Usage de la reigle de proportion en l'arithmetique et geometrie, 1624

Edmund Wingate (1596–1656) was an English mathematical and legal writer, one of the first to publish in the 1620s on the principle of the slide rule, and later the author of some popular expository works. He was also a Member of Parliament during the Interregnum.


The second son of Roger Wingate of Sharpenhoe in Bedfordshire and of his wife Jane, daughter of Henry Birch, he was born at Flamborough in Yorkshire in 1596 and baptised there on 11 June. He matriculated from The Queen's College, Oxford, on 12 October 1610, graduated B.A. on 30 June 1614, and was admitted to Gray's Inn on 24 May.

Before 1624 he went to Paris, where he became teacher of the English language to the Princess Henrietta Maria. He had learned in England the "rule of proportion" (logarithmic scale) recently invented by Edmund Gunter which he communicated to mathematicians in Paris. He rushed into print to obtain priority, an advocate in Dijon to whom he had shown the rule in a friendly manner having already begun to make some public use of it.

He was in England on the breaking out of the First English Civil War, sided with the parliament, took the solemn League and Covenant, and was made justice of the peace for Bedfordshire. He was then residing at Woodend in the parish of Harlington. In 1650 he took the engagement, became intimate with Oliver Cromwell, and one of the commissioners for the ejection of ignorant and scandalous ministers. He represented Bedfordshire in the parliament of 1654–5. He died in Gray's Inn Lane, and was buried in St. Andrew's, Holborn, on 13 December 1656. He left no will. Administration was granted to his son, Button Wingate, on 28 January 1657.


His publications, which were numerous, include:

The title page of the second edition of Britton (1640),[1] edited by Edmund Wingate

In 1640 he published an edition of Britton.[1] In this he made corrections from some better manuscript than that used in the 1530 publication, but placed them in an appendix, reprinting the text in its corrupt form. He supplied an entire chapter (lib. iv. chap. 5) which had previously been omitted, placing it also in the appendix. He also edited the works of Samuel Foster, and Anthony Wood assigns to him a work entitled Tactometria ... or the Geometry of Regulars, which might be a republication of John Wyberd's book, which appeared under the same title in 1650.


Wingate married, on 28 July 1628, at Maulden, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard Button of Canons Manor, Wootton in Bedfordshire,[2] by whom he had five sons and two daughters.


  1. ^ a b Britton. The second Edition. Faithfully corrected according to divers ancient Manuscripts of the same Booke. By Edm. Wingate, Gent. (2nd ed.), London: Printed by the assignes of John Moore, Esquire [Miles Fletcher, John Haviland and Robert Young], 1640, OCLC 79739905.
  2. ^ "Parishes: Wootton Pages 328-335 A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912". British History Online.

[1] History of the Wingate Family in England and America.