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Top 10 famous historical people from Lincolnshire

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: August 22, 2014

By Pearl Wheatley

Margaret Thatcher, Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Joseph Banks

Margaret Thatcher, Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Joseph Banks

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Lincolnshire has been the birth place for many famous sons and daughters.

Pearl Wheatley the minutes secretary for The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology and the Sir Joseph Banks Society has complied a top 10 list of famous historical people froma cross the county. 

Sir Isaac Newton 25. 12.1642 to 20.3.1727

Born at Woolsthorpe Manor near Grantham, Isaac attended Kings School, Grantham and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a retiring religious man. Through he studies he opened up new ideas about the universe, explained the law of gravity, proved that light is a mixture of colours, invented calculus and made many other discoveries. He reformed the coinage of the realm when he was Master of the Mint and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Joseph Banks 13.2.1743 to 19.6.1820

Joseph was not born in the county but spent his early years at the family home at Revesby. From an early age he had a keen interest in botany taking e very opportunity to increase his knowledge. He collected specimens in Newfoundland which helped to get him a place on Capt. Cook’s world voyage on the Endeavour but he paid £10,000 for the privilege. 

The tour lasted from 1768 to 1771 during which Banks assembled an enormous collection of plants and animal. This was given to the British Museum to be part now of the Natural History Museum. He was a national and international figure supporting and encouraging numerous scientists, explorers, archaeologists, industrialists and developing Kew Gardens for the King. 

In Lincolnshire he chaired the meetings for the draining of East, West and Wildmoor Fens, the constructing of the Horncastle Canal, the establishing of medical services, developing agriculture and industry plus involvement in any other matters taking place in the county . He was the instigator of shipping criminals to Australia, growing tea in India and other international projects. Joseph is termed “The father of Australia” such is the regard he has there.

Matthew Flinders 16.3.1.74 to 19.7.1814

Born the son of a doctor in Donington near Spalding, Matthew went to sea as a boy and served under several noted captains. He became a very skilled navigator but his great claim is his circum navigation of Australia mapping the coast and proving it is a continent and Tasmania an island. He named sites during this voyage using Lincolnshire place names. 

He is held in great regard in Australia having coined the name Australia, having over 100 sites named after him and commemorative plaques and statues to him. There is a statue of him in Donington Market place and recently one at Euston Station.

John Harrison 24.3.1693 to 24.3.1776

John was a carpenter and clockmaker living in Barrow on Humber. He used a number of different materials and experimented with different types of clocks. Several of his wooden clocks still survive He is remembered for his marine chronometer which he perfected after years of experimentation. 

This clock had to function accurately in all climates, must resist corrosion and cope with the rolling of a ship. It had to keep exact Greenwich time so that sailors could work out how far they are east or west of the Greenwich meridian. Before this locations were calculated through the location n of heavenly bodies. A new display in Leeds City Museum notes “John Harrison, The clockmaker who changed the world”

Margaret Thatcher 13.10.1925 to 8.4.2013

Born in Grantham, Margaret attended the local primary school and Grantham and Kesteven Girls’ Grammar School before studying chemistry at Oxford University. She became a research chemist before becoming a barrister. 

She entered parliament in 1959 becoming prime minister in 1979, a post she held until 1990. This is a record, being the first woman to lead an English political party and then the country She prided herself on her tough actions and introduced a number of changes to the legislation – not al successful. However, her action in declaring a successful war on Argentina won her accolades.

Alfred Lord Tennyson 6.8.1809 to 1892

Alfred came of a religious family being born in the rectory at Somersby. He did not enjoy his schooling – tutored by his father and a spcll at King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth, but left Lincolnshire to better his days at Trinity College Cambridge.

He had already penned and published a number of poems. His time back in Lincolnshire was short and his eventual homes were on the Isle of Wight and Sussex.

After some set backs when his poems were severely criticised. Praise from Prince Albert among others set him on the path of fame. He was made Poet Laureate in 1850 serving for the longest of any other until 1892. Made a peer he was not punctilious in attending parliament. His writings are known world wide and he is still held in high regard by literary folk from America to Japan. The Tennyson Archive held at Lincoln Central Library claims to be the only worldwide collection of one man’s work and life.

George Boole 2. 11. 1815 to 8. 12 1864

George is a Lincoln man with little more than an elementary education. He taught himself languages and mathematics and became a schoolmaster. He set up an academy in Pottergate whilst progressing his mathematical studies. He became the first Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork where the library is named after him. His fame is inventing Boolean Algebra through which computers have been developed. There is a crater on the moon named after him.

John Wesley 18.12.1707 to 19.3.1788

Born at the rectory in Epworth John Wesley spent his whole life with religion. He went to Westminster School and Christ Church Oxford where he enjoyed his religion with a like group. After crossing the Atlantic to preach to the new settlers he spent the rest of his life preaching and writing. His home life was in Bristol and London but he travelled about the country including stays in Lincolnshire. 

He was a staunch Anglican to his death but at Oxford because of the group’s methological study of the bible they were called Methodists a name which was adopted by his followers. His legacy is the Methodist Church and an enormous number of hymns many of which are internationally famous like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing “ a Christmas carol.

Stephen Langton circa 1150 to 9.7.1228

Born at Langton by Wragby he was educated in University of Paris then went to Rome in the Pope’s service. He was made by the Pope Archbishop of Canterbury much to the displeasure of King John and local clerics. He had to battle to take up his see. Eventually he returned to England in 1213 and led the barons in their struggle against the King. 

This ended with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. There was strife for him after this but he continued to campaign for citizens’ rights. He was a great scholar and writer and it is believed he can be credited with dividing the bible into chapters.

St Gilbert of Sempringham 1083 to 4.2.1190

Gilbert founded the only English order of monasteries. He was persuaded to set up a nunnery by women in the parish of his birth, Sempringham. He studied theology at Paris University and became clerk to Bishop Bloet of Lincoln. Growing out of his school for boys and girls he established a monastery for men and women where the two were kept separate. The order became known as the Gilbertines and monasteries were established across Lincolnshire and beyond. They were all dissolved by Henry VIII

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