Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parkinson, Thomas (1745-1830)

PARKINSON, THOMAS (1745–1830), mathematician, the son of Adam Parkinson, was born at Kirkham in Lancashire in 1745. Having been at school in Kirkham under a Mr. Threlfal, he entered Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1765 as a sizar. His father, who disapproved of his entering the university, denied him pecuniary assistance, and to eke out his income he joined Israel Lyons the younger [q. v.] in calculating the series of tables of parallax and reflection for the board of longitude. In 1769 he became senior wrangler and second Smith's prizeman, dividing the honours with George Atwood, who was third wrangler and first Smith's prizeman. He proceeded M.A. in 1772, B.D. in 1789, and D.D. in 1795. He was for twenty years (1771–91) fellow, and for fourteen years (1777–91) tutor of his college; and was proctor of the university 1786–7. In 1775 the dean and chapter of Ely conferred on him the vicarage of Meldreth, and in 1789 he accepted from his college the rectory of Kegworth in Leicestershire; in 1794 he became archdeacon of Huntingdon; in 1798 he was presented to the Chiswick stall in St. Paul's Cathedral. From 1804 he filled the office of chancellor of the diocese of Chester, and in 1812 became archdeacon of Leicester. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 23 Feb. 1786. He died at Kegworth on 13 Nov. 1830.

He published a few sermons singly, and 1. ‘A System of Mechanics,’ 1785, 4to. 2. ‘A System of Mechanics and Hydrostatics,’ 1789, 4to.

[Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 856; Gent. Mag. 1798 p. 362 b, 1831 pt. i. pp. 86–9; Dict. of Living Authors, 1798, ii. 110; information kindly supplied by Dr. Peile, master of Christ's College.]

C. P.