SHA County Co-ordinator: Mike Leggett


Associated People

Boys, Sir Charles Vernon  (1855-1944), physicist and inventor, was born in Wing, Rutland (Mullay & Mullay 2002). He designed an improved torsion balance in 1895, which he used to determine Newton’s constant of gravitation and the mean density of the Earth. His micro-radiometer enabled him to measure the heat radiation from the Moon and the planets (Millar 1996; ODNB).

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642 – 1727), natural philosopher and mathematician, was born in Lincolnshire, but his mother, Hannah (c.1610?) was from Rutland, the daughter of James Ayscough, of Market Overton, Rutland. Furthermore, it was Hannah’s brother, Rev William Ayscough who urged his sister to let Isaac Newton prepare for university (ODNB; see Lincolnshire).


The Greenwich list of Observatories for the years 1670 – 1850 does not include any observatories in Rutland with instruments with fixed mountings, or other noteworthy observatories [Howse 1986].

Astronomy Groups

Oakham School Observing Society (OSOS), was listed in the Yearbook of Astronomy in 1990 (Moore 1989, 198) and 1992 (Moore 1991, 222), but did not appear in the Yearbook for 1993 (Moore 1992, 254).

Rutland Astronomical Society (RuAS), founded(?).  Members meet at Wilson Pavilion,  Oakham School, Ashwell Road, Oakham (LE15 7QH).

Associated Groups

Ketton Institute and Reading Room, Ketton, Stamford (Kelly 1881, 847)

Oakham Institute, High Street, Oakham (Kelly 1881, 847).

Authors, lecturers and broadcasters

Academics and associated professionals

None identified at present


Rutland Local History and Record Society/Rutland Record Society: See Useful addresses above

Instrument Makers

Wing, John (c.1673-1715) was an instrument maker from Pickworth, Rutland, who made sundials and designed a portable plane table (Websters Instrument Makers Database) –
so far, I have no information about how this John Wing was related to the other members of the ‘Wing Dynasty’ (see Vincent Wing [1619-68] ODNB).

Wing, Tycho (1726-1776), instrument maker, astronomer and astrologer, was born in Pickworth, Rutland (Twickenham Museum) and was a son of Tycho Wing (1696-1750) [Capp]. In May 1741, he was apprenticed to Thomas Heath, an instrument maker in London. In 1749 he married Hypatia Heath, daughter of Thomas Heath and from 1753 to 1773, he was in partnership with his father-in-law, Thomas Heath. Their instruments included an equinoctial sundial and dialling instrument as well as a universal inclining dial [Twickenham Museum]. The Heath and Wing catalogue of instruments for 1765 can be viewed online [Manthey] and there are many examples of instruments by Heath and Wing, which are held in museums in the UK and abroad. There are several websites that can be used to identify the location of Heath and Wing instruments in museums [Websters; ISIN]. Thomas Heath and Tycho Wing presented to the Royal Society in 1766, a reflecting telescope, which was probably made by Newton in 1671 [Work by Hand and Brain]. The Company of Stationers published an almanac written by Tycho Wing with the title OLNMPIA DWMATA [sic] or an Almanack for the year of our Lord 1775 wherein is contained Lunations, Conjunctions, Aspects and Effects of the Planets (see Vincent Wing [1619-68] ODNB).

Useful addresses

Local History Centre

Leicestershire and Rutland Family History SocietyRutland Group.

Rutland Local History and Record Society, formed in 1991 from the merger of the Rutland Record Society, the Rutland Local History Society and the Rutland Field Research Group for Archaeology and History (Rutland County Museum, Catmose Street, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6HW England).

County Record Office

The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland,
Long Street, Wigston Magna, Leicester, LE18 2AH; Telephone: 0116 2571080:

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