Richard Lovell Edgeworth

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Richard Lovell Edgeworth
Richard Edgeworth.jpg
Richard Edgeworth, 1812
Born (1744-05-31)31 May 1744
Bath, England
Died 13 June 1817(1817-06-13) (aged 73)
Edgeworthstown, County Longford, Ireland
Nationality English
Alma mater Oxford; Trinity College, Dublin
  • Anna Maria Elers (1743–1773)
  • Honora Sneyd (1773–1780)
  • Elizabeth Sneyd (1753–1797)
  • Frances Ann Beaufort

Twenty two

Edgeworthstown House, Ireland
Library at Edgeworthstown House 1888
Edgeworth's proposed optical telegraph for use in Ireland. The rotational position of each one of the four indicaters represented a number 1-7 (0 being "rest"), forming a four-digit number. The number stood for a particular word in a codebook.[1]

Richard Lovell Edgeworth (31 May 1744 – 13 June 1817) was an Anglo-Irish politician, writer and inventor.


Edgeworth was born in Pierrepont Street, Bath, England, great-grandson of Sir Salathiel Lovell through his granddaughter, Jane Lovell.

A Trinity College, Dublin and Oxford alumnus, he is credited for creating, among other inventions, a machine to measure the size of a plot of land. He also made strides in the developing educational methods. He anticipated the caterpillar track with an invention that he played around with for forty years but that he never successfully developed.[2] He described it as a "cart that carries its own road".

He was married four times, including both Honora Sneyd and Frances Beaufort, older sister of Francis Beaufort of the Royal Navy. The two men installed a telegraph line for Ireland. Richard Lovell Edgeworth was a member of the Lunar Society. The Lunar Society evolved through various degrees of organization over a period of years, but was only ever an informal group. No constitution, minutes, publications or membership lists survive from any period, and evidence of its existence and activities is found only in the correspondence and notes of those associated with it. Dates given for the society range from sometime before 1760 to it still operating as late as 1813. Fourteen individuals have been identified as having verifiably attended Lunar Society meetings regularly over a long period during its most productive time: these are Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Samuel Galton, Jr., James Keir, Joseph Priestley, William Small, Jonathan Stokes, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, John Whitehurst and William Withering.

Richard Edgeworth and his family lived in Ireland at his estate at Edgeworthstown, County Longford, where he reclaimed bogs and improved roads. He sat in Grattan's Parliament for St Johnstown (County Longford) from 1798 until the Act of Union in 1801, and advocated Catholic Emancipation and parliamentary reform. He was a founder-member of the Royal Irish Academy. He died in Edgworthstown on 13 June 1817.


He was the father of 22 children by his four wives

  1. Anna Maria Elers (1743–1773), of whom[3]
    Richard (1765–1796), died in America
    Maria (1768 –1849) the novelist
    Emmeline (1770–1817), married Dr. John King of Bristol, October 1802[4]
    Anna Maria (1773–1824), married to Dr. Thomas Beddoes.[5]
  2. Honora Sneyd (1751 – 1 May 1780), of whom[3]
    Lovell (1775–1842), who inherited the property
    Honora (1774–1790)
  3. Elizabeth Sneyd (1753–1797), five sons and four daughters, of whom
    Charles Sneyd (d. 1864) succeeded his brother Lovell
    Honora married Francis Beaufort in 1838
    William Edgeworth was known as an engineer.[6]
  4. Frances Ann Beaufort,[3] daughter of Daniel Augustus Beaufort and Esther Gougeon, of whom,
    Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, who became a botanist.
    Francis Ysidro Edgeworth became an influential economist.[7]
    Francis Beaufort Edgeworth was mentioned in Thomas Carlyle's Life of Sterling. He married a Spanish lady, Rosa Florentina Eroles, and their son Antonio Eroles Edgeworth succeeded his uncle Charles Sneyd at Edgeworthstown.
    Lucy Jane married the Irish astronomer Thomas Romney Robinson.


  1. ^ Rees, Abraham, ed. (1802–1820). "Telegraph". Cyclopædia 35. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown. Unpaginated work: pages 9-11 of the article entry. 
  2. ^ Beach Combing 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Lundy 2015, Richard Lovell Edgeworth.
  4. ^ Find a Grave 2015, Emmeline Edgeworth King.
  5. ^ Find a Grave 2015, Anna Maria Edgeworth Beddoes.
  6. ^ A. W. Skempton (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830. Thomas Telford. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-7277-2939-2. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  7. ^  "Edgeworth, Richard Lovell". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Sir William Gleadowe-Newcomen, 1st Bt
Francis Hardy
Member of Parliament for
St Johnstown (County Longford)

1798 – 1801
Served alongside: William Moore
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom