Papers of John Goodricke and Nathaniel and Edward Pigott

Scope and Content

The collection includes:

  • Papers of John Goodricke
  • Papers of Nathaniel Pigott
  • Papers of Edward Pigott
  • Letters of John Goodricke and Nathaniel and Edward Pigott
  • Printed material by other individuals

Administrative / Biographical History

John Goodricke was born in the Netherlands in 1764, the son of Henry Goodricke, a British diplomat. His family returned to York in 1776. He died in 1786 at the age of 21.

Nathanial Pigott was born in 1725, the son of Ralph Pigott, a lawyer, and Alethea Fairfax. Alethea Fairfax was the daughter of William, 9th Viscount Fairfax, of Gilling Castle. In 1749, he married Anna Mathurine de Beriot of Louvain. In the 1770s, he moved to York in an attempt to settle his claim to the Fairfax estate at Gilling. He died in 1804.

Piggott's eldest son, Edward, was born in 1753. Edward was disinherited from the Fairfax title due to a family quarrel, and it was passed to his brother, Charles. He died in 1825.

John Goodricke, Nathanial Pigott and Edward Pigott were all noted amateur astronomers. Nathanial built an observatory in the garden of their house on Bootham. By 1781, Goodricke was also living on Bootham, next door to the Pigotts. He worked with Edward Pigott, and his aunt, Mary Goodricke, married Edward's brother, Charles Pigott.

Edward Pigott discovered a comet in 1783, which was subsequently named after him.

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website (

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Tester, Community Collections and Outreach Archivist, January 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Geographical Names