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James Ferguson (1710–1776) by Robert Stewart, pubd 1776 (after John Townsend) © National Portrait Gallery, London


Ferguson, James (1710–1776), lecturer on natural philosophy and inventor of scientific instruments, was born on 25 April 1710 at Core of Mayen, Rothiemay, Banffshire, the second of at least six children of John Ferguson, a farmworker renting a smallholding, and his wife, Elspeth Lobban...


Peat, Thomas (1707/8–1780), lecturer on science and almanac editor, was born at Ashleyhay, near Wirksworth, Derbyshire, the son of a farmer. He soon showed an inclination for learning, which his father tried to repress. A brother, a joiner in Nottingham, to whom he became apprenticed, gave him no more encouragement. However, ...