SHA County Co-ordinator: Paul J. Whiting FRAS 



Bernard, Edward, FRS (1638 – 1697), mathematician and astronomer from Paulerspury, near Towcester.  Savilian Prof. of Astronomy (after Christopher Wren). Correspondence with Flamsteed on comets and other observed phenomena. Published (Royal Society 1684) uncritical collection of ancient Arabic and Greek observations and several other publications, including his observation of the solar eclipse of 2nd July 1684 (see ODNB).

Boles, Tom (?), supernova Discovery Expert, now living in Suffolk

Brinkley, John, FRAS (1767 – 1835),  bishop of Cloyne and Astronomer Royal of Ireland (1790). Educated in Harlestone, Northamptonshire. Founding President (1831) of the Royal Astronomical Society (see ODNB).

Cartwright, Mary, DBE, FRS (1900-1998), mathematician. Born Aynho, Northamptonshire (see ODNB).

Cartwright, Samuel, FRS (1789-1864), geologist, born Northampton (see ODNB).

Cartwright ,William (unknown), Aynhoe, Northamptonshire.

Catton, Thomas, FRAS, FRS (1758?-1838), three years spent as tutor in the family of Sir William Wake in Northampton. Left 10 volumes of manuscripts of his observations of eclipses, occultations, and other phenomena to Sir George Airy, Astronomer Royal. Catton was one of the earliest members of the Royal Astronomical Society (see ODNB).

Cayley, Henry (unknown), eclipse observer. Published report of 1905/8/30 total eclipse as seen from Mallorca (Journal of the NNHS, 13 [101] 1905, 185).

Spencer Compton, Joshua Alwyne,  FRS, 2nd Marquis Northampton, (1790-1851)
Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire. President Royal Society 1838-1848
Correspondence with Sir John Herschel (1838-46) and Sir John Lubbock (1838-49), among others, held at The Royal Society.

Crick, Francis, FRS (1916-2004), physicist, born Northampton. Nobel Laureat – co-discoverer of DNA helix  (see ODNB).

Doddridge, Philip, Rev., Dr., FRS (1702 – 1751), principal Northampton Academy, President Northampton Philosophical Society.

Druce, George, FRS (1850-1932), born Old Stratford, Northamptonshire. Co-founder Northamptonshire Natural History Society.

Goodwin, Francis (1562-1633), theologian. Author of books on spacefight (pub. posthumously 1638) The Man in the Moone, or a discourse of a Voyage thither – concerning the adoption of the Copernicus system & principles of gravitation (see ODNB).

Gorbold, Roland (1888-1965), born Hackney, London, dies at Brixworth, Northamptonshire.  Living at Park Avenue, Northampton, he exhibited an image of the 1912 solar eclipse taken through a small telescope at the 57th annual exhibition (1912) of the Royal Photographic Society and reported in the Northampton Independent  [April 20th 1912].

Hanbury, William, [FRS] (d.1768), topographer and antiquarian.  Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire.

Ingham, Albert Edward, [Dr.] (1900-1967), mathematician, born Northampton (see ODNB).

Landon, John, [FRS] (1719-1790), mathematician. Born Peakirk, Northamptonshire.

Laurence, Edward (1674?-1739), called himself a ‘Teacher of Mathematics at Northampton’. Land surveyor and maker of sun dials. 1716 publication “A new and familiar way to find a most exact meridian line by the Pole star” (see ODNB).

Lynn, George  (1676-1742), born Southwick House, near Oundle. Possessed a 13 foot telescope. Observations of eclipses of Jupiter’s Galilean moons made in 1724-6 and 1730-35 submitted to Royal Society. He also documented an account of the aurora borealis seen on 8th October 1726. Maintained a meteorological register 1726-1740 (see ODNB).

Palmer, John (1612-1679), rector of Ecton and Arch Deacon of Northampton. Published various astronomical observations and other works, notably editing an edition of Blagrave’s “Mathematical Jewel”. Associated with John Twysden (see AntAs, Issue 4 (Jan 2008). pp41-54).

Panther, Roy W. (1926-2016), prolific amateur observer. Discoverer of Comet Panther 1980u. Winner of BAA Merlin medal (see Obit., JBAA, 127 (2016), p.120).

 Perry, Geoffrey, MBE (1927-2000), radio Astronomer – Kettering Satellite Tracking Group

Priestley, Joseph  (1733-1804), theologian and Natural philosopher. Educated at Doddridge’s Northampton Academy, later removed to Daventry (ODNB).

Robertson, Abram, FRS (1751-1826), mathematician and astronomer. Presented to the vicarage of Ravensthorpe, Northamptonshire in 1789. Superintended the publication of the second volume (1798 – 1805) Bradley’s Greenwich Royal Observatory Astronomical Observations (ODNB).

Ruddy, Henry Ernst, [Rev., FRAS] (1882-1966), born Bala, mid Wales, joined the BAA (JBAA, 53 (1943), p. 139), Observer and first President of Astronomy Section, NNHS, then RAS (MNRAS 107 (1947), p. 2).

Swirles, Bertha [Lady Jeffreys, FRAS] (1903-1999), born Northampton, Quantum Physicist. (‘obit.’, A&G, 41 [ 3] June 2000, 3.36-3.37; ODNB).

Twysden, John (1607-1688), Dr. of Physic and Astronomer. Made several observations from Easton Maudit, Northants, including comets, eclipses and sunspots (see AntAs, Issue 4 (Jan 2008). pp41-54; ODNB).

Wright, Frank H. (c 1910), Headmaster Bugbrooke School. Prolific contributor of astronomical (and other) articles to English Mechanic [see below].

Yeoman, Thomas, FRS (1704? – 1781), Northampton Philosophical Society (see ODNB).


NIAS Star Dome

Mobile Planetarium, Frank Gear FRAS
IAU Registered Observatories

Observatory 456, located in Daventry

Observatory 498, located in Earls Barton

Societies and Organisations

BAA – Radio Astronomy Group

Nene Valley Astronomical Society  (NVAS), founded 2009.  member meet regular for talk and observing at Chelveston Village Hall, Caldecott Road, Chelveston (NN9 5AT).

Northants Amateur Astronomers (NAA), founded (?).  Members now meet at Geddington Cricket Club, Queens Street,Geddington (NN14 1AZ).

Northamptonshire Natural History Society – Astronomy Section (NNHS), founded in 1957 following a lecture given by  NNHS  member, the Rev, Ruddy.  Members meet at the Humfrey Rooms at 10 Castilian  Terrace, Northampton (NN1 1LD).

Northampton Astronomical Society (NAS), fl. 2008, no longer appears active

Northampton Philosophical Society (circa 1743) [“Science & Technology in the Industrial Revolution”, A.E Musson & E. Robinson. MUP 1969, pp382-383]

Peterborough Astronomical Society (PeAS), meet monthly at Sacrewell Farm & Country center, Thornhaugh, Peterborough (PE8 6HJ).

Stanion Stargazers Club (SSC), founded 2014 – appears defunct

Authors, lecturers, broadcasters

William Cartwright (unknown)
[sponsor of John Bevis’s Uranographica Britannica, Manchester Astronomical Society]

Rev Dr Philip Doddridge FRS (1702 – 1751)
[sponsor of John Bevis’s Uranographica Britannica, Table 23 (Taurus), Manchester Astronomical Society]

Francis Goodwin (1562 – 1633)
Early author of books on spacefight (published posthumously 1638) ” The Man in the Moone, or a discourse of a Voyage thither” – concerning the adoption of the Copernicus system and principles of gravitation.

Geoffrey Perry MBE (1927 – 2000)
“A School Satellite Tracking Station as an Aid to the Teaching of Physics”
[1968 Physics Education 3 281-288]

Thomas Yeoman FRS (1704? – 1781)
experiments and lecture series from 1743-1747, first in Northampton then in Birmingham
[Northampton Mercury 1/12/1746, 16/2/1747, 23/3/1747]


Abington Park Museum, Northampton 01604 838110

Canons Ashby National Trust Museum, Canons Ashby 01327 860044

Carpetbagger Aviation & Secret War Museum, Harrington 01604 686608

Daventry Town Museum, Daventry 01327 301246

Desborough Heritage Centre, Desborough 01536 763916

Earls Barton Museum, Earls Barton 01604 811735

East Carlton Steel Heritage Centre, East Carlton 01536 770977

Fire World – The Fire Services National Museum, Weedon 01327 342396

Holdenby Almshouse School History Centre, Northampton 01604 584307

Kirby Hall Museum, Corby 01536 203230

Lyvedon New Bield National Trust Museum, Oundle 01832 205358

Manor House Museum, Kettering 01536 534219

Museum of Leathercraft, Northampton 01604 838110

Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, Northampton 01604 838111

Oundle Museum, Oundle 01832 272741

Piddington Roman Villa Museum, Piddington 01604 870312

Prebendal Manor Tithe Barn Museum, Nassington 01780 782575

Rothwell Arts & Heritage Centre, Rothwell 01536 711550

Rushton Triangular Lodge, Rushton 01536 710761

Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave 01295 760205

Wellingborough Museum, Wellingborough 01933 276838

for further information please refer to the East Midlands Museums Service website.

The Antiquarian Astronomer, Journal of the Society for the History of Astronomy
Astronomy & Geophysics, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society
The English Mechanic & Mirror of Science, 1865 – 1926
John Bevis’s Uranographica Britannica, Manchester Astronomical Society
Journal of Physics Education
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Northampton Mercury, newspaper
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, OUP
Science & Technology in the Industrial Revolution, A.E Musson & E. Robinson. MUP 1969


Local Review of “English Mechanic & Mirror of Science” 1865 – 1926

Issue 90 – Dec 14 1866:
* For Sale: 4″ Cooke Refractor on equatorial mount, 5 eyepieces, solar prism. c/o Mr Harris, Bridge Street, Northampton.

Issue 132 – Oct 4 1867:
* For Sale: small telescope. B. Thompson, Wellingborough Road, Northampton.

Issue 246 – Dec 10 1869:
* Wanted: telescope. S. Arlidge (Photographer), Weedon, Northants.

Issue 902 – Jul 7 1882:
* Article: Astro-Meteorology. W.M. Gardner, Byfield, Northants.

Issue 912 – Sep 15 1882:
* Article: Astro-Meteorology – “Influences of the Moon”. W.M. Gardner, Byfield, Northants.

Issue 1162 – Jul 1 1887:
* Article: Northampton mentioned in correspondence concerning a report by Christie, The Astronomer Royal.

Issue 1368 – Dec 6 1891:
* Article: Astro-Meteorology – Correspondence mentioning Northampton from “A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society”.

Issue 1487 – Sep 22 1893:
* Article: Object Glasses and Eyepieces. Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issue 1542 – Oct 12 1894:
* Article: Meteor Report. Reginald E.M. Bleasdale, Helidon, Daventry.

Issue 2020 – Dec 11 1903:
* Article: Correspondence on meteor showers. Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issue 2022 – Dec 25 1903:
* Article: Geminid meteor shower 1903. Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issue 2022 – Dec 25 1903:
* Article: Correspondence on eyepieces (x2). Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issue 2023 – Dec 31 1903:
* Article: Reply to correspondence on eyepieces (x2). Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issues 2039, 2043 – Apr 22, May 20 1904:
* Article: Concerning Marquis of Northampton opening King Edward VII Nautical School Observatory and Grubb Telescope.

Issue 2294 – Mar 12 1909:
* Article: Correspondence on the use of Arbury Hill, Badby, Northamptonshire in the altitude studies of the Ordnance Survey, as an argument against the Flat Earth question.

Issue 2745 – Nov 2 1917:
* Article: Report on a large meteor seen over Northampton. Frank H. Wright, Northampton.

Issue 2865 – Feb 20 1920:
* Article: The instructions for building the two shilling telescope. Mr S. Patrick, Oliver Street, Northampton.

Issue 3073 – Feb 15 1924:
* Article: Report on a fireball seen over NE Northamptonshire. Mr A. Platt.

Telescope/equipment manufacturers
XCam Ltd
Grove Farm
Northampton NN3 7TG

Useful addresses

Local History Centre

Northamptonshire Local Collection

Central Library,
Abington Street,

Local History Societies

Northamptonshire Association for Local History (NALH)

This site contains contact details of all the county local history societies affiliated to NALH

County Record Office

Northamptonshire County Record Office (NCRC)
Wootton Hall Park

Tel 01604 762129
Fax 01604 767562



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s