Oxfordshire Astronomers

 

Bainbridge, John (1582-1643), astronomer, physician and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1619] (ODNB).

Bradley, James (1692-1762), astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1721] (ODNB).

Bernard, Edward (1638-1397), mathematician, Arabist and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford  [1673]  (ODNB).

Caswell, John (1654/5-1712), mathematician, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1708] (see Alumni Oxonienses).

Donkin, William Fishburn (1774-1839), mathematician, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1842] (ODNB).

Greaves, John (1602-1652), astronomer, orientialist and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1643] (ODNB).

Gregory, David (1659-1708), mathematician, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1691] (ODNB).

Hornsby, Thomas (1733-1810), astronomer, Radcliffe Observer [1771-1810] and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1763] (ODNB).

Johnson, George Henry Sacheverell (1808-1881), mathematician, Radcliffe Observer [1839-1859] and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1839] (ODNB).

Keill, John (1671-1721), mathematician, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1712] (ODNB).

Harold Knox-Shaw (1885-1970), astronomer and Radcliffe Observer [1924-1950] at Oxford (Obit., QJRAS, 12 [1971], 197-201).

Main, Robert (1808-1878), astronomer and Radcliffe Observer [1860-1878] at Oxford (ODNB).

Milne, Edward Arthur (1896-1950), born Hull, educated Cambridge where he was assistant director of the Solar Physics Observatory 1920-24. After professing at Manchester in 1928 he was appointed the first Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford. There he made important contributions to theoretical astrophysics by developing his theory of ‘kinematic relativity’, which for a time rivalled Einstein’s relativity. His enduring legacy is that with Professor Harry Helmsley Plaskett in 1930 he co-founded the Oxford School of Astrophysics (see: Yorkshire: East Riding; CambridgeshireODNB; Obit., MNRAS, 111 (1951), 160-72).

Margetts, George (1748–1808), native of Woodstock, an ingenious wheelwright who became a renowned watch and clock maker in London. His expertise in making astronomical watches and marine chronometers was such that some horologists regard him as being almost on a par with John Harrison. He was author of works on lunar distances and finding latitude at sea (1790), of longitude tables (1794), invented a navigational slide rule, also made orreries, and was patronised by the Duke of Marlborough.

Parker, George, second earl of Macclesfield (c.1697–1764), astronomer and politician.  Although MP for Wallingford with a residence in London he spent much of his time at Shirburn Castle near Wallingford in Oxfordshire.  Here he established a private observatory in 1739, where he made observations and trained two assistants, Thomas Phelps and John Bartlett, a stable-boy and shepherd  respectively (ODNB).

Phillips, John (1800-1874), born Marden Wiltshire. He achieved a considerable reputation as a geologist, became Professor at King’s College London, and FRS (1834), professor in Dublin (1844) and from 1832-59 was Secretary of the BAAS. In 1853 he came to Oxford as Deputy Reader in geology, became Reader in 1859 (see WiltshireODNB).

Plaskett, Harry Hemley (1774-1839), astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1932] (ODNB).

Pogson, Norman Robert (1829-1891), born in Nottingham, privately educated. In October 1851 Pogson became Manuel Johnson’s second assistant at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford (see Buckinghamshire; County of London; Nottinghamshire; ODNB).

Pritchard, Charles (1808-1893), astronomer and Savilian  Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1870] (ODNB).

Rambaut, Arthur Alcock (1859-1923), astronomer and Radcliffe Observer [1897-1923] at Oxford (ODNB).

Rigaud, Stephen Peter (1774-1839), astronomer, Radcliffe Observer [1827-1839] and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1827] (ODNB).

Robertson, Abraham [Abram] (1751-1826), astronomer, mathematician, Radcliffe Observer [1810-1826], and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1810] (ODNB).

Slatter John [Revd.] (1817-1899), born Iffley, Oxford, he graduated (1838) from Lincoln College, Oxford.  Taking clerical orders he became vicar of Sandford-on- Thames (1852-62), but lived at Iffley where he had built an observatory (Weale 1851, p.72). He was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (1847) and reported his interesting observations of aurora from Streatley, Berks., published in MNRAS, 1872 (Obit., MNRAS, 60 (1900), p.325).

Stevens, Catharine Octavia (1865-1959), Bradfield, Berkshire, who was educated by tutors. A woman of independent means who described herself as an astronomer in census returns.  A founder member of the British Astronomical Association, she was meteor Section Director (1905-11). In 1910, Stevens built a house-cum-observatory at Boar Hill, Oxford, where she lived until 1956. Her work was published in the JBAA, Knowledge, Nature and the Observatory. In addition she went on three BAA solar eclipse expedition between 1900 and 1932 (Obit., JBAA, 70 (1960), 103-4; Larson 2006, 76-7).

Stone, Edward [Revd.] (1702-1768) the only Oxfordshire amateur of the eighteenth century that we know of is a graduate of Wadham College who was vicar of various north Oxfordshire parishes, and resided at Chippenham in Gloucestershire. He is known to have observed the 1761 Venus transit, probably from Shirburn Castle since he was a friend of the second earl Macclesfield (see ODNB).

Stone, Edward James (1831-1897), astronomer and Radcliffe Observer [1879-1897] at Oxford (ODNB).

Thackeray, Andrew David (1910-1978), astronomer and Radcliffe Observer [1950-1974] at Oxford (Obit., QJRAS, 20 [1978], 216-20).

Turner, Herbert Hall (1861-1930), seismologist, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1893] (ODNB)

Ward, Seth (1617-1689), astronomer, bishop of Exeter and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1649] (ODNB).

Wren, Christopher (1623-1732),architect, mathematician, astronomer and Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford [1661] (ODNB).