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Strachey, John

1. Dates
Born: Sutton Court, Somerset, 10 May 1671
Died: Greenwich, 11 June 1743
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 72
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
Also John Strachey, he was a member of the gentry; he died when Strachey was three.
From the picture of the estate, I think we have to say wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English
Death: English
4. Education
Schooling: Oxford
Oxford University, Trinity College, 1686-7. Apparently did not bother with a degree, which held no importance for a member of his class.
Studied law at Middle Temple, London, 1687-8.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Anglican
By assumption.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Geology
Stratigraphy, studied through coal mines. Strachey published two geological papers in the Philosophical Transactions. In them he sketched cross-sections of strata, using fossils to identify one stratum. This interest was part of the broader interests of the country gentleman in history, genealogy, heraldry, archaeology, antiquities, and natural history.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means
He inherited an estate from his father at Sutton Court, and in his adult life he played out all the roles of the country squire--justice of the peace, tax commissioner, Deputy Lieutenant, musterer of the militia, etc.
8. Patronage
Type: None
To defray the cost of publication of the map, Strachey sought subscriptions, not with a great deal of success. The details of this, in Harley, sound straight-forwardly commercial, and lacking entirely in the relations I associate with patronage.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Cartography
In 1637 he published a map of Somerset which he had prepared leisurely over a period of twenty-five years. He triangulated the whole country, and he showed among other things the sites of coal and metalliferous mines. The resulting map, though not altogether successful, was was largest, most detailed country map yet prepared.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Royal Society
Royal Society, 1719.
Sources
  1. J.G.C.M. Fuller, "The Industrial Basis of Stratigraphy," Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 53, no.
  2. 11 (1969), 2256-73. (This is mostly about a later geologist, Smith) J.D. Webby, "Some Early Ideas Attributing Easterly Dipping Strata to the Rotation of the Earth," Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 80, pt. 1 (1969), 91-7.
  3. J. Brian Harley, "John Strachey of Somerset: an Antiquarian Cartographer of the early 18th Century," Cartographic Journal, 3 (1966), 2-7. This article has much the most detail about Strachey that I have found.
  4. There is not a great deal on Strachey. He is not in DNB. Only Harley, of the three articles above, gives details of his life, though Fuller does publish a picture of the rather magnificent estate at Sutton Court, Somerset.
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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