Katherine Boyle

Katherine Jones, nee Boyle, Lady Ranelagh (22 March 1615 – 3 December 1691)

Katherine was the seventh of fifteen children.

At nine years of age she was betrothed to Sapcott Beaumont and sent to live with her future in-laws. When Sapcott’s father died, the arrangement dissolved and at thirteen she was despatched back home.

She didn’t escape the bonds of matrimony, being married at fifteen to Arthur Jones, the future Viscount Ranelagh. He was a thoroughly bad lot and the marriage was not a happy one.

Katherine escaped with her four children to set up an independent life in London. She embarked on a voyage of scientific discovery, together with little brother Robert Boyle who came to live with her.

Theirs was

a lifelong intellectual partnership, where brother and sister shared medical remedies, promoted each other’s scientific ideas, and edited each other’s manuscripts.

Together, Katherine and Robert contributed to the founding of the Royal Society in 1662.

Wedding ring / Brass washer

Boyles law states that the pressure of a fixed amount of gas is inversely proportional to the volume at a constant temperature.

Volume decreases, pressure rises

In Phosphate Rocks a police inspector interviews retired shift foreman about the objects found beside a dead body in the ruins of an old factory.

The clock has moved on when the detective inspector returns to the interview room.

‘Any news?’ John asks. ‘Did you find him?’

‘We’re working on it,’ she says. ‘What about the other things? Anything else here linked to Fraser?’

John surveys the remaining objects and shakes his head.


She picks up a dull gold disc with a hole through the middle.

‘Anyone else who suddenly vanished?’ she asks.

Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects is published by Sandstone Press and available to order here