Robert WHITE of Bingham

Astronomer & Mathematician

(?1693/4 - 1773)

Robert White was a long term resident of Bingham.  He received a good education (despite a humble background) enabling him to become an Almanac compiler for the Stationer's Company (1).
Photo:Memorial plaque in Bingham parish church

Memorial plaque in Bingham parish church

Picture taken March 2014

In 1750 he wrote his Celestial Atlas which ran through several editions, the last one being published in 1840.

He was also editor of Ephemeris from its establishment in 1749 until his death in 1773.  In 1767 he was asked to compile the Nautical Almanac, but declined on account of his age.

White is recorded as a friend of the Astronomer Royal, Sir Neville Maskelyne

In the short notices of his life which have been published, a birth year of 1694 is often given.  A search of the surviving Nottinghamshire parish registers, however, does not reveal the baptism of such a person in that year.  The only baptismal record for a Robert White in Nottinghamshire (at around the appropriate time) occurs in the parish register of Shelford on 5th July 1693 when Robert, the son of Edmund White was baptised.

The record of his burial, however, is unequivocal, as we find in the Bingham parish registers the burial, on 6th June 1773, of "Robert White, Astronomer, aged 80" - this age, incidently, would tally with a birth year of 1693.

Photo:The burial of Robert White, recorded in the Bingham parish register, 6th June 1773

The burial of Robert White, recorded in the Bingham parish register, 6th June 1773


The book "A History of Bingham" (comp. Adelaide L. Wortley, 1954) p.128 says that Shaw Desmond (1877 - 1960), the novelist and founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research, was a descendant of Robert White.



(1) Society for the History of Astronomy accessed October 2016

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