Thomas Wright manuscripts
Thomas Wright
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Reference code: GB-0033-WRM
Title: Thomas Wright manuscripts
Dates of creation: approximately 1730-1786
Extent: 3 boxes
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Origination: Thomas Wright (1711-86) of Byers Green, Co. Durham, the astronomer, architect and landscape gardener.
Language: English

Thomas Wright

Early Life Thomas Wright was the third son of John and Margaret Wright of Pegg's Poole House, Byers Green, Co. Durham, where he was born on 22 September 1711. He was educated partly at home, partly at a private school and partly at a public one, probably King James's School, Bishop Auckland. He was taught mathematics by Thomas Munday of Bishop Auckland "a right good accomptant and an astronomer". Munday reported that he had "stole all his Mathematicks from him". In 1725, he was apprenticed to Bryan Stobart of Bishop Auckland who was a clock and watch maker. He enjoyed drawing, making maps and designing buildings. There were two discouragements to learning: in the first place he had a speech impediment, and in the second his father, thinking him mad, burnt all the books his mother had supplied to prevent him studying.
In the summer of 1730, he was making instruments with Mr. Heath and Mr Sisson in London, having undertaken a course earlier in the year on mathematics and navigation, probably at the free school at Gateshead founded by Dr. Theophilus Pickering in 1701. On returning to Sunderland, he set up his own school at the age of 20 and taught navigation and mathematics and sold mathematical instruments. During 1732 and 1733, notwithstanding visits to London, Cambridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Edinburgh and Kelso, he made two almanacks, surveyed and made a plan of an estate at Newfield near Byers Green, calculated the meridian of Durham, published a calculation of the eclipse of the moon in November 1732 and of the sun in May 1733, wrote a fictional record of a journey from Cornwall to Barbados entitled The Fortunate Islands or the Discovery of the New Worlds, completed work on the Universal Mariner's magazine and invented a "composition of dials", which was constructed and placed on Sunderland Pier.
The Rector of Sunderland, the Rev. Daniel Newcome, had not supported Thomas Wright in 1730 when he had tried to establish his school in Sunderland against local opposition. But in 1733, he invited Thomas Wright to stay at the Rectory as his companion. It was through Daniel Newcome that Thomas Wright was introduced to Richard Lumley, second Earl of Scarbrough at Lumley Castle, Co. Durham. The Earl was Member of Parliament for East Grinstead and Arundel, and Vice-Admiral of Co. Durham. He was Colonel of the Coldstream Guards. On the accession of King George II he was made Privy Councellor in 1727. The Earl recommended Thomas Wright to the Lords of the Admiralty who approved for publication his Pannauticon (1734), nine copies of which were obtained by the Earl. The Earl also subscribed to Clavis Pannautici (1734) the key to the Pannauticon, as also did Thomas Wright's father and elder brother. Through the Earl of Scarbrough, the Pannauticon was dedicated to George II. It was also through the Earl that Wright was introduced to Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Earl of Ila and the Earl of Pembroke.
Travels Thomas Wright travelled extensively in England and in Scotland, as recorded in his Journal, but it was extended visits to Holland in 1730 and to Ireland in 1746-47 that made a profound impact on his imagination.
At the age of 18, with his father's approval, he decided to take a trial as a crew member on a merchant ship, the Fenwick and John of Sunderland, and sailed in January 1730 from there to Amsterdam. He recorded that he was "extremely delighted with ye Horizon at Sea", but also "makes a very bad, tedious voyage, the sea disagreeing with him and is very near being cast away (by Canting of ye Ballast) in a very great storm". However, there was a great compensation awaiting him in Amsterdam, where he took "great Notice of ye Stat House, the Globe and Hemisphere and Geographical Pavement Figure, etc, etc".
Thomas Wright's tour of Ireland lasted from August 1746 until June 1747. He was already well-known there, and his hosts included Lord Limerick and Lord Midleton. James Hamilton, Viscount Limerick was brother-in-law to the Duchess of Kent. Wright had been introduced in 1736 to the Duke and Duchess of Kent by John Senex F.R.S., the geographer and cartographer, who sold his books, such as Louthiana, and commissioned him to write The Use of Globes. Wright stayed regularly in 1742-3 at Brook Green, Hammersmith, as guest of Lord Limerick, who invited him to Ireland in 1746. Wright stayed at Dundalk House, Co. Louth and Tollymore, Co. Down, where he advised on the landscaping of the grounds and designed buildings to enhance the grounds. Dundalk House (now demolished) and grounds had all the elements associated with Wright: the house had a semi-octagonal bow, a crenellated tower and parapets; the garden according to Dr. Pococke's description of 1752 had "a walk with elm hedges on each side, an artificial serpentine river, a Chinese bridge, a thatch'd open house supported by the bodies of fir trees..." At Tollymore, there was a thatched open pavilion, a Gothic watergate over a canal, a cascade, a barn, an hermitage, a Barbican Gate and a folly (Harris, 1979).
Wright travelled throughout Ireland, inspired by the landscape and by the archaeological and historical remains. Of the former, he notes in his Journal the Giants' Causeway, Magillagan beach, the mountains of Donegal, Belle Isle, and the River Shannon. Of the latter, the raths or hillforts excited his imagination and were the subject of many drawings. In addition, ruined castles and towers, towns and villages and houses and gardens were all remarked: for example he notes at Killalay "a fine wood and garden to R. with a round Summer House".
By October 1746 he had "collected and drew all the plans of Louthiana", and published it in 1748. A second volume was planned, the manuscript for which is in the British Museum. Louthiana has an extended explanatory title: "an Introduction to the Antiquities of Ireland in upwards of ninety views and plans: Representing with proper Explanation, the Principal Ruins, Curiosities and Ancient Dwellings in the County of Louth. Divided into Three Books. Taken upon the Spot..."
Book I is concerned with "Views and Plans of the most remarkable Bodes, Forts and Mounts in the County of Louth...", Book II with "Plans and Views of the Principal Castles, Keeps and Towers in the County of Louth..." and Book III with "A collection of the most remarkable remains of the works of the Danes and Druids in the County of Louth...". The drawings were engraved by Paul Fourdrinier, the French engraver, who lived in London until his death in 1758.
Cosmology It is clear from Thomas Wright's Journal that from 1732 until 1742 he was actively publishing papers on the eclipses of the sun and moon, on navigation and the tides, on astronomy and on geography. In addition, there were philosophical considerations on the theory of existence, and lectures were given in London on astronomy (1734) and were proposed in Durham on natural philosophy (1740). He continued to engrave, and to make some of the instruments he had invented, such as the Hemispherium for the Earl of Pembroke (1735). Amongst the Wright manuscripts in Durham University Library (Hoskin & Rochester 1992) are further calculations of eclipses and tables of comets, continuing these interests and activities up to the publication in 1750 of An Original Theory of New Hypothesis of the Universe, upon which Wright's fame rests. In An Original Theory, Wright explained the appearance of the Milky Way as an optical effect due to the position of the solar system in a layer of stars. Wright's hypothesis anticipated Sir William Herschel's view that the solar system is immersed in a disc-like system of stars, that is called the Galaxy.
A summary of Wright's Original Theory appeared in a Hamburg periodical in 1751 and was read by Immanuel Kant, which stimulated him to propose that our Galaxy is a rotating disc-shaped aggregate of stars, and to acknowledge Wright in his book Universal natural history and theory of the heavens (1755). Wright's publications revealed some bizarre views: for example in The Use of Globes (1740) he stated that the "stars are so many suns, that each of these stars or suns is attended, (as ours is), by a proper number of planets and comets; and that each hath a gravitating power independent of each other... (so that) these several systems cannot interfere with one another". Each star system, he depicted with its own deity at the centre, shown as the "eye of providence" (Paneth 1950a). Amongst the manuscripts in Durham University Library is a sequel to An Original Theory in which Wright expressed the belief that the sky was solid and studied with inward-pointing volcanoes down whose shafts we see the stars. Hoskin and Rochester (1992) conclude that this was Wright's attempt to articulate a cosmology in which the divine, the moral and the scientific universes were integrated. Clearly, Wright was not in the van of the new philosophy. Indeed, his biographer, George Allen of Darlington noted in 1793 that "there was something flighty and eccentric in his notions...".
Architecture and Gardens When Thomas Pennant visited Thomas Wright in 1773 he recorded:
"I breakfasted with Mr. Thomas Wright, at Biers Green, author of Louthiana, etc. His house small, admirably well contained with most neat little rooms his collection of his own drawings innumerable and fine: he had another volume ready for another Louthiana or rather of the antiquities of Ireland. His drawings of buildings for various purposes, of admirable fancy, in particular one for an universal academy; another for an universal museum; a Chaldea pavilion; a Tholus on Varrio's plan; a menagery etc. are of stupendous magnificence, and imperial works only". (Pennant, 1804. p. 17).
It is perhaps significant that Thomas Pennant referred neither to Wright's Universal Architecture of which Book I Six original designs of Arbours had been published in 1755 and Book II Six original designs of Grottos in 1758, and by the time of Pennant's visit were not generally known. Furthermore, the work that Wright had undertaken for Bishop Trevor - the deer shelter in Auckland Park - and for Bishop Egerton - the gateway on the Durham road to North Park and possibly the south range of Auckland Castle - received no attribution when Pennant described Auckland Castle and Park in 1772.
Another contemporary, George Mason (1768 and 1795) in Essay in Design in Gardening opined that Wright's plans for Stoke Park, Bristol and at Badminton would serve as the best models. Mason also provided a context for Wright by placing him between William Kant and Lanceolot Brown, who destroyed many of Wright's landscapes, such as the one at Wrest Park.
Dr. Eileen Harris' essay that prefaces the facsimile edition of Universal Architecture (Harris 1979), brilliantly summarises Wright's architecture and garden style. She points to the astronomical content of both his buildings and landscapes that give them distinctiveness and ingeniousness. As a garden designer, she concludes that he was everything that Lanceolot Brown was not.
Wright "was a descendent, and one of the last, of Shaftsbury, Pope and Kent, and their moral, physical, poetical and pictorial concepts of nature. In plan, his gardens are like Pope's and Kent's - axial but asymmetrical - a mixture similar to the order and disorder of the Universe. To their poetical themes he added his own occult astronomical interests: a "Talisman" of trees disposed in magical numbers at Badminton; a design for a "kitchen garden resembling the planetary system with the Temple of ye Sun in ye Centre"; hedges or clumps in a configuration of the arcs of three tangent circles - a hallmark of many of his designs - providing perpetual openness and closure, light and shade. He fully reinstated around the house the flower beds and rosaries that had disappeared from Bridgemanic gardens. He also enlivened his plantations with flowering shrubs, vines, and roses on pollards. His additions to the garden may be regarded as an expression of his belief in the immensity of Creation, offering moral as well as sensory pleasures".
One of the characteristic features of his buildings was the use of semi-circular or semioctagonal bows as at Hampton Court House, Horton House and Horton Menagerie, Nuthall Temple and Stoke Park which increased the illumination in the rooms they lit. Harris (1979) concluded that "Wright was on the whole a minor architect whose principal contribution was in the design or rustic garden buildings where he seems to have been in the forefront of fashion". The discovery of drawings and manuscripts by Thomas Wright, and correspondence with his patrons as well as remains of his designs in the landscape (for example, Stoke Park. Lambert & Harding 1989) as well as the remarkable garden plans at Badminton and at Hampton Court House, clearly places him in a different category to the one to which he has been assigned.
For Sir Walter Calverly Blackett, at Wallington, Northumberland, who had subscribed to Clavis Pannautici 1734, Wright produced some designs for a shepherd's castle, a fort and a gothic gate of these, only Codger's fort was realised (1769) although the crenellated tower was not built. Wright's fort looks down on Rothley Lakes designed by “Capability” Brown to the north and overlooks Daniel Garrett's folly, Rothley Castle (1745), to the south (Willis 1983).
In 1762, Thomas Wright wrote "Returning to finish my House and Prosicute my studies at Biers Green". He was probably commissioned by Bishop Trevor (1752-1771) to design a deer shelter. When Joseph Spence visited Auckland Park in 1752 and advised on laying out the Park he recommended that a temple should replace the existing deer house and keeper's lodge on Hawthorn Hill. Spence's drawing of the 2 buildings shows neither arcades nor gothic tower, and the elegant but utilitarian building is clearly by Wright and built in 1757.
Thomas Wright also submitted to Bishop Trevor a design for a gateway into Auckland Park from the Market Place, Bishop Auckland. The existing gateway however is attributed to Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby. But a comparison with Wright's drawing shows great similarities below the arch: the alcoves with ogee arches are as the Wright drawing, so are the quatrefoils and the base of the towers.
When Bishop Egerton was admitted to the see in 1771 both he and his wife, Lady Anne Sophia, née Grey were well known to Wright, who had taught them in 1739, 1741, 1742 and 1745. Bishop Egerton was described (Fordyce 1857) as "an amiable rather than an able man". It is probable that Wright advised on improvements to the Palace, especially the south range with its characteristic Wrightian bow gothic windows and crenellations (Harris 1979).
In an undated account of his house at Byers Green, published posthumously in The Gentleman's Magazine (1793, p. 216), Thomas Wright concluded "Besides all this, I have in agitation to erect a Gothic Tower on one of the highest hills in the country, and have been several years preparing materials for it...".
A measured elevation drawing is in "Various and Valuable Sketches and Designs of Buildings" by Thomas Wright in the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and a plan is in the British Museum.
The partially complete tower, up to the string course, sits on a landscaped platform some 20 x 30 yards, as on the plan. The circumvallating wall shown on the plan was not realised nor probably the shrub and herbaceous plantings.
There has been speculation about the purpose of the tower. It may have been built as an astronomical observatory, but more likely it was intended as a topographic observatory: form the top of the tower both the tower of Durham Cathedral and the towers of York Minster can be seen. It was certainly used as the site for a meteorological observatory and there exists a "Diary of the weather at Westerton Tower, anno dom. 1783 March anti meridian", with symbols for the day of the week.
In 1754 Thomas Forster and James Mynde of London drew and engraved a plan of the City of Durham, which included a view of the cathedral (north elevation) from the castle walks. James Mynde was well known and had engraved a portrait of the Earl of Orrery one of the subscribers to Louthiana. Thomas Wright used the engraving of Durham Cathedral as a base and added some crocketted pinnacles to the western towers and central tower, and pinnacles to the towers of the North Transept and Chapel of Nine Altars.
In August 1755 Wright "bought the house he was born in of his elder brother John Wright at Biers green" for £20, although the Halmote Court records the transaction on 14 June 1756. His brother took Grayshouse with one croft in Byers Green the following day. The house sat on a small parcel of land, 16 yards by 12 yards. He added to the property in 1756 by purchasing from "Hugh Greenwell an adjoining piece of ground by way of addition to his gardens". Altogether the estate amounted to 1.95 acres, and upon this from 1756 onwards, Wright developed his house and garden.
In June 1756, he "pulled the old house down", keeping timbers, doors, 100 loads of stone and 1,000 bricks. These were supplemented with 45,000 new bricks, Dutch and English tiles, and 50 loads of stone. Work was completed by 1762, but there were continual alterations and improvements: the garden walls were not finished until 1777 with stone from Bishop Egerton (Harris 1979).
Thomas Wright wrote a description of the house and garden in about 1778, and this was published in The Gentleman's Magazine of 1793. The house was carefully located in a natural amphitheatre formed by Haggs Beck, tributary to the River Wear, with views north-east to the River Wear Valley, Brancepeth Church and the tower of Durham Cathedral. To the north-west was the Roman fort of Binchester, to the west Auckland Park and his friends the Egertons and to the east Whitfield Hall and his friends the Shaftos.
The house, designed by Wright was in the style of a Roman villa. The main entrance was on the south-west elevation and was reached by a flight of steps to a terrace: from here he could enjoy a view of Byers Green, the Roman camp and the evening sun. The house was decorated with astronomical images: for example the staircase contained a large scheme of the universe, the visible creation, the sun, moon and systems of the planets and comets. Beyond his dining room and separated from it by two Doric pillars was a Roman triclinium with a sofa of six large mattresses, six pillows and four large cushions, in all, 16 parts. This was a reading room. At the other end of the dining room on the ceiling was a painting of the sun and the four seasons. The garden, although small, was remarkable for the house stood in a plantation of native and exotic trees and shrubs. There were "Chinese and other seats everywhere disposed to take in several large and pleasing views". In the garden to the south-west there were two weeping willows, trimmed every year, which "constantly throw out new branches like the polypus, and so thick and flexible as to represent the Egyptian god Acanthus pouring out so many streams of water, beautifully bending to the ground".
In late July and August 1750 Thomas Wright had toured the Midlands with Narbon Berkeley, the Prince of Wales and Lord Botetourt. They visited Leicester and Derby, and went to Matlock in the company of Sir Robert Burdett. Subsequently they visited Buxton, Chatsworth and Haddon.
It was probably through Sir Robert Burdett that Thomas Wright met Sir Charles Sedley of Nuthall (1721-1778). Two sketch designs of Nuthall Temple in 1754 in Thomas Wright's Sketches and Designs of Buildings in the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, unequivocally link Wright and Sedley and in 1758 Sir Charles subscribed to Universal Architecture Book II Six Original Designs of Grottos. The following year, Wright recorded in his Journal that he visited Nuthall. Work must have begun shortly after 1754, because by 1767 plans and elevations were published in Vitruvius Britannicus.
Wright's plans for Nuthall were based on the Villa Rocca Pisani and Molini at Lonigo by Scamozzi. The Temple was 28 yards square in plan with eight bays on the north and south elevations: these elevations were flanked by wings ten yards long at the ends of which were sphinxes. On the east front was a portico with corinthian columns rising from a perron. Entering the Temple through the giant portico access was gained to a domed octagon hall decorated with roccoco plasterwork. Wright also designed the decoration for the octagon ceiling that was not executed. The west or garden front of the Temple had a characteristic bow running from the ground to the first floor and supporting a balcony from which the landscape could be viewed.
The landscape with its lake, plantations, Gothic summer house "The Dovecotes", the Avenue of Limes and the twin Gothic-arched bridge at the western end of the lake may have been designed by Thomas Wright. The Dovecotes with its castellations, quatrefoils, and flat bands has similarities with Design M for Grottos.
Hampton Court House was built in 1757 to designs by Thomas Wright for Anne Maria Donaldson, mistress of George Montagu Dunk, second Earl of Halifax (1716-1771). The layout of the grounds is attributed to Thomas Wright between 1757 and 1769. Seventy metres west of the house is a pond, originally heart-shaped. Against the south boundary of the grounds is a remarkable grotto by Wright, restored in 1856 and 1983-6. The grotto is built into a mound. It has an arched entrance and two side wings, similar to the grotto on the title page of Universal Architecture Book II. It is decorated with large shells, glass, coloured rocks and bark. The ceiling was painted blue with gilded wooden stars. South of the pond, between the grotto and the house was an octagonal gothic hut, raised on a mound and attributed to Wright.
Thomas Wright was probably responsible for the remodelling of the south front of Horton House for the second Earl of Halifax in c. 1753, adding two domed bows. Thomas Wright was certainly responsible for The Menagerie: the interior decoration treats celestial subjects: Father Time, the sun and four winds, the signs of the zodiac.
Thomas Wright occupied himself in the 1760s with several large architectural projects, sketch designs for which are in the sketch books at Columbia University, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Royal Collection, Windsor. These included a Plan of a Royal Museum, Plan of a Royal Theatre, and a plan of Royal Baths under a pavilion. All of these, however, would be associated with a redesigned Royal Palace and a garden for St. James's Park. The Royal Palace at the head of St. James's Park was arranged around a quadrangle with bow-fronted domed pavilions at the corners. The main approach was from the north through a lodge on Piccadilly and along an avenue planted with circular and square platoons - a type of avenue found at Castle Howard, and Holkham and formerly at Croxdale, Co. Durham, but probably not planted and laid out after 1740. St. James's Park was redesigned: Bridgman's long canal was to be replaced by an oval lake, and the tree and shrub planting within the park is typically Wrightian - semi-circular, circular and tangential groupings. Unknown to Wright, Buckingham House was being improved for George III by Sir William Chambers.
When Thomas Wright died on 22 February 1786, his house and contents were left to his 22 year old daughter Elizabeth. However, she died two years later, and much of the contents was acquired by George Allen of Darlington. The house and garden were acquired by Henry and Jane Hutchinson of Pelton Fell. In 1792, it was acquired by William Porterhouse, a clockmaker of Barnard Castle and William Benning, also of Barnard Castle. It then changed hands frequently in the nineteenth century. The garden was built over, and is now Vine Street and Ghent Street, and the house was demolished in March 1967.


Most, but not all, of these drafts and notes are in the hand of Wright himself. They include a sequel to his Original Theory, or New Hypothesis of the Universe, 1750, and works on comets, longitude, and the divine nature of visible creation. Among the meteorological material are weather diaries kept by him at Westerton, Hartlepool, and Auckland, Co. Durham, and tables of weather records for the Coventry area, 1724-33, possibly based on observations of Henry Beighton.
Much of the collection dates from the period of Wright's retirement to Byers Green, from 1755, after twenty years on the fringes of high society, surveying estates, giving lessons in mathematics and the physical sciences to noble ladies, and publishing works on astronomy, architecture and antiquities.

Accession details

Mss. 1 -15 purchased, 1966, with assistance from the Purchase Grant Fund, from Dawsons, Pall Mall, London, who had bought them at Sotheby's sale on 19 July 1966. Others acquired as indicated.


Wright himself grouped and regrouped and numbered and renumbered many of these papers, and in some cases supplied them with title-pages with a view to publication. When acquired by Dawsons they were in chaotic disorder. They were sorted by Dr. Michael Hoskin, and his arrangement has been retained with only minor modifications to associate related papers which had become separated. Other such relationships may still remain unidentified, and at some points the order in which the sheets have been numbered is unavoidably arbitrary, given the nature of the material.

Related material (internal)

Wrightiana (cuttings, photocopies, photographs, slides etc.) providing background information on his life and works. An online catalogue is available
Routh 52.A.17/5: manuscript genealogy of the Dukes of Beaufort, written by Thomas Wright.
The Library holds most of Wright's publications, some with manuscript annotations by him, and has extensive holdings of publications about Wright.

Related material elsewhere

British Library, London BL Add. MS. 15627, Wright's autograph journal, 1711-1762.
BL Add. MS. 15628, ms of Wright's Observations on the most remarkable remains of antiquity.
Newcastle upon Tyne Central Library 8 volumes of Wright MSS (microfilm copies held at Durham University Library)


(From Tooley, 1993)
Anon. 1793. “A sketch of the character of Mr. Thomas Wright, late of Byer's-Green Lodge, in the County of Durham”. The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle 63, Part 1, No. 1, pp 9-12; 63, Part 1, No. 2, pp 126-7, (article possibly by George Allen of Darlington).
Batey, M. and Lambert, D. 1990. “Stoke Park, Stoke Gifford, Avon”. In, Batey, M. and D. Lambert (eds). The English Garden Tour: a view into the past. London. John Murray. pp 200-4.
Buckley, J. 1909. “The Journal of Thomas Wright. Author of Louthiana”. Journal of the Louth Archaeological Society 2 (2), 165-185.
De Morgan, A. 1848. “An account of the speculations of Thomas Wright of Durham”. Philosophical Magazine 32 (3), 241-252.
Dingle, H. 1950. “Thomas Wright's Astronomical Heritage”. Annals of Science 6, 404-415.
Fordyce, W. 1857. The history and antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. Newcastle. A. Fullerton and Co.
Dingle, H. & Martin G.R. 1964. “Foreword to Thomas Wright and Immanuel Kant”. In, Dingle, H. & Martin, G.R. (eds). Chemistry and Beyond. New York, Interscience Publishers, John Wiley and Sons Ltd. pp 91-2.
Gushee, V. 1941. “Thomas Wright of Durham, Astronomer”. ISIS 33, 196-218.
Harding, S. 1989. “The Wizard's Lodge rediscovered”. Avon Gardens' Trust. Newsletter Summer 1989, pp [14-16].
Harding, S. 1990. Stoke Park Restoration Trust. Proposals for the restoration of Stoke Park, Bristol 45 pp.
Harding, S. & Lambert, D. 1988. “Saving the Wizard's Landscape”. Country Life 182 (15), 132-135.
Harris, E. 1971a. “The Wizard of Durham: the architecture of Thomas Wright - I”. Country Life 150 (3872), 492-495.
Harris, E. 1971b. “A flair for the grandiose: the architecture of Thomas Wright - II.”Country Life 150 (3873), 546-550.
Harris, E. 1971c. “Architect of roccoco landscapes Thomas Wright - III”. Countrv Life 150 (3874), 612-615.
Harris, E. 1979. Thomas Wright. Arbours and Grottos: a facsimile of the two parts of Universal Architecture (1755 & 1758) with a catalogue of Wright's works in architecture and garden design. London. Scolar Press.
Harris, E. 1982. “Villa for a mortal Miss. Hampton Court House”. Country Life 5 August, pp 392-394.
Harris, E. 1986. “So rare, so elegant [The Grotto at Hampton Court House]”. Country Life 18 December, pp 1956-1959.
Harris, J. 1979. “The flower garden, 1730 to 1830”. In, Harris, J. (ed). The Garden: a celebration of one thousand vears of British Gardening. London, New Perspectives Publishing Ltd. pp 40-46.
Hetherington, B. 1973. “Thomas Wright of Durham”. Journal of the British Astronomical Association 84(1), 16-21.
Hoskin, M. A. 1967. Preface to Clavis Coelestis by Thomas Wright, London. Dawsons of Pall Mall. i-xi.
Hoskin, M. 1970. “The Cosmology of Thomas Wright of Durham”. Journal of the History of Astronomy 1, 44-52.
Hoskin, M. & Rochester, G. D. 1992. “Thomas Wright and the Royal Society”. Journal of the History of Astronomy 23, 167-172.
Hughes, E. 1951. “The early journal of Thomas Wright of Durham”. Annals of Science 7(1), 1-24
Lambert, D. & Harding, S. 1989. “Thomas Wright at Stoke Park”. Garden History 17(1), 68-82.
McCarthy, M. 1981b. “Thomas Wright's "Designs for Temples" and related drawings for Garden buildings”Journal of Garden History 1(1), 55-66.
McCarthy, M. 1981b. “Thomas Wright's Designs for Gothic Garden buildings”. Journal of Garden History 1(3), 239-252.
Paneth, F.A. 1941a. “Thomas Wright of Durham and Immanuel Kant”. Durham University Journal. N.S. 2, 111- 125.
Paneth, F.A. 1941b. “Thomas Wright of Durham and Immanuel Kant”. The Observatory 64, 71-82.
Paneth, F.A. 1950a. “Thomas Wright of Durham”. Endeavour 9 117-125.
Paneth, F.A. 1950b. “Thomas Wright's "Original Theory" of the Milky Way”. Nature 166 (4210), 49-50.
Paneth, F.A. 1951a. “Thomas Wright and Immanuel Kant, pioneers in stellar astronomy”. Proceedings of the Royal Institution 35, 114.
Paneth, F.A. 1951b. “Thomas Wright and Immanuel Kant, pioneers in stellar astronomy”. Nature 167, 1014-1016.
Paneth, F.A. 1964. “Thomas Wright of Durham and Immanuel Kant”. In, Dingle, H. & Martin, G.R. (eds) Chemistry and Beyond: a selection from the writings of the late Professor F.A. Paneth. New York, Interscience Publishers, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp 91-119.
Pennant, T. 1804. A tour from Alston Moor to Harrowgate and Brimham Crags. London, John Scott. [Written 1773]. p 17.
Rochester, G.D. n.d. A short history of Thomas Wright. pp 1-5.
Rose, G. 1993. “Neglected genius gets a place of honour”. The Sunday Times 21 March 1993. Section 6, Page 16, cols a-h.
Russel, J. 1989. “The archaeology of Stoke Park, Bristol”. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 8, 30-40.
Sampson, R.A. 1896. “Thomas Wright, the Durham astronomer”. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne 7, 99-104.
Tooley, M.J. 1993. Thomas Wright of Durham 1711-1786. An exhibition of his life and work held in the University of Durham Library, Palace Green, Durham.
Willis, P. 1983. “Capability Brown in Northumberland”. Garden History: The Journal of the Garden History Society. 9(1), 157-183.
Wolfendale, A.W. 1987. A brief history of Astronomy in Durham. Durham, Department of Physics, University of Durham. 20pp.
Wood, A. (1967). “Derelict mansion is the only reminder of a local genius”. Northern Echo, Darlington. 11 March 1967.
Wright, T. 1734a. Pannauticon the Universal Mariner's Magazine.
Wright, T. 1734b. Clavis Pannautici or a key to the Universal Mariner's Magazine London. Printed for the author by J. Huggonson, near Sargeants-Inn in Chancery Lane. 43pp. [95 x 158 mm].
Wright, T. 1737. The Universal vicissitude of seasons. Manuscript. London, St. James's. [289 x 477 mm].
Wright, T. 1740. The use of globes. London. Printed for John Senex, over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street. iv + 162 + 1 errata. [118 x 202 cm].
Wright, T. 1742. Clavis Coelestis, being the explication of a diagram entitled a synopsis of the universe: or, the visible world epitomized. Printed for the author; and sold by E. Cave, E. Scarlet, Tho. Heath, H. Capelle, W. Banister, and P. Fourdrinier. xxx + [2pp] + 78 pp. Summary dated St. James's Jan. 1735.
Wright, T. 1748. Louthiana: or an introduction to the antiquities of Ireland. London: Printed by W. Faden, for the author and sold by R. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, and M. Senex, opposite St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet-Street. [226 x 292 mm].
Wright, T. 1750a. An original theory or new hypothesis of the universe. vii + [2] + [2] + 84 pages. London. Printed for the author, and sold by H. Chappelle, in Grosvenor Street. [231 x 297 mm].
Wright, T. 1750b. “Tour through part of England in the year 1750, with Narbon Berkeley Esq., Prince, and late Lord Botetourt”. The Reliquary: Quarterly Archaeological Journal and Review. 15 (60), 216-220. 1875.
Wright, T. 1755 & 1758. Universal Architecture - Book I. Six original designs of arbours. Book II. Six original designs of grottos. London. Printed for the author, according to Act of Parliament. Book I [32pp]: Book II [32pp].
Wright, T. 1793. “Mr Wright's description of his villa at Byer's Green”. The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle. 63, Part 1, No. 3, 213-216.
Reprinted in Gentleman's Magazine Library. English Topography Part 4. Durham Essex. Gloucestershire. ed. Gomme. 1893, pp 8-11.


Thomas Wright MSS
WRM.1/1-97   [mid 18th century]
“Second, or Singular Thoughts Upon the Theory of the Universe Designed as a Supplement or Sequel to That Hypotheses; formed upon New Observation and Discoveries by the Author In 3 letters”.
f.1 Title-page. At head of title-page "No. 10"
f.2 Index to the plates
f.3 Prefatory letter
f.4-13 Preface
f.14-35 “Letter ye I or 10”. Wright's Original Theory consists of nine letters, hence his numbering of the first letter of the sequel as 1 or 10. f.31 is a drawing captioned by Wright "Plate III".
f.36-55 “Letter ye II or 11”. This letter lacks a passage of the text (pages/folios 19-21 in Wright's original pagination/foliation) between 1/45 and 1/46.
f.56-77 “Letter ye III or 12 upon the infinite Unity”
f.78-97 “Epigenoma to the Infinite Unity, Concerning the Divine Nature and Magnitude of the Visible Creation”

Printed: Published under this title, ed. M.A. Hoskin, London, Dawsons, 1968.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Second, or Singular Thoughts Upon the Theory of the Universe Designed as a Supplement or Sequel to That Hypotheses; formed upon New Observation and Discoveries by the Author In 3 letters - WRM.1/1-97
WRM.2/1-20   approximately 1750
18 drawings, some for Wright's Original Theory, 1750, others for that work but not used, one at least of the illustrations planned for “Second or Singular Thoughts” (WRM.1/1-97), and 2 engraved star maps with comets added by Wright. All the drawings are astronomical except 2/20, which is part of a plan of a building.
1. Sphere and cross-section
2. Quarter and half section through sphere
3. Eighth and quarter section through sphere
4. Bisected sphere
5. Drawing of "The UNIVERSAL CENTRE of GRAVITATION, The ORB of ye SUN, The ORB of ye EARTH, The ORB of ye MOON".
6. Circular star map (damaged)
7. Plot of eccentricity of orbit around the sun
8. Plot of relative angles between celestial bodies
9. Plot of regular angles within celestial sphere
10. Celestial bodies within concentric circles
11r-v. Plots on graph paper
12. Incomplete circular plots
13. Concentric circles
14. "The Pleiades a bright Knot 44 stars as observ'd by T. Wright".
15. "Scheme for ye Construction of Solar Eclipses in all Positions upon ye Earth & Disk. T.W.".
16. "Stars Round the South Pole & below the Horizon of London".
17-18. Two engraved star maps with comets added by hand in red by Wright.
19. "Plan of ye Circumpolent Stars" inscribed to Edmond Halley. Endorsed "The North Nocturnal Rectified".
20. Plan of symmetrical building (part)

WRM.2/1-3,18 will be on display in the Space Investigators exhibition at the Great North Museum Hancock 29 March-1 September 2024 and are currently inaccessible.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, drawings - WRM.2/1-20
WRM.3/1-55   [mid 18th century]
“Astronomical Philosophical, & Mathematical Miscellanies. 48. No. Systems of the Planets &c.”. A miscellany of separate pieces numbered 6-15, 17-48, 52-54, with a note by Wright (3/2 verso) that nos 1-5 and 16 are "in another place".
f.1. Blank except for "No 48" and "A" at head
f.2. Title-page. "No 33" at head
f.3-4. Nos 6-8. A letter to "Dear Sir" challenging a piece in Phil. Trans. v.52 no 35 representing Venus as having a surrounding atmosphere
f.5-6. Nos 9-10. A letter to "Dear Sir" about the difference between the true and apparent diameter of globes and spheres as seen at any finite distance
f.7. No 11. "To find the Excess of Light upon ye Earth's Hemesphere Beyond the Bisection or Diameter"
f.8. No 12. "To find the Defect of ye Moons Light in the visible Hemisphere, or Less than the Bisection"
f.9. No 13. "Proportions of the Planetary Bodies and their orbits to various Diameters of ye Sun"
f.10. No 14. "A Table of D[istances?] to Less Dementions … Anno 1737"
f.11 No 15. "A Scale of the Proportional Magnitudes of the Planets".
f.12 No 17. "Ancients observation Compaird with the Moderns for finding the Precession of ye Equinoxes".
f.13 No 18-19. "The Investigation of ye Sun ingress to ye Equinoxes for ye first 8 years of Christ".
f.14-15 No 20. "Subdivisions of Time".
f.16 No 21. "A Table of the Acceleration of ye fixd Stars above ye mean Motion of ye Sun from Mr de la Hire Tab: Ast: Pag. 36".
f.17 No 22. "A Table of Refractions at Bononia Extracted from Ricciolus's Almagestum Novum Vol 2. Pa. 668".
f.18 No 23. "A Table of Refraction from Mr. de la Hire Tab: Ast: Pag. 8".
f.19 No 24. "Mouton's Observations of the Sun diameter dur[ing] the year 1660".
f.20 No 25. "Tycho Brahe's table of Refractions in Denmark Extracted from Ricciolus's Astronom. P. 57".
f.21 No 26. "A Radix's for forming a Scale of ye Suns Declination 1775 ".
f.22 No 27. "A Radix's for forming a Scale of the Equation of Time. 1775 ".
f.23 No 28. Drawing captioned "A New method of Costructing Mural Clockes and Astronomical Quadrants ... Sep. 1771 ". On verso "New Method of Deviding Mathematical instruments by a Radix".
f.24 No 29. "Statio Horae or the Division of the Year acording to the Ancients with ye Temporal Changes of ye Seasons In consequence of ye Procession of ye Stars and introduction of 4. New Signs of ye Zodiac".
f.25 No 30. "Lunations Computed in Every Month of the Year To Shew the Irregularity of the Moons Motion with regard to ye Sun and Earth" 1782 and 1780.
f.26 No 31. "Weight of a Cubick Inch of severall Bodies".
f.27-28 No 32. "A Table of Specifick Gravity of Bodies in Proportion to Water, from Mr Boyle and Experiments made by Dr Harris". In this document, most of which is not in Wright's hand, the words "my own" have been crossed out by him before "Experiments" and "by Dr Harris" has been added by him.
f.29 No 33. Table of specific gravities of various substances.
f.30-31 No 34. "I. Castillioneus, Domino, De Montagnij V.D.S.P.".
f.32-33 No 35. "I. Castillione to Mr. De Montagne V.D.S.P". An English translation of 3/30-31.
f.34-35 No 36. "Geometrical Construction of the Cardioid". f.34 bears an earlier number 15:3. f.35 is an untitled sheet of diagrams bearing number 15:2.
f.36-38 No 37. Three quarto leaves labelled at head, respectively:
"Greenwich R. Observatory. Longitude [&] Latitude compared with the Computation from the Durham & Gottingen Tables".
"Time of Observation reduc'd from Paris to Greenwich. Diff. of meridiens 9' 16 Suns Longitude Observ'd and compared with the Computation from the Gottingen & Durham Tables".
"Observations of the Moons Longitude and Latitude continued with the Computations from the Durham & Gottingen Tables"
The references to Durham tables may be to A Perpetual Table of the Sun's Rising and Setting to Every Degree of Declination. For the City of Durham, an anonymous single sheet printed between 1746 and 1774, and ascribed to Spencer Cowper.
f.39 No 38. "Astronomical Queres".
f.40 No 39. "Phalaces in Experimental Philosophy".
f.41 No 40. "A Calculation of ye Moon's Eclips and Phenomena at London March ye 15th 1736 Vid. Astronomia Anglicana", with coloured diagram. On verso, calculations concerning an eclipse of the sun, 14 July 1748.
f.42 No 41. "Observation of an Occultation of Mars by the Moon, Octob. 7. 1736 ".
f.43 No 42. "The Proportion of ye Sphere, & of ye Five Regular Bodies inscribed in ye same, from Peter Horigon, Cursus Matth: Vol.1. P.779. and Barrow's Euclid, Lib.13".
f.44-45 No 43. "A List of the Variety of Earths stones & Metoles under their Respective Heads".
f.46 No 44. List of provisions headed "At ye Feast of Geo. Nevill Brother to ye great Earl of Warwick When Installd Arch Bp of York".
f.47 No 45. "The Method to Weigh any Requird Weight from one to Forty Pounds With I, III, IX & XXVII Pounds".
f.48-49 No 46. A quarto bifolium beginning "If a Spherical Burning Speculum be cast of 20 inches Diam[eter]" and endorsed "Mollineux & Bradley's Burning Speculum".
f.50 No 47. "Plane Trigonometry Axioms".
f.51 No 48. "Spherical Trigonometry Axioms".
f.52 No 52. "Degrees of ye Sun's Altitude to Every Tenth Azimuth, and hour of ye Day ... Calculated to ye Latitude of London".
f.53 No 53. "A Perpetual Table for finding the True Time of Sun Rise to ye Latitude 54.47.30 The Refraction being 33.45 at Durham".
f.54 No 54. Drawing captioned "Elevation of a Pedestall".

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Astronomical Philosophical, & Mathematical Miscellanies. 48. No. Systems of the Planets &c - WRM.3/1-55
WRM.4/1-71   8 October 1780
“Tables and Cannons for Calculating The Suns altitude azimuth In any Latitiude and to any Position or time of Day. Also The Theory of the North Stars. For finding a True Meridian”
f.1 Title-page.
f.2 "Construction of the Tabular Numbers, in a New Theory of the Stars for finding of ye Exact Hour of the Night and a true Meridian as also the Correct Rising and setting of the Sun and the Longitude at Sea. By T. Wright. 1772 ".
f.3 "Process for finding the Parallax of the Stars &c". Heading only. On verso "To find ye Numbers of Seconds ... in Every Parallel of Latitude to one Minute of Longitude".
f.4-5 "Process for finding the parallax of the Stars to any point of ye orbis Magnus and part of the Hemesphere".
f.6 "A Table of the Suns Meridian Altitude in ye Latitude 54.45 &c".
f.7 "Scheme of Mr. Flamsteads Observation of the Pole Star".
f.8 "An Illustration of Molyneux & Bradley Observation of ye Star [Gamma] in ye Dragons Head".
f.9 "The scheme of Mr. Molyneux & Bradley Latitude of Kew 51:29 ... Observation at Kew 1725 ".
f.10 "Process for finding ye Suns azimuth and altitude to ye Latitude 54:58.30". [Heading only].
f.11-12 "A Demonstration of Flamsted Observation of ye Pole Star".
f.13 "A Projection of ye Parallactic Elipsis".
f.14-21 Sheets of calculations. 4/14-19 are paginated 5-16. Section headings include
"2dly to find ye Side CE"
"In the same triangle to find ye side BA' at various stated longitudes"
"Latitude 54:46:50"
"Latitude 54:43.30"
f.22 "An Illustration for Finding The Longitude By The Culmination of Aldebaran January ye 1: in year 1773 ".
f.23 "The Elements of Sigma ... with Epsilon in orion girdle to Every 5 of 40: of North Latitude".
f.24-25 "Supplemental Tables".
f.26 "To find the Parallax of Longitude of any Star in ye Ecliptic".
f.27-28 Two quarto leaves, possibly misplaced, of monthly calculations for January to December.
f.29 "The Calculation of an Erect Direct South Dial".
f.30-31 "The Calculation of a South Sun Dial for ye Latitude of 54 and 40".
f.32 "The Calculation of a Sun Dial Erect Declining 45:00 In ye Latitude of 54:50".
f.33 "Process of the Logarithmic Calculus For Constructing ye Necessary Tables for finding the Exact Hour of ye Night and a Meridian Line By ye Circumpolent Stars. By Tho: Wright. 1772 ". Title-page, with prefatory remarks on verso.
f.34 "To find ye Latitude of the Place where the Longest day is of any given Length".
f.35 "A Projection for the Rising & Amplitude of the Sun".
f.36 "Tables Can[n]ons & Calculations of Amplitudes and Ascentional Differences To Every Degree of ye Declination of Rising Bodies".
f.37-44 "A Projection for ye Suns altitude and azimuth &c".
f.44-46 "To find the azimuth of the Pole Star any Hour of the Night from ye North Vortex, or Meridian ...".
f.47 "An easy simple, and entire new method for finding a True Meridian Line.
f.48 Blank.
f.49-62 "Theory of ye North Stars or Process of the Logarithmic Calculus for Costructing the Proper Tables for finding the Hour of the Night".
f.63-65 "Theory of the Stars of the south Hemesphere", Tables I-IV.
f.66-67 "The Rising setting & amplitude of the stars of the 1st magnitude for the 1st & 15 of Aries to the Latitude of London".
f.68 "The Rising setting & amplitude of the stars of the first magnitude for the 1st and 15th of Cancer to the Latitude of London."
f.69 "The Rising setting & amplitude of the stars of the first magnitude for the 1st and 15 of Taurus for the Latitude of London".
f.70-71 "The Rising setting and amplitude of the stars of the 1st magnitude for the 1st and 15th of Gemini to the Latitude of London".

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Tables and Cannons for Calculating The Suns altitude azimuth In any Latitiude and to any Position or time of Day. Also The Theory of the North Stars. For finding a True Meridian - WRM.4/1-71
WRM.5/1-10   [mid 18th century]
“Of the fix"d Stars Their Names and Natures Book ye II”.
f.1 Title-page
f.2-6 "New Stars."
f.7 "Of the Elements or Material Nature of ye Stars. Stars of the First Magnitude".
f.8 "Stars of ye second Magnitude". On verso, "Stars of the third Magnitude".
f.9 "The Constellations in which New Stars have been mostly seen".
f.10 "A Nomenclator, or Denomination of ye Principal Stars, in their Imaginary Morphoses, Previous to their being Constellations".

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Of the fix
WRM.6/1-28   [mid 18th century]
"Notes Variorum", largely on the divine origin of the visible creation.
f.1 Title-page.
f.2 "The Creation as it now exists is manifestly the Evidence of infinite Wisdom ...".
f.3 "God cannot be said to be pleasd or Displeasd with ye good or bad actions of Mankind".
f.4 "The active powers of the Eternal Energy are no how weakened or Relax"d by its perpetual operation upon spatial Matter ...".
f.5 "There is but one universal Principal Progenetor of all things: i.e. God ...".
f.6 "The Human Soul in all visionary Dreams has undoubtedly a Material state of Existence Distinct from the Mortal Being of the Body ...".
f.7 "If you can not Believe in god and his infinite power which you do not see: you may still believe in his Nature and Wisdom which you do see ...".
f.8 "It must be confest that within the Solar Body and without the starry firmament Human reason can not be suppos"d to penetrate by any faculties the mind is at present Possest of ...".
f.9 "God is that unoriginated and self-dependent Being upon whome all producted Beings perpetually depend ...".
f.13 "Mater is as inconceivable to us as ye essence of God is ...".
f.15 "The infalible intuitive knowledge of our own Existence from an internal perception that we are, and at ye same time a Consciousness that we are not independent, and self-produced ...".
f.17 "The Properties of God not only constitute ye Nature of all things ...".
f.19 "Spirit too if I may be allowed the Expression is infinitely Less finite than matter ...".
f.22-23 "Creation of ye Vegitable Kingdom. The Song of Gabriel. And the Evening and the morning was the Third Day". A quarto bifolium, containing this title but otherwise blank.
f.24-27 "Notes upon Ancient & Primitive Astronomy". Section headings include
"The Doctrine of Zoroaster"
"Of God. Phales opinions"
"Moral sentences"
"Solon"s Apothegms".
f.28 Blank.

Digitised material for Thomas Wright,
WRM.6A/1-9   [mid 18th century]
Notes on various writers' views of creation and the creator, from antiquity to the 17th century.
f.1 "Sir Isaac Newton"s General Scholium".
f.2-4 "A Short Comment on The General Scholium" (6A/1-4 are not in Wright's hand).
f.5 "Dr Clark". Heading only, rest of recto blank.
Verso is also blank except for heading, "Cumberland & Wolaston".
f.6 "Mr Lock".
f.7-8 Notes on the views of ancient philosophers (Zoroaster, the ancient Egyptians, Proclus, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca) concerning God.
f.9 Blank.

Surviving traces of green thread make clear that these sheets were sewn in the order in which they have been numbered. Dr. Hoskin in his first sorting of the papers placed them with WRM.4, but they appear to be much more closely associated with WRM.6, and have accordingly been moved and renumbered as 6A.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Notes on creation and the creator - WRM.6A/1-9
WRM.7/1-6   [mid 18th century]
“The Druids Dream”. Said by Wright in his prefatory notes to be a translation he has endeavoured to make, from an "old British Manuscript ... lately fell ino my Hands, full of very uncommon and original Ideas", of "the Vision and Dream of Albaris ... the friend of Vertue and the foe of Evil".
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, The Druids Dream - WRM.7/1-6
WRM.8/1-14   [mid 18th century]
“An Essay towards a Complete Chronological Catalogue of the Philosophers, Astronomers, and mathematicians. By T. Wright”. "No. 3" at head of title, and also the number 18.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, An Essay towards a Complete Chronological Catalogue of the Philosophers, Astronomers, and mathematicians - WRM.8/1-14
WRM.9/1-11   [mid 18th century]
“Poetical Astronomy or an Introduction to the use of the Globes. By T Wright”. "No. 32" at head of title. Notes on astronomical references in the writings of poets of the ancient world, such as Hesiod and Virgil, followed by four tables, headed "The Ascension Descension Culmination and Nocturnal Arch of ye Principal Constellations to London and may do, for all England". The last eight words are a later addition.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Poetical Astronomy or an Introduction to the use of the Globes - WRM.9/1-11
WRM.10/1-4   [mid 18th century]
“The Maze of Morality”. An allegory.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, The Maze of Morality - 10/1-4
WRM.11/1-30   [mid 18th century]
“The Firmament or Celestiall Phenomena Being a Natural History or Chronological Regester of the Stars and Comets. Tho. Wright”. "No. 25" at head of title.
f.1 Title-page.
f.2-3 "Historia Antique Caelestis or Ancient Constellations and Morphoses of the Stars ...". "No. 26" at head of title.
f.4-12 "Section ye I. of the original signs of the ZODIAC as Dividing the year into its Primordial Octants". "No. 27" at head of title.
f.13-18 "Section ye II. of the More Modern or Pseudo signs of the ZODIAC as suppos"d to be found in some of Lower ages of Antiquity." "No. 28" at head of title.
f.19-20 "Section ye III. Constellations in the Northern Hemesphere and Round the North Pole". "No. 29" at head of title.

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, The Firmament or Celestiall Phenomena Being a Natural History or Chronological Regester of the Stars and Comets - WRM.11/1-30
WRM.12/1-10   [mid 18th century]
“Historia Antique Caelestis or the Prograce of Astronomy from the Earliest accounts of time to the Present age. By T. W.”.
f.1 Title-page.
f.2 "The Preface" (heading only).
f.3 "Primitive Astronomy"

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Historia Antique Caelestis or the Prograce of Astronomy from the Earliest accounts of time to the Present age - WRM.12/1-10
WRM.13/1-23   [mid 18th century]
“The Longitude Discoverd on Ship-Board by Tabular inspection only without the Use of any Instrument and independent of the Motion of ye Sea. By the Help of a good Watch ... By Tho: Wright. Part II”.
f.1 Title-page.
f.2 "Preface to ye Longitude".
f.6 "To find the Pole Stars Distance from ye Pole".
f.8 "Problem I. To Find ye Horizontal Equation of ye Rising and setting of ye Sun or Moon ...".
f.9 "A Table of ye Horizontal Equation ...".
f.10 "No. 1 & 2. To find the Right ascension and declinations of the Pole star Having its Latitude and Longitude given". On verso, "To find the Time when the Pole star is at the Point of its greatest Azimuth from the Meridian in any Latitude ... ".
f.11 "To find the Azimuth of the Pole Star &c at any Distance from the Tangent Point".
f.12 "To find the True Rising or Setting of the Sun to any Depression of the visible Horizon The Latitude of the Places being known or given with ye Rational Rising".
f.18 "Here follows the whole process for finding the true Time and consequently the Longitude ...".
f.20 "A Table of the Difference of ye Suns Declination In Seconds per Diem with ye Difference per Hour".
f.21 "A Table of the Difference of The Suns Declination in minutes per Diem with the quantity of increase or Decrease per Hour".
f.22 "Prolegomena". Heading only. Rest of leaf and f.23 blank.

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, The Longitude Discoverd on Ship-Board by Tabular inspection only without the Use of any Instrument and independent of the Motion of ye Sea. By the Help of a good Watch - WRM.13/1-23
WRM.14/1-22   [mid 18th century]
“Tables of the Comets”.
f.1 Title-page.
f.2-5 Tables of years in which comets have appeared.
f.6 "A Table of Comets Places that have been Regularly observ"d". Covers the period 1530-1672.
f.7 Drawing captioned "View of the Comet in 1744 as it appeard in ye Evening over ye Lake in High Park for some time in January and in ye Constelation Regulus".
f.8 "A More Correct Table of Comets places in Latitude & Longitude as Observ"d of Late years, with proper instruments". Covers the period 1680-1737.
f.9 "Elements of the Comet anno D. 1742 Constructed by T. Wright".
f.10 "Observations of ye Comet in 1742 as com[m]unicated to ye Royal Society by T. W.".
f.11 "The Elements of the Comet in 1744 as constructed by Thos Wright".
f.12 Blank.
f.13 Notes, with drawing, on a comet seen at Byers Green September 4th.
f.14 Drawing captioned " September ye 12th 1769. View of a Comet as it appeard to Mr Wright in his garden at Biersgreen about half an Hour after three a clock in ye morning ...".
f.15-19 "The various Forms of Comets as they have appeard in several Ages of the World". Illustrated tables.
f.20-21 "Phaenomena of Comets as observ'd & Distinguis'd by ye Ancients Book ye I". Illustrated with drawings.
f.22 Blank.

WRM.14/7,14 will be on display in the Space Investigators exhibition at the Great North Museum Hancock 29 March-1 September 2024 and are currently inaccessible.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Tables of the Comets - WRM.14/1-22
WRM.15/1-57   [1785?]
Meteorological papers, not all by Wright, but including materials for a projected publication by him which never actually appeared.
f.1 Title-page for “Speculum Meteorum or An Essay towards Establishing a True Theory of the Weather Analogous to that of the Tides or Ebbing and flowing of ye Sea Being Founded upon a Like Influence of the Sun and Moon Upon the atmosphere of the Earth. By Thomas Wright ...”. A draft imprint at the foot of the leaf "Printed by [blank] for the author MDCCLXXXV" indicates that Wright envisaged publishing the work in 1785, the year before his death, but the pages that follow contain much alteration, inconsistent and incomplete pagination, and signs of changes of mind about the arrangement, and it is unclear how much of this material, not all of it by Wright himself, was intended to be included in the “Speculum Meteorum”.
f.2-9 "Introduction".
f.10-13 "Theory of the Weather Section I".
f.14-17 "Notes & Rules for Observing the Barometer &c".
f.18 "Section ye III. A Numerical Investigation of the Changes of ye Weather in Various Periods". A pencil note below this title, in the hand of the Darlington antiquary, George Allan (1736-1800), reads "MSS by Cuthbert Shaw [or possibly Snow]"; this presumably refers to the source of Wright's information in the leaves which immediately follow, since they are in his hand, or perhaps to a pseudonym Wright had used or contemplated using. The sale catalogue description of Thomas Wright mss included in the 1844 Sotheby sale of Allan mss, contains a reference to "Cuthbert Shaw" but that may be a misreading of a similarly ambiguously written name.
f.19r "A Table of the Numerical progression of days, to any Month of Year &c."
f.19v-22 "A Formula or process to find the Periodical returns of the Weather or a similar state of the atmosphere".
f.23 "Radical Storms and Memorable Floods to Various parts of England". List covering the period 1076-1785.
f.24 Blank.
f.25-26 "Section ye IV". Begins "In Keplers Diary for the year 1617 it is Recorded to have Rain'd Both on the Day of the New and full Moon eight times that year ...".
f.27-28 Instructions by Wright for keeping a local weather diary, compiled for the use of "those who have sufficient Leisure and Curiosity to Observe the Changes of the Weather &c. to any Particular Place".
f.29-30 Weather diary kept by Wright, March 1783, at his observatory at Westerton, Co. Durham.
f.31-42 "Section ye II. An Extract of the Observations of the Weather at Coventry for several years successively made by Mr. Tipper, to which are added all the new and full Moons in ye same years ...". Introductory remarks by Wright, followed (f.35-36) by tables of the weather for every day of the years 1724, 1725, 1732, and 1733, and then (15/37-42) by comparative tables of the weather for each day of each month in the decade 1724-1733. Professor Gordon Manley, who examined these manuscripts in 1979, suggested that these tables are probably based on observations for Coventry or nearby kept by Henry Beighton.
f.43-44 Weather diary for Tuesday July 13 to Tuesday July 27, year and place not stated.
f.45 Daily weather diary, Hartlepool, 12-27 July 1773.
f.46-47 Daily weather diary, Auckland Castle, Co. Durham, 19 September to 5 November 1773.
f.48-54 Tables of lunations, with associated weather observations, 1669-1689, with introductory and appended notes by Wright. In the appended notes Wright explains that the weather observations were made by "Mr Gadbery" [i.e. John Gadbury, the almanac maker] in London.
f.55 "A Table of the Moons Perigeons with the obside Lunations for 21 years Part I", covering the period 1669-1689, January-June. On verso, "A Table of the Moon"s Apogeons" for the same years, July-December.
f.56 "A Table of the Moons Apogeons with the abside Lunations for 21 years, Part the I", covering the period 1669-89, January-June. On verso, "A Table of the Moon's Perigeons with the obside Lunations for 21 years II Part" for the same years, July-December.
f.57 "A Sumary View of the forgoing Tables ...".

Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Meteorological papers - WRM.15/1-57
WRM.16   1737
The universal vicissitude of seasons exhibiting by inspection at one view, the various rising and setting of the sun to all parts of the world ....
Illustrated with nearly 200 copper-plate impressions ... all original diagrams, by Thomas Wright (London, 1737).
Folio. 192f. 
Size: 46 cm
Bought of Raphael King, with assistance of donations from Dr Duff and Mr Wilfrid Hall, 1948.
Was DUL Add. MS. 168 until transferred here, September 2003.
Digitised material for The universal vicissitude of seasons exhibiting by inspection at one view, the various rising and setting of the sun to all parts of the world - WRM.16
WRM.17   approximately 1750
Pansophia or an essay towards a general compendium of universal knowledge, compriz'd in three distinct systems of science and comprehending nine ordinale Categories, by Thomas Wright.
Author's manuscript.
Size: 20 x 32 cm
Bought Sotheby's, 1951.
Was DUL Add. MS. 322 until transferred here, September 2003.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, Pansophia or an essay towards a general compendium of universal knowledge, compriz'd in three distinct systems of science and comprehending nine ordinale Categories - WRM.17
WRM.18   written after 1773
“A new theory of the earth founded upon and more fully explaining the universal phenomenon of earthquake; effects of the magnet; and doctrine of tides”, by Thomas Wright. Author's manuscript, with 12 hand drawn plates.
loose groups of papers, some wrapped in paper sheets with titles
Binding: Reversed calf, blind tooled slip case
Bought from Dominic Winter Book Auctions: amongst a group of printed books that had belonged to Shute Barrington, bishop of Durham. Accession Misc.2002/3:32.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, A new theory of the earth founded upon and more fully explaining the universal phenomenon of earthquake; effects of the magnet; and doctrine of tides - WRM.18
WRM.18/2   written after 1773
Notes, wrapped in paper titled “Of the producation of the human species, and of natural longevity of life”, “Notes variorum to the supplement of Theory &c” and “Notes relating to the deity &c”
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, notes to A new theory ... - WRM.18/2
WRM.18/3   written after 1773
Miscellaneous notes.
Digitised material for Thomas Wright, notes, possibly to A new theory ... - WRM.18/3