Narrien, John (DNB00)

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NARRIEN, JOHN (1782–1860), astronomical writer, was the son of a stonemason, and was born at Chertsey, in Surrey, in 1782. He kept for some years an optician's shop in Pall Mall, and his talents having procured him friends and patronage, he was nominated in 1814 one of the teaching staff of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Promoted in 1820 to be mathematical professor in the senior department, he was long the virtual head of the establishment. His useful and honourable career terminated with his resignation, on the failure of his eyesight, in 1858. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1840, and retired from the Royal Astronomical Society in 1858. He died at Kensington on 30 March 1860, aged 77. He had lost his wife eight years previously.

He published in 1833 ‘An Historical Account of the Origin and Progress of Astronomy,’ a work of considerable merit and research; and compiled a series of mathematical text-books for use in Sandhurst College, of which the principal were entitled ‘Elements of Geometry,’ London, 1842; ‘Practical Astronomy and Geodesy,’ 1845; and ‘Analytical Geometry,’ 1846. He observed the partial solar eclipse of 6 May 1845, at the observatory of Sandhurst College (Monthly Notices, vi. 240).

[Monthly Notices Royal Astron. Soc. xviii. 100, xxi. 102; Ann. Reg. 1860, p. 475; Allibone's Critical Dict. of English Literature; Observatory, xi. 300 (W. T. Lynn).]

A. M. C.