GILBERT WHITE was born in his grandfather’s vicarage at Selborne, Hampshire, in 1720 and was educated by the Poet Laureate Thomas Wharton before studying at Oriel College, Oxford. He was awarded his deacon’s orders in 1746, became fully ordained in 1749, and held several curacies in Hampshire and Wiltshire. After his father died in 1758 he returned to ‘The Wakes’, his family home in Selborne, where he lived as the curate and began his lifelong habit of recording the natural world, keeping journals, publishing articles for the Royal Society, and writing letters to leading botanists and commentators of his day. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne was first published in 1789 and has been in print ever since.