Open main menu


COCKAYNE, WILLIAM (1717–1798), astronomer, son of the Rev. George Cockayne, vicar of Doveridge in Derbyshire, was born 3 Nov. 1717. Admitted to Merchant Taylors' School in 1728, he was elected to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1736, took degrees of B.A., M.A., and B.D. respectively in 1740, 1744, and 1751, was junior proctor of the university in 1750, and proceeded D.D. 13 July 1754. His uncle, Francis Cockayne, being elected lord mayor of London in 1750, he was appointed his chaplain, and preached before him the anniversary sermon of 5 Nov. in that year. In 1753 we find him acting as chaplain to the Countess of Orkney and Inchiquin. He filled the chair of astronomy in Gresham College 1752-95, and was nominated, 20 Sept. 1763, rector of Kilkhampton in Cornwall, occupying the post until his death in 1798. He published 'A Sermon preached before the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, 5 Nov. 1750,' London, 1751; and 'A Sermon preached before the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, 3 Sept. 1753,' London, 1753.

[Cockayne Memoranda, p. 185; Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 73; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vii. 431; Parochial Hist. of Cornwall, ii. 365; Wood's Colleges and Halls, ed. Gutch, App. 170; Gent. Mag. 1750, p. 522, 1795, p. 711; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

A. M. C.