Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Batecumbe, William

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BATECUMBE or BADECUMBE, WILLIAM (d. 1487?), mathematician, of whose personal history the little that is known has been preserved by Leland, the antiquary, and in the pages of Bale, would appear to have studied at Oxford. First applying himself to natural philosophy, he afterwards turned to mathematics, of which he is supposed to have been professor in the reign of Henry V. It has been suggested by the learned Tanner that he is identical with the person named in the following entry: ‘Vicaria S. Trinit. Cantabr. vacabat per mortem mag. Will. Bathecumbe, ultimi vicarii, 10 Nov. 1487’ (Registro Alcock epis. Eliensis, p. 15).

Batecumbe's writings, which were never published, were: 1. ‘De Sphæræ concavæ fabrica et usu,’ a copy of which was seen by Bale in the library of Dr. R. Recorde, a physician. 2. ‘De Sphæra solida.’ 3. ‘De Operatione Astrolabii.’ This, it is highly probable, was a transcript from the ‘Compositio et operatio Astrolabii,’ by the Jew Ma'shea Allah Al Misri (Messahallah), of which there are numerous examples by various copyists in the public libraries of both Oxford and Cambridge. It was from one or more of these texts that Chaucer compiled his ‘Treatise on the Astrolabe for his son Lowys’ in 1391. 4. ‘De Conclusione Sophiæ.’ To these may be added, 5. ‘Tabula mediorum motuum Planetarum in annis collectis et expansis, composita a magistro Batecombe.’ This manuscript is preserved, with others associated with his name, in the library of Magdalen College, Oxford. In a list of manuscripts formerly belonging to Dr. Dee of Mortlake, mention is made of ‘Tabulæ Latitudinum secundum Bachecombe.’

[Bale's Scriptorum illustrium majoris Britanniæ Catalogus; Coxe's Cat. of Oxford MSS., pars lii. 82; Leland's Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, A. Hall edit., ii. 428; Tanner's Bib. Britannico-Hibernica, 80; Harl. MS. 1879.]

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