Dr William Gilberd
William Gilberd was a pioneering scientist and royal physician who was born in Colchester around 1544. He undertook experimental research into magnetism and his book De Magnete (1600) was the first study of the earth’s magnetic field. This was of great benefit to sailors as it explained the working of the nautical compass. Gilberd died of the plague in London in 1603 and is commemorated in Colchester’s Holy Trinity Church.