HORROCKS, Jeremiah  [1618-1641]

Jeremiah Horrocks (or Horrox) was born in 1618 into a puritan family, the son of a watchmaker, James, who lived at Lower Lodge Farm in Toxteth Park. Despite his early death at 22 and the fact that his knowledge was entirely self-taught, he is acknowledged as one of the major figures in astronomy. He spent three years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1632-35), leaving without a degree and having immersed himself in all the major astronomical works of the day. On 24th November 1639 he became the first man to witness the transit of Venus across the sun, verifying work he had done to amend earlier astronomical tables. At the time he was at Hoole, near Preston, possibly as a curate and involved, possibly as a tutor, to the wealthy Stones family of Carr House. He returned to Toxteth in 1640, dying from unknown causes on 3 January 1641. Much of his written work was lost after his death but his full prowess came to the fore some twenty years later with the publication of a paper to the Royal Society. He is commemorated by a plaque in Westminster Abbey near Sir Isaac Newton's tomb and a stained glass window at St Michael's church, Hoole. A plaque can also be found inside the ancient Toxteth Chapel. The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, was established in 1993 at the University of Central Lancashire. Horrocks Avenue in Liverpool is named after him. In 2012 a scuplture was placed at the Pier Head commemorating Horrocks and his work

Sculpture at Liverpool Pier Head commemorating Horrocks

Window at St Michael's, Hoole.

Memorial to Horrocks in Westminster Abbey


There is a very comprehensive entry for Horrocks in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.