Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, is the birthplace and was the family home of Sir Isaac Newton. He was born there on 25 December 1642 (old calendar). At that time it was a yeoman's farmstead, principally rearing sheep. In fact it is a very fine building even without the additional accolades of the Newton connection. New areas of the house, once private, were opened up to the public in 2003, with the old rear steps (that once led up to the hay loft and grain store and often seen in drawings of the period) being rebuilt, and the old walled kitchen garden, to the rear of the house, being restored. One of the former farmyard buildings has been equipped so that visitors can have hands-on experience of the physical principles investigated by Newton in the house.
Newton's father, also named Isaac Newton, had died three months before his birth. Born prematurely, he was a small child; his mother Hannah Ayscough reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart mug. When Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabas Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough. The young Isaac disliked his stepfather and maintained some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The King's School, Grantham which taught Latin and Greek but no mathematics. He was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, where his mother, widowed for a second time, attempted to make a farmer of him. Newton hated farming.
Henry Stokes, master at the King's School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. Motivated partly by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top-ranked student, distinguishing himself mainly by building sundials and models of windmills. In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, on the recommendation of his uncle Rev William Ayscough. He started as a subsizar—paying his way by performing valet's duties—until he was awarded a scholarship in 1664, which guaranteed him four more years until he would get his M.A.
Soon after Newton had obtained his B.A. degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Newton's private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus, optics, and the law of gravitation. The garden contains the apple tree from which dropped the fruit which would inspire him (this would make the apple tree twice as old nearly twice as old as dated oldest aplle tree in the country).
Designated mobility parking close to the ticket office. Adapted toilet in main block, approached via sloping farm yard. Wheelchair access to Manor House. Ground floor of the building has steps, narrow doorways and small rooms, but ramps are available. Stairs to other floors. Visitors' chair in each room. One wheelchair available, booking essential. The Science Centre and Coffee Shop have a level entrance. Partly accessible grounds, uneven and loose gravel paths, slopes, some steps. Sloping farm yard accessible, although surface is rough. Byre Activity Room - accessible entrance to film and activities. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Water Lane, Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG33 5PD
Transport: Grantham (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 28 and 183 stop close by.
Opening Times : Daily 11:00 to 17:00; Manor House closed Tuesdays
Tickets : Adults £6.45; Children £3.27
Tickets Excluding the House: Adults £3.50; Children £2.27
Tel: 01476 860338