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Richard of Wallingford


Abbot, inventor; b. Wallingford, Berkshire, c. 1292;d. May 23, 1336. He was the son of William, a smith in Wallingford; he studied at Oxford, first in the arts faculty and then in theology. Having entered the bendictines at st. albans c. 1315, he was appointed abbot in 1328 by papal provision, a year after his first election to the office was declared invalid. As abbot, a position he held until his death, he was a stern disciplinarian and was concerned with the improvement of the finances of the abbey. He is famous for his invention of an astronomical clock, "Albion," which indicated the times and seasons as well as the movements of the sun, moon, and other planets, and for his writings on mathematical and astronomical subjects, several of which are still in manuscript. These include a treatise on the Albion, Exafernon pronosticorum temporis, De eclipsi solis et lunae, De computo, De sinubus et arcubus, Quadripartitum, and Rectangulum. He also wrote a treatise on the general statutes of the Benedictine Order. He died of leprosy.

Bibliography: c. l. kingsford, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, (London 18851900) 16:109193. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 vol. (Oxford 195759) 3:1967. l. thorndike and p. kibre, A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin (new ed. Cambridge, Mass. 1963).

[p. kibre]

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