Fearon Fallows

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Fearon Fallows

Birthdate: (43)
Birthplace: Cockermouth, Cumbria, England
Death: July 25, 1831 (43)
Simon's Town, Cape, South Africa (Scarlet fever)
Place of Burial: Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of John Fallas and Rebecca Fallows
Husband of Mary Anne Fallows
Father of John William Fallows
Brother of John Fallas; Mary Fallows; Dinah Fallas; Margaret Fallows and Rebecca Fallas

Occupation: Astronomer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Fearon Fallows

Fallows, Fearon

  • Born Cockermouth, (Cumbria), England, 4 July 1789
  • Died Cape Town, (South Africa), 25 July 1831
  • He arrived in Cape Town on 21 August 1821

"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"

  • name: Fearon Fallas
  • gender: Male
  • baptism/christening date: 23 Jul 1788
  • father's name: John Fallas
  • mother's name: Rebecca
  • indexing project (batch) number: C05600-2
  • system origin: England-ODM
  • source film number: 90596

Citing this Record

"England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JWFZ-3YP : accessed 22 Feb 2013), Fearon Fallas, 23 Jul 1788; citing ALL SAINTS,COCKERMOUTH,CUMBERLAND,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 90596.

Fearon Fallows, a mathematician by training, was appointed as the director of the Royal Cape Observatory in South Africa, but died prior to being able to accomplish a great deal as an astronomer.

Fearon Fallows was born to John Fallows (died: 1826), a weaver, and Rebecca Fallas (died: 1828).

Fallows was born literally next door to "Wordsworth House," mansion‐house birthplace of the famous Romantic poet William Wordsworth, though it is unlikely the two ever met; a commemorative plaque mounted on Fallows's cottage wall incorrectly states the year of his birth as 1788.

Fallows was initially tutored at home by his father, and then sent to a private mathematics tutor, Mr. Cooper, at the nearby village of Brigham. Various other private tutors followed.

Due in some part to the dedication of his father and the generosity of the townspeople, the scholarly Fearon was given the funds to attend St John's College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics, coming third in his year when he graduated in 1813. He obtained his Master of Arts in 1816 and went on to teach mathematics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

He also became a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge and an ordained priest in the Church of England. On 29 February 1820 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and on 8 June 1820 he was granted a fellowship of the Royal Society. One of his proposers for his fellowship to the Royal Society was John Herschel (son of William Herschel) whom he met at St John's College, Cambridge. Later in that year he was appointed by the Admiralty to be the astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope, which would involve overseeing the building of an observatory in what was then a British colony.

On 1 January 1821, before travelling to South Africa, he married Mary Anne Hervey,

Between 1821 and 1829 he worked to site, plan and develop the observatory, which was the first astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere.

He also served the Church of England in his time there. He, and all the observatory staff, caught scarlet fever in 1830 and, still Director of the observatory, he died of scarlet fever in Simon's Town, South Africa in 1831 at the age of forty-three.

He was the astronomer to King George IV, and catalogued over 300 stars from his observatory in South Africa. When he first arrived, he only had two portable instruments and a clock. The instruments were a Circle and a Transit Instrument. When the observatory was built, he used a Jones Mural Circle and a Dolland Transit Circle. The Royal Society published his 'Catalogue of 273 Stars' in 1824.

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Fearon Fallows's Timeline

July 4, 1788
Cumbria, England
July 23, 1788
Cumberland, England
December 19, 1822
Age 34
South Africa
July 25, 1831
Age 43
Cape, South Africa
Cape, South Africa