The Galileo Project
site map

Willughby [Willoughby], Francis

1. Dates
Born: Middleton, Warwickshire, 22 Nov. 1635
Died: Middleton, 3 July 1672
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 37
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
His father, also Francis Willughby, of Middleton Hall, Warwickshire, was a wealthy landowner. His mother was the daughter of the first Earl of Londonderry.
Clearly the family was wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English
Death: English
4. Education
Schooling: Cambridge, M.A.; Padua
Sutton Coldfield School.
Cambridge University, 1652-5; B.A., 1655; M.A., 1659.
Willughby was a Fellow-Commoner of Trinity College.
While he was in Padua during the winter of 1663-4, Willughby matriculated in the university.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Anglican (by assumption)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Natural History, Zoology, Entomology
Subordinate: Botany
With Ray Willughby undertook to do a complete natural history, he doing the animals, birds, fish, and insects, and Ray doing the plants. Apparently his greatest interest was in entomology; he published papers on insects in the Philosophical Transactions. He and Ray made a number of natural history expeditions, both in Britain and on the continent, together. His surviving papers show significant interest in botany.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means
Willughby lived entirely on inherited wealth from his family. In 1671 he inherited an additional estate from a kinsman, Sir William Willughby.
8. Patronage
Type: None
Willlughby was rather a patron himself--of John Ray, to whom he gave a home after he was ejected from Cambridge and later an annuity of 60.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Royal Society
Informal Connections: Lifelong friendship and association with John Ray. Collaboration with Philip Skippon, Nathaniel Bacon, and Francis Jessop.
Royal Society, 1663.
  1. Biographia Britannica, 2nd ed. (London, 1778-93), 8, 4300-2.
  2. Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-50), 21, 525-8. L.C. Maill, The Early Naturalists, Their Lives and Work (1530- 1789), (London, 1912), pp.99-130. Charles E. Raven, John Ray, Naturalist: His Life and Works, (Cambridge, 1941), passim.
  3. Mary A. Welch, "Francis Willoughby, F.R.S. (1635-1672)," Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History, 6 (1971), 71-85. There is not a great deal of information about Willughby; it is hard to imagine a more definitve piece on him than this.
  4. John Ray, "Preface," The Ornithology of Francis Willughby, (London, 1678).
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. "Memoir of Francis Willughby," in Jardine's Naturalists' Library, (London, 1833-43). There is a memoir on Willughby somewhere in this forty volume set, but my reference was apparently defective.
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
Last updated
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.