Francis Willughby

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Willughby, Francis


Born 1635 in Middleton; died there July 3,1672. English naturalist and traveler.

In his research and writings, Willughby collaborated closely with J. Ray. Between 1663 and 1666 he traveled extensively in Europe, collecting specimens of animals that he later began classifying according to morphological features and habitat. He was able, however, to work out a classification system only for birds and fish before his untimely death. The material he left behind was completed and published by Ray.

Willughby and Ray’s system for classifying animals was later developed further by C. Linnaeus.


The Ornithology of Francis Willughby, in Three Books. London, 1678.
De historiapiscium. Oxford, 1686.


Plavil’shchikov, N. N. Ocherki poistorii zoologii. Moscow, 1941.
References in periodicals archive ?
Francis Willughby (22 November 1635-3 July 1672) lived and thrived in the midst of the rapidly accelerating scientific revolution of the seventeenth century.
Virtuoso by Nature: The Scientific Worlds of Francis Willughby FRS (1635-1672)
Visitors can also learn about the famous 17th century naturalists, John Ray and Sir Francis Willughby, who lived and worked at the hall.
Francis Willughby - who owned Middleton Hall at the time - and John Ray travelled Britain and Europe to gather plants, draw them and then classify them.
The emblematic and philological approach of Renaissance compilers was succeeded by a new focus on careful observation and dissection, seen in the works of John Ray and Francis Willughby, Edward Tyson, and the Academie des Sciences.
In her study of the English travellers of the seventeenth century, Patricia Shaw Fairman makes very little reference to travellers claiming that the Spaniards were an intellectually and culturally backward people, and such references she does make are drawn from Francis Willughby's 1664 account, the implication being that he is the first of the English travellers to raise this issue.
(15) In the case of English travel literature, we can be very precise as to when this new trend first appeared, 1664, the year Francis Willughby travelled in Spain.
Spanish universities were derided as being mired in outdated scholasticism, as Isaac Barrow and Francis Willughby noted in their trips there in the mid- 1650s and mid- 1660s, while Thomas Browne told his son, "beleeve it, no excursion into Pol.
After making a catalogue of the local flora and fauna around Cambridge, Ray toured the North of England with Francis Willughby in the summer of 1660, and travelled widely with Phillip Skippon in the summer of the following year.(40) In October 1661 he refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Church of England in accordance with the Act of Uniformity, and after this he was compelled to forfeit his Trinity College Fellowship.
This is a copper engraving from the first English edition of the Ornithology of Francis Willughby, published in 1678.