How did Isaac Newton’s separation from his mother create a long-lasting impression on him?

Newton was not on good terms with his stepfather Barnabas Smith who was a wealthy clergy-man. Smith was the Rector at the village of South Witham, located a few kilometres away from Woolsthorpe. Smith entered Newton’s life at an impressionable age.

He decided that Hannah should leave young Newton to the care of Grandmother Margery Ayscough and move to South Witham to look after Smith and his children. Years later, Newton confessed to his close friends how he felt jealousy and hatred for Smith.

Newton’s hatred for his stepfather did not dim over time. As a rather religious young teenager, he once wrote a list of the sins he had committed. Among the other harmless sins in the list, a few such as “threatening my father and mother to burn them and the house over them” and “wishing death and hoping it to some,” showed the depth of his feelings.

Newton’s hot temper is well known. He was said to hold grudges, often waiting for years to exact revenge on those who wronged him. Decades later, even as an old man, Newton often dreamt of killing his stepfather and saving his mother from the ‘beast’.

The separation from his mother after her re-marriage was very painful to Newton. It accounted for his sad disposition and emotional upsets in later life.

Picture Credit : Google