John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
(1647 - 1680)
After serving in a war against the Dutch, where in Lord Sandwich’s words he “showed himself brave, industrious, and of useful parts,” John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, around 1666 was made a gentleman of the bedchamber and awarded £1,000 a year for life by King Charles II. Known for his debauchery and wit—he claimed to have been drunk for five years straight, during which time he was “not…perfectly master of himself”—he once handed a copy of his satire “On King Charles” directly to the king, a lapse in judgment for which he was banished. Several months later, the king named Rochester the ranger and keeper of the royal hunting park at Woodstock.