Edmund Weaver (astronomer)

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Edmund Weaver
Born c. 1683
Died 27 December 1748 (aged 64–65)
Nationality English, British (post 1707)
Fields Astronomy
Memorial to Edmund Weaver in
St Vincent's Church, Caythorpe

Edmund Weaver (c. 1683 – 27 December 1748) was an English astronomer, land surveyor, and friend to William Stukeley.[1] His The British Telescope ephemerides (astronomical tables) is considered an important 18th-century publication on the movement of planets.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Edmund Weaver was born in about 1683 and lived at Frieston in Lincolnshire. He died on 27 December 1748, and was buried at St Vincent's Church, Caythorpe, the village to the north of his home at Frieston. The south chancel at St Vincent's contains a memorial to him.

Astronomy[edit]

Self-taught, Weaver wrote The British Telescope, which led antiquarian William Stukeley to describe him as "a very uncommon genius, who had made himself master in astronomy and was scarcely to be accounted the second in the kingdom".[3] It was through association with Weaver that Stukeley developed an interest in astronomy. Weaver’s writing on astronomy and astrology was also appreciated by Martin Folkes, the president of the Society of Antiquaries.[3][4]

Weaver supported the heliocentric view of the universe. He opposed criticism of the accuracy of ephemerides formulated by Edmond Halley, the Astronomer Royal, particularly that from Tycho Wing.[4] Through his 1741 edition of The British Telescope, he described the path of the forthcoming 1769 transit of Venus as curved, and planetary movement as elliptical, attracting the attention of the Royal Astronomer journal.[5][6]

Land survey[edit]

In 1734, Weaver printed Proposals for making and publishing for Subscription an actual Survey of the County of Lincoln. The project was started but unfinished, with only a map and measurements of certain roads and bearings between places remaining. A correspondent to The Gentleman's Magazine, after examining the project in Weaver's effects, described him as "a noted Astrologer, Almanack-maker, Quack Doctor, Land Surveyor". The proposed survey of Lincolnshire would include all wapentakes, churches, chapels, religious houses, chaces and parks, notable houses, castles, and nobility. It would cover all parishes, settlements, waterways, bridges, and roads, would be carried out with contemporary technological equipment, and would be fully indexed.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Correspondence of the Spalding Gentlemen's Society, 1710-1761, p. 143. Lincoln Record Society (2010). ISBN 0901503878
  2. ^ Devore, Nicholas (1947): Encyclopedia of Astrology. Reprint: Astrology Classics (2005). p. 177. ISBN 1933303093
  3. ^ a b “Edmund Weaver”, SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), Harvard University. Retrieved 7 August 2013
  4. ^ a b Monod, Paul Kleber: Solomon's Secret Arts: The Occult in the Age of Enlightenment. Yale University Press (2013). Retrieved 7 August 2013
  5. ^ The British Palladium: Or, Annual Miscellany of Literature and Science for the Year 1765, vol. 12, p. 63. Reprint: Ulan Press (2012)
  6. ^ The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer (1768), vol. 37, p. 699
  7. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle; ed. Sylvanus Urban (1808), vol.103, pp.116–117. Reprint: Nabu Press (2011). ISBN 1174553944

Further reading[edit]

  • Weaver, Edmund: The British Telescope: Being an Ephemeris of the Coelestial Motions with an Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1741. Reprint: Gale Ecco (2010). ISBN 1170397077. Also printed 1725 and 1731