First name(s)
Position(s) held at King's College London Ref: *6
  • Demonstrator of Natural Philosophy, 1868-1869
  • Lecturer of Natural Science at King's College School, 1868-1869

Education & professional details

School, college and/or university attended Refs: *4 *5

Foundation Scholar Royal School of St. Peter's, York (1861); Elected Open Scholar Exeter College Oct. 1863; Matriculated Exeter College 9th April 1864; Mathematics Scholar at Jesus College in 1866.

Qualifications Ref: *3

1st Honours in Mathematics 1865; 2nd in the examination for the Junior University Mathematical Scholarship 1866; B.A. Oriel College 6th July 1867; M.A. Exeter College 22nd June 1871; Fellow Geographical Society (F.G.S.); Fellow Royal Astronomical Society (F.R.A.S).

Position(s) held (non King's College London) Refs: *3 *7 *8 *9 *10 *14
  • Chaplin Kandyan Province, Ceylon 1872 
  • Rector of Little Bromley, Essex, 1878
  • Rector of St. Mary's Church, Earl Soham, Suffolk, 1880-1927
  • Rural Dean of Loes, Suffolk, Sept 1893
  • Lecturer at St. Felix's Clergy School, Framlingham, 1894
Professional activities Refs: *11 *12

Member of the London Mathematical Society (1869-1881); Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, 1869-1879; Member of a British expedition to Ceylon 1871 to observe the total solar eclipse; ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Oxford in the Parish Church of Cuddesdon, Sept 1871; nominated Pro-Proctor Oxford University, April 1876; Hon. Canon of Norwich; Suffolk County Councillor and later Alderman; Founder Member of Framlingham and District Farmer's Cooperative

Publications Refs: *15 *16 *17
  • Observations on Hemileia vastatrix: The so-called coffee-leaf disease, Richard Abbay, 1880
  • The Castle of Knaresburgh and the White Mare of Whitestonecliff, Richard Abbay, 1887
  • Life, A Mode of Motion: or: He and I, My Two Selves (a poem), Richard Abbay, (Jarrold, London: 1919)
  • Verses, Richard Abbay, Rector of Earl Soham, Hon. Canon of Norwich (privately printed, Cambridge: 1926)
  • Revd. Abbay also contributed articles to the Proceedings of the Royal Astronomical, Geological, Physical and Linnean Societies.

Personal details

Date of birth Ref: *1
Place of birth Ref: *1
Hunday Field, Ouseburn, Yorkshire.
Date of death Ref: *2
4 July 1927
Place of death Ref: *2
Earl Soham, Suffolk
Obituary Refs: *20 *21 *22

The Times (London, England) 7th July 1927 pg. 18; Issue 44627. The Reverend Canon Richard Abbay was a man of exceptional gifts - an astronomer and scientist, a pioneer of the cooperative farming movement, an enlightened parish priest and a poet of some merit. He played cricket for a Great Ouseburn team in 1863 and Manningtree & Mistley in 1881. Richard Abbay offered his resignation from King's College London on 21 June 1869 by a letter as he was suffering from ill health and had applied for a Fellowship at Wadham College, Oxford. Revd. Abbay was a member of the Old Peterites (St. Peter's School. York). His patron for his Church of England positions was Wadham College, Oxford.

Family details Refs: *13 *18 *19

Third son of Father Thomas Abbay (born 1809 Kirby Hall, Yorkshire died 1885) and Mother Mary Ann (born 1808 Gainsborough, Lincs. died 1891) of Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire; Sister Jane Abbay (b1846); Married Janet Norman (born 1859 Brighton, Sussex died Earl Soham 1924) daughter of Rev. C.F. Norman at Tendering, Essex in Sept. 1880; Richard and Janet Abbay had six children, Bryan Norman Abbay (b 1880), Janet N. Abbay (b 1883), Christabel N. Abbay (b 1885), Marmaduke John N. Abbay (b 1885), Ambrose Thomas N. Abbay (b 1887), Ruth Anne N. Abbay (b 1891 Mistley, Essex).


  • Canon Abbay held a UK Patent, number 30, 772, for 'postcards' in 1889.
  • During his time as a lecturer at Wadham College the Revd. Abbay was a member of astronomical expeditions to Spain for the eclipse in 1870, Southern India in 1871 (when he was almost lost his life during a storm at sea) and with a French expedition to New Caledonia for the transit of Venus.
  • Canon Abbay was responsible for the restoration of St. Mary's Church, Earl Soham in 1900. He was a regular visitor to the village school where taught science. He was the President of the village Lawn Tennis Club in 1885 and organised the first village sports day. He was a regular contributor of his prize-winning honey at the Framlingham flower shows.
  • In 1927 his Will declared his estate as a total of £12, 493 and left £15 annually for the rector and churchwardens of St. Mary's Church to be expended on Empire Day (May 24th) for various village school activities and the balance for the upkeep of the parish churchyard.

* References

  1. Freebmd (& King's College London KA/IC/A61)
  2. England & Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007
  3. Wadham College Register
  4. Oxford Times 10th March 1866
  5. The York Herald 22nd June 1861 page 5
  6. King's College London KA/IC/A61
  7. Oxford Journal 30th September 1871
  8. Bucks Herald 23rd March 1878
  9. Essex County Standard 2nd September 1893
  10. The Morning Post 7th June 1894
  11. London Mathematical Society List of Members Vol. XXXII January-June 1900
  12. Manchester Times 16th December1871
  13. Oxford Journal 18th September 1880
  14. Oxford Times 19th June 1868
  15. Amazon Books ASIN: B0008C7HWY
  16. Robert Jackson, Chapel Books, Saxmundham, Suffolk
  17. AbeBooks.co.uk
  18. 1891, 1901 Census
  19. His Marriage was announced in the Pall Mall Gazette on 16th September 1880
  20. The York Herald 1st August 1863 pg 12.
  21. British Columbia Marriage Registrations.
  22. King's College London KA/IC/A63
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