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Sharrock, Robert

1. Dates
Born: Adstock (in some accounts Drayton Parslow), Buckinghamshire, c.June 1630 He was baptized on 29 June.
Died: Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, 11 July 1684
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 54
2. Father
Occupation: Cleric
Also Robert Sharrock, the father was Rector of Adstock and of Drayton Parslow.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English
Death: English
4. Education
Schooling: Oxford, L.D.
Winchester College.
Oxford University, New College, 1649-61; B.C.L., 1654; D.C.L., 1661. I count the B.C.L. as equivalent to a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Calvinist, Anglican
The Puritan authorities made him perpetual fellow of New College. He was an ordained minister in the Anglican Church after the Restoration.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany
History of the Propagation and Improvement of Vegetables, 1660. The book indicates an experimental approach to botany and shows extensive knowledge of the cultivation of plants.
Sharrock was not primarily a scientist. He wrote as well on religion, law, and political philosophy.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Church Life
Perpertual Fellow of New College, Oxford, from 1649.
Ordained 1661.
The college rectory of Horwood Magna in Buckinghamshire, 1665-8.
Installed as prebendary of Winchester, 1665.
Rectory of East Woodhay in Hampshire, 1668.
Rector of Bishop's Waltham in Hampshire, 1669.
Archdeacon of Winchester, 1684.
8. Patronage
Types: Government Official, Unknown
He owed his Fellowship at Oxford initially to Parliamentary visitors.
He owed those ecclesiastical appointments to someone. To be sure, the intial one was a college advowson. I did not see any evidence that the other two were, and I think that the prebend and archdeaconry could not have been.
He dedicated his book (History of the Propagation) to Boyle, but in this case, where Sharrock also wrote prefaces to Boyle's books, I will count this as pure friendship rather than patronage. It is relevant as well that Boyle had desired that Sharrock write the book.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Agriculture
Note the word "Improvement" in the title of the book, a word which the extended continuing title emphasized. The final edition of it, after Sharrock's death, bore the title An Improvement to the Art of Gardening. Arber calls it a practical handbook for husbandmen and gardiners.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Informal Connections: Friendship with Boyle. He wrote prefaces to three of Boyle's physical treatises and dedicated his own book to Boyle.
  1. Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-50), 17, 1368-9. J. Britten and G.S. Boulger, A Biographical Index of Deceased British and Irish Botanists, (London, 1931), p. 272.
  2. J.R. Green, A History of Botany, (London, 1914), pp. 52, 125.
  3. Agnes Arber, "Robert Sharrock (1630-1684): a Precursor of Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712) and an Exponent of "Natural Law" in the Plant World," Isis, 51 (1960), 3-8.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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