Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809)
Thomas Paine was born 100 metres from the Ancient House in 1737. Influenced by his humble origins in a corrupt and violent world he wrote earth shattering pamphlets and books such as Common Sense, Age of Reason and Rights of Man. He became one of the greatest political figures of his day.
Paine stirred up the spirit of Independence in America. He defended the ideals of the French Revolution, and Paine shaped democracy and human rights in Britain where the authorities organised a backlash against him, and effigies of Thomas Paine were publicly burned up and down the country.