Today we visited Woolsthorpe Manor the birthplace of Isaac Newton. Woolsthorpe Manor is situated just south of Grantham. The house is typical of a small provincial manor house of the late 16th or early 17th century, a home of a comfortable but not particularly affluent yeoman farmer.
In visiting Woolsthorpe we were able to visit not only the house and learn about the house and Isaac Newton the man but also visit the orchard where the apple supposedly fell on his head resulting in his theory on gravity. The original tree under which he sat is not there in its original form. The tree fell after a storm in the 18th century and most of the trunk was taken away. However a small portion of the trunk remained along with the roots and over the years new shoots grew and so today you see a tree.The other trees in the orchard also come from the same tree along with numerous trees across the world given to celebrate Isaac Newton achievements.
In touring the house we learnt about the life and times of Isaac Newton.
Robert Newton, a successful sheep farmer and grandfather of the famous Isaac Newton purchased the house in 1623. The property brought with it the title “Lord of the Manor”. Robert renovated the property and gave the house to his son Isaac, as a wedding dowry in 1639 in anticipation of Isaac finding a suitable bride. This he did and was married to Hannah Ayscough, daughter of a local minor gentry family, in April 1642.
Unfortunately six months later Isaac senior was dead leaving Hannah pregnant and the estate in her care. The young Isaac Newton was born prematurely on Christmas Day 1642. He was said to be so small he could have fitted into a quart pot. Because he was so small he was not expected to survive.
But survive he did but in learning about his life he seemed to have lived a solitary existence. When he was three years old his mother remarried but Isaac remained at Woolsthorpe under the care of his grandmother. As he grew he was suppose to help on the farm but often neglected his jobs to indulge in a range of experiments, building models and questioning what was going on around him. He was sent to King’s School in Grantham by his uncle but did not excel as a pupil.
He was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1661 and again lived a solitary life. It was here that he began to enquire into mathematics and read widely particularly the modern thinkers of the time. In 1665, when plague was sweeping through the country and the university closed, Isaac returned to Woolsthorpe. During this time Isaac was able to build many of his mathematical theories into cohesive arguments, carried out extensive work on optics and planetary motion including his famous prism experiments, started development of the Newton’s Law of Motion and had the eureka moment about gravity.
From then on Isaac rose in fame and stature in the scientific community spending his time at Cambridge and then London. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 for his services to science. He died in March 1727 at the age of 84 years old.
We finished our tour by visiting the Science Discovery Centre and tried out a few experiments to demonstrate his theories which were fun.