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

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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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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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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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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 ...

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W. P. Courtney

revised by Patrick Curry

Childrey, Joshua (1625–1670), antiquary and astrologer, was the son of Robert Childrey of Rochester, Kent, where he was born on 20 October 1625. Having attended Rochester grammar school, he entered Magdalen College, Oxford, in the Lent term of 1640, and became one of the clerks. On the outbreak of the civil war he left the university, and did not return until the city had surrendered to the forces of ...

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Coelson [Colson], Lancelot (1627–1687?), astrologer and medical practitioner, was born on 25 March 1627 at Colchester. His astrological ‘accidents’ record that he married in 1645 (at the age of eighteen), but his wife's name is unknown. He was wounded fighting in Cromwell's Scottish campaign in 1650. By the mid-1650s he had settled in ...

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Coley, Henry (1633–1704), astrologer and mathematician, was born on 18 October 1633 in the parish of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford, the son of a joiner. His birth was said to have occurred at 32 seconds after 2.14 p.m., 'a sufficiently exact Estimate...

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Cooper [Cowper], Thomas (b. 1569/70, d. in or after 1626), Church of England clergyman and writer on witchcraft, was born in London and attended Westminster School, apparently with help from the Fishmongers' and Skinners' companies. On 17 December 1586, aged sixteen, he matriculated as a queen's scholar from ...

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John Dee (1527–1609) by unknown artist, 1574–86 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Dee, John (1527–1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary, was born on 13 July 1527 in London, the only child of Rowland Dee and his wife, Joan or Joanna (1508/9–1580), daughter of William Wild.

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Evans, John (b. 1594/5?, d. in or after 1659), astrologer and medical practitioner, was of Welsh origin. He was well educated and had obtained an MA degree by 1621. He was probably the John Evans of Flint who matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford...

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Fiske, Nicholas (1579–1659), astrologer and medical practitioner, was born on 22 July 1579 at Stadhaugh, in the parish of Laxfield, Suffolk, the oldest surviving son of Matthew and Elizabeth Fiske and from a long-established landed family. Though well educated, he chose to study astrology and physic at home instead of going to university. He was described as a '...

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John Gadbury (1627–1704) by Thomas Cross, pubd 1658 © National Portrait Gallery, London