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Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
PRS (born Davies Giddy, 6 March 1767 – 24 December 1839) was a Cornish engineer, author, and politician. He was elected to the Royal Society
Royal Society
on 17 November 1791 and served as President of the Royal Society
Royal Society
from 1827 to 1830.[1] He changed his name to Gilbert in 1817.[2]

Contents

1 Biography 2 Marriage and family 3 Publications 4 References 5 External links

Biography[edit] Davies Giddy was born on 6 March 1767, the second child of three, to the Reverend Edward Giddy, curate of St Erth
St Erth
church, and Catherine Davies, daughter of Henry Davies of Tredrea, St Erth
St Erth
in Cornwall. The first child, also Davies by forename, had died within 24 hours of birth in 1766, and the third child, daughter Mary Philippa Davies Giddy (aka Philippa) was born in 1769.[3] The Giddy family moved into Penzance, living on Chapel Street in 1775, until Giddy's mother Catherine inherited the family home of Tredrea back in St Erth. By 1780 the family returned to St Erth, and Davies was taught by his father, alongside his sister Philippa. Davies Giddy would later adopt Gilbert as his surname, the maiden name of his wife, the agronomist Mary Ann Gilbert, whom he married at Easter of 1808.[1] Davies was educated first at Penzance
Penzance
Grammar School and then by his father, and by Rev Malachy Hitchins,[4] the mathematical astronomer. At the age of 17, at the recommendation of Hitchins, he was sent to Bristol to join the Mathematical Academy of Benjamin Donne
Benjamin Donne
where he remained for three years. His sister Philippa simultaneously finished her own schooling with the famous bluestocking Hannah More.[5] He went up to Pembroke College, Oxford
Pembroke College, Oxford
in 1786, whence he graduated with a M.A. on 29 June 1789.[1] Davies was High Sheriff of Cornwall
Cornwall
from 1792 to 1793. He served in the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Helston in Cornwall from 1804 to 1806 and for Bodmin from 1806 to 1832. Giddy was an intimate friend of physician Thomas Beddoes, had attended Beddoes' lectures at Oxford when Beddoes had become University Reader in Chemistry in 1788 and had been a confidant of Beddoes in his plans for the Pneumatic Institution
Pneumatic Institution
in Bristol. He noticed and encouraged Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
and convinced Beddoes that Davy was the man to work in the laboratory at the Institution.[6] The Dictionary of National Biography article says of him:

"Gilbert's importance to the development of science in the early nineteenth century lay in his faith that science provided the best means to tackle practical problems and in his facility as a parliamentary promoter of scientific ventures."

His mathematical skills were sought by such early engineering pioneers as Jonathan Hornblower, Richard Trevithick
Richard Trevithick
and Thomas Telford.[7] He also had a great interest for the history and culture of Cornwall. For instance, he removed a Celtic cross from near Truro, on the Redruth Road (where it had found new use as a gatepost), and took it to a churchyard in his new home of Eastbourne.[8] When asked why he carried off a Cornish Cross and re-erected it in Eastbourne
Eastbourne
by the Rev. Canon Hockin, of Phillack, Mr. Davies replied, It was to show the poor, ignorant folk that there was something bigger in the world than a flint! He assembled and published A Parochial History of Cornwall
Cornwall
and collected and published a number of Cornish Carols.[9][10] He edited for publication a Cornish Language poem about the Passion: Passyon agan Arluth, as Mount Calvary
Mount Calvary
(1826).[11] He was elected to the Society of Antiquaries in 1820.[1] Gilbert was the President of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall
Cornwall
from its foundation in 1814 until his death.[12] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
in 1832.[13] Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
was opposed to mass education during his time in parliament. When the Parochial Schools Bill of 1807 was debated in the Commons, Tory MP Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
warned the House that:

"However specious in theory the project might be of giving education to the labouring classes of the poor, it would, in effect, be found to be prejudicial to their morals and happiness; it would teach them to despise their lot in life, instead of making them good servants in agriculture and other laborious employments to which their rank in society had destined them; instead of teaching them the virtue of subordination, it would render them factious and refractory, as is evident in the manufacturing counties; it would enable them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books and publications against Christianity; it would render them insolent to their superiors; and, in a few years, the result would be that the legislature would find it necessary to direct the strong arm of power towards them and to furnish the executive magistrates with more vigorous powers than are now in force. Besides, if this Bill were to pass into law, it would go to burthen the country with a most enormous and incalculable expense, and to load the industrious orders with still heavier imposts. (Hansard, House of Commons, Vol. 9, Col. 798, 13 July 1807, quoted in Chitty 2007:15–16)"

He died in Eastbourne
Eastbourne
in Sussex
Sussex
on Christmas Eve 1839.[14] Marriage and family[edit] On 18 April 1808 he married Mary Ann Gilbert, and in 1816 he took his wife's surname, Gilbert, to perpetuate it.[15] This enabled the couple to inherit the extensive property in Sussex
Sussex
of her uncle, Thomas Gilbert, who had no male heir.[1][16] Three daughters and a son survived him. Their son, John Davies Gilbert (5 December 1811 – 16 April 1854) was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in April 1834[17] but does not seem to have published any scientific work. Their eldest daughter, Catherine, married John Samuel Enys (b. 1796) on 17 April 1834.[18][19] She was the mother of the notable New Zealand naturalist, John Davies Enys (11 October 1837 – 7 November 1912).[20] Their second daughter, Annie, married Rev. Henry Owen, rector of Heveningham, Suffolk on 4 December 1851.[21] The other daughters were Mary Susannah and Hester Elizabeth.[16] Publications[edit] Books and publications written or edited by Davies Gilbert include:[22]

Plain Statement of the Bullion Question (1811) Some ancient Christmas Carols, with the Tunes to which they were formerly sung in the West of England. Collected by D. Gilbert. London : J. Nichols and Son, (1822).[23] Some ancient Christmas Carols, with the tunes to which they were formerly sung in the west of England. pp. x. 79. J. Nichols and Son: London, 1823 "On the vibrations of heavy bodies in cycloidal and in circular arches, as compared with their descents through free space; including an estimate of the variable circular excess in vibrations continually decreasing." By Davies Gilbert, .. London : printed by William Clowes, [1823] 15,[3]p. 'Extracted from the Quarterly Journal, Vol. XV'. A Cornish Cantata. [Names of places in Cornwall
Cornwall
arranged in the form of verses.] [Privately printed? East-Bourn?] 1826. Mount Calvary; or, the History of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, written in Cornish (as it may be conjectured) some centuries past. Interpreted in English, in ... 1682, by J. Keigwin . Edited by D. Gilbert. pp. xxii. 96. Nichols and Son: London, 1826. "On the expediency of assigning Specific Names to all such Functions of Simple Elements as represent definite physical properties; with the suggestion of a new term in mechanics; illustrated by an investigation of the Machine moved by Recoil" ... From the Philosophical Transactions. pp. 14. [Privately printed:] London, 1827. "Some Collections and Translations respecting St. Neot, and the former state of his Church." In : Hedgeland (J. P.) A Description ... of the ... decorations ... in the Church of St. Neot, etc. 1830. A Cornish dialogue between Tom Pengersick and Dic. Trengurtha. East-Bourn : Davies Gilbert, [ca. 1835](In verse.) The Parochial History of Cornwall, Founded on the Manuscript Histories of Mr. Hals and Mr. Tonkin; with Additions and Various Appendices, 4 vols., London, 1838. (includes copious extracts from J. Whitaker, Daniel Lysons
Daniel Lysons
and Samuel Lysons, &c. and geological notices by Dr. Boase).

Vol.1, London, 1838 Vol.2, London, 1838 Vol.3, London, 1838 Vol.4, London, 1838

References[edit]

^ a b c d e "Obituary: Davies Gilbert, Esq. V.P.R.S". The Gentleman's Magazine. F. Jefferies. XIII (1): 208–211. January 1840. Retrieved 2 April 2008.  ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society
Royal Society
of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.  ^ Cornwall
Cornwall
On-line Parish Clerks ^ West Briton, 3 January 1840 "Death of Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
Esq." – quotation:"His preliminary education was conducted at home; and at a very early age he contracted an intimacy, which continued until death, with the Rev. Malachy Hitchens, vicar of St. Hilary, a gentleman of high and well-deserved celebrity as a mathematician and astronomer, and as editor of the Nautical almanack." ^ A C Todd Beyond the Blaze ^ Stansfield, Dorothy A.; Stansfield, Ronald G. (1986). "Dr Thomas Beddoes and James Watt: preparatory work 1794–96 for the Bristol Pneumatic Institute". Medical History. 30 (3): 276–302. doi:10.1017/s0025727300045713. PMC 1139651 . PMID 3523076.  ^ "Cornish characters and strange events". Retrieved 29 March 2012.  ^ Website of Eastbourne
Eastbourne
Pagan Circle accessed 28 October 2006 Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. ^ A Parochial History of Cornwall : This book provides the first written evidence of the use of Flag of Saint Piran. ^ hymns and Carols for Christmas website ^ Kent, Alan M. (2000). The literature of Cornwall: Continuity, Identity, Difference 1000–2000. Redcliffe Press. pp. 42, 66.  ^ Todd, A. C. (1964). "The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall". In K. F. G. Hosking & G. J. Shrimpton. Present Views of Some Aspects of the Geology of Cornwall
Cornwall
and Devon. Penzance: Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. p. 1.  ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter G" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 August 2014.  ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society
Royal Society
of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.  ^ Change of name: ODNB states 1817. Venn Alumni Cantabrigienses[permanent dead link] says 1816:12:10 ^ a b Burke's A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain ...1838, Volume 4, page 323: Gilbert of Tredrea and East-bourn article(via Google Books) ^ "List of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1660–2006". Royal Society Library & Information Services. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2006.  . He was described as "a Gentleman much attached to Science being desirous of admission into the Royal Society". ^ Burke's A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain ...1838, Volume 4, page 373: Enys article. (via (Google Books) ^ For more information on Catherine Enys, see The Enys Family Archive online. ^ Dictionary of New Zealand Biography article, accessed 7 November 2006 ^ Gentleman's Magazine July–December 1851, Page 648: Marriages(via Google Books) ^ Sources: British Library Integrated Catalogue and Cornwall
Cornwall
County Library Catalogue ^ This collection and the second edition (1823) includes the first publication of the well-known carols: A Virgin Most Pure and The First Nowell That The Angel Did Say.

David Philip Miller (2004). "'Gilbert (Giddy) Davies (1767–1839)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 September 2006.  A.C. Todd (1967), Beyond the blaze: A biography of Davies Gilbert, D.Bradford Barton 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Davies Gilbert

Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Davies Gilbert (aka Davies Giddy) Note: The low count is wrong – search Hansard with "Davies Giddy" and "Davies Gilbert". Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
Biography in hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com website "Smithsonian/NASA ADS Astronomy Abstract Service". Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 5, p.20 "Biographical notice of Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
Esq.". Royal Astronomical Society. 5: 20–23. 1840. Bibcode:1840MNRAS...5...20.  Obituary in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol.13 (New series) 1840 Jan – June, Page 208-211. Online in Google Books "Giddy (post Gilbert), Davies (GDY794D)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  Works by or about Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
at Internet Archive Works by Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks)

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by James Harris John Penn Member of Parliament for Helston 1804–1806 With: James Harris 1804–1805 Archibald Primrose 1805–1806 Succeeded by Sir John Shelley Archibald Primrose

Preceded by Josias du Pre Porcher James Topping Member of Parliament for Bodmin 1806–1832 With: William Wingfield, 1806–1807 Sir William Oglander, 1807–1812 Charles Bathurst, 1812–1818 Thomas Bradyll, 1818–1820 John Wilson Croker, 1820–1826 Horace Seymour, 1826–1832 Succeeded by William Peter Samuel Thomas Spry

v t e

Presidents of the Royal Society

17th century

Viscount Brouncker (1662) Joseph Williamson (1677) Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
(1680) John Hoskyns (1682) Cyril Wyche
Cyril Wyche
(1683) Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
(1684) Earl of Carbery (1686) Earl of Pembroke (1689) Robert Southwell (1690) Charles Montagu (1695) Lord Somers (1698)

18th century

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
(1703) Hans Sloane
Hans Sloane
(1727) Martin Folkes
Martin Folkes
(1741) Earl of Macclesfield (1752) Earl of Morton (1764) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1768) James West (1768) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1772) John Pringle
John Pringle
(1772) Joseph Banks
Joseph Banks
(1778)

19th century

William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
(1820) Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
(1820) Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
(1827) Duke of Sussex
Sussex
(1830) Marquess of Northampton (1838) Earl of Rosse (1848) Lord Wrottesley (1854) Benjamin Collins Brodie (1858) Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine
(1861) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1871) Joseph Dalton Hooker
Joseph Dalton Hooker
(1873) William Spottiswoode
William Spottiswoode
(1878) Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley
(1883) George Gabriel Stokes (1885) William Thomson (1890) Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister
(1895)

20th century

William Huggins
William Huggins
(1900) Lord Rayleigh (1905) Archibald Geikie
Archibald Geikie
(1908) William Crookes
William Crookes
(1913) J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
(1915) Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington
(1920) Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
(1925) Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Frederick Gowland Hopkins
(1930) William Henry Bragg
William Henry Bragg
(1935) Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale
(1940) Robert Robinson (1945) Edgar Adrian (1950) Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
(1955) Howard Florey
Howard Florey
(1960) Patrick Blackett (1965) Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
(1970) Lord Todd (1975) Andrew Huxley
Andrew Huxley
(1980) George Porter
George Porter
(1985) Sir Michael Atiyah
Michael Atiyah
(1990) Sir Aaron Klug
Aaron Klug
(1995)

21st century

Robert May (2000) Martin Rees (2005) Sir Paul Nurse
Paul Nurse
(2010) Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
(2015)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 50005783 LCCN: n86135466 GND: 11754423X MusicBrainz: 1be97b31-9ac8-4d0e-837a-b66dbf4f2

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