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Wing, Vincent

1. Dates
Born: North Luffenham, Rutland, 9 April 1619
Died: North Luffenham, 20 Sept. 1668
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 49
2. Father
Occupation: Peasant/Small Farmer
Also Vincent Wing, he was a small farmer.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: English
Career: English
Death: English. Apparently he resided in Rutland his whole life.
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Little formal education.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Anglican
By assumption.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy, Astrology
Subordinate: Cartography
His first book Urania practica, 1649, was Ptolemaic. Soon thereafter he was converted to Copernicanism, and by 1651 he had accepted Keplerian astronomy as expounded by Boulliau. Astronomia britannica, posthumous, 1669 (DNB says there was a first edition in 1652), and other astronomical works.
He was always equally involved in astrology.
Geodates practicus: or the Art of Surveying, 1664.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Engineering, Astrology, Calendars
Wing supported himself as a surveyor, Almanac compiler,
astrologer and prolific writer of astronomical works. The almanac he compiled (a single sheet, of which I have seen one) is said to have sold some 50,000 copies per year. He published it for twenty-eight years, and its success is attested by the fact that it went on, under his name, long after his death.
He also published a book, which I have seen, on surveying, and he appears to have earned much of his living from surveying.
8. Patronage
Type: Unknown
Gadbury alludes to protectors but does not name anyone. He does dedicate his own pamphlet on Wing to Edward Deering, "His Majesties Merchant, and Receiver General of his Majesties Revenues in the counties of Kent, Essex, Surrey, etc.," in a way that implies Deering was Wing's patron.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Cartography
That is, surveying.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Informal Connections: Collaboration with William Leybourn. Correspondence with Flamsteed. Friendship with John Gadbury. Wing was in frequent disputes over astronomical and especially astological issues.
  1. Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-50), 21, 650-1. John Gadbury, A Brief Relation of the Life and death of the Late Famous mathematician and Astrologer, Mr Vincent Wing, (London, 1670). This pamphlet, by a fellow astrologer, is mostly a defense of astrology rather than a life of Wing.
  2. J.B.J. Delambre, Histoire de l'astronomie moderne, 2, (Paris, 1821), 519-24.
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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