Geographical and Historical information from the year 1824.
"FITZ, a parish in the Baschurch division of the hundred of Pimhill, a rectory discharged, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Salop, and archdeaconry of Salop. 6 miles north-west of Shrewsbury.
Edward Waring, M.D. Lucasian professor of Mathematicks, was descended of an ancient family at Mitton, in the parish of Fittes, or Fitz, Shropshire, and was the eldest son of John Waring of that place, by Elizabeth, his wife. He was born in 1734, and after being educated at Shrewsbury free school, under Mr. Hotchkiss, was sent on one of Millington's exhibitions, to Magdalen college, Cambridge, where he applied himself with such assiduity to the study of mathematicks, that in 1757, when he proceeded B.A. he was the senior wrangler, or most distinguished graduate of his year. This honour, in order to procure which, he probably postponed his first degree to the late period of his twenty third year, led to his election, only two years afterwards, to the post of Lucasian professor. The appointment of a young man scarcely twenty five years of age, and still only a bachelor of arts, to a chair which had been honoured by the names of Newton, Saunderson, and Barrow, gave great offence to some of the senior members of the University, by whom the talents and pretensions of the new professor were severely arraigned. The first volume of his "Miscellanea Analytica," which Mr. Waring circulated in vindication of his scientifick character, gave rise to a controversy of some duration. Dr. Powell, master of St. John's, commenced an attack by a pamphlet of "Observations" upon this specimen of the professor's qualification for his office. Waring was defended in a very able reply, for which he was indebted to Mr. Wilson, then an undergraduate of Peterhouse, afterwards Sir John Wilson, a judge of the Common Pleas, a magistrate justly beloved and revered for his amiable temper, learning, honesty, and independent spirit. In 1760, Dr. Powell wrote a defence of his "Observations," and here the controversy ended. Mr. Waring's deficiency of academical honours was supplied in the same year, by the degree of M.A. conferred upon, him by royal mandate, and he remained in undisturbed possession of his office. Two years afterwards, his work, a part of which had excited warm dispute, was published from the University press, in quarto, under the title of "Miscellanea Analytica de Aquationibus Algebraicis, et Curvarum Proprietatibus," with a dedication to the Duke of Newcastle. It appears, from the title page, that Waling was, by this time, elected a fellow of his college. So intricate and abstruse are the subjects of this book, that it has been little studied even by expert mathematicians. The author's own account of it, in a work written many years afterwards, is the best perhaps that can be given. 'I have myself written on most subjects in pure mathematicks, and in these books inserted nearly all the inventions of the moderns with which I was acquainted. In my prefaces I have given a history of the inventions of the different writers, and ascribed them to their respective authors; and likewise some account of my own. To every one of these sciences I have been able to make some additions; and, in the whole, if I am not mistaken in enumerating them, somewhere between three and four hundred new propositions of one kind or other; considerably more than have been given by any English writer; and in novelty and difficulty not inferior; I wish I could subjoin, in utility. Many more might have been added, but I never could hear of any reader in England, out of Cambridge, who took the pains to read and understand what I have written. But I must congratulate myself that D' Alembert, Euler, and Le Grange, three of the greatest men in pure mathematicks of this or any other age, have since published and demonstrated some of the propositions contained in my Medit, Algeb. or Miscel. Analyt.; the only book of mine they could have seen at that time; and D' Alembert and Le Grange mention it as a book full of excellent and interesting discoveries in Algebra; and some other mathematicians have inserted some of them in their publications. The reader will excuse my saying so much, there being some particular reasons that influenced me.' For his profession in life, Mr. Waring chose the study of medicine, and proceeded a Doctor in that faculty in 1767. In 1771, he appears in the list of physicians to Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge; and about this time practised in the neighbouring town of St. Ives. But though be followed this profession with his characteristick assiduity, and attended lectures and hospitals in London, he never enjoyed extensive practice. Of this he was the less careful, as, in addition to the emoluments of his professorship, which were considerable, he possessed a very handsome patrimonial fortune, while his favourite science supplied him with an inexhaustible fund of amusement and occupation. In 1776, he entered into a matrimonial connexion with Miss Mary Oswell, sister of Mr. W. Oswell, a respectable draper in Shrewsbury, and not many years afterwards, retired from the University, first to a house in Shrewsbury; and at length to his own estate, at Plealey, near Pontesbury. The mathematical enquiries, which had occupied so large a portion of his early life, he still continued to cultivate with undiminished diligence; and he also occasionally indulged in philosophical extortions of a more popular and intelligible class. The result of these he collected in a volume printed at Cambridge in 1794, with the title of "An Essay on the Principles of Human Knowledge". Under this comprehensive title are contained his opinions on a great variety of subjects. But this book, in the front of which he designates himself as fellow of the Royal Society of London, and of those of Bologna, and Gottingen, was never published. Thus passed the even tenor of Dr. Waring's life, interrupted occasionally by a visit to the board of longitude in London, of which he was a member, and from which he always returned with an increased relish for his country seat at Plealey; and here he might have promised himself many years of life, and health, when his career was terminated by a short illness, produced by a violent cold caught in superintending some additions which he was making to his house. He died the 15th of Angust, 1798, in the 64th year of his age. We will close this sketch of the life of Dr. Waring, with the concluding words of his last mentioned work, which contain a just and pleasing specimen of his genuine piety, and unfeigned humility. 'Should it please Providence, to deprive me of the use of my faculties, may I submit with humble resignation! May I, for the future, lead a life better in practice, and more fervent in devotion to the Supreme Being; and may God grant me his grace here, and pardon for my sins, when the trumpet of the great archangel ahall summon me to life again, and to judgment.'"
"GRAFTON, a township in the parish of Fitz, and in the Baschurch division of the hundred of Pimhill. 5½ miles north-west of Shrewsbury."