Swineshead, Richard (DNB00)


SWINESHEAD, RICHARD (fl. 1350), mathematician, apparently a native of Glastonbury, was educated at Merton College, Oxford, the home of many famous mathematicians in the fourteenth century. He was a fellow of Merton College, and took a leading part in the riots about the election of a chancellor in 1348 (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. i. 448). Eventually he left Oxford, and became a Cistercian monk at Swineshead in Lincolnshire. Leland gives his christian name as Roger, but this seems to be a mistake. In some verses against monks he is referred to as

    Subtilis Swynshed proles Glastoniæ,
    Revera monachus bonæ memoriæ,
    Cujus non periit fama industriæ.

The following works are attributed to Swineshead, but only four (Nos. 1, 4, 8, and 12) are known to be extant: 1. ‘Questiones super Sententias,’ inc. ‘Utrum aliquis in casu ex præcepto,’ Oriel College MS. xv. f. 235. 2. ‘In Ethica Aristotelis.’ 3. ‘De Cœlo et Mundo.’ 4. ‘Descriptiones Motuum, or De Motu Cœli et Similibus,’ Caius College MS. (Bernard, Cat. MSS. Anglia, ii. No. 994, 2). 5. ‘Super arte Cabalistica.’ 6. ‘De Intentione et Remissione.’ 7. ‘De Divisionibus.’ 8. ‘De Insolubilibus,’ inc. ‘Circa finem seu Terminum ultimum,’ Bodleian MS. 2593; this is said to have been printed. 9. ‘Sophismata Logicalia.’ 10. ‘Ephemerides.’ 11. ‘Mathematicæ Contentiones.’ 12. ‘Calculationes Astronomicæ’; this was several times printed, viz. ‘Subtilissimi Doctoris Anglici Suiset Calculationum liber,’ Padua [1485?], folio; ‘Suiseth Anglici Opus Aureum Calculationum ex recognitione J. Tollentini,’ Pavia, 1498; ‘Calculator subtilissimi Ricardi Suiseth Anglici,’ Venice, 1520; ‘Tractatus Proportionum introductorius ad Calculationes Suisseth,’ by Bassanus Politus, appeared at Venice in 1505, folio.

[Bale's Centuriæ, vi. 2; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 691; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Univ. Oxford, i. 419, 448; Brodrick's Memorials of Merton College, p. 213; Kastner's Geschichte der Mathematik, i. 50; Graesse's Tresor de Livres, vi. 526; British Museum Catalogues.]

C. L. K.