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The Religious Affiliation of Physicist, Scientist
Robert Hooke


Robert Hooke was an Anglican. His father and three brothers were all Anglican clergymen. Hooke himself was expected to become an Anglican clergyman, but was unable to do so because of poor health.

From: J.J. O'Connor and E.F. Robertson, "Robert Hooke" article, August 2002, on website of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland (http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Hooke.html; viewed 26 September 2005):

Robert Hooke's father was John Hooke who was a curate at All Saints Church in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. Although formally a curate, since the minister was also Dean of Gloucester Cathedral and of Wells, John Hooke was left in charge of All Saints. It was a well off church being in the patronage of St John's College, Cambridge. As well as his duties in the church, John Hooke also ran a small school attached to the church and acted as a private tutor. Robert had a brother named John, the same as his father, who was five years older.

Relatively few details of Robert's childhood are known. What we record here is information which he mentioned to his friends later in his life. Robert, like many children of his day, had poor health and was not expected to reach adulthood. His father was from a family in which it was expected that all the boys joined the Church (John Hooke's three brothers were all ministers) so had Robert enjoyed good health as a child there is no doubt that he would have followed the family tradition. As it was Robert's parents did begin to set up his education with this in mind but he continually suffered from headaches which made studying hard. Lacking confidence that he would reach adulthood, Robert's parents gave up on his education, leaving him much to his own devices.

From: Mordechai Feingold, "Inseparable in All Their Enterprises", in American Scientist, September-October 2003; book review of The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke 1635-170, by Stephen Inwood, Macmillan, 2002 (http://www.americanscientist.org/template/BookReviewTypeDetail/assetid/25824; viewed 26 September 2005):
For nearly 50 years the lives and careers of Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke were virtually inseparable. Born in 1632 and 1635, respectively, both were sons of Anglican (and royalist) clergymen...

From: Rod Beavon, "Robert Hooke" (http://www.rod.beavon.clara.net/robert_hooke.htm; viewed 26 September 2005):

Robert Hooke was born at Freshwater, Isle of Wight, son of John Hooke, curate at All Saints' Church [an Anglican church]. The church stands at the end of what is now Hooke Road, which also has the Hooke Museum. Robert Hooke was one of the most brilliant and versatile of seventeenth-century English scientists, but he is also one of the lesser known; his persona and his contributions are far outweighed in public perception by those of Newton and of Wren...

Hooke acquired a place as chorister at Christ Church Oxford, leaving Westminster in 1653. The chorister role may have been simply that Hooke received a modest endowment, since the Anglican Church was abolished between 1643 and 1660.

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Webpage created 26 September 2005. Last modified 26 September 2005.
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