To the Heavens in Rural Lancashire: Jeremiah Horrocks and His Circle, and the Foundation of British Astronomical Research

  • Allan Chapman


In continental Europe, the astronomical revolution of the Renaissance was the product of great urban centres and powerful patrons who backed and promoted the work of figures such as Galileo and Kepler. In the British Isles, however, things were very different. Queen Elizabeth I and the succeeding Stuart kings were relatively hard up, by European standards, whereas England in particular had one of the richest and most powerful middle classes in the world. This chapter describes how it was from these people that Britain’s own astronomical revolution was born.


Marker Point Elliptical Orbit Scientific Revolution Telescopic Observation Roman Catholic Priest 
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General bibliography

  1. Aughton, Peter (2004) The Transit of Venus: The Brief, Brilliant Life of Jeremiah Horrocks, Father of British Astronomy, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, J.E. (1882) ‘Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree, observers of the transit of Venus, 24 November, 1639’, The Palatine Note-book II (Manchester): 253–66.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey J.E. (1883) ‘The writings of Jeremiah Horrox and William Crabtree’, Palatine Note-book III (Manchester): 17–22.Google Scholar
  4. Chapman, Allan (1982) Three North Country Astronomers, Swinton: Neil Richardson.Google Scholar
  5. Chapman, Allan (1986) ‘Jeremy Shakerley, 1626–1655(?)’, Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire: 135, 1–14.Google Scholar
  6. Chapman, Allan (1990a) ‘Jeremiah Horrocks, the transit of Venus, and the “New Astronomy” in early seventeenth-century England’, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 31: 333–57.Google Scholar
  7. Chapman, Allan (1990b) Dividing the Circle: The Development of Critical Angular Measurement in Astronomy, 1500–1850, Chichester: Praxis (also 1995 Chichester and New York: Praxis/Wiley).Google Scholar
  8. Chapman, Allan (2004) ‘Horrocks, Crabtree, and the 1639 transit of Venus’, Astronomy and Geophysics 5, 45: 26–31.Google Scholar
  9. Flamsteed, John (1982) The ‘Preface’ to John Flamsteed’s ‘Historia Coelestis Britannica’ 1725 (edited and introduced by Allan Chapman and based on a translation by Alison Dione Johnson), National Maritime Museum Monograph No. 52, Greenwich: National Maritime Museum.Google Scholar
  10. Shirley, John (ed.) (1974) Thomas Harriot, Renaissance Scientist, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

Reproductions of original Horrocks, Crabtree and Gascoigne correspondence

  1. Horrocks, Jeremiah (trans. A.B. Whatton) (1859) The Transit of Venus across the Sun, and Whatton’s ‘Memoir … to Horrocks’, London.Google Scholar
  2. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 2 (1667), 542–4 for micrometer; vol. 27 (1711) for Crabtree’s sunspot letter, 1640; vol. 30 (1717) for Crabtree’s letters.Google Scholar
  3. Rigaud, S.J. (1841) Correspondence of Scientific Men of the Seventeenth Century 1, Oxford (33–59 for Gascoigne letters).Google Scholar
  4. Wallis, John (ed.) (1673) Jeremiae Horrocci…Opera Posthuma, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Allan Chapman 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan Chapman

There are no affiliations available

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