The Works of John Ray

John Ray’s work was to inspire future generations and instil in the British people an awareness of natural history. The entire natural world appealed to Ray. He investigated and wrote about fish, birds, animals and insects as well as theology and language.

Over the centuries many famous scientists have been inspired by Ray including Linnaeus, Gilbert White, Charles Darwin and Dr. David Bellamy. The Ray Society, based at the Natural History Museum publishes scientific papers by today’s leading researchers.

The works of John Ray:

  • Correspondence
  • Catalogus Cantabrigiam (Cambridge Catalogue)
  • Catalogus Angliae (English Catalogue)
  • Collection of English Proverbs
  • Observations and Catalogus Exeris (Foreign Catalogue)
  • Collection of English Words
  • Dictionariolum (Dictionary)
  • Ornithologiae [Willughby] (Birds)
  • Methodus Plantarum (Plant classification)
  • Historia Piscium [Willughby] (A Study of Fishes)
  • Fasciculus Britannicarum
  • Historia Plantarum (History of Plants)
  • Synopsis Britannicarum
  • Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation
  • Memorials
  • Miscallenous discourses (Of Fossils and Geology)
  • Synopsis Quadrupedum (Summary of Animals, Reptiles)
  • Collection of Curious Travels
  • Sylloge Europeanarum
  • Dissertatio de Methodis
  • Nomenclature Classicus
  • Persuasive to a Holy Life
  • Methodus Emendata
  • Methodus Insectorum (Insect classification)
  • Historia Insectorum (A Study of Insects)
  • Synopsis Avium et Piscium (Summary of Birds and Fishes)
  • Philosophical Letters
  • Select Remains
  • Historia: An account/study of
  • Methodus: Pursuit of knowledge/scheme of classification

Curiouser and Curiouser: Ray's Major Experiments & Observations

  • The Whooper Swan: Dissection and study of the loop of its windpipe.
  • Waterfowls: Examining their windpipes to find the cause of different pitches in their quacks.
  • Hawks: The sanitary habits of newly-hatched chicks.
  • Frogs: Breeding and dissection at Cambridge.
  • Porpoise: Dissection of specimen purchased from a fisherman.
  • Butterflies and moths: Breeding, studying metamorphosis.
  • Maggots: Why they nest in the rose-gall.
  • Honey-buzzard: Study of its nest, crop and lifestyle.
  • Puffin and Cormorant: Study of their life and habits.
  • Wasp: Observation, dragging a huge caterpillar to its burrow and burying it for later consumption.
  • Moths: Observation of male moths attracted to a newly-hatched female.
  • Bee: How a leaf-cutter bee builds its nest.
  • Flea: Rearing it with Willughby, feeding on human blood.
  • Trees: How the rings of tree trunks explain the tree’s age.
  • Creepers: How they twine to follow the sun’s direction.
  • Cuckoo-Spit: The cause and origin (an insect).
  • Woodpeckers and Wrynecks: Extraction of larvae from their crops.
  • Coffee: Explanation through study of the coffee tree, of how coffee is prepared, its spread from Cairo to Europe, the revenues derived from it in Britain.
  • Sap: Experiments to find if Maple Syrup substitute can be obtained by bleeding the sap from British trees.
  • Springs: Ray’s theory of the origin of springs. They derive from rainfall not underground caverns which he tested from evidence from the brook at Black Notley.