Flamsteed Astronomy Society

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Burstow - September 21, 2002

We met at Burstow in Surrey where John Flamsteed was rector from 1684 until his death in 1719.   It was in Burstow that Flamsteed met his wife-to-be, Margaret Cooke, granddaughter of the previous rector.   They are both buried beneath the chancel of the church here, and commemorated in several plaques and tablets around the walls. After an agreeable lunch with solids in a nearby hostelry, we followed Eddie in convoy to Burstow church.  We were able to wander through the church itself and around the grounds and graveyard.   The calm of the church precinct must be little changed from Flamsteed’s day except for the mind-numbing roar of jet-liners as they whistle apparently 10 meters or so above the steeple on the approach to Gatwick airport.  Burstow is now within a mile or so of the runway at Gatwick.  We were able to reflect on the speed of rotation of Flamsteed in his grave at this modern intrusion to his 18th century retreat.  The old rectory, much improved by Flamsteed, sits right next to the church.  The present owners were hard at weekend-work in the garden and we were able to blag our way into a quick goose at the interior.  The owners are very aware of the house’s distinction and working to restore much that has been altered since Flamsteed.  How they put up with the Ibiza specials roaring over their heads at 200 dB, only Halley knows.  Jane had arranged for tea and cake in the church hall next door, to round off a poignant if noisy pilgrimage.

Burstow Church (photo MD)

Eddie Yeadon brings us up to date on the Flamsteed story (photo RD)

The Old Rectory (photo MD)

We dodge the 1534 to Faro - Jane, Steve, Tony, Rose, Janet, & John (photo MD)

(photo RD)

Eddie in pre-digital mood! (photo MD)

Flamsteed cameo in the Church (photo RD)

Pictures by Rose Dowd (RD); Report & Pictures by Mike Dryland (MD)