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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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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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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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Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654) by Thomas Cross, pubd 1649 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Culpeper, Nicholas (1616–1654), physician and astrologer, the son of Nicholas Culpeper and his wife, Mary Attersole, was born a little after noon on 18 October 1616, probably at Ockley, Surrey, where he was baptized in St Margaret's Church on 24 October. His father, the rector of ...

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Jeake, Samuel (1652–1699), merchant and astrologer, was born on 4 July 1652 at Rye, Sussex, the first son of Samuel Jeake the elder (1623–1690), lawyer and nonconformist preacher, and his wife, Frances Hartridge (d. 1654), daughter of Thomas and Mary Hartridge. His siblings all died in infancy, and as an only son he lived alone with his father until his marriage in 1680. His father was a major figure in the religious life of ...

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Jinner, Sarah (fl. 1658–1664), compiler of almanacs and medical practitioner, has left no trace of her family or background and is known only through the pioneering series of almanacs she published from 1658 to 1664, aimed mainly at women. Her woodcut portrait depicts an elegantly dressed figure, and her style indicates that she was well educated and aiming at a respectable audience. The almanacs are distinctive for their spirited assertion of women's abilities, their frank treatment of female medical problems, and their combative observations on contemporary politics. Acknowledging in her first edition that readers '...

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Kirby, Richard (1649–1693?), astrologer and medical practitioner, was born on 13 July 1649 of unknown parentage. In an early work he apologized for his mean education. Henry Coley (1633–1704), a close friend, was probably his astrological teacher. His early works, ephemerides for 1681 and 1682 and an almanac for 1684, were uncontroversial but ...

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William Lilly (1602–1681) by unknown artist, 1646 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Lilly, William (1602–1681), astrologer, was born on 1 May 1602, in the village of Diseworth, Leicestershire, near Derby, the son of William Lilly and Alice Barham (d. 1619). His family were of long-standing yeoman stock. A different date of birth, 30 April 1602 at 2.08 p.m. was given by his rival, the astrologer ...

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John Partridge (1644–1715) by unknown engraver Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Partridge, John (1644–1715), astrologer and almanac writer, was born on 18 January 1644 in East Sheen, Surrey, the son of John Partridge, a Thames waterman who was also a sidesman and assessor of the parish, and Elizabeth, who died in January 1661 and was buried in the ...

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Whalley, John (1653–1724), astrologer and almanac writer, was born on 20 April 1653. He arrived in Dublin in 1682, where he settled and—with one interruption—remained for the rest of his life. His first address was at the Golden Last on the Upper Comb...

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Vincent Wing (1619–1668) by Thomas Cross, pubd 1652 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wing, Vincent (1619–1668), astronomer, astrologer, and land surveyor, was born on 9 April 1619 at North Luffenham, Rutland, the son of Vincent Wing (1587–1660) of North Luffenham. The family, settled there for three generations but originally from Wales, was of 'rather good, than great...