Billingsley, Sir Henry

, an excellent mathematician, and lord-mayor of London in the reign of queen Elizabeth, was son to Roger Biilingsley of Canterbury. He spent near three years in his studies at the university of Oxford, during which time he contracted an acquaintance with an eminent mathematician, whose name was Whitehead, and who had been an Augustin friar at Oxford, but Biilingsley being removed from the university, and bound apprentice to an haberdasher in London, he afterwards raised himself so considerable a fortune by trade, that he was successively chosen sheriff, alderman, one of the commissioners of the customs for the port of London, and at last lord mayor of that city in 1597, and received the honour of knighthood. He made a great progress in the mathematics, by the assistance of his friend Mr. Whitehead, who being left destitute upon the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of king Henry VIII. was received by Mr. Biilingsley into his family, and maintained by him in his old age in his house at London and when he died, he gave our author all the mathematical observations, which he had made and collected, with his notes upon Euclid’s Elements, which he had drawn up and digested with prodigious pains. He was one of the original society of antiquaries. Sir Henry Billingsley died very much advanced in years, Nov. 22, 1606, and was interred in the church of St. Catherine Coleman, London. He translated the Elements of Euclid into English, to which he added a great number of explanations, examples, scholia, annotations, and inventions, collected from the best mathematicians both of the former times, and those in which he lived, published under the title of “The Elements of Geometry of the most antient philosopher Euclid of Megara, faithfully translated into the English tongue. Whereunto are added certain scholia, annotations,” &c. London, 1570, fol. Dr. John Dee prefixed to this work a long preface, full of variety of learning relating to the mathematics. 2


Wood’s Athens, vol. I. Gen. Dict. Archaeologia, vol. I. XX,