George Tollet

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George Tollet (died 1719) was a mathematician and naval administrator.

He was born in Dublin, the son of Thomas Tollet of London and educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He then moved with his brother Cooke to the Isle of Man for a time as debt exiles.

In 1685 he was also a founder member and treasurer of the Dublin Philosophical Society,[1] where he presented many papers and experiments, concentrating on applied mathematics.

Tollet held various government posts, mainly in Ireland, before being appointed Extra Commissioner of the Navy in 1702, a sinecure post which however offered an opportunity to move into the Tower of London until 1714. He was also Second Master at Westminster School from 1711 to 1714. He became acquainted with many members of the Royal Society, including Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley as well as literary figures such as Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1713.[3]

Tollet was interested in education; in 1685 William Molyneux, a member of the Dublin society wrote to Halley in London mentioning an eleven-year-old girl that he had trained in arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry.[4] He also ensured the education of his own daughter.[2]

In 1718 he purchased a country home at Betley Hall, Staffordshire for his retirement but died there in 1719.[1] He had married Elizabeth Oakes on the Isle of Man. Their son George inherited Betley Hall, their daughter was the poet Elizabeth Tollet (1694-1754).


  1. ^ a b Londry, Michael (September 2004). Tollet, George (d. 1719). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-10-17. (library card access)
  2. ^ a b Londry, Michael (September 2004). Tollet, Elizabeth (1694–1754). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-10-17. (library card access)
  3. ^ "Royal Society Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 28 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Gilbert, J. T. (1859). "IV". History of the City of Dublin. II. M'Glashan and Gill. ISBN 0-7171-0942-9. Archived from the original on September 12, 2011. "I must confess, we have been lately something idle-and several of our meetings have been employed by a young mathematical female in this place, bred up by one Mr. Tollet, a teacher of mathematics, and a most excellent learned man in that kind. The child is not yet eleven, and yet she hath given sufficient proofs of her learning in arithmetic, the most abstruse parts, algebra, geometry, trigonometry plane and spherical, the doctrine of the globes, chronology, and on the violin plays anything almost at sight. As this is a most plain instance of the force and power of timely education, and of the reach that man has naturally, we have thought it worth our while to consider and examine it thoroughly; and indeed we find, at least, that the child seems to have no more natural inclination or delight in these things than ordinarily amongst children."