Kelland family coat of arms, Harper Memorial Window, Sherborne School Chapel.

On 6 December 1838, Philip Kelland (1808-1879) was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, the first of five Old Shirburnians to be elected FRS.

Born at Dunster in Somerset on 17 October 1808 to the Rev. Philip Kelland (c.1774-1847), rector of Dunster, and Rachael (née Fish) (c.1778-1837), he attended Sherborne School c.1821-1829 during the headmastership of the Rev. Ralph Lyon.

Philip went on to study at Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1834 as Senior Wrangler and first Smith’s Prizeman, and was later made a Fellow of the College.

From 1838 to 1879 he held the post of Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University, where he was allegedly the first English man with an entirely English education elected to a chair at the University.

Professor Kelland was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1838, when one of his proposers was his former maths tutor at Cambridge, William Hopkins (1793-1866).  In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 1849 he was awarded the Keith Medal.  He died, aged 70, on 7 May 1879 and was buried at Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh.

Today, Philip Kelland’s family crest can be seen proudly displayed at Sherborne School in the east window of the School chapel.

Further reading:
Royal Society Fellow Details for Philip Kelland
Old Shirburnian Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS)

Posted 6 December 2018 by Sherborne School Archives.

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