BLAGRAVE (John)

, an eminent mathematician, who flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries. He was the second son of John Blagrave, of Bulmarshcourt near Sunning in Berkshire, descended from an ancient family in that country. From a grammar school at Reading he was sent to St. John's college in Oxford, where he applied himself chiefly to the study of mathematics. From hence he retired to his patrimonial seat of Southcote-lodge near Reading, where he spent the rest of his life, in a retired manner, without marrying, that he might have more leisure to pursue his favourite studies; which he did with great application and success. After a life thus spent in study, and in acts of benevolence to all around him, he died in the year 1611; and was buried at Reading in the church of St. Lawrence, where a sumptuous monument was erected to his memory.

He left the bulk of his fortune to the posterity of his three brothers, which were very numerous. There have been mentioned various acts of his benesicence in private life, for the encouragement of learning, the reward of merit, and the relief of distress. Some of these were the result of a quaint, humorous disposition, discovered chiefly in his legacies: One of these was 10 pounds left to be annually disposed of in the following manner: On Good-friday, the churchwardens of each of the three parishes of Reading send to the town-hall “one virtuous maid who has lived five years with her master:” there, in the presence of the magistrates these three virtuous maids throw dice for the ten pounds. The year following the two losers are returned with a fresh one, and again the third year, till each has had three chances. He also left an annuity to 80 poor widows, who should attend annually on Good-friday also, and hear a sermon, for the preaching of which he left ten shillings to the minister. He took care also for the maintenance of his servants, rewarding their diligence and fidelity, and providing amply for their support. Thus it appears he was not more remarkable for his scientific knowledge, than for his generosity and philanthropy. His works are,

1. A Mathematical Jewel. Lond. 1585, folio.

2. Of the Making and Use of the Familiar Staff. Lond. 1590, 4to.

3. Astrolabium Uranicum Generale. Lond. 1596, 4to.

4. The Art of Dyalling. Lond. 1609, 4to.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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BIQUINTILE
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* BLAGRAVE (John)
BLAIR (John)
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