After 5 years offline, IsaacNewton.org.uk is being updated during 2006. Please bear with us while we track down all the dead links etc.

Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire

Line drawing Newton was born at Woolsthorpe Manor and lived there until he went to the grammar school at Grantham but returned throughout his life. He returned from Cambridge during the Plague Years of 1665-1667 and made advances in mathematics, optics and mechanics.

Newton was born in the bedroom of Woolsthorpe Manor on Christmas Day 1642. His father, also Isaac Newton, had died in October 1642, after marrying Newton's mother, Hannah Ayscough, in April 1642. His illiteracy is one of the few things known about him. Newton lived with his mother at Woolsthorpe until he was three when she married the Reverend Barnabas Smith. When she went to live with him at his rectory in North Witham, Newton remained at Woolsthorpe with his materal grandmother.

Woolsthorpe Manor Presumably Newton resented this separation from his mother and when he drew up a list of his sins in 1662, they included ``Threatening my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them.''

Barnabas Smith died in August 1653 after surviving the religious upheavals of the English Civil War and fathering a son and two daughters with Hannah in his sixties. Hannah returned to Woolsthorpe and she may have brought Smith's library of 200-300 mostly theological books at this time. Newton built shelves for them himself in the room now called the Study.

Newton went to the King Edward VI Grammar School in Grantham in 1655, returning for nine months in 1659-1660, before going on to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1661.

During the Plague Years of 1665-7, Cambridge University was dispersed and Newton returned to Woolsthorpe. Due to his achievements in mathematics, optics and mechanics in this period, 1666 has been called the Annus Mirabilis - his marvellous year. There is strong evidence that some of the optical experiments with prisms were done in the Study at Woolsthorpe, and the falling apple story took place in the orchard.

In 1943 the house was bought for the National Trust by the Pilgrim Trust and is now open to the public except during winter months. See the Trust web page about Woolsthorpe for more information about opening times, and getting to the house.

Newtonia also has pages with photographs of the kitchen, study and bedroom.


© 1994-2001 Andrew McNab. Back to isaacnewton.org.uk