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Allen, Thomas

ALLEN, THOMAS, or ALLEYN, THOMAS (1542-1632), English mathematician, was born at Uttoxeter in Staffordshire on the 21st of December 1542. He was admitted scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1561; and graduated as M.A. in 1567. In 1580 he quitted his college and fellowship, retired to Gloucester Hall, and became famous for his knowledge of antiquity, philosophy and mathematics. Having received an invitation from Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, a great friend and patron of men of science, he spent some time at the earl's house, where he became acquainted with Thomas Harriot, John Dee and other famous mathematicians. He was also intimate with Sir Robert Cotton, William Camden, and their antiquarian associates. Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, had a particular esteem for Allen, and would have conferred a bishopric upon him, but his love of solitude made him decline the offer. His great skill in mathematics and astrology earned him the credit of being a magician; and the author of Leicester's Commonwealth accuses him of employing the art of "figuring" to further the earl of Leicester's unlawful designs, and of endeavouring by the black art to bring about a match between his patron and Queen Elizabeth. Allen was indefatigable in collecting scattered manuscripts relating to history, antiquity, astronomy, philosophy and mathematics. A considerable part of his collection was presented to the Bodleian library by Sir Kenelm Digby. He died on the 30th of September 1632 at Gloucester Hall. He published in Latin the second and third books of Claudius Ptolemy of Pelusium, Concerning the Judgment of the Stars, or, as it is commonly called, of the Quadripartite Construction, with an Exposition. He also wrote notes on John Bale's De Scriptoribus M. Britanniae.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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