Holywood, John

, or Halifax, or Sacrobosco, was, according to Leland, Bale, and Pits, born at Halifax in Yorkshire, which Mr. Watson thinks very improbable; according to Stainhurst, at Holywood near Dublin; and according to Dempster and Mackenzie, in Nithsdale in Scotland. There may perhaps have been more than one of the name to occasion this difference of opinion. Mackenzie informs us, that having finished his studies, he entered into orders, and became a canon regular of the order of St. Augustin in the famous monastery of Holywood in Nithsdale. The English biographers, on the contrary, tell us that he was educated at Oxford. They all agree however in asserting, that he spent most of his life at Paris; where, says Mackenzie, he was admitted a member of the university, June 5, 1221, under the syndics of the Scotch nation; and soon after was elected professor of mathematics, which he taught with applause for many years. According to the same author, he died in 1256, as appears from the inscription on his monument in the cloisters of the convent of St. Maturine at Paris.

Holywood was contemporary with Roger Bacon, but probably older by about 20 years. He was certainly the first mathematician of his time; and he wrote, 1. “De Sphaera Mundi,Venice, 1478, 1490, 4to, a work often reprinted, and illustrated by various commentators. 2. “De Anni Ratione, seu de Computo Ecclesiastico.” 3. “De Algorismo,” printed with “Comm. Petri Cirvilli Hisp.Paris, 1498. 2


Mackenzie’s Scotch Writers, vol. I. Harris’s edition of Ware’s Ireland, Watson’s Halifax. —Hutton’s Dictionary.