Oakley Park

  • Adrian Thomas
  • Francis Duck
Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)


The Stoney family was descended from Thomas Stoney, who acquired land in Ireland in about 1700. Edith and Florence’s grandfather George inherited the Oakley Park estate in King’s County in 1824. George was unable to prevent it from becoming bankrupt. When he died in 1835, his widow Anne moved to Dublin with her four children. Her son Johnstone excelled at Trinity College Dublin. He inherited Oakley at the height of the Irish famine, when it was sold. Johnstone became, firstly, Lord Rosse’s astronomical assistant, operating the ‘Leviathan’ telescope at Parsonstown. He was then Professor of Natural Philosophy at Queen’s College Galway, where he developed his ideas on liberal education. After returning to Dublin to take the position as Secretary of Queen’s University, he married his cousin Sophia in 1863. After she died he brought up Edith, Florence and his other children on his own. He did some of his best physics at this time, which included defining and naming the electron. Other scientific members of the family included Bindon Stoney, Chief Engineer at the Port of Dublin, and their cousin, the physicist George FitzGerald. No women in the family other than Edith and Florence went into science or medicine.


Leviathan Irish famine Tithes Irvingite church Queen’s College Galway Electron Queen’s University Trinity College Dublin British Association for the Advancement of Science Women in society 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Thomas
    • 1
  • Francis Duck
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, School of Allied and Public Health ProfessionsCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Formerly University of BathBathUK

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