edition to the recently-restored Charles II." [1]

Other Notes:

Elias Ashmole, himself a great collector of curiosities, who put himself in John's favour by supervising the cataloguing of the Museum Tradescantianum and taking an apparently beneficent interest in its future. He drew up a Deed of Gift awarding the Closet of Rarities to himself, tricking John and his wife into signing it on the pretence that the Museum would, on John's death, be owned jointly by Hester and himself. Not long after John's death in 1662, he took Hester to court, gained control of the collection and presented it to Oxford in his own name. The Ashmolean Museum there houses the remains of the collection. Rester (sic) Tradescant was, as Ashmole records in his diary, found drowned in her pond in April 1678. She was buried in St Mary's churchyard along with the three generations of Tradescants. [4]

Son of John Tradescant the elder above, was a botanist and gardener, born in Meopham, Kent and Travel -

References and Links





[5] Vol. 19 Dictionary of National Biography - Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. Original data: Stephen, Sir Leslie, ed. Dictionary of National Biography, 1921–1922. Volumes 1–20, 22. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1921–1922.,_John_(1608-1662)_(DNB00) - Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57 Tradescant, John (1608-1662) by George Simonds Boulger

Phillippa Gregory has written two fictions about this family -

Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth

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John Tradescant, the Younger's Timeline

August 4, 1608
Kent, England
April 22, 1662
Age 54
London, England