William Scoresby (1789 – 1857) was an Arctic explorer, scientist and clergyman.
He made yearly voyages to Greenland between 1803-22, at first on his father’s whaler, and then as the captain on other ships.
William mapped, charted, made deep-sea temperature soundings, described the flora and fauna, and collected other data along the coasts of Greenland.
His last trip to the Arctic was made in 1822 and in 1825 he entered the Anglican ministry. He made a voyage to Australia in 1856 to study terrestrial magnetism.
William’s several books on his arctic experiences helped lay the foundations of modern arctic geography. Many of his papers, log books and instruments are held at the museum in his home town of Whitby.
A number of places have been named after him, including:
• The Lunar crater Scoresby
• The Scoresby Sund fjord system
• The Melbourrne suburb of Scoresby
• Scoresby Land in Greenland
• Cape Scoresby on Borradaile Island, south of the Antarctic Circle
William married three times. After his third marriage in 1849, he built a villa in Torquay, and he was appointed honorary lecturer at St Mary Magdalene Church in Upton.
He died in Torquay on 21 March 1857. William is commemorated by a memorial in Upton church, which is decorated with a mariner’s compass and dividers.