Long, Roger (DNB00)

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LONG, ROGER (1680–1770), divine and astronomer, was born on 2 Feb. 1680 at Croxton Park, Norfolk. Educated at the public school of Norwich, he entered Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, on 4 March 1696, graduated B.A. in 1700, was elected a fellow of his college in 1703, and proceeded M.A. in 1704. In the same year he resigned his fellowship, having been entered as a fellow-commoner at Emmanuel College, where he resided as private tutor to Sir Wolston Dixie. He returned, however, later to Pembroke Hall, and read lectures on astronomy there for many years. As tripos orator in 1714, he delivered a 'music speech,' in Latin prose alternating with English verse, which was several times reprinted. In 1728, probably on the occasion of George II's visit to Cambridge, a degree of D.D. was conferred upon him, and being then vicar of Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire, he published a commencement sermon on 'The Blessedness of Believing.' On the resignation of Dr. Hawkins, he was elected master of Pembroke Hall on 12 Oct. 1733, and in November vice-chancellor of the university. In 1750 he was chosen to be the first occupant of the Lowndean chair of astronomy and geometry, and in 1751 he exchanged the rectory of Overton Waterville in Huntingdonshire, to which he had been presented many years previously by his college, for that of Bradwell-near-the-Sea in Essex. Long erected in 1765, in one of the courts of Pembroke Hall, a hollow revolving sphere, eighteen feet in diameter, representing on its inner surface the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies. Thirty spectators could be accommodated within it.

Long published the first volume of an important work on astronomy in 1742, and a second instalment in 1764. Its completion, postponed until 1784, devolved first upon Richard Dunthorne [q. v.], finally upon Wales. Under the pseudonym of 'Dicaiophilus Cantabrigiensis,' he printed in 1731 'The Rights of Churches and Colleges defended;' published in 1755 a reply to Dr. Henry Gally's [q. v.] pamphlet on Greek accents, and edited in 1757 Ockley's 'History of the Saracens' for the benefit of the author's daughters. Some of his experiments on stellar parallax are referred to by Herschel (Phil. Trans. lxxii. 88).

Long was of a delicate constitution, and adopted for his health's sake a very abstemious mode of life. Yet he was described, when in his eighty-eighth year, as 'for his years vegete and active,' and in October 1769 he was a second time nominated vice-chancellor of the university. Some of his facetious repartees achieved celebrity. He died on 16 Dec. 1770, and was buried in Trinity College. He left a bequest of 600l. to Pembroke Hall. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1729, and subsequently joined the Spalding Society.

[Advertisement at close of vol. ii. of Long's Astronomy; Memoir prefixed to Music Speech, London, 1819; Hutton's Mathematical Dict. 1815; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 115; Georgian Era, 1834; Allibone's Critical Dict. of English Lit.; Gent. Mag. 1781 p. 530, 1783 p. 923; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Le Keux's Memorials of Cambridge, i. 12; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 94, ix. 643; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Delambre's Hist. de l'Astronomie au xviiie Siècle p.635; Wolf's Geschichte der Astronomie, p.751; Lalande's Bibl. Astr.; Poggendorff's Biog. Lit. Handwörterbuch; Cole's Athenæ Cantabr. Add. MS. 5875, f. 66.]

A. M. C.