Jonas Moore 1617-1679

From Book Owners Online

Sir Jonas MOORE 1617-1679

Biographical Note

Born at White Lee, near Higham, Lancashire, son of Hugh Moore, yeoman. Educated at a local grammar school, but did not attend university. He became clerk to Thomas Burwell, Chancellor of Durham 1637, a post which was soon abolished by the Civil War; his movements in the 1640s are uncertain, but he was in and around Durham, learning and teaching mathematics. He became surveyor to the Earl of Bedford's fen drainage company in 1649, and spent much of the 1650s involved in that work; moving to London after the Restoration, he became surveyor general of the Royal Ordnance and was knighted in 1673. He worked with John Flamsteed in the 1670s to build the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and published numerous works on mathematics and fortification. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1674.


Moore attributed some of his early education to having had access to the library of Christopher Towneley of Carr Hall. He intended to bequeath his books to the beneficiary Royal Society, but died intestate and his library was auctioned in London, 3.11.1684. The sale catalogue contains 1992 lots, divided into Latin mathematics (382 lots), French mathematics (393, Italian mathematics (341), Spanish, Belgian and German mathematics (29, English mathematics (213), Latin miscellaneous (216), English miscellaneous (378), 20 bundles of mathematical books, and 20 further bundles of tracts and pamphlets.

Characteristic Markings

None of Moore's books have been identified.


  • Alston, R. C. Inventory of sale catalogues 1676-1800. St Philip, 2010.
  • Bibliotheca mathematica optimis libris ... Jonae Mori, London, 1684, ESTC r214500.
  • Mandelbrote, G. The organisation of book auctions in late seventeenth-century London, in R. Myers (ed), Under the hammer, London, 2001, 15-36, 20.
  • Willmoth, Frances. "Moore, Sir Jonas (1617–1679), mathematician and patron of astronomy." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.