Wednesday 30 September 1668

[In this part of the “Diary” no entry occurs for thirteen days, though there are several pages left blank. During the interval Pepys went into the country, as he subsequently mentions his having been at Saxham, in Suffolk, during the king’s visit to Lord Crofts, which took place at this time (see October 23rd, host). He might also probably have gone to Impington to fetch his wife. The pages left blank were never filled up. — B.]

6 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A best-selling author of almanacs in Pepys's England died today


(b. North Luffenhanm, Rutland, England, 19 April 1619; d. North Luffenham, 30 September 1668)

"Wing’s father, for whom he was named, was a small landowner. Young Wing had little formal education and began earning his living at an early age as a surveyor, almanac compiler, astrologer, and prolific writer of astronomical works, His almanacs were the most popular of their time; and in Flamsteed’s judgment, Wing produced “our exactest ephemerides.” He was an eager polemicist and frequently was involved in public disputes over astronomical and astrological matters.

"Wing’s career as an astronomer mirrors the development of astronomical thought during the seventeenth century. His first book, Urania practica (1649), asserted the stability of the earth and was Ptolemaic in spirit. A published attack on it by Jeremy Shakerley may have led to Wing’s conversion to Copernicanism. By 1651 he had accepted the fundamentals of Keplerian astronomy as modified by Ismael Boulliau.

"Like many astronomers in the second half of the seventeenth century, Wing, following Boulliau and Seth Ward, opted for an “empty-focus” variant of Kepler’s second law, holding that a planet moving in an elliptical orbit describes equal angles in equal times about the focus not occupied by the sun. In works published in 1651 and 1656 Wing, adopting Boulliau’s method, had his elliptical orbits, including that of the moon, generated in purely geometrical fashion by circles and epicycles. In his posthumously published Astronotnin Britannica, however, he discarded the epicycles in favor of a refined version of the theory proposed by Ward in the latter’s As tronomiu geometrice (1656), in which the elliptical orbits were assumed to be physically generated. Wing’s celestial mechanics contained a mixture of Cartesian and Keplerian components, with a rotating sun and celestial vortex pushing the planets around in their orbits."

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Thanks Terry,

Fascinating glimpse of the muddle of celestial mechanics before Newton.


martinb  •  Link

13 days?! And what are we supposed to do for 13 days?

This isn't the promised end, so it must be an image of that horror.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

'Minute Book: September 1668, 16-31', Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 2: 1667-1668 (1905), pp. 439-448. URL:

Sept. 30. Wednesday.
The Earl of Anglesey and Mr. Pepys to come to Sir R. Long's on Tuesday next about the business of [preparing the account of] the money disposed for the ordinary of the Navy to Michaelmas last.


Alas, there is no entry for the 31st.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Fascinating glimpse of the muddle of celestial mechanics before Newton."

Andrew, indeed. To remind those who have forgot: the closer the planet in an elliptical orbit to the sun, the faster it moves. "As the planet moves around its orbit during a fixed amount of time, the line from the Sun to planet sweeps a constant area of the orbital plane, regardless of which part of its orbit the planet traces during that period of time. This means that the planet moves faster near its perihelion than near its aphelion, because at the smaller distance it needs to trace a greater arc to cover the same area. This law is usually stated as "equal areas in equal time.""

Vincent Wing did not know this.

AnnieC  •  Link

"13 days?! And what are we supposed to do for 13 days?"
I'll be going to the link on the right of the diary page and reading At Home with Mr and Mrs Pepys. There's 13 days' good reading there.

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