Edward Topsell was an English cleric and author best remembered for his bestiary.
Topsell was born and educated in Sevenoaks, Kent. He attended Christ's College, Cambridge, earned his B.A. and probably an M.A. as well, before beginning a career in the Church of England. He served as the first rector of East Hoathly, and subsequently became the perpetual curate of St. Botolph's in Aldersgate. He was the author of books on religious and moral themes, including The Reward of Religion and Time's Lamentation, among others.
Topsell's The History of Four-footed Beasts and The History of Serpents, both published by William Jaggard, were reprinted together as The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents in 1658. An eleven-hundred-page treatise on zoology, Topsell's work repeats ancient and fantastic legends about actual animals as well as reports of mythical animals. Topsell, not a naturalist himself, relied on earlier authorities, most notably the Historiae animalium of the Swiss scholar Conrad Gessner. "I would not have the Reader," Topsell writes, "... imagine I have ... related all that is ever said of these Beasts, but only [what] is said by many."