Woolsthorpe Manor

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Woolsthorpe Manor
LEO3122 2022 04 0002.jpg
Woolsthorpe Manor with Newton's Apple Tree in foreground
Woolsthorpe Manor is located in Lincolnshire
Woolsthorpe Manor
Location within Lincolnshire
General information
TypeManor house
LocationWoolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire
Coordinates52°48′33″N 0°37′50″W / 52.80917°N 0.63056°W / 52.80917; -0.63056Coordinates: 52°48′33″N 0°37′50″W / 52.80917°N 0.63056°W / 52.80917; -0.63056
Completed17th century
OwnerNational Trust

Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, is the birthplace and was the family home of Sir Isaac Newton. He was born there on 25 December 1642 (old calendar). At that time, it was a yeoman's farmstead, principally rearing sheep.

Newton returned here in 1666 when Cambridge University closed due to the plague, and here, he performed many of his most famous experiments, most notably his work on light and optics.[1] This is also said to be the site where Newton, observing an apple fall from a tree, was inspired to formulate his law of universal gravitation.[citation needed]

Now in the hands of the National Trust and open to the public all year round, it is presented as a typical seventeenth century yeoman's farmhouse (or as near to that as possible, taking into account modern living, health and safety requirements and structural changes that have been made to the house since Newton's time).

New areas of the house, once private, were opened up to the public[2][failed verification] in 2003, with the old rear steps (that once led up to the hay loft and grain store and often seen in drawings of the period) being rebuilt, and the old walled kitchen garden, to the rear of the house, being restored.

One of the former farmyard buildings has been equipped so that visitors can have hands-on experience of the physical principles investigated by Newton in the house.

It is a Grade I listed building.[3]

The tree[edit]

The tree from which the famous apple is said to have fallen

Isaac Newton recounted to his contemporary William Stukeley how an apple tree in the orchard inspired him to work on his law of universal gravitation.[4][5] Dendrochronology confirms one of the trees in the orchard to be over 400 years old, having regrown from roots surviving from a tree which blew down in 1820.[6] It is attended by gardeners, secured with a fence, and cared for by National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty.[7][dubious ]

The village[edit]

Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth (not to be confused with Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir, also in Lincolnshire) has grown from a hamlet of several houses in the seventeenth century to a small village of several hundred houses today; much of the original land once owned by Woolsthorpe Manor was sold to a nearby family,[citation needed] and some of the immediate open land has since been built upon. Woolsthorpe Manor remains on the edge of the village and is mostly surrounded by fields.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Appears in episode three and ten of the TV documentary Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, whilst discussing the development of planetary motion and Newton's work on the matter.
  • Also appears in a BBC documentary, Isaac Newton: The Dark Heretic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Woolsthorpe Manor - Year of Wonders 1665-1667". National Trust. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Woolsthorpe Manor". National Trust. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  3. ^ Historic England. "WOOLSTHORPE MANOR HOUSE (1062362)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  4. ^ "newtons-apple-tree". Royal Society. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's Life by William Stukeley, page 15". Royal Society, "Turning the pages". Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  6. ^ "the-most-famous-apple-tree-in-the-world". The National Trust. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Isaac Newton's apple tree is still alive after over 400 years". The Fact Source. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2020.

External links[edit]