The scientist and mathematician Mary Somerville was born in Jedburgh, and is one of my heroines! And now she’s appearing on the Royal Bank of Scotland £10 bank note, thanks to a Facebook campaign helped along by Somerville College, Oxford, which was named in her honour.
Sandy McCracken and the ITV team came down in the summer and we had a fun day visiting Mary-related haunts in Jedburgh. Such a lot of care and thought went into the programme, with lots of inspiring women in science and other fields as contributors.
It’s great to see her finally getting some recognition in Scotland. Her tomb where she died, in Naples, is a massive monument, yet in Jedburgh, her birthplace, she just has a little plaque under the bypass.
Her birth circumstances were quite unusual, too – her mother was travelling up from London when Mary came chapping, and she was born at the Jethart manse, and nursed by her aunt, as her mother was ill. The nine-year-old cousin playing nearby later became her second husband, William Somerville.
I look forward to seeing her beautiful John Jackson portrait on the new RBS note!
Here’s a link to the ITV programme made by Sandy and the team.