Colsterworth: The Home of Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is the founder of modern science, and he was born, and lived out his childhood here in our parishes. It is right, and proper, therefore, that we should celebrate that fact that he is, very much, our own.

An apple from Newton's tree at Woolsthorpe, next to a piece of Church silver, dating back from his time in Colsterworth.

When I talk to the children in our local schools, Great Ponton and Colsterworth, I sometimes ask them to name several people who were born on Christmas day. They always get Jesus first time, and occasionally one might announce that their sister, or their mum was born on December 25th. They know me by now, and most realise that I am talking about Sir isaac Newton, who was born on Christmas Day, 1642. Every child in Colsterworth, is not allowed to leave primary school without knowing just a little bit about Newton. Quite right too; he was born here, at Woolsthorpe Manor, five minutes gentle walk away.

Woolsthorpe Manor (now owned by the National Trust) was the birth place of Isaac Newton. Five miles away, in Grantham, the town which was also the birth place of Margaret Thatcher, and the place where the Dam Buster raids were monitored, there is a large, bronze statue of Isaac Newton. Newton received his secondary education, at Kings School, just up at the road from there. Grantham celebrates this world changeing scientist, by naming their shopping centre after him. You can buy a loaf of bread at Morrisons, and a coffee, at the local branch of Costa, knowing that it has a fine historic pedigree. It is not Grantham, nor Westminster Abbey, nor Cambridge, that can truly lay claim to Newton. It is the villages of Colsterworth and Woolsthorpe. He was, himself, farming stock. When his mother, Hannah, went to live with her second husband, the Rector of a nearby parish, she left her three year old son at the farm, under the care of her mother. Presumably, she wanted young Isaac to learn the ways of the countryside. The truth is, he was never much good at farming, and frequently, lost in thought, would forget the animals he had walked down to the market with. His mind was fixed on higher things. It was here, it was at Woolsthorpe Manor, that Isaac observed his falling apple, and it was here that his mind formed his Philosophi? Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Without this work, children could not sing 'The wheels on the bus,' we could fly to spain for our holidays, and we could not even listen to music on our ipods. All modern engineering stems from the work of Newton. A Sundial on the wall of Colsterworth Church, carved by Newton, at the age of nine. But we are a Church, so what has that got to do with us. Newton was a deeply religious man. He refused to be ordained to gain his seat at Cambridge, but that was for theological, rather than anti-theological reasons. We are proud that he was Baptised at our church, and that members of his close family were buried under the floor. Yes, we agree that Newton was buried at westminster Abbey, and that his grave was a star in the 2006 film, The DE Vinci Code. However, this is because Westminster has more clout than we do. Newton donated money to our church. He paid for a gallery to be built in our church, he formed friendships with several rectors of our church, and he even left money in his will to our church. Newton wanted to be buried in our church, and if you are interested in him, then that is where you will find the spirit, and the soul of Newton.

A Sundial, which is on the wall of Colsterworth Church. This was carved by Newton, when he was nine years old.

 

A misshapen apple hanging from a descendant of Newton's tree at Woolsthorpe.

 

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