In the 1650s Ray began using his summer vacations for expeditions around Britain with friends. His main colleague was Sir Francis Willughby, whose interest in animals complemented Rays in plants. In 1660 they formed a plan for a complete catalogue of the plants and animals of Britain.
Sir Francis Willughby [22K]
The Peaks & North Wales, 1658
The Lakes & Isle of Man, 1659
The North & Scotland, 1661
Wales & the South West, 1662 Map [4K]
The European Continent, 1663-5
Cornwall & the South
After the Great Ejection, Ray had no base in Cambridge, and no summer vacations. He wondered whether to travel further afield or to take whatever employment the law permitted a non-conformist minister.
a preferment in Suffolk - such a one as I am capable of [ie by law] that is living with a gentleman in his house no duty at all enjoined; the terms £40 per annum; but I shall balke it, though a very good offer, because I have the designe of travelling hot in my head.
4 Sept 1662, Further Correspondence p.32
In the event Ray changed his mind and did go to Mr Bacon at Friston Hall, Saxmundam, Suffolk. Happily, there were opportunities for fieldwork nearby.
I rode forth to Aldburgh, to see the famous Sea Pease, noted by herbarists to grow between Orford and Aldburgh, upon the shingle or beach of stones by the seaside. ...at the extremity of that long bank of stones... at least seven miles intomthe sea, near the haven,s mouth ..they cover the whole shingle for half a mile together.
Friston Hall, 3 Nov 1662, Further Correspondence p.33
In 1673 while living in Warwickshire, Ray married Margaret a daughter of Oxfordshire gentry. They had four daughters.
travelling beyond sea is not consistent with my present Relation and state of life.
Further Correspondence p.158, Letter to John Aubrey, 18 April 1676
In 1677 they moved to Ray's native Essex, and moved in 1678/79 to Black Notley, the village where Ray was born. Samuel Dale writes:
where, to use his own words, "He intended (God willing) to settle for the Short Pittance he had yet to live in this World": which accordingly came to pass.
Ray lived another 27 years in Black Notley.