24 July 2013

Rev. Edward Gregory in Langar, Nottinghamshire

The Rev. Edward Gregory (1744–1824), M.A., was born in Harlaxton, Lincolnshire and came to Langar in 1776. He had keen interests in botany and astronomy and built an observatory in the rectory grounds. On 8 January 1793 he discovered a new comet. Two days later he wrote of his findings in a letter to Dr Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, sending a further letter a few days after that, and the comet – also observed by the astronomer Pierre Méchain – was named Gregory-Méchain. There is a link below to the two letters Gregory sent to Maskelyne.

St Andrew's, Langar, 2013.

A wooden tablet hangs inside the church above the south door, with details of Gregory's posthumous gift to the poor of the parish:

The Revd Edwd Gregory, Rector
of Langar cum Barnstone, by
will, dated 23rd Octr, 1824, directed
the dividends of £107.7.8 stock
in the three per cent. consolida-
ted Bank Annuities, it being
£3.4.4 per Annum. to be received
by the Rector of the Parish for
the time being, and by him
applied to such charitable uses
as are directed by the said will,
and as appear by an Extract
therefrom entered in one of the
Registers of the said Parish.'

Gregory's tomb is now illegible, but many thanks to Finbarr Connolly for the Stamford Mercury link with the inscription copied here, although the date of death (see comments below) is questionable:

'H. S. E.
Edvardus Gregory, e familiâ Gregory de Harlexton, in comitatu Lincolniensi,
hujus Ecclesiæ per XLIX annos Rector.
Vir priscâ pietate et verē Christianâ imbutus,
lenis, pacificus, hospitalis, suis jucundis; omnibus humanus;
Philosophiæ Naturali et præsertim Astronomiæ deditus,
Obiit VIII die cal. Nov. Ann. Dom. MDCCCXXIV'
Ætatis suæ LXXX.
Monumentum hoc Patruo dilecto Georgius et Edvardus G.
Mærentes posuêre.'

 Near Gregory's tomb is the grave of the six-month-old William Butler, the writer Samuel's brother:

of him
who calleth little children
to come unto him.
Thomas Butler
Rector of this Parish
and Fanny his Wife,
but not with bitterness,
nor without hope:
have placed this Stone
to the Memory of
WILLIAM, their Fourth Child,
who died Janry 4th 1839.
Aged 6 Months.'

Thomas Butler greatly restored St Andrew's in 1860.

The two letters:
'Mr. Gregory's Account of the Discovery of the Comet'


Finbarr said...

Hello there,

I located the inscription on Edward Gregory's tomb in the British Newspaper Archive, here it is -



Dr Tony Shaw said...

Thanks a lot for this: I'll be copying it to the post soon.

Finbarr said...

Strangely enough the inscription gives date of death as Nov 8th 1824, but the Stamford Mercury of October 29th states that Gregory died 'last Monday' i.e. Oct 25th.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

That's very odd.