Sir John Oglander (1585-1655) was a member of a family that long had lived on the Isle of Wight. He was the son of Sir William Oglander of Nunwell, Isle of Wight, and Ann nee Dillington of Knighton, Isle of Wight. He studied at Winchester College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Middle Temple, and succeeded to his father’s estates in 1609. Knighted in 1615, Oglander became deputy governor of Portsmouth in 1620, but gave up that position and instead was appointed deputy governor of the Isle of Wight in 1624. He represented Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, in Parliament from 1625 to 1629, and was sheriff of Hampshire from 1637 to 1639. Oglander supported the king during the Civil War, particularly when Charles retreated to Carisbrooke Castle on the island (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). Oglander lived at Nunwell House, which still stands, near Brading at the eastern end of the island.
Oglander’s journal, commonplace book and accounts provide a detailed picture of his own life and that around him on the Isle of Wight. The accounts include payments for attending plays, puppet plays and masques, and to a dancer for teaching Oglander’s children. Commonplace book entries describe a variety of entertainments, from a fool or jester Oglander encountered in Portsmouth to the Newport folk custom involving the gathering of wood from the Forest of Parkhurst. (On the latter, see also undated records from the Newport ‘Ligger Book’.)