A unique project to create walking tours retracing Sir Isaac Newton’s footsteps across south Lincolnshire kicks off close to his birthplace on Saturday, February 22.
A special free workshop at Colsterworth Village Hall will start development of Newton-related walks for this autumn’s Gravity Fields Festival 2014 (September 24-28) in and around Grantham.
‘Walking with Newton – family trees and footpaths’ will look at branches of the Newton family tree and how they relate to the Lincolnshire landscape through social connections, villages, buildings and old routes.
It’s part of a wider genealogical study to trace Newton’s descendants which is one of five strands of Lincolnshire’s Age of Scientific Discovery, a South Kesteven District Council project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to research the history and heritage of Sir Isaac Newton and other 17th century Lincolnshire philosophers.
It’s proposed that the festival audience will be able to join walking tours in Newton’s footsteps, tracking key parts of his early life. This will be particularly meaningful to Newton’s descendants attending the festival as a family reunion, who will be able to discover the old routes physically linking branches of the family and the villages and houses where they lived.
The Colsterworth planning event in February will pool local knowledge with family trees, photos and maps and these will be used to devise routes with long distance creative walking leader, Ali Pretty – who has recently been leading the 100-mile Wiltshire’s White Horses route.
Ali will be talking at the event, along with Russell Newton, a descendant of Isaac Newton’s uncle, Robert Newton. Russell is working on an autobiography which retraces Newton’s life from a fresh perspective, turning away from scientific and mathematical work to everyday unrecorded aspects.
Local historian and genealogist Ruth Crook is also on the agenda. With a keen interest in Isaac Newton’s life, Ruth helps genealogists around the world with their research.
Organiser South Kesteven District Council is inviting local walking groups, history groups and families or organisations which have either connections to Newton or own buildings with Newton links. The event is also open to the general public with an interest in the local history of the Newton family.
Project co-ordinator Ameneh Enayet, who has urged anyone with Newton connections to go along, said: “Whether you are just interested to hear the discussions or if you have a story about local connections to Newton’s family, direct or indirect, please come and share your knowledge. We want to pool local knowledge and research to map out Newton’s connections within the local area and develop creative walking tours that will retrace the paths that Newton trod, quite literally.”
Part of the project to trace descendants is social media driven with a blog at www.newtontreeparty.co.uk
Walking with Newton: family trees and footpaths takes place on Saturday, February 22, from 2pm to 5pm at Colsterworth Village Hall, Old Post Lane, Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, NG33 5PG.
For more information and booking contact Ameneh Enayat, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07946 424007.