Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Did you know...

...three Astronomers Royal are buried at St. Margaretís Lee, just 30 minutes walk from the ROG?

Doing the Halley Walk by Dave Redfern

transcribed from ĎHorizonsí issue 14 Summer 2004


††† Just thirty minutesí walk from the Royal Observatory Greenwich is another piece of astronomical history: the tomb of Edmond Halley, the second Astronomer Royal.† Halley held office from 1720 to 1742 following John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal from 1675 to 1719.


††† The original top stone of Halleyís tomb is placed in the southern wall of the Camera Obscura at the Royal Observatory, and was removed from the St. Margaretís Church, Lee, Old Churchyard in 1854 when the Admiralty restored Halleyís original tomb.† St. Margaretís Church is approximately 30 minutesí walk from the Observatory, depending on how much you are distracted by other interesting opportunities on the way.† The walk will take you across Blackheath, an old common grassland used for fairs and fetes, through Blackheath Village - a pleasant mixture of cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops - past Blackheath Halls, where you may be able to book a concert, and on to St. Margaretís Church, built between 1839 - 1841.† St. Margaretís, at the eastern end of Lee Terrace, has recently been restored to its full, colourful glory, with pre-Raphaelite murals and stained glass originally created by the Victorian firm of decorators, Clayton and Bell.† St. Margaretís Old Churchyard is across Lee Terrace, where you can still see the remains of a tower from the first church built on the site, possibly dating back to 1080.


††† There are, in fact, three Astronomers Royal buried in the Old Churchyard:† Edmond Halley (1656-1742); Nathaniel Bliss (1700-1764), Astronomer Royal from 1762-1764 buried in an unmarked grave; and John Pond (1767-1836) Astronomer Royal from 1811-1835 who was buried in the same vault as Halley.


††† The Old Churchyard is open to public access, but to visit St. Margaretís Church you should contact St. Margaretís Visitorsí Centre, Brandram Road, London SE13 5EA, Tel: 020 8318 9643.† Office hours are from 09:30-12:30, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.† Email:† stmargarets-lee@fish.co.uk


Halleyís tomb at St. Margaretís Church

photo Dave Redfern

Halleyís tombstone at the ROG photo Mike Dryland

Edmond Halley

engraving Kneller