Edward Bromhead

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Sir Edward Thomas Ffrench Bromhead, 2nd Baronet FRS FRSE (26 March 1789 – 14 March 1855) was a British landowner and mathematician best remembered as patron of the mathematician and physicist George Green.


Born the son of Gonville Bromhead, 1st Baronet Bromhead (the famed British leader at Rorke's Drift) and Lady Jane Ffrench, Baroness Ffrench,[1] in Lincolnshire, Bromhead was educated at the University of Glasgow and later at Caius College, Cambridge before taking up the study of law at the Inner Temple in London.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1817. Returning to Lincolnshire, he became High Steward of Lincoln. He became the 2nd Bromhead baronet, of Thurlby Hall in 1822.

While at Cambridge, Bromhead was a founder of the Analytical Society, a precursor of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, together with John Herschel, George Peacock and Charles Babbage, with whom he maintained a close and lifelong friendship. While he was, by all accounts, a gifted mathematician in his own right (although ill-health prevented him from pursuing his studies further), his greatest contribution to the subject is at second hand: having subscribed to the first publication of self-taught mathematician and physicist George Green, he encouraged Green to continue his research and to write further papers (which Bromhead sent on to be published in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and those of the Royal Society of Edinburgh).

Bromhead repeated his success by encouraging a young George Boole who was also from the East Midlands. Bromhead was President of the Lincoln Mechanics Institute and the curator of the facility was George Boole's father. Boole came to notice when he gave a lecture of the work of Isaac Newton on 5 February 1835.[3] The young Boole's development was fed by books that Bromhead supplied.[4]

Bromhead lost his sight when he was old and he died unmarried at his home of Thurlby Hall in Thurlby, North Kesteven on 14 March 1855.[4]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp2.pdf
  2. ^ "Bromhead, Edward Thomas Ffrench (BRMT808ET)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Society for the History of Antronomy, Lincoln, retrieved 20 August 2014
  4. ^ a b A. W. F. Edwards, ‘Bromhead, Sir Edward Thomas Ffrench, second baronet (1789–1855)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 20 Aug 2014
  5. ^ "Author Query for 'Bromhead'". International Plant Names Index. 


Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gonville Bromhead
(of Thurlby Hall)
Succeeded by
Edmund Gonville Bromhead