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Shakerley, Jeremy

1. Dates Shakerley, Jeremy
Born: Halifax, Yorkshire, Nov. 1626
Died: India, c.1655
The last thing known about Shakerley is a letter addressed to him, in India, in 1655. By 1675 (I cite Sherburne's book of that year) he was known to be dead.
Dateinfo: Death Uncertain
Lifespan: 29
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
William Shakerley. There is no information other than his name.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English (I consider that he was in English culture. in India.)
Death: English (again the English culture in India)
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Self educated.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Anglican
Largely by assumption--there is not much information.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy
Subordinate: Astrology
Anatomy of "Urania Practica", 1649, a criticism of a publication by Wing.
Synopsis compendiana, 1651.
Tabulae britannicae, 1653.
He was the first mathematician to recognize the significance of the work of Horrocks, which he found in manuscript in the Towneley household.
In India he observed a transit of Mercury, 1651, the second transit of Mercury ever observed, and a comet in 1652. He also studied the astronomical knowledge of the Brahmins.
His correspondence with Lilly indicates that Shakerley, like most astronomers of his age, accepted astrology as well, though he became increasingly skeptical as the correspondence continued.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage, Unknown
The London astronomer, William Lilly, supplied him with books, stationery, and other aids, 1640s-50. Lilley withdrew his support when Shakerley attacked Wing.
He was a member of the Towneley household at Carr Hall, Lancashire, 1649-51.
He emigrated to India in 1651, possibly as an employee of the East India Company, although his name does not appear in the company's records. The trip is obscure. He did not go there solely to observe the heavens. He could hardly have gone on his own.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Gentry
William Lilly, the astrologer. Although Lilly appears to have withdrawn his support, his connections in London may have helped Shakerley.
Shakerley was taken into the Towneley household in 1649 and encouraged in his scientific pursuits.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Informal Connections: Correspondence with W. Lilly, 1648-50.
Sources
1. Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-50), 17, 1283. Allan Chapman, Three North Country Astronomers, (Manchester, 1982), pp. 36-7.
2. There is not much information about this fairly obscure man.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

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1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
 
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