BSHM Gazetteer -- C

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Written by David Singmaster ( ). Links to relevant external websites are being added occasionally to this gazetteer but the BSHM has no control over the availability or contents of these links. Please inform the BSHM Webster ( of any broken links.

[When the gazetteer was edited for serial publication in the BSHM Newsletter, references were omitted since the bibliography was too substantial to be included. Publication on the web permits references to be included for material now being added to the website, but they are still absent from material originally prepared for the Newsletter - TM, August 2002]

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The University of Cambridge

Dates from before 1209 when a group of students left Oxford after a riot and went to Cambridge. The first recorded Chancellor was elected by 1246. Town and gown riots occurred in Cambridge as well and in 1381 all the university records were publicly burned, resulting in considerable obscurity about the early history of the university. The Cambridge system has undergone many changes, but from 1747-1748 until 1910 there was an extended examination, called the Tripos, and the top students were ranked in order as senior wrangler, second wrangler, .... The total numbers of students with mathematical honours for 1747/48 to 1899 are--Trinity 5948; St. John's 4224; Gonville and Caius 1533; with the other colleges trailing behind. By the early 20C, the Tripos system was replaced by unordered results within classes, like most other English universities.

Cambridge has a number of ancient professorships and it is convenient to list them first. The dates of office tend to differ in the sources.


The Lucasian professorship is the oldest mathematical chair at Cambridge, founded by Henry Lucas in 1663. Holders have been: Isaac Barrow (1663-1669); Isaac Newton (1669-1702); William Whiston (1702-1710), best known for his translation of Flavius Josephus' historical writings and for being expelled for heresy, but who also popularised Newton's work; Nicolas Saunderson (1711-1739), famous for overcoming the apparent handicap of blindness; John Colson (1739-1760) who invented negative digits; Edward Waring (1760-1798) of Waring's problem; Isaac Milner (1798-1820) who gave no lectures; Robert Woodhouse (1820-1822) who wrote the first English calculus using Leibniz's notation and a book on the history of the calculus of variations; Thomas Turton (1822-1826); G. B. Airy (1826-1828); Charles Babbage (1828-1839) who never gave a lecture; Joshua King (1839-1849); G. G. Stokes (1849-1903); Joseph Larmor (1903-1932); Paul Dirac (1932-1969); Michael Lighthill (1969-1979); Stephen Hawking (1979- ). Notes on most of these are given in the 'Individuals' section of this gazetteer, below.


The Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy has often been of mathematical interest. It was founded in 1704 by Thomas Plume. Notable holders of the Plumian chair have been: Roger Cotes (first holder, 1707-1716); Robert Smith (1716-1760); Robert Woodhouse (1822-1828); G. B. Airy (1828-1836); James Challis (1836-1883); G. H. Darwin (1883-1912); A. S. Eddington (1913-1944); G. V. Jeffreys (1946-1958); M. J. Rees (1973-1992); R. S. Ellis (as of 1995).


Another Cambridge chair of relevance is theLowndean chair of astronomy and geometry, founded by Thomas Lowndes in 1749. Holders include: Roger Long (1749- 1770); George Peacock (1836-1858, but he ceased to lecture after becoming Dean of Ely in 1839); John Couch Adams (1858-1892); R. S. Ball (1892-1913); H. F. Baker (1914-1936); W. V. D. Hodge (1936-1970); J. F. Adams (1970-1988).


In her will of 1701, Lady Sadleir endowed a number of lectureships on algebra. These were reformed into the Sadleirian chair of mathematics in 1860 and the holder has generally been a Trinity man. The holders have been: Arthur Cayley (1863-1895), for whom the Chair was re-established; A. R. Forsyth (1895-1910); E. W. Hobson (1910-1931); G. H. Hardy (1931-1942); L. J. Mordell (1945-1953); Philip Hall (1953-1967); J. W. S. Cassels (1967?-1986?); J. H. Coates (1986- ).


The Cavendish Laboratory in Free School Lane (plaque) was the world's major physics laboratory from its founding in c. 1870. In 1868, a committee had recommended establishment of such a laboratory and a chair. The Chancellor of the University, the Duke of Devonshire, who had been first wrangler and first Smith's prizeman, donated the funds in memory of his great-uncle Henry Cavendish. Clerk Maxwell was elected to the Professorship in March 1871. The building was completed and formally presented to the University on 16 Jun 1874. The Duke also provided funds for the necessary apparatus during the following years. The Laboratory has recently moved to a new site in Madingley Road west of the town. (Such a professorship might well have been founded a generation earlier, but William Whewell asserted that it was not appropriate for a university to teach a subject which had not yet reached its permanent form!)

Cavendish professors have been: J. C. Maxwell (1871-1879); Lord Rayleigh (1879-1884); J. J. Thomson (1884-1919, who was only 28 when nominated by Rayleigh(??) and elected by Kelvin, Stokes & G. H. Darwin); Ernest Rutherford (1919-1937); W. L. Bragg (1938-1953); N. Mott (1953-1971); Sam Edwards (??). Maxwell investigated electrical standards here, assisted by R. T. Glazebrook. William Garnett (1850-1932) was assistant to Maxwell from 1873 and had hoped to succeed him. Glazebrook was Assistant Director in 1891-1899, then he became the first director of the National Physical Laboratory, and this work went there with him. Maxwell produced his Treatise on electricity and magnetism (1873) and The electrical researches of the Honourable Henry Cavendish (1879) while here. Rutherford was a graduate student here, 1895-1898; he demonstrated wireless telegraphy over half a mile in 1895, but Kelvin said it would never be of any use except for communicating with lightships and advised him to concentrate on atoms. Thomson 'discovered' the electron here in 1897. W. L. Bragg was a student from 1911. Rutherford demonstrated artificial transmutation here in 1919: N14 + He4 <=> H1 + O17 and coined the word 'proton' in 1920.

Other notable workers here include: Appleton; Aston (who developed the mass spectrometer here in 1913, producing the first separation of isotopes in 1919 and soon began discovering a new isotope every week); Bernal; Blackett; Bohr; Chadwick (who discovered the neutron here in 1932); Chandrasekhar; Chrystal; Cockcroft; J. A. Fleming; Fowler; Frisch; Glazebrook; Hartree; Kapitza (1921-1934); Oppenheimer (c1925, discovering he wasn't an experimentalist); Perutz; Ryle; Schuster (1876-1881); G. I. Taylor; Walton; C. T. R. Wilson. The Laboratory has: the plates of Maxwell's first colour photograph of 1861; zoetrope strips painted by Maxwell; Maxwell's diabolo (which he was fond of playing with); J. J. Thomson's apparatus for 'discovering' the electron; Wilson's original cloud chamber of 1911 which 'photographed' the electron; Chadwick's 1932 neutron chamber. In 1929, Walter Gamow came and showed that Schrodinger's equations explained how an alpha particle could escape from a nucleus and how nuclei might be split. Cockcroft and Walton recognised the possibilities and started building an appropriate accelerator to bombard lithium with protons, hoping to see two alpha particles. On 13 Apr 1932, Walton was testing the accelerator and unexpectedly saw alpha particles, which were rapidly confirmed by Cockcroft and Rutherford. Crick and Watson discovered the structure of DNA here in 1953 (Nobel Prize, 1962). The northern part of the Cavendish site is the Rayleigh Wing. A new lecture theatre in the old Cavendish site is named for Babbage. In the back (east side) of the site, facing Corn Exchange Street, is the Computer Laboratory. I believe EDSAC was built here, but I am not certain.


The Jacksonian Professorship of Natural Philosophy has been held by: Dewar (1875-1923, though he was also at the Royal Institution from 1877); Otto Frisch (??-1979).

Five University Lectureships in Mathematics were created in 1882 and additional ones sometimes existed. Many of the holders have been notable, so I give a list of c1914 which I found in the Ball Albums at Trinity Library. J. J. Thomson (1884); A. R. Forsyth (1884-1895); W. H. Macaulay (1884-1898); R. T. Glazebrook (1884-1898); E. H. Hobson (1884-1910); Joseph Larmor (1885-1903); Pendlebury (1888-1901); H. F. Baker (1895-1914); A. E. H. Love (1898-1899); H. M. Macdonald (1899-1904); H. W. Richmond (1901-??); G. M. Matthews (1903-1905); J. H. Jeans (1904-1906 & 1910-1912); J. G. Leathem (1905-1909); R. A. Herman (1906-??); Whittaker (1905-1906); A. E. L. Bromwich (1906-??); J. H. Grace (1910-??); G. H. Hardy (1914-??); A. Berry (1914-??). I have references to these, or one of them, being known as the Cayley lectureships--The Cayley Lectureship has been held by several notable mathematicians, including: H. F. Baker (1895-1914); G. H. Hardy (1914-1920); J. E. Littlewood (1920-1928).

Rouse Ball

The Rouse Ball Professorship was founded in 1928 by a bequest from Rouse Ball. Occupants have been: J. E. Littlewood (1928-1950); Besicovitch (1950-1958); Harold Davenport (1958-1969); J. G. Thompson (1971-1993).


The Plummer Professorship of Mathematical Physics started in 1932 and has had some holders of mathematical interest: Fowler (1932-1944); Douglas Hartree (1946-????); Sam Edwards (1972-??).

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Cambridge Colleges

Trinity College

has long been the leading British college for mathematics. As one approaches the Great Gate from Trinity Street, the lawn on the right (north) side was once Isaac Newton's private garden and his chemical laboratory was adjacent to the Chapel. His rooms were to the right of the Gate, on the first (UK) (= second (US)) floor, adjacent to the Chapel, with two windows facing out on the lawn. In 1954, an apple tree was planted there, propagated from the tree at the Cambridge Botanic Garden, which is directly descended from the tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, traditionally associated with Newton. At some stage, there was a graft and the next cutting was taken from a different part of the tree, so the Trinity tree is a different type of apple than the original!! As you enter, you can buy a copy of Trevelyan's History and guide to the College at the Porter's Lodge on the right. You then come into the Great Court, the largest enclosed quadrangle in Europe, familiar from the film 'Chariots of Fire' (which had to be filmed in a mock-up of the Court). Now go to the right to enter the Antechapel, where the famous Roubiliac statue of Newton stands.

And from my pillow, looking forth by light
Of moon or favouring stars, I could behold
The antechapel where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.

[William Wordsworth, Prelude, III, 58-63.

The statue of Newton was presented by Elizmar Smith, sister of the Master Robert Smith and the only woman buried here. The plinth reads: Newton --qui genus humanum ingenio superavit. Nearby is Isaac Barrow, Newton's teacher and predecessor as Lucasian Professor. Though Barrow went on to bigger things--he became Chaplain to the King, a bishop (?? - not mentioned in the DNB) and then Master of Trinity College in 1672--he had no formal post after this resignation.

There are also statues of Francis Bacon and William Whewell. The first stained glass window to the left in the Chapel includes Newton with his apple, Cotes with a telescope beside Newton, and Barrow below Cotes. A tablet just to the left of the door to the Chapel records that this window was donated by George Peacock, among others. Whewell is buried in the Antechapel.

Roger Cotes (1682-1716), editor of the second edition of the Principia and first Plumian Professor till his early death, was buried in Trinity Chapel whose reconstruction he had supervised. There is a monumental plaque on the south wall of the Antechapel, but I (and others) have not been able to find the actual burial site. Richard Bentley, the Master who sponsored the second edition of the Principia, is also buried here. There are numerous wall-plaques in the Antechapel including ones to: J. Frank Adams; F. G. Aston (physicist); Rouse Ball; Besicovitch; A. H. F. Boughey ("as skilled in mathematics as in the two classical languages"); W. L. Bragg; Cayley; W. C. D. Dampier (historian of science); G. H. Darwin; Davenport; Eddington; O. R. Frisch (physicist); Glaisher; Hardy; Thomas Jones (1756-1807, an unknown mathematician, but Tutor of Trinity); Kapitza; Littlewood; G. E. Moore (the philosopher); Ramanujan; Russell; Rutherford; Martin Ryle (Astronomer Royal); James Stuart (1843-1913, first Professor of Mechanism and Applied Mathematics); G. I. Taylor; H. M. Taylor (1842-1927, another Tutor of Trinity, a minor mathematician best remembered for developing scientific Braille after his blindness and also Mayor of Cambridge); J. J. Thomson; Whewell; Whitehead; Wittgenstein. A book of all the Latin inscriptions, with English translations, was produced in 1990 by James Clackson and can be purchased here. Trevelyan's Guide to the College mentions the following other notable Trinity men: Airy, W. H.(??check - probably L.) Bragg, De Morgan, Galton, Jeans, J. C. Maxwell, Rayleigh, Robert Smith (later a Master of Trinity and founder of Smith's Prizes), Cuthbert Tunstall and John Wilkins, but I didn't find memorials to them--certainly some had only a brief connection with Trinity. Barnes, Clifford, Forsyth, Peacock, Ramanujan, Fox Talbot and Whittaker were also at Trinity. John Dee was an original Fellow.

Cotes's observatory was built over the Great Gate, but was demolished in 1797. The bridge over the Cam in the grounds of Trinity has cycloidal arches. In Trinity Antechapel, one can buy a very nice postcard of an 1815 watercolour of this bridge. There is a plaque to Hardy in the Bowling Green, but this is in the Fellows' Garden and is not accessible unless you are with a Fellow.

Trinity Library was designed by Wren, who was persuaded to do it for free by Barrow in 1675. Supposedly Barrow was so annoyed at the University's hesitancy about building a theatre or hall, that he announced that he was planning a fine building for Trinity. After the meeting, he laid out the groundplan and then he got Wren to produce designs--even for the furniture. It cost about 15.000. Wren also added the balustraded terrace at the east side of the courtyard. One of the statues on the Library roof represents Mathematics--the one on the north end with a globe; another is Physics --probably that adjacent to Mathematics. The Library contains many busts, including: Bacon, Barrow, Cotes, Newton (by Roubiliac), and a portrait of Barrow. At the south end is a somewhat garish stained glass window showing Fame (or Cantabrigia) presenting Newton to George III, with Francis Bacon watching. Newton's private library is in the last alcove on the west side and the libraries of Cotes and Robert Smith are also here. In one of the exhibit cases are Newton's copy of the Principia, annotated for the second edition, and his pocket account book from his student days. There is a bust of J. J. Thomson on the staircase. Newton used the arcade from the Library door to the Hall to measure the speed of sound.

See also the following under Individuals, below: Airy, Atiyah, Babbage, Ball, W. L. Bragg, Clifford, De Morgan, Eddington, Galton, Hardy, Littlewood, J. C. Maxwell, Newton, Rayleigh, Fox Talbot and Thomson.

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St John's College

The Antechapel has plaques to William Henry Besant (1828-1917, an 'ardent promoter of mathematical science'), Francis Puryer White (a long serving Secretary and Editor of the London Mathematical Society), William Gilbert (1540-1603, author of De Magnete), John Ambrose Fleming (Honorary Fellow, inventor of the diode). About 1765, an Observatory was built over the west gateway of the Second Court, paid for by a Mr. Dunthorne, who also presented instruments. It remained until 1859. William Ludlam published observations made here. In the far northwest of St. John's College stands the 'School of Pythagoras', perhaps so called because it was once the geometry lecture hall--other writers say the origin of the name is unknown. Built as a private house about 1200, it is the oldest house in the county (or city), but there is little original left. The old bridge of 1696-1712 is sometimes called 'Wren's bridge', but his connection seems to be distant--either an initial design was prepared in Wren's office or it was based on suggestions made by Wren.

Wordsworth was a student at St. John's, and lived just to the north of Trinity so he could see the Antechapel as he describes it in the poem quoted above. His rooms, F2 of the First Court of St. John's, are no more--they were incorporated into the kitchens in 1893--but there is a memorial window on Back Lane between Trinity and St. John's. In St. John's, one can see the sign for Wordsworth's Room.

The gate of the Old Schools has a number of statues, including Henry Lucas (of the Lucasian chair) at the top right and Tunstall below him. (This gate is a bit out of the way - it faces onto Trinity Lane and I only located it in September 1991.)

St. John's is the second most mathematical college after Trinity, but does not have a convenient history available. See the following under Individuals, below: J. C. Adams, Baker, Billingsley, Briggs, Burnside, Cockcroft, Colenso, Comrie, Dee, Dirac, Frost, Gilbert, Hartree, Herschel, Inman, Larmor, Ludlam, Mordell, Parsons, Piaggio, Sylvester, Taylor, Wood.

Gonville and Caius College

Denerally just called 'Caius', which is pronounced as his English name Kees or Keyes or Keys, but written in the Latinized form . It has had a number of important mathematicians and physicists, mostly over the last century and a half--see the following under Individuals, in the next Newsletter: Briggs, Bromhead, Chadwick, Ferrars, Fisher, Green, Hawking, Murphy, Needham, Venn, Wollaston, Woodhouse, Wright--and two Cavendish Professors: Edwards and Mott. William Harvey was also a student, graduating in 1597. It has recently installed very handsome stained glass windows in the hall commemorating Chadwick, Fisher, Green, Venn and other distinguished scientist members. The new booklet on the college shows the Venn and Fisher windows, but the colours are a bit dark. Sir Sam Edwards, Cavendish Professor, is the current President of the College (as of 1993). Caius is buried in the Chapel.

King's College

a short history of the College has recently appeared which mentions the following: Oughtred; Arthur Berry; H. W. Richmond; Percival Frost (author of Curve Tracing); Karl Pearson; W. H. Macaulay (an applied mathematician); W. E. Johnson (who became a logician); Dillwyn Knox (who worked on cryptography in both wars, being Turing's first supervisor even before the Second War broke out); Keynes; Blackett; Frank Ramsey (of Ramsey Theory). See also R. S. Ball, Philip Hall, Richardson & Turing below. In 1689, King William's nomination of a liberal Provost was rejected and then the King nominated Isaac Newton, who was also rejected. In the early 18C, King's consulted with Wren and his student Hawksmoor about buildings for the present courtyard. Hawksmoor produced designs and two models for buildings made at Wren's establishment, so presumably reflecting Wren's ideas. The buildings were not built, but the models are still at King's.

Queen's College

The Old Court has an extraordinarily complex sun- and moon- dial, dating from 1642 and restored in 1733. Erasmus spent several years here teaching Greek and living in the top of the turret in Cloister Court. The College has a 1960 Erasmus Building. Beyond the Cloister Court is the 'Mathematical Bridge'. It is often said to have been designed by Newton and to have originally had no nails or bolts--the present ones being added after someone had taken it apart the original to see how it was made and then being unable to reconstruct it. Both stories are demonstrably false since the college has the original 1748 model of the bridge, designed by W. Etheridge. However a local booklet asserts the original bridge was assembled without nails or bolts and the present bridge is a 1902 replacement. See: Cavendish, E. A. Maxwell, Reynolds and Wallis under Individuals,below.

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Other institutions in Cambridge

Department of Pure Mathematics andMathematical Statistics (DPMMS)

Was created in 1964 in a converted warehouse at 16 Mill Lane, where it still is. It has a few historical items. In the Head's office is the famous unique portrait inscribed 'Robt. Recorde M.D. 1556'. However recent cleaning caused the inscription to vanish and 'Aetat suae 63 Ao 1631' appeared instead. Expert examination indicates that the painting is probably Flemish and is consistent with the date 1631, so this is not a Recorde. (An article wrongly asserts that this portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London in the early 1920s.) The Department also has the 12 three dimensional models of the sections of some four dimensional polytopes constructed by Alicia Boole Stott (1860-1940), daughter of George Boole, presented by her nephew, Sir G. I. Taylor. It also has H. T. Flather's "very beautiful set of miniature models of all the fifty-nine [stellations of the icosahedron]". These are in the glass cases adjacent to room G19, along with many other 19C models, all sadly decaying. (The stellated icosahedra were not on display when I visited in Sep 1991, but in 1992 I discovered they are now in the Department Library.) The Department also has J. C. P. Miller's card models of polyhedra, but these are in storage--some in the Department storeroom and some in the Department Library Staff Room--and many of the labels have come off. I have not located the wire models shown in the famous paper by Coxeter et al. on uniform polyhedra. The Department Library is housed in the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms and a bust of Ramanujan was placed there in 1986.

Isaac Newton Research Institute

opened at 20 Clarkson Road in 1992. Michael Atiyah was the creative force and first head. On 23 Jun 1993, Andrew Wiles described his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, announcing his result at 10:30 am. In fact it took a bit over a year for all the gaps and details to be filled in.

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)

Is in the same block as DPMMS, but its entrance is in Silver Street. Its Dirac Library has a bust of Dirac by Gabriella Bollobás.

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Botanic Garden

In Trumpington Road, to the South, has a 'Newton' apple tree, grown from a cutting of the one at Kew. The tree at Trinity is taken from a cutting of this tree. The one at Kew is believed to be grown from a cutting of the original (?) tree.

Whipple Museum of the History of Science

South end of Free School Lane, in part of the old Cavendish Laboratories. Its several cases of mathematical instruments include a circular slide rule c. 1640 and an early vernier scale, an unlabelled fragment of Babbage's Difference Engine and the 17C Florentine thermometer presented to Babbage by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Cambridge Philosophical Society

Founded by Adam Sedgwick and John Stevens Henslow in 1819. Babbage, John Herschel and Whewell were original Fellows. The Society is considered to be an outgrowth of the Analytical Society of 1812-1814?, formed by Babbage, Bromhead, J. Herschel, Peacock et al. Its library has now become the Scientific Periodical Library of the University. It has always had an especial interest in mathematics and many mathematicians have been President: Peacock (1841-1843); Whewell (1843-1845); Stokes (1859-1861); J. C. Adams (1861-1863); Cayley (1869-1871); Maxwell (1875-1877); Glaisher (1882-1889); G. H. Darwin (1890-1892 & 1910-1912); Thomson (1894-1896); Larmor (1898-1900); Baker (1902-1904); Hobson (1906-1908); Lamb (1926-1928); Yule (1928-1930); Hodge (1947-1949); G. I. Taylor (1967-1968). Airy first described astigmatism and how to correct it, based on observations and work on his own eyes, in an 1825 paper in the Proceedings.

Great St Mary's

The University Church. In 1793, Joseph Jowett and William Crotch composed quarter hour chimes for the clock. These were later used for Big Ben and hence throughout the world and are commonly, but inappropriately, known as the Westminster Chimes.


The bookshop at the corner of Trinity and Market Streets (now a branch of Heffer's?) is the oldest continuous bookshop in England--books have been sold here since 1581.

Ascension Burial Ground,

Formerly St. Giles' (with St. Peter's) Cemetery, contains many notable mathematicians. The entrance is on Huntingdon Road, along the roadway between numbers 145 & 147, currently only marked with a sign for 145A. One can obtain the very informative leaflet by Slater from the custodian. With a little effort one can locate the following graves, which often include wives and other relatives. J. C. Adams (1819-1892); R. S. Ball; W. W. Rouse Ball; William Henry Besant (Fellow of St. John's who wrote on mathematics); J. D. Cockcroft (1897-1967); Horace Darwin (1851-1928--and several other Darwins); A. S. Eddington; Horace Lamb (1849-1934); John Bascombe Lock (1849-1921, Fellow of Gonville & Caius who wrote on trigonometry); Alfred Marshall (1842-1924, the pioneer economist, Fellow of St. John's, Professor of Economics (1885-1908)); E. A. Maxwell (1907-1987, not mentioned by Slater); G. E. Moore (1873-1958, the philosopher, Fellow of Trinity); Arthur Stanley Ramsey (1867-1954) and his son, Frank Plumpton Ramsey(1903-1930), (the other son, Michael, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, is not here); H. M. Taylor (described at Trinity Antechapel); Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). Also A. C. Benson, author, best known for his words to 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

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Cambridge Individuals

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

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Cambridge Individuals, continued

(Although there have been notable mathematicians at St. John's, Peterhouse, etc., only Trinity and King's seem to have a reasonable college history available, so I am undoubtedly missing out many people and details of interest.)

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Canterbury, Kent

Several mathematical scholars have been archbishop of Canterbury. The most notable was Thomas Bradwardine (c1290-1349), a leader of the Merton School at Oxford, who is buried in St. Anselm's Chapel; a brass plate marks the spot. He died of the Black Death in 1349. St. Anselm (c1033-1109), known for his ontological 'proof' of the existence of God, was archbishop from 1093. John Pecham (c1230-1292), archbishop in 1279-1292, was a mathematician and student of optics. William Laud (1573-1645), archbishop from 1633 until his execution at the Tower of London, was a mathematician and taught at St. John's, Oxford, to which he left his collection of mathematical instruments. Frederick Temple (1821-1902), archbishop from 1896, is, as a mathematician, best known for his earlier erroneous attempt on the Four Colour Theorem. He is buried in the cloister garth.

William Frend (1757 1841) was born in Canterbury. Perhaps best known as Augustus De Morgan's father-in-law, he was a radical Cambridge fellow and a leading opponent of the use of negative numbers in the early 19C. This sounds a bit negative, but a coherent definition did not arise for another generation and the opposition of mathematicians such as Frend was a major driving force in the development of proper foundations.

There are mathematical tiles in Canterbury: see Stephen Bax's website ( for description and photos [TM Feb 2003]


The tallest monument in the cemetery is to Peter Nicholson (1765-1844), architect, carpenter, surveyor, practical builder and private teacher of mathematics. Author of some 30 books, including 9 on mathematics, his works on carpentry and architecture abound with mathematical observations and constructions. His Essays on the Combinatorial Analysis appeared in 1818. But the monument makes no mention of his mathematics.

Catherington, Hampshire

In All Saints' Churchyard is the grave of Admiral Sir Charles Napier (1786-1860), who owned an estate nearby. He was a descendent of the inventor of logarithms and half cousin to General Sir Charles Napier.

Chalfont St Giles, Bucks

Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser erected a memorial to his friend, Captain Cook, at his country house, the Vache, in 1781. (There is a reproduction of this in the National Maritime Museum.)

Harry Golombek (1911-1995), the chess master and cryptographer, lived in Chalfont St. Giles after the War.

Chalford, Glos

James Bradley (1693-1762) died at Chalford, three miles east of Stroud. He was born in Gloucestershire, too--at Sherborne, four miles east of Northleach, and attended Northleach Grammar School.

Chard, Dorset

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) rented Forde Abbey, Chard, in 1814-1818. His protegee, John Stuart Mill, stayed here for long periods. The Abbey is now a museum.

Charlton King's, Glos

Dean Liddell's mother lived at Hetton Lawn, Charlton King's. Alice Liddell and her sisters were on holiday here in Apr 1863, and visited twice by Lewis Carroll--some of the episodes went into Through the Looking Glass.

Cheltenham, Glos

Contains one of the oldest public schools for girls, Cheltenham Ladies College. In 1875-1880, Charles Howard Hinton was assistant Master here while finishing his studies at Oxford.


Edmond Halley was in charge of the Mint here 1696-1698

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Chevening, Kent

The fourth Earl Stanhope planted a maze in 1818-1830, based on the design of the second Earl Stanhope (1714-1786), the 18C polymath. This was probably the first maze design with 'islands' so the 'hand on wall' rule fails to locate the goal. (There are islands in the Hampton Court maze, but the hand on wall rule solves it.) It also had no 'dead-ends'. The idea rapidly became popular and was widely copied.

The third Earl, Charles Stanhope (1753-1816), was also a noted inventor, devising numerical and logical calculating machines, a microscope lens, a printing press and the process of stereotyping--examples are in the Science Museum, London, and the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. Gardner says a copy of the Logic Demonstrator is owned by the present Earl, so it may be here. The name Chevening is on some of the Stanhope items at Oxford, so they may have been made here.


Thomas Bradwardine (c1290-1349) was born here (see above under Canterbury). There is a plaque in the cloisters of the cathedral to Oliver Whitby, who on his death in 1702 endowed a school for poor boys To be diligently instructed in Reading, Writing, Arithmetick, and so far in Mathematical Learning as may fit them for honest and useful Employments with a particular Regard to Navigation.

Cloyne, Co. Cork

George Berkeley (1685-1753), of The Analyst (c1733?), was Bishop of Cloyne, 18 miles SE of Cork, from 1734 to 1752. The Cathedral there has a memorial room and a statue of him. Cloyne House, the bishop's residence, is now a ruin, but some books show a picture of the Cloyne House looking in good shape, so perhaps it has been restored. It was here that he wrote his most famous work Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar Water. In July 1752, the Berkeleys moved to Oxford.

Coates, Fife

John Leslie (1766-1832) died at Coates, but I cannot locate this place. He was born at Largo, on the south Fife coast.

Cockermouth, Cumbria

John Dalton (1766-1844) was born in Cockermouth, where he went to school and started teaching at age 12, leaving at age 15.


Where William Gilbert (1544-1603) was born, and has a monument in Holy Trinity Church.


Thomas Malthus lived at the Ferry House at times during the 1780s.

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George Boole(1815-1864) was Professor at Queen's College (now University College), Cork, from its opening in 1849. He first lived at Mrs. Knowles' boarding house in Strawberry Hill, then shared lodgings at 5 Grenville Place, where he wrote An investigation of the laws of thought. After his marriage to Mary Everest (niece of Sir George Everest, the Indian surveyor) in 1855, they lived for two years at 'College View', Sunday's Well Road. In 1857, they moved to a house in Castle Road, near the eastern suburb of Blackrock. Here their third daughter, Alicia, was born in 1860. In early 1863, they moved to Lichfield Cottage, Ballintemple, a bit closer to Cork on the Blackrock Road. He died at Lichfield Cottage on 8 Dec 1864 and was buried in St. Michael's Anglican (= Church of Ireland = Episcopal) churchyard, Blackrock. There is a marble memorial tablet in the church. A brass plaque was erected on Lichfield Cottage in 1984 . There is a memorial window in the Aula Maxima of the College, including figures of Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci(?), Copernicus, Hipparchus, Galileo, Bacon, Napier, Newton, Pascal, Leibniz, Descartes, Strabo, Ptolemy surrounding a central panel of Euclid and Aristotle behind Boole. The new (1984) library at University College is named the Boole Library.

Corsock, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright

Has two mathematical connections nearby. Jane Carlyle, wife of Thomas Carlyle, inherited a farm at Craigenputtock, a few miles north of Corsock, where she and Thomas Carlyle lived in 1828-1834. And a few miles south is Glenlair, the family home of James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), now a burnt-out shell from a fire in 1929. Clerk Maxwell is buried alongside his parents and wife in the churchyard at Parton, some miles south-west of Corsock.

Cranleigh, Surrey

Is the site of Cranleigh School, where G. H. Hardy's father taught. Hardy was born here, in 1877, in a house across from the school. In c. 1881, the family moved to Mt. Pleasant, a house near the new preparatory school off Horseshoe Lane which Hardy's parents supervised. Hardy attended the school until 1890. Hardy's parents, Isaac and Sophia, are buried in the parish churchyard.

Crich, Derbyshire

Florence Nightingale(1820-1910) was born in Florence, but lived at her father's mansion, Lea Hurst, on the River Derwent near Crich, about 10 miles N of Derby, until 1825. The family moved to Wellow but continued using this house as a summer home for some years. It is now a retirement home, on the east side of the A6.

Croft, Lancashire

Thomas Pennington (= Penyngton) Kirkman (1806-1895), of the fifteen schoolgirls, was curate-in-charge of Christ Church, Croft, from 1838/9 to 1845 and then rector until 1891. He, his wife and others of his family are buried in a family grave to the west of the church. In 1981, Biggs reported that the monument had fallen, but in 1992, Griggs & Mathon refer to a cross on a plinth, apparently standing. The east window in the church is a memorial to him and there is a photograph of him in the church.

Croft-on-Tees, Co. Durham

C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) lived at his father's rectory (now the Old Rectory), opposite St. Peter's Church, Croft-on-Tees, on the A167 a bit south of Darlington, from 1843 until he settled at Oxford. There is a tablet in St. Peter's church. In the church is a rough carving of a cat's head of which only a grin can be seen from low down--possibly the original 'Cheshire cat'. In late 1855, he wrote the first verse of "Jabberwocky" here. Eastman says a part of his improvised railway line survives!

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Written by David Singmaster. Last updated on 28th February 2003 by TM ( Copyright © BSHM and David Singmaster 1998 - 2003. All rights reserved.

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