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Allestree, Richard (b. before 1582, d. c. 1643), almanac maker and mathematician, was a younger son of William Allestree (b. before 1520, d. 1581) and his wife, Ellen. The family lived at Alvaston and Derby. Richard was an uncle of the famous royalist divine ...

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Andrews, Henry (1744–1820), astronomer and astrologer, was born on 4 February 1744 in Frieston, Lincolnshire. His background was humble, and he received little or no formal education. A passion for astronomy was evident from a very early age, and by the time he was ten he had acquired a telescope, which he used to set on a table on ...

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Andrews, William (1634/5–1712/13), astrologer and teacher of mathematics, was a well-known compiler of almanacs. He spent his adult life in Essex, at Ashdown (1656), Saffron Walden (by 1660), and nearby Radwinter (from 1668), but it is not known whether he married. He studied astrology from about 1652 and composed his first almanac, for 1655, at the age of nineteen; a new edition followed every year until his death. Though he included political prophecies, he avoided controversy by taking a firmly patriotic line, predicting disasters for ...

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Ashenden, John (d. in or before 1368?), astrologer, was a Northumbrian who became a fellow of Merton College, Oxford; he spoke of events in Northumberland as 'in partibus meis' (Ashenden, fol. 121v). It is likely that he was a native of ...

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Ashmole, Elias (1617–1692), astrologer and antiquary, was born on 23 May 1617 at Lichfield in Staffordshire, the son of Simon Ashmole, a saddler, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Anthony Bowyer, a Coventry draper whose family was of gentry status. Ashmole's grandfather Thomas Ashmole...

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Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) by John Riley, 1683 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Askham [Ascham], Anthony (c. 1517–1559), writer on astronomy and almanac maker, was born at Kirby Wiske, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, the third son of John Ascham (d. 1544) of Kirby Wiske, who was a yeoman farmer and steward to Lord Scrope of Bolton...

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Baker, Humphrey (fl. 1557–1574), writer on astrology and arithmetic, whose origins are unknown, was living in London when his almanac was published in 1557. A small volume, printed in black letter, it was entitled The rules and right ample documentes, touchinge the use and practise of the common almanackes, which are named ephemerides: a briefe … introduction upon the iudicall astrologie … with a treatise … touching the coniunction of the planets … the hole faithfully and clerely translated into Englysche by Humprey Baker BL...

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Balfour, Gerald William, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), politician and psychical researcher, was born on 9 April 1853, in Edinburgh, the seventh of eight children of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856), MP, sportsman, and country gentleman, and his wife, Lady Blanche Mary Harriet Gascoyne-Cecil (1825–1872)...

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Barham, Francis Foster [known as Alist Francis Barham] (1808–1871), transcendentalist, was born on 31 May 1808 at Leskinnick, Penzance, Cornwall, the youngest of the five sons of Thomas Foster Barham (1766–1844), musician and writer, and his wife, Mary Ann, daughter of the ...

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Barrett, Francis (fl. 1780–1814), writer on magic and demonologist, described himself as a 'Professor of Chemistry, Natural and Occult Philosophy, the Cabala, etc.' (Barrett, Magus). His dates of birth and death, and his antecedents, are unknown. A dated manuscript translation of part of ...

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Barrett, Sir William Fletcher (1844–1925), physicist and psychical researcher, was born in Jamaica on 10 February 1844, the son of a Congregational minister, the Revd William Garland Barrett (1812–1865), missionary for the London Missionary Society, and his wife, Martha Barrett, née Fletcher (1811?–1893)...

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Bassantin [Bassendyne], James (d. 1568), astronomer and astrologer, was the son of the laird of Bassendean in the Merse, Berwickshire, and was born in the reign of James IV (r. 1488–1513). He entered the University of Glasgow at an early age, and, after finishing his studies in the humanities, devoted himself to mathematics and its related sciences, in which he acquired remarkable proficiency. To improve further in these subjects he travelled in the ...

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Besterman, Theodore Deodatus Nathaniel (1904–1976), psychical researcher and bibliographer, was born on 22 November 1904 in Łódź, Poland, and named Nataniel. He was the second son (there were no daughters) of Benjamin J. N. Besterman, diamond merchant, and his wife, Golda Augusta Krengiel...

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C. H. Coote

revised by Patrick Curry

Blagrave, Joseph (b. 1610, d. in or before 1682), astrologer, was born in the parish of St Giles, Reading, the youngest of four sons of Alexander Blagrave (d. 1639) and his wife, Margaret. He was a nephew of John Blagrave (d...

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Bomelius, Eliseus (d. 1579), physician and astrologer, born in Wesel, Westphalia, was probably the son of Henry Bomelius (d. 1570), a native of Bommel (now Zaltbommel) in the Netherlands, who from 1540 to 1559 was Lutheran preacher at Wesel, and the author of several religious and historical books of wide repute. The ...

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Bond, Frederick Bligh (1864–1945), architect, author, and psychical researcher, was born on 30 June 1864 at Marlborough, Wiltshire, the third son of the Revd Frederick Hookey Bond, headmaster of Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School, and of his wife, Mary Isabella Dela Fosse. He was educated at ...

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Booker, John (1602–1667), astrologer, was born at Manchester on 23 March 1602 and was later described as being of 'good parentage'; his father died on 23 March 1621. He received a sound schooling which gave him a lasting proficiency in Latin, and his writings show that he read widely. He moved to ...

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Bretnor, Thomas (1570/71–1618), astrologer and medical practitioner, was born in Bakewell, Derbyshire, and went to London about 1604, settling in the parish of St Sepulchre. Though he appears not to have attended university, he was fluent in Latin, French, and Spanish, and became a well-known figure in Jacobean ...

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Buckminster [Buckmaster], Thomas (1531/2–1599), Church of England clergyman and almanac writer, was vicar of Twickenham from 1562 to 1563, then rector at All Hallows-the-Great, London, 1564–72, and rector at St Mary Woolnoth from 1572 until his death. He is sometimes supposed to have been a relative of ...