Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 November 2009
The year 1981 marks the fourth centenary of the birth of Edmund Gunter who, during his relatively short life, played a dominant role in England in the advancement of navigation. Born in Hertfordshire, of Welsh parentage, Gunter was educated at Westminster School before entering Christchurch College, Oxford, where he graduated BA in 1603; MA in 1606; and BD in 1615, in which year he was presented to the living at St George's, Southwark.
As early as 1603 Gunter had written an account of a ‘New Projection of the Sphere’ which was circulated in manuscript among some of his mathematical acquaintances. This appears to have gained for him the friendship of Henry Briggs, the first Gresham Professor of Geometry and a brilliant mathematician best known for having been first to suggest a table of logarithms to base 10 – ‘common logarithms’, as they are now known.