Authorised form of nameBradley; James (1693 - 1762)
Dates1693 - 1762
Dates and placesBirth:
Sherborne, Gloucestershire, England (March 1693)
His father-in-law's house at Chalford, Gloucestershire (13 July 1762)
Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire
Clergyman, Church of England
Research Field:
Discovered the aberration of light while attempting to detect stellar parallax
Northleach grammar school; Balliol College, Oxford. BA (1714), MA (1717), DD (by diploma 1742)
Ordained deacon and priest (1719); Vicar of Bridstow, Herefordshire (1719-1721); Sinecure Rector of Llandewi Valfrey, Carmarthenshire (1719-1721), a living procured for him by Samuel Molyneux (FRS 1712); Chaplain to Philip Bisse, Bishop of Hereford (FRS 1706); Savilian Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford (1721-1762); carried out observations at Kew with Samuel Molyneux (1725); assisted George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield (FRS 1722) with the construction of an observatory at Shirburn Castle (1739) and in the reform of the calendar; Astronomer Royal (1742-death); was offered the Vicarage of Greenwich but declined (1742); Professor of Experimental Philosophy, University of Oxford (1749-1760)
Berlin Academy of Sciences (1746); Academie Royale des Sciences (1748); St Petersburg Academy (1750); Istituto e Accademia bolognesi (1757)
Freemason, Member 1730, unnamed Lodge No 63 at Three Kings, S[pitalfields, London, subsequently St Geoge's and Corner Stone Lodge No 5.
Royal Society activityMembership:
Election Date:
Edmond Halley
Copley Medal 1748
1725-1726; 1728; 1730
RelationshipsSon of William Bradley, gent, of Sherborne, Gloucestershire and his wife, Jane Pound of Bishop's Canning, Wiltshire; nephew of James Pound (FRS 1699) who cultivated his talent for astronomy; married Susannah, daughter of Samuel Peach of Chalford, Gloucestershire
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Foster; Taylor Hanoverian
H E Bell, 'The Savilian Professors' Houses and Halley's Observatory at Oxford' in NR 1961 vol 16 pp 179-186
T E Allibone, 'Edmond Halley and the Clubs of the Royal Society' in NR 1973-4 vol 28 pp 195-205
W H McCrea, 'The Royal Observatory and the Study of Gravitation' in NR 1975-6 vol 30 pp 133-140
Sir Bernard Lovell, 'Herschel's Work on the Structure of the Universe' in NR 1978-9 vol 33 pp 57-75
Mari Williams, 'James Bradley and the Eighteenth Century "Gap" in Attempts to Measure Annual Stellar Parallax' in NR 1982-83 vol 37 pp 83-100
Allan Chapman, 'Pure Research and Practical Teaching: the Astronomical Career of James Bradley, 1693-1762' in NR 1993 vol 47 pp 205-212, plate
I Bernard Cohen, 'Newton's Description of the Reflecting Telescope' in NR 1993 vol 47 pp 1-9
Richard Sorrenson, 'Towards a History of the Royal Society in the Eighteenth Century' in NR 1996 vol 50 pp 29-46
Marta Cavazza, 'The Institute of Science of Bologna and the Royal Society in the eighteenth century' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 3-25, plate
Obituary, Gentleman's Magazine (1762), p.342.
M Croarken, 'Astronomical labourers: Maskelyne's assistants at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 1765 - 1811' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 285 - 298
Library and Museum of Freemasonry, 'Freemasons and the Royal Society: Alphabetical List of Fellows of the Royal Society who were Freemasons' 2010 page 10-11
Royal Society codeNA8376
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
P/0012Portrait of Bradley, James
AB/1/2/1/26Bill for John Dollond19 December 1760
EL/B3/11James Bradley to Hans Sloane12 February 1728
EL/B3/13James Bradley to Edmond Halley1728
EL/B3/12James Bradley, dated at Wanstead, to William Rutty9 April 1729
RBO/11/116'Observations upon the comet that appear'd in the months of October, November and December 1723' by Reverend Bradley, Professor of Astronomy at Oxford1724
RBO/12/34'Longitude of Lisbon and the Fort of New York from Wanstead and London determin'd by Eclipses of the first Satellite of Jupiter' by James Bradley1726
RBO/13/71Observations of the motion of fixed stars from a letter from the Reverend Mr James Bradley Savllian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford to Edmond Halley1728
RBO/14/47'Observations in order to determine the Difference of the Meridians of London and Petersburgh [Petersburg]' communicated by the Reverend J Bradley to William Rutty1729
RBO/18/54Concerning the movement of a clock in order to determine the difference between the lengths of Isochronal Pendulums in London and Jamaica communicated by James Bradley 1733
RBO/21/2'Observations upon the Comet' by J Bradley1737
IM/000516Bradley, Jamesnd
IM/000515Bradley, Jamesnd
LBO/24/8Copy letter from Monsieur de Maupertius, Paris, to James Bradley27 September 1737
CLP/8i/73Paper, observations of the comet of October, November and December 1723 by Reverend Bradley1724
L&P/2/424Letter, 'On the refrangibility of the rays of light' from Thomas Melvill to James Bradley2 February 1753
L&P/2/480Letter, 'Of certain Greenwich and Cape of Good Hope astronomical observations' from Joseph Nicholas de L'Isle to James Bradley30 November 1752
L&P/3/188Letter, 'Two astronomical essays. I. Precession of equinox and nutation; II. Annual motion of the earth as affected by Jupiter and Saturn' from Charles Walmesley to James Bradley3 December 1755
L&P/5/279Paper, 'Directions for using the common micrometer' by James Bradley1772
CLP/3ii/36Paper, 'Account of some observations made in London by Mr George Graham and at Black River in Jamaica by Colin Campbell concerning the going of a clock in order to determine the difference between the lengths of isochronal pendulums in those places' 1733
CLP/8ii/2Paper, 'Longitude of Lisbon and the Fort of New York from Wanstead and London determined by eclipses of the first satellite of Jupiter' by James Bradley1736
CLP/8ii/70Paper, observations of the comet that appeared between January to March 1737 at Oxford by J Bradley1737
CLP/8i/77Paper, account of the appearance of the transit of Mercury on 29 October 1723 by Edmond Halley1725
DM/5/102A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
MM/10/129Letter from Charles Mason, Portsmouth, to the Rev Dr James Bradley25 January 1761
L&P/3/280Letter, 'Of the comet of Sept and Oct 1757' from D Klinkenberg to James Bradley13 December 1757
IM/000514Bradley, Jamesnd
L&P/3/341Letter, 'Of the irregularities in the motion of a satellite arising from the spherical figure of its primary' from Charles Walmesley to James Bradley1758
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