A little over 700 years later I'm blogging about him and his birthplace. I wonder what he'd make of that.
Last weekend I headed to Ockham, which is in the county of Surrey a little way south of London. I was was on the trail of our eponymous hero.
I'd never been to Ockham before and I wanted to see what it was like. We make no claim to be a heritage brand, but I've always been an armchair fan (I'm not sure what the next step would be) of philosophy with a genuine affinity for the principle of Ockham's razor, which I've written about before.
So I was keen to visit the village.
Ockham is certainly a small place. The focal point is a small triangular village green with a stone war memorial, wooden bench and a map of the local footpaths.
If you've never visited a pretty English village, Ockham would be a good place to start. It was very peaceful, and reminiscent of many small communities up and down the country. In William's day I imagine it was a significant horse-ride away from the nearest market town, but today of course cars pass through at the prescribed 30 miles an hour.
There was a chill in the air as I wondered through the village, but signs of spring were appearing. I couldn't resist the chance to juxtapose the Ockham Razor in a shady glade with the year's first snowdrops.
As a traveller passing through an English village, I felt duty-bound to patronise the local pub. Past the football and cricket club, just over a mile heading east from the centre of Ockham, sits the Black Swan. if you've never visited an English village pub then you couldn't do much better than the Black Swan. Bigger inside than I'd expected and a lovely place to which I'd like to return in the summer.
A quick pint and I was ready to continue my journey. I had a train back to London to catch.
William of Ockham and I would have had a lot to talk about over a pint of local ale. I'm sure he'd be fascinated by 3D printing and crowdfunding. I'd need to brush up on my Latin perhaps.
I wonder what he'd think of our Ockham Razor? If historical depictions of him are anything to go by he was man of variable facial hirsuteness so I like to think he'd have liked it.