Guest morning name: Venn

A morning name contributed by John Wells:


Says John,

Venn St in Clapham [district of London], commemorating two bearers of the surname: the campaigner against the slave trade, and the inventor of Venn diagrams. Who knew they were related?

On the Clapham Sect, from Wikipedia:

The Clapham Sect or Clapham Saints were a group of Church of England social reformers based in Clapham, London at the beginning of the 19th century (active 1780s–1840s). John Newton (1725-1807) was the founder. They are described by the historian Stephen Michael Tomkins as “a network of friends and families in England, with William Wilberforce as its centre of gravity, who were powerfully bound together by their shared moral and spiritual values, by their religious mission and social activism, by their love for each other, and by marriage”. By 1848 when an evangelical John Bird Sumner became Archbishop of Canterbury, between the fourth and third of all Anglican clergy were linked to the movement, which by then had diversified greatly in its goals and they were no longer considered an organized faction.

Its [early] members were chiefly prominent and wealthy evangelical Anglicans who shared common political goals concerning the liberation of slaves, the abolition of the slave trade and the reform of the penal system.

Founder John Newton has appeared on this blog before, notably in a 12/12/11 posting with a section on his 1779 text “Amazing grace”, set to various tunes, most famously New Britain.

As for the Clapham John Venn, the religious abolitionist and philanthropist lived 3/9/1759 – 7/1/1813.

On to the Cambridge John Venn, from Wikipedia:


John Venn … (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923) was an English logician and philosopher noted for introducing the Venn diagram, used in the fields of set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science.

… in October 1853 he went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1857, he obtained his degree in mathematics and became a fellow. In 1903 he was elected President of the College, a post he held until his death. He would follow his family vocation and become an Anglican priest, ordained in 1859, serving first at the church in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and later in Mortlake, Surrey.

In 1862, he returned to Cambridge as a lecturer in moral science, studying and teaching logic and probability theory, and, beginning around 1869, giving intercollegiate lectures. These duties led to his developing the diagram which would eventually bear his name.

I began at once somewhat more steady work on the subjects and books which I should have to lecture on. I now first hit upon the diagrammatical device of representing propositions by inclusive and exclusive circles. Of course the device was not new then, but it was so obviously representative of the way in which any one, who approached the subject from the mathematical side, would attempt to visualise propositions, that it was forced upon me almost at once.

… In 1883, he resigned from the clergy, having concluded that Anglicanism was incompatible with his philosophical beliefs.

And then:


Stained glass window at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, commemorating Venn and the Venn diagram

[Footnote: Caius is pronounced like Keys.]

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