Nicholas Hill

(c. 1570—1620) philosopher

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Nicholas Hill was born in London and died in Rotterdam c.1620 (certainly before 1621). He was educated at Merchant Taylor's School, London and St John's College, Oxford. He matriculated in 1587, and graduated and was elected Fellow in 1590, but was removed by 1591 and another Fellow elected in his place. Hill was, according to John Aubrey, an ‘intimate acquaintance’ of the mathematician Robert Hues, a member of the Raleigh–Northumberland circle, and author of an influential treatise on terrestrial and celestial globes. According to Hues, Hill was in the retinue of Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland (a known patron of mathematicians and natural philosophers) during the 1590s. In 1603 Hill was involved in an abortive Catholic conspiracy against James I with Sir Robert Bassett who pretended a right to the royal throne on the grounds of dubious Plantagenet ancestry. After the conspiracy collapsed, Hill allegedly fled to Rotterdam together with his son Lawrence. There is no record of his life on the Continent, although a lurid account of his death by Robert Hues is recorded in the commonplace book of Obadaiah Walker, Master of University College, Oxford. According to Hues, Hill's son died of ‘a pestilential disease; which put the old man into great passion and melancholy; who coming into his apothecary's shop demanded such a quantity of ratsbane, chop'd it into his mouth, swallowed it, and there with great pain died, blaspheming and cursing’.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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