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Elias Ashmoles collections and views about John Dee

Vittoria Feola
Department and Collections, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringerstrasse 25, 1090 Vienna, Austria
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Available online 20 January 2012
Elias Ashmole
Natural history
Ashmolean Museum
a b s t r a c t
In this paper I discuss Elias Ashmoles collections and views about John Dee. I consider Dee as an object of
collection against the broader background of Ashmoles collecting practices. I also look at the uses to
which Ashmole put some of his collections relating to Dee, as well as those which he envisaged for pos-
terity. I argue that Ashmoles interest in Dee stemmed from his ideas about the uses of antiquity in the
reconstruction and transmission of knowledge. They partly reected Ashmoles interpretation of Francis
Bacons Advancement of learning as well as the inuence of William Backhouse and William Oughtreds
ideas about publishing natural philosophy in English.
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When citing this paper, please use the full journal title Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
1. Introduction
In 1692, the Ashmolean Museum in the University of Oxford ac-
quired an oil portrait and forty-two volumes of material by and
about John Dee, which Elias Ashmole (16171692) had spent his
life collecting.
It was the largest collection of Dee-ana since the
dispersal of the mathematicians library following his death in
1609. Of Ashmoles original Dee collections, thirty-four volumes
are kept today in the Bodleian Library.
Eight volumes have mysteri-
ously found their way into the British Library: seven into the collec-
tions of Sir Hans Sloane and one among the Additional manuscripts.
Even if more Dee material has resurfaced since the seventeenth cen-
tury, Ashmoles collections continue to provide the basis for any re-
search into Dee to this day. Yet neither Ashmoles collections nor his
views about Dee have been properly assessed. Conversely, Dee as an
object of seventeenth-century collecting has not been considered.
This article aims to ll such gaps.
I will argue that Ashmoles interest in Dee stemmed from his
ideas about antiquity and natural philosophy, which in turn re-
ected his reading of Francis Bacon. Moreover, the printed uses
to which Ashmole put his Dee-related collections reected his be-
lief that English should replace Latin as a scholarly language. Ash-
mole viewed his collections of Dee material as useful sources for
the pursuit of three projects to be carried out, either by himself
or by posterity, in the vernacular. These were, rst, the production
of lives of English worthies; second, data for the history of the Eng-
lish weather; and third, magical experiments. Dees angelic manu-
scripts had special signicance for Ashmole because he regarded
them both as evidence of the possibility for the elect to communi-
cate with angels, and as sources for the history of magic.
This article supports Mordechai Feingolds observation(2005, pp.
555558) that seventeenth-century antiquaries such as Ashmole, as
well as his friends John Aubrey and Anthony Wood, were interested
inDee for his universal learning andnot only for his occult leanings.
Further, this article complements past scholarship on Dees library
by considering him as the object of collecting practices (Roberts &
Watson, 1990). Elias Ashmoles collections and views about John
Dee offer a window into the mind of a seventeenth-century English
antiquary, and thereby concern historians of science as well as
intellectual historians, and historians of the book.
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In 1687 Ashmole wrote a catalogue of 23 of Dees manuscripts which he had collected thus far, now Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1790, Part III, item 13, fols. 5253.
They are MSS Ashmole 1819, 1459, 424, 1486, 487, 423, 1423, 1442, 1492, 972, 356, 1788, 1789, 1440, 1488, 204, 1506, 488, 422, 1131, 242, 1790, 1446, 1451, 1457, 1142,
174, 440, 369, 1426, 580, 1492, 1471430432. For full descriptions, see Black, 1845; also MSS Ashmole 133, 153, 580 (for full descriptions, there is an anonymous handlist of
Ashmoles printed books in the Bodleian Library).
They are London, British Library MSS Sloane 3822, 3188, 3189, 3191, 78, 2599, 3678; Add. MS 36674.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538
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2. Ashmoles milieu of vernacular natural philosophy
Elias Ashmole was born on 23 May 1617 in Licheld, Stafford-
shire, the only son of an impoverished saddler.
His mother became
a widower when Elias was just a child, and it was only thanks to the
help of a wealthy relative that Ashmole was able to study law at the
Temple and become a barrister. His legal career was soon inter-
rupted when the Civil War broke out. Ashmole fought for Charles I
at Worcester and Oxford, where he also began to study mathematics,
astrology, botany, medicine and English history.
In the early 1640s, Ashmole began to attend public lectures at
Gresham College, following the advice of his tutor William Ough-
tred (16741660).
It was through Oughtreds contacts at the College
that Ashmole become a member of the Society of Astrologers of Lon-
don by the end of the 1640s.
Two of the Fellows of the College were
Oughtreds former pupils: the mathematician Jonas Moore (1617
1679) and Charles Scarborough (16161694), editor of Oughtreds
Opuscula mathematica (London, 1634). Ashmole, Moore and Scarbor-
ough participated in the meetings at Wadham College, Oxford, to-
gether with Seth Ward (16171689), John Wallis (16161703), and
several other former students of Oughtreds, that eventually led to
the foundation of the Royal Society (Hunter, 1995, passim).
The late 1640s marked a signicant period in Ashmoles life. 8
July 1648 marks his earliest recorded acquisition of an alchemi-
co-medical manuscript (MS Ashmole 1459, fols. 3v26v). His rst
recorded attendance at the annual dinner of the Society of Astrol-
ogers was on 1 August 1649, and he attended his rst anatomical
dissection later in the same year (MS Ashmole 1136, fol. 22). It ap-
pears that Ashmoles mathematical and medical interests were
developing in a congenial milieu.
Around this time Ashmole also acquired Francis Bacons
Advancement of learning in the Oxford English translation of
1640, which would shape much of his thinking, as well as his col-
lecting practices. In 1649 he married the wealthy Lady Mary For-
ster, twenty years his senior. The marriage granted Ashmole the
leisure to pursue his two main interests: English antiquity and nat-
ural philosophy. Following his move to Swalloweld, Berkshire, in
1650, he joined the circle of his new neighbour, the Oxford-edu-
cated antiquary and natural philosopher, William Backhouse
Backhouse organised a workshop in his house, where Ashmole
and other members of the Society of Astrologers, including Nicho-
las Fiske, Richard Saunders and George Wharton, translated Latin
and French texts into English, and then published them in London.
Backhouses circle was also linked to Gresham College and Samuel
Hartlibs network, and shared their goal of propagating useful exper-
imental knowledge in the vernacular.
Backhouse and his friends
pursued experimental knowledge in all elds, putting their pride
in being English to the service of vernacular scientic translations.
By entering Backhouses circle, Ashmole found himself among con-
genial colleagues who gave him his rst manuscripts to collect,
and stimulated him to cultivate, among other subjects, mathematics,
astrology, alchemical medicine and natural magic. It was in this mili-
eu of vernacular editions of natural philosophical texts that Ashmole
became a collector and an editor himself.
3. Early collections and views about Dee: the Fasciculus
Ashmole became interested in Dee at the end of the 1640s,
while he was beginning to collect manuscripts about alchemy
and heraldry, and studying mathematics and alchemy with Ough-
tred and Backhouse. During this period Ashmole acquired all the
papers that now comprise MS Ashmole 1459. This manuscript con-
tains his earliest alchemical collections, including Thomas Tym-
mes preface to his English translation of John Dees Monas
hieroglyphica, which Ashmole used to extract information about
the alchemist Geber (MS Ashmole 1440, fols. 170171). Ashmole
acquired it in 1648 from a chirurgeon from Reading, probably
an acquaintance of Oughtreds. In 1649, Ashmole came across an
anonymous Latin collection of alchemical aphorisms entitled Fas-
ciculus chemicus, and the Latin text of the anonymous Arcanum Her-
meticae philosophiae (actually written by the French lawyer and
amateur natural philosopher, Jean dEspagnet).
He translated
both into English, and was about to publish them when he learned
that the author of the Fasciculus was Arthur Dee, the son of John
Dee. Hastily Ashmole wrote to him to ask for permission to print
his work, adding:
My search into the Mathematicks rst brought me to vnder-
stand, the worth of Doctor John Dee, by his Preface to Euclid,
&c; & you would much pleasure me, might I also know what
relation you had to him, or what else you think tt for me to
say. (MS Ashmole 1790, fol. 68r)
Arthur Dee obliged Ashmole with a polite letter full of biographical
information about his father, in addition to a
Catalogue of the bookes he wrot, I have sent you herein
enclosed, whereof I was totally depriued hee dying at his house
at Mortlak when I was beyond sea Ao. 1609.
This is the earliest evidence of Ashmoles interest in Dee, though at
this stage he had not yet conceived of actively researching him. In
the Prolegomena to the Fasciculus, Ashmole praised Dee as,
This biographical account is based on Josten (1966).
Ashmoles natural philosophical milieu is discussed in more detail in Feola (2008, pp. 322325). On William Oughtred, see Willmoth (2004), Clark (1898, pp. 227231).
Ashmoles earliest evidence of his acquaintance with Oughtred is recorded in MS Ashmole, 242, fol. 125r and dates from 22 May 1643. Josten is uncertain whether Ashmole
actually knew Oughtred before 1657, when they became neighbours: Josten (1966), 345. It seems certain that he did, however, because by 1652 Oughtred was already exchanging
astronomical and mathematical information with Ashmoles London group, the Society of Astrologers (MS Ashmole, 394, fols. 56r57r). Moreover, MS Ashmole 826, fol. 4r
contains Ashmoles notes on Oughtreds works. MS Ashmole 342 (Part V, item 3, fols. 13883) is a De arte arithmetica which Ashmole studied in 1649. MS Ashmole 371, fols. 239
is a treatise in his hand from the early 1650s on the mathematical part of astrology.
The account that follows is based on Curry (1989, pp. 4091) and Feola (2005a, 2005b, pp. 123159).
Josten (1966, Vol. 1, pp. 7677). On Backhouse, see Josten (1949).
Ashmole owned two copies of Fiskes translation of Heydon, An astrological discourse: MS Ashmole 242, a grand copy that was Saunderss gift to his patron Ashmole, and MS
Ashmole 297, published more modestly in 12. Ashmole also owned the original manuscript by Christopher Heydon (MS Ashmole 242), which he obtained in 1657 (see marginal
note on fol. 61r). Whartons Keiromantia is MS Ashmole 120, which Ashmole received as a gift from the astrologer William Lilly who in turn had obtained it as a free copy from the
publisher Nathaniel Brook. On Fiske, Saunders and Lilly: Capp (2004), Curry (2004), Porter (2004). Ann Geneva (1995) has written Lillys biography, although this is
overwhelmingly concerned with the 1650s. The result is an unconvincingly Puritan Lilly, even though he spent twice as long working for Charles II. Primary sources on Fiske,
Saunders, Wharton and Lilly are all in Ashmoles manuscripts: see Black (1845), especially on MSS Ashmole 339, 421, 391, 394 (Fiske), 176, 240, 423, 350, 242, 1443, 1489
(Saunders), 339, 137, 423, 242, 1445, 1420, 186 (Wharton), 186, 290, 121, 241, 1501, 240, 241, 243 (Lilly).
Josten (1966, pp. 565, 576, 643, 671, 684).
For the biographies of Arthur Dee and Thomas Browne: Appleby (2004) and Robbins (2004). On Browne, see Schnapp (1993, p. 198) and Cunningham & Grell (1996).
Northampton Record Ofce, Isham Family Letters 15631669, I. C., fol. 272r. From a letter of Arthur Dee to an unidentied Mr Aldrich, dated Norwich this 15 Decb. 1649,
and meant for Ashmole. Ashmole never received the catalogue mentioned by Arthur Dee, whose letter to Aldrich ended up with his neighbour Sir Thomas Browne, who later
claimed to be unable to nd the catalogue he had been given: Josten (1966, p. 662).
V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538 531
that excellent Physitian, Doctor John Dee (whose fame survives
for his many learned and precious Works, but chiey celebrated
amongst us for that his incomparable Mathematical Preface to
Euclids Elements. (Ashmole, 1650, p. 26)
However, he did not include any of the other information supplied
by Arthur Dee. Dee was not yet an object of Ashmoles collecting
In the Prolegomena to the Fasciculus, Ashmole explained that
he intended it as a Catalogue of Authors that have treated of this
sacred Learning (ibid., sig.

1v), and gave his own denition of
natural philosophy as encompassing:
the concatenation of Spirits, their working without a Body, the
Weapon Salve, the Sympathetic Powder, the Vertues of the Load-
stone, the wonderful and never to be enough admired Secrets of
Magnetick Philosophy, and Natural Magick: As also what Art it
self is able toperform, bythe power of Mathematical conclusions,
in Geometry, Numbers, both mysterious and vulgar, Perspective
Opticks, &c. What famous and accurate Works, industrious
Artists have furnished these latter Ages with, and by Weighs,
Wheels, Springs or Strings, have imitated lively Motion as Regio-
montanus his Eagle, and Fly, Dreblers perpetual Motion, the
Spring in a Watch, and such like Self-Movers. . . . The Arts of Nav-
igation, Printing, andmaking of Gunpowder. . . . (Ibid., sig.

Not all of Ashmoles contemporaries would have agreed to list al-
chemy and natural magic alongside navigation and printing. If we
consider the publications of all the seventeenth-century Savilian
professors of astronomy and geometry at Oxford, for instance, we
nd that they reected a particular Oxford tradition of thinking
about mathematical subjects, which was spelt out in the Savilian
Statutes and which excluded alchemy, astrology and magic from
its denition. Sir Henry Savile and subsequent Savilians remained
faithful to their understanding of mathematical subjects as strictly
including those which could be worked out mathematically, and
whichhadrst developedabove all by ancient Greek scholars (Feola,
in press-a, passim). In contrast, in Ashmoles denition we see Back-
houses inuence on Ashmoles denition of natural philosophy,
whichwe needto bear inmindif we are to get to grips withhis views
about Dee. Ashmole and Backhouse had a very special intellectual
relationship: at thirty minutes past midnight, on 3 April 1651, Back-
house adopted Ashmole as his alchemical son (Josten, 1966, p. 567).
Fromthenon, Ashmole couldconsider himself as the electedsonof a
master who would teach him the secrets of nature.
In the Fasciculus, Ashmole pleaded for the importance of publish-
ing works of natural philosophy in the vernacular, thus echoing the
insistence of his tutor, Oughtred, on the utility of vernacular works:
It is no disparagement to the Subject that it appears in an Eng-
lish dress, no more then it was when habited in Greek, Latin,
Arabick, &c. among the ancient Grecians, Romans, and Arabians,
for to each of them it was their vulgar Tongue: And had not
those Nations, to whom Learning (in her progress through the
world) came, taken the pains of Translation, and so communi-
cated to their own Countries the benet of several Faculties;
we had yet lived in much ignorance of Divinity, Philosophy,
Physick, History, and all other Arts. (Ashmole, 1650, p. 28)
Stressing the importance of his own work as a collector, translator,
editor and, as such, preserver of useful natural philosophical texts,
Ashmole observed,
We are not a little beholding to the industry of our Ancestors,
for collecting into Books this Elemental Water falling from Hea-
ven, as into so many several Vessels or Cisterns. (Ibid., sig. A4v)
This is a paraphrase of Bacons Advancement of learning, where Ba-
con maintained that,
For as water, whether it be the dewe of heaven, or the springs of
the earth, doth scatter and leese it selfe in the ground, except it
be collected into some Receptacle, where it may by union, com-
fort and sustaine it selfe: And for that cause the Industry of Man
hath made & framed Spring-heads, Conduits, Cesterns, and Poo-
les. . . . So this excellent liquor of knowledge, whether it descend
from diuine inspiration, or spring from human sense, would
soon perishe and vanishe to oblivion, if it were not preserved
in Bookes, Traditions, Conferences and Places appoynted.
(Bacon, 1640, sig. 2A2r)
Ashmoles reading of Bacon can also be detected in a passage
where he argued against natural philosophical Fictions, as op-
posed to the reality of the work which he had edited, in which
he paraphrased Bacons metaphor of Pygmalion (Ashmole, 1650,

2r; cf. Bacon, 1640, p. 28). Ashmoles ideas about knowledge,
its utility, its means of acquisition and transmission, were shaped
by his own reections on the teachings of Backhouse, Oughtred
and Bacon. Ashmoles collections and views about John Dee are
best understood if viewed in relation to his ideas about knowledge.
4. First (and only) biography: the Theatrum chemicum
Soon after the publication of the Fasciculus, Ashmole developed
the idea of a much grander enterprise, namely, the rst volume of a
British counterpart to the Theatrum chemicum, which was being
published in Strasbourg by Lazarus Zetzner (16011661). Thanks
to the help of Backhouses circle and of several members of the
Society of Astrologers whom he now actively patronised, including
Wharton, Lilly, and Fiske, Ashmole acquired all the texts which
formed his Theatrum chemicum Britannicum, published in London
in 1652. As we might expect given Ashmoles interest in publishing
natural philosophical texts in the vernacular, the Theatrum con-
tained thirty-nine alchemical poems in English. Among these, Ash-
mole included a short poem by Dee, Dees so-called Alchemical
testament (MS Ashmole 1442, Part I, p. 37). This qualied for
inclusion because it was in English: unusual for Dee, who had
mostly published in Latin.
Unlike the Fasciculus, in which Ash-
moles role had been primarily that of translator (although he had al-
ready put forward the importance of his role as a collector and
editor), the Theatrum was Ashmoles rst properly antiquarian
undertaking. He actually called the alchemical poems collected
antiquities (Ashmole, 1652, sig. A4v). He collected, where possible,
several copies of the same texts, collated them one against another,
amended them, and wrote a critical apparatus in the twofold form of
a fourteen-page Prolegomena and a substantially longer essay, enti-
tled Final Annotations (sixty-three pages).
The latter was a catalogue of lives of eminent English natural
philosophers, and reected Ashmoles will to contribute to the viris
illustribus tradition in his own distinctive way (Eichel-Lojkine,
2001, pp. 6469). Starting with the Italian Renaissance, a prosopo-
graphical tradition of lives of eminent men had become well rooted
British Library MS Harley 2407 includes the original Testament in Dees hand, entitled, in Latin, Joannis Dee Testamentum, ad Jo.Gwynn transmissum, anno1568. Ashmole
also used this manuscript as the source for the engravings in the Theatrum, and even refers to it in his notes at the end: Corbett (1983, pp. 326336). I am very grateful to Jennifer
Rampling for drawing these references to my attention and suggesting that, since Dee often transcribed alchemical works in English, he might have viewed the Testament as
contributing to this genre as well.
532 V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538
in Western European literary production. The recovery of ancient
texts, such as Plutarchs Lives, had triggered a renewed interest in
the biographical genre. Those men were considered eminent who
had ornamented their country through either military or scholarly
achievement. Models from antiquity, like Alexander the Great and
Aristotle (already a medieval topos stemming from the arms vs.
letters debate) were soon to be anked by a wealth of illustrious
contemporaries (Cole, 1995, passim; Cerquiglini-Toulet, 2010, pp.
112). Scholars and even learned artisans gured increasingly in
catalogues of illustrious men. Ashmole deliberately chose to con-
tribute to this genre, citing sixteenth-century scholars such as Le-
land, Bale and Pitts as his sources for British catalogues of learned
men (Ashmole, 1652, sig. A2v). Ashmoles decision to make one
such catalogue out of the lives of writers of alchemical poems,
however, was rather peculiar. It was both a consequence of this
tradition on which he built, and a novelty which he added to it.
Among the authors of his poems he included Chaucer, Gower and
Lydgate, whose positions as eminent English scholars none would
have disputed, together with alchemists such as John Dee, George
Ripley (d. c. 1490) and Thomas Norton (c. 1433c. 1513). Ashmoles
claim for grouping them all together was that they had all writ-
tenin Englishabout alchemy, a branch of natural philosophy
as already explained in the Fasciculus (ibid., sigs. A2vA3r). Ash-
mole was the rst English writer to consider authors of alchemical
poems as eminent men. In fact, in this way he innovated the viris
illustribus tradition. One might suggest that mid-seventeenth cen-
tury natural philosophy was developing, also thanks to Ashmole,
an awareness of its own history. I discuss elsewhere the choro-
graphical, heraldic, and philological work which Ashmole under-
took in order to write the lives in his Final Annotations (Feola,
in press-b, Forthcoming). What interests me here is Ashmoles life
of Dee.
Just before publishing the Theatrum, Ashmole had found Dees
journal of alchemical experiments performed at Mortlake be-
tween 4 December 1607 and 21 January 1608 (MS Ashmole
1486, Part V). Moreover, through Arthur Dee he had acquired
Dees so-called diaries (MSS Ashmole 487488): the ephemerides
of Stadius for 15541600 (Cologne, 1570) and those of Maginus
for 15811620 (Venice, 1582). These were annotated by Dee, in
typically early modern fashion, and contain much biographical
information from January 1577 until December 1600, and from
September 1586 until April 1601. Ashmole transcribed all of Dees
notes into MS Ashmole 423, Art. 22, which would serve him as a
working tool (and sole source) for the life of Dee that he pub-
lished in the Theatrum.
Of all the poems, Dees very short Testament is one of the least
signicant ones as a piece of either scientic poetry or properly
alchemical verses.
Yet Ashmole still devoted the longest biography
to Dee: simply due to the fact that he had much more information
about Dee from his diaries than about any other author of his poems.
In fact, one must bear in mind that Ashmole only owned a handful of
alchemical manuscripts when he published the Theatrum; he ac-
quired the vast majority of his alchemical material much later, in
the 1670s and 1680s, primarily thanks to the acquisitions of libraries
of his protgs from the Society of Astrologers. As we shall see, the
same chronology is true of the bulk of Ashmoles collections related
to Dee.
In his life of Dee, Ashmole stated:
he chiey bent his Studies to the Mathematicks; in all parts of
which he was an absolute and perfect Master. Witness his
Mathematicall Preface to Euclids Elements, wherein are enu-
merated many Arts of him wholly Invented. . . . more then
either the Grecian or Romane Mathematicians have left to
our knowledge: with divers and many Annotations, and Inven-
tions, Mathematicall, added in sundry places of the said Booke:
Together with severall Pieces of Navigation, Perspective, and
other Mathematicall works of his in Manuscript. (Ashmole,
1652, p. 480)
This passage presents Dee as an accomplished mathematician.
It also points to the importance of Dees works which he has left
in manuscriptsmanuscripts, therefore, which must be worth col-
lecting and preserving, as Ashmole was beginning to do himself.
Indeed, Ashmoles life of Dee in the Theatrum served partly as an
example to illustrate the importance of book collections and their
too often unsafe repositories. Ashmole noted that Dee could not
enjoy Tranquillity in his Studies, but was oftentimes disquieted
and vexed with the sower dispositions of such as most Injouri-
ously Scandalized both him and them, insomuch that the year
he went beyond Sea his Library was seized on, wherein was
4000 Books and 700 of them Manuscripts (a Caveat for all Inge-
nious and eminent Philosophers to be more wise then to keep
any dear or Excellent Books in their own Houses.). (Ibid.)
Here, as elsewhere in the Theatrum, Ashmole deprecated the
ravages of libraries by mobs, during both the turbulent Henrician
years and the recent Civil War. Although Roberts and Watson are
sceptical about the myth of a mob breaking into Dees library
(1990, p. 52), we should bear in mind the rhetorical effect that
Ashmole sought to convey by citing this episode from Dees life.
If the lives of eminent men were worth reading for the examples
that posterity could draw from them, Dees life thus provided an
example for all those great collectors who kept their valuable col-
lections at the mercy of fate. This is an early hint of Ashmoles
ideas about safekeeping of books, which would later materialise
in his foundation of the Ashmolean Museum, with its secure anti-
quarian and scientic library in which Ashmoles collections con-
cerning Dee would eventually nd a haven (Feola, 2005a, 2005b,
Concerning Dees alchemy, Ashmole stated: Some time He be-
stowed in vulgar Chemistry, and was therein Master of divers Se-
crets (Ashmole, 1652, p. 480). And,
Tis generally reported that Doctor Dee, and Sir Edward Kelly
were so strangely fortunate, as to nde a very large quantity
of the Elixir in some part of the Ruines of Glastenbury-Abbey,
which was so incredibly Rich in vertue. . . . that they lost much
in making Triall; before they found out the true height of the
Medicine. (Ibid., p. 481)
He continued: During their abode at Trebona, they tried many
Chemicall Experiments. . . . yet I cannot heare that ever they accom-
plished any thing. Nevertheless, Dees expressions of joy in his
diaries convinced Ashmole that he had indeed managed to nd
the stone (ibid., p. 482).
Ashmole was perhaps not the best person to assess Dees abili-
ties as a practising alchemist, given that in the Theatrum he admit-
ted, I have not yet set myself onto the Manuall Practice (ibid., sig.
B2v). Although this sentence might be read as indicating his inten-
tion to do so, there is little evidence that he ever practised. Among
Ashmoles c. 300 volumes of alchemical manuscripts we nd a few
practical recipes for making the philosophers stone and several
poems on the same topic. There is very little evidence that he used
those recipes for his own alchemical experiments, nor is there any
recipe written by him. The only possible evidence for any actual
practice of alchemy is found in Ashmoles own interleaved copy
of his third alchemical edition, The way to bliss (1658), where he
noted the effects of some alchemical experiments suggested by
On the poetry of the Theatrum chemicum Britannicum, see Feola (2008). Schuler has called the Theatrum poems scientic poetry: Schuler (1980, pp. 293318).
V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538 533
an unidentied French practitioner in his manuscript work.
is there any evidence of his having owned a laboratory for the per-
formance of alchemical experiments. Signicantly, Ashmole did not
add a single annotation to any of Dees alchemical papers.
The fact
that Ashmole may never have performed an alchemical experiment
does not mean, however, that he did not value them as means to im-
prove chemical knowledge. On the contrary, in the Theatrum he cited
Francis Bacon on the importance of experiments:
It has proved a great Errour in some Practitioners, who (tum-
bling up and downe their owne Speculations) seek out for Truth
in the Little world, and withdrawing themselves from the Con-
templation of Experimentall Naturall Observations, neglect to
look for it in the great and common World.
Three decades down the line, the Ashmolean Museumwhich Ben-
nett, Johnson, and Simcock (2000) have rightly dubbed Solomons
House in Oxford, emphasising the Baconian nature of Ashmoles
institutionwould furnish the University of Oxford with its rst
laboratory for the performance of alchemical experiments, although
it was Ashmoles contemporary fellow of the Royal Society, Robert
Boyle, who designed its apparatus, rather than Ashmole himself.
It appears, however, that Ashmoles early collections and views
about Dee had little to do with experiments. They were meagre,
like all other alchemical collections in Ashmoles hand by 1652,
and Ashmole only really exploited one item of them, Dees diaries,
when writing Dees life in the Theatrum. There he expressed his
views, which described Dee as an accomplished mathematician, a
great book collector, and a successful alchemist. The next wave
of collections concerning Dee, which shaped Ashmoles later views
about him, would take place twenty years later.
5. Ashmoles renewed interest in Dee: 16721680s
In March 1654, Ashmole received a letter from his regular cor-
respondent and lender of alchemical manuscripts, Sir Thomas
Browne (16051682), the Norwich antiquary and natural philoso-
pher, and author of the successful Religio medici (London, 1644)
(Josten, 1966, p. 661662). He related the life of his late neighbour,
Dr Arthur Dee, and informed Ashmole of a few episodes of John
Dees life. Apart from this, there is no other evidence of Ashmoles
research on Dee until 1672. For the remainder of the 1650s, Ash-
mole was involved in time-consuming legal suits with his wife,
which forced him to abandon his project of issuing further volumes
of the Theatrum chemicum Britannicum. From the Restoration until
1672, his appointments as Controller of the Excise and Windsor
Herald allowed him very little free time. When available, he used
it to research the legal, ceremonial, and historical past of the Order
of the Garter, studies which culminated in his Institution, laws and
ceremonies of the most noble Order of the Garter (London, 1672). Just
after the publication of his magnum opus in May, Ashmole acquired
a colleague with whomto share the burden of his post at the Excise
ofce. This was more than welcome, because it coincided with a
classic example of how serendipitous circumstances can rekindle
a dormant interest.
In a manuscript now in the British Library, Ashmole wrote:
Be it remembered that the 20th of August 1672. I received by
the hande of my Servant Story, a parcel of Dr: Dees Manuscripts,
all written with his own hand; vizt: his Conferences with
angels, which rst began the 22th of dec: an: 1581. & contin-
ued to the end of May an: 1583. where the printed Booke of
the remaining Conferences (published by Dr: Casaubon)
begins. . . . (British Library MS Sloane 3188, fol. 2r)
Overleaf, Ashmole explained that he had obtained the manuscripts,
by my good friend Mr. Thomas Wale, one of his Ma:ties War-
dens in the Tower of London. . . . for a coppy of my History of
the Order of the Garter. (Ibid., fol. 2v)
Wale had found that his servant was using Dees papers to line pie
dishes and for other domestic activities, so he rescued them and
gave themto the man who, fromthen on, would become the greatest
collector of materials related to Dee. By 1687, Ashmole had amassed:
1. Mysteriorum Liber primus. 1581 & 1582.
2. Mysteriorum Liber secundus.
3. Mysteriorum Liber tertius.
4. Liber Mysteriorum quarto
5. Liber Mysteriorum quintus.
6. Quinti Libri Mysteriorum Appendix
Note that some other of his Bookes were set forth by Dr: Casaubon
1659. & the rst Action of the aforesaid Appendix, vizt: 28 May
1583. which are these that follow.
7. Liber Sexti Mysteriorum (&Sancti) parallelus Novalisq
8. Liber peregrinationis primae (Sexte Mystici prodromus)
9. Mensio Mysticus Saobaticus.
10. Liber Mystici Apertorij Cracoviensis Sabbatici. 1584 But in
Dr: Dee MS (from which it was printed) it hath this Title
Libri Septimi Apertorij Cracoviensis, Mystici Sabbatici, pars tertia a
11. Libri Septimi Apertorij Cracoviensis Mystici Sabbatici p.
12. Libri Cracoviensis Mysticus Apertorius.
13. Mysteriorum Pragensium Liber prim Caesaresq
14. Mysteriorum Pragensium Confermatio.
15. Mysteriorum Pragensium Confermatorum Liber.
16. Vnica Actio; quae Pucciana vocetur (A. 1585. Aug: 6)
17. Liber Resurrectionis
18. Mysteriorum divinorum memorabilia
Thus far from the printed books. Other Manuscripts.
19. 48 Claves Angelicae. This booke is written in the Angelick
Language. Interlened with an English translation. Cracoviae,
ab Aprilis 13. ad July 13.
20. Liber Scientiae, Auxilij et Victoriae Terestris.
21. De Heptarchia Mystica Collectaneorum, Lib: primus
Ashmoles notes on practical alchemy are in MS Ashmole 537, interleaved pages between pp. 192 and 219. Ashmole quoted from various known alchemists, such as
Paracelsus, (pseudo) Llull, Morienus and Flamel, whose works were available in print and in manuscript, both in Latin and in English, and from two unidentied French alchemists
who do not appear to have ever published. One of these, H.R. de Linthout sieur de Montelyon and Jehan Luoge de Baur en Languedoc (interleaved page before p. 219), was cited
by Ashmole in French. However, even these passages on practical alchemy (which mention the operations needed to obtain the stone, the chemicals needed, what reactions they
would produce, and so on) leave open the possibility that Ashmole was in fact just checking the textual accuracy of these passages, which all refer to the same operation, namely
the production of the red stone. This scant evidence may therefore merely reect Ashmoles intellectual interest in alchemy, rather than any concern with trying it out himself.
MS Ashmole 1492, Part I contains Dees handwritten Latin notes: Ashmole has only numbered the rst seven pages. MS Ashmole 1451 is a fteenth-century alchemical
manuscript which Dee annotated throughout with comments about alchemical operations: Ashmole did not write anything on it. MS Ashmole 204, Part 18 contains a list of
alchemical drugs written by Dee, but no notes by Ashmole. MS Ashmole 1486, Part V contains Dees laboratory notes, which Ashmole did not annotate.
Ashmole (1652, p. 462); the quote corresponds to Bacon (1640, p. 37).
534 V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538
22. Liber Enoch. I suppose Liber Logaeth & this are also in the
MS: I copied from (which I borrowed from Sir John Cotton)
it hath this Title. Liber Mysteriorum, Sextus & Sanctus.
23. A Book of Supplications, & Invitations.
(MS Ashmole 1790, Part III, Item 13, fols. 5253)
Interestingly, Ashmole entitled this list A Catalogue of Dr: Dees
M.S: as are come to my handes. However, he had collected far more
than just this, both in manuscript and in print. In addition to the
material Ashmole had acquired in the early 1650s, for instance, his
protg Saunders gave him a fourteenth-century Albertus Magnus
on vellum.
His friend and protg Lilly gave him Dees Propaedeu-
mata aphoristica (London, 1558) (MS Ashmole 153). Of a completely
different nature was Dees Supplicacion to Q: Mary, copied by Ash-
mole with the Articles concerning the recovery and preservation of
the ancient Monuments & old excellente writers, & also concerning
the erecting of a Library.
He even copied Dees classication scheme
of books, and his Mortlake library catalogue.
The latter two items
testied to Ashmoles lifelong interest in the cataloguing and safe-
keeping of books, which we nd reected even in his Dee collections.
However, Ashmoles list really focused on the kind of material which
especially interested him, namely the angelic works.
In the previous section, I noted that Ashmole was probably not a
practising alchemist, although he appreciated the importance of
experiments. Now we turn to those experiments which Ashmole
did perform, and which bear some resemblance to Dees crystallo-
mancy. The evidence for Ashmoles magical experiments, which in-
volved casting sigils and talismans, dates back to his entry into
Backhouses circle. For instance, as early as 1649 Ashmole copied
Dr Roger Frenchs English translation of Cornelius Agrippas De occ-
ulta philosophia, which was published in London in 1651 and dedi-
cated to another acquaintance of Backhouses, the Hartlibian
reformer Dr Robert Childe (British Library MS Sloane 3824). The
1651 edition, moreover, contained a poem written by Ashmoles
protg John Booker (just before Ch. I, Book I). In the Sloane manu-
script, Ashmole transcribed a section on crystallomancy (MS Sloane
3824, fols. 54v70r), while the subsequent folios are devoted to sig-
ils. In the Theatrum, Ashmole had quoted extensively from Agrippa
to explain his ideas about magic (Ashmole, 1652, esp. 443449).
The evidence for Ashmoles casting of sigils runs continuously
from the late 1640s until his death in 1692 (Black, 1845, passim).
For example, in his copy of Frenchs Agrippa, Ashmole drew several
sigils (MS Sloane 3824, fols. 100v117r) and wrote next to two of
them, by me (the seals of the spirits Vassago and Agares, at fols.
111v and 112v respectively). In order for a sigil (usually a piece of
lead) to become infused with magical powersfor instance, to heal
a wound, or to bind someone to behave in a certain wayAshmole,
like all good natural magicians of his time (and of the past) had to
conduct several operations. These could vary, from brandishing a
sword, wearing a priests garments and sprinkling the lead with
baptismal holy water, to invoking supernatural creatures, such as
angels and demons (and sometimes even invoking Adam, the rst
man) to intercede with God; that God might elect the conjurer to
be a magician, thus infusing his lead with magical powers. Invoca-
tions and prayers might vary, but the help of angels was always
Ashmole studied Dees angelic manuscripts closely, and his
annotations show that he trusted Dees accounts of angelic inter-
course. For example, he added a lengthy note to his copy of Casau-
bons edition of Dees angelic dealings:
In these 5 Bookes the Angells tought them how to make ye holy
Table, the Sigillum dei (which in all Actions lay vnder the
Shew-stone) how to Governe themselues, to obteyne Confer-
ence, & many other things. (Preface, MS Ashmole 580, p. 43)
In a cipher note which he added to Lillys autobiography, Ashmole
What were the reasons why the Angells were not obedient or
did not willing declare their answers to kellys questions/For
Mr. Lilly saith/I could give another reason beside his viscious-
ness but they are not for paper. (Cited in Josten, 1966, p. 1114)
There is also ample evidence that Ashmole successfully found the
key to reading Dees tables, with angels names hidden among let-
ters and numbers.
In the Theatrum he spoke of the possibility of
attaining direct contact with God through angelic mediation: the
Angelicall Stone. . . . endowes the possessor with Divine Gifts. It
affords the Apparition of Angells, and gives a power of convers-
ing with them, by Dreames and Revelations. (Ashmole, 1652,
sigs. A4vB1v)
It is uncertain whether Ashmole ever attempted to conjure an-
gels on the basis of Dees manuscripts. Although Ashmole collected
Dees prayers under the heading Notes for Practise (MS Ashmole
1790, fol. 39r), this heading may simply refer to Dees own practice.
All that can be safely said is that he managed to collect a great deal
of Dees angelic material, and that he studied it at least from a phil-
ological point of view.
This approach can be identied elsewhere: for instance, in Ash-
moles note, obserue whether Annael, which is praepositus orbis
veneris, be not there written with a double n page 4 (MS Ashmole
1790, fol. 54b). MS Ashmole 580 contains his corrections to his
copy of Meric Casaubons Faithful relation. In fact, as I show else-
where, Ashmole applied this kind of philological work to most of
his alchemical, astrological, magical, medical, heraldic, historical,
and legal papers.
Ashmoles approach to his manuscripts was
more philological than practical. In other words, he collated and
amended manuscripts, rather than using them in the laboratory or
in front of a crystal ball, for experiments. The only documented
experiments which he carried out, as noted above, were those
involving sigils. Even these triggered his antiquarian curiosity so
much so that he corresponded with the orientalist Thomas Hyde,
Bodleys librarian, in order to obtain English translations of medieval
Arabic and Persian works on sigils (MSS Ashmole 430432, fols.
154186). Lauren Kassell (2005, p. 48, 2006, p. 122) hypothesises
that Ashmole, like his fellow antiquary John Aubrey, who helped
Ashmole in his quest for Dees manuscripts (Clark, 1898, Vol. I, pp.
210214), might have been collecting sources for a history of magic.
This seems plausible, at least in view of one of the letters which
Hyde wrote to Ashmole: When I met with any more Bookes which
may probably contain any things to your purpose, I will endeavour to
search out what may be found (MSS Ashmole 430432, fol. 187r; my
emphasis). Was that purpose a history of magical experiments
involving sigils and angel conjuring?
Ashmole collected other documents concerning sigils and mag-
ical operations involving angels, such as the manuscripts of Simon
Forman and Richard Napier. He both repeated Formans experi-
MS Ashmole 1471 bears Dees, Saunderss and Ashmoles possession signatures.
MS Ashmole 1788, fols. 8082. Quotation from fol. 81r, dated 15 January 1556.
Ibid., fol. 134; MS Ashmole 1142, fols. 174.
MS Ashmole 422, Ashmoles transcript of the Liber Mysteriorum Sextus et Sanctus. On fol. 15r, Ashmole has written: from Dr Dees transcript.
For instance, MS Ashmole 971972 is Ashmoles interleaved copy of the Theatrum. It contains his philological marginalia which he kept adding to it since 1652 until the late
1680s. I give a fuller treatment of Ashmoles philological work in Feola (in press-b).
V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538 535
ments involving sigils, and annotated his manuscripts (MS Ashmole
421, fol. 171rv). Even here, however, Ashmoles observations are
primarily philological. For example, MS Ashmole 244 contains
Formans Boke of giantes and huge and monstrose formes, a work
on Adam and Eve, Napiers prayers for conjuring angels, and For-
mans book of Cabala and names of Angels and evil Spirits. On
fol. 33v, Forman recorded the age of the world according to his cal-
culation. Ashmole noted alongside that another computation was
also possible, and gave a different result. On fol. 50r, Ashmole sup-
plemented Formans astrological explanation of a horoscope with
an alternative way of casting it, while Ashmoles annotations to For-
mans angelic papers recall those he added to Dees. In each case,
Ashmole used the manuscripts both as a basis for experiments of si-
gil-making, and as texts with antiquarian value.
6. Beyond the angels
In 1685, Ashmole wrote to his fellow antiquary, the Oxford
scholar Anthony Wood, that
Tis probable I may say something of Doctor Arthur Dee, in the
lyfe of his Father, because it will fall in proper enough; but what
that will be, I cannot yet determine. Neuertheless I would haue
you to make as much use of my papers, as will serue your
Tourne. (28. Mar. 1685, MS Wood F. 39, fols. 8586v)
By then Ashmole had sufcient material to provide the basis for a
book-length biography of Dee, although his chronic lack of time
would eventually prevent him from achieving this goal. This major
project, a life of Dee, can be related to other developments in Ash-
moles collecting habits. In another letter to Wood, dated Jan. 16.
1685/6, Ashmole explained, what great use you could make of
the Accidents relating to the Nativities of Persons, where they are
collected together; which is seldome done (cited in Josten, 1966,
p. 1810). Ashmole had been painstakingly collecting nativities
astrological schemes in which biographical data of an individuals
are recorded (Curry, 1989, pp. 813)since the 1640s. But it was
only in the 1670s and early 1680s that he acquired a treasure trove
of nativities, thanks to the legacies of his astrologer-protgs. These
included Dees own nativity, obtained from Thomas Browne.
Moreover, in 1676 he received several volumes of astrological manu-
scripts from Thomas Napier, containing biographical data on hun-
dreds of seventeenth-century Englishmen and women (Black,
1845). Ashmole bound them with other nativities, and in 1681 al-
lowed Aubrey to work on them in order to extract biographical data
on behalf of Anthony Wood (Josten, 1966, p. 1697). Aubrey also used
information that he found in Ashmoles manuscripts for his own
prosopographical work, Brief lives.
Ashmole planned to compile a
catalogue of biographies of Knights of the Garter, and collected a
wealth of biographical data about them (in MSS Ashmole 1097
1135). It is possible that he intended to write a prosopography of
eminent loyal subjects of English monarchs, since Knights of the Gar-
ter were assumed to be the most loyal of subjects (Begent, 1999, pas-
sim). He also collected, but managed to print only an abridged
version through lack of time, the lives of all the Garter Kings of Arms
(cf. MSS Ashmole 10971135). The astrological nativities section of
Ashmoles library testies to his efforts to collect material for a study
of Englands most illustrious men, and his own collection of material
on John Dee, must, therefore, be considered as an example of this
interest. It seems that this interest only really manifested as an ac-
tive collecting policy years later, as we have already seen in the case
of Ashmoles Theatrum.
Besides the acquisition of astrological material in manuscript
form, Ashmole simultaneously collected some four hundred vol-
umes of English almanacs, dating from the late sixteenth century
until his death in 1692. These illustrate the formation of an English
astrological printing market in the vernaculara subject close to
Ashmoles heart since his youth. They also contain much informa-
tion on the history of the English weather and its astrological prog-
Indeed, Ashmole meticulously recorded the weather
every day for eight and a half years, from 6 July 1677 to 31 December
1685. He added a preface, in which he regretted the little time that he
could devote to recording data about the wind, rain, and tempera-
tures: nevertheless, for so much as is set downe, I haue endeavoured
to render it exact (MS Ashmole 438, p. 2). This suggests that he had
collected those data for others to use: for example, in order to build a
database for terrestrial astrology. We should note his use of the ther-
mometer for this undertaking. Simultaneously, from July 1677 until
September 1689, Ashmole received John Goads monthly weather
prognostications (Josten, 1966, p. 220). A later account mentions Ash-
moles participation in a committee of the Royal Society, for collect-
ing all the phenomena of nature hitherto observed, and all
experiments made and recorded (Birch, 1756, Vol. I, p. 407). It is pos-
sible that the weather data collection related to this. Similarly, Ash-
mole copied Napiers own observations on the weather from 20
July 1598 to 16 August 1635 (MS Ashmole 423, fols. 125).
Given this interest, we can see why Ashmole welcomed his
acquisition of Dees observations of the Weather from May 1547.
to 16 Feb. 1551, noting that they are very exact and particular.
Although only a single example, this note on Dees weather records
still compares favourably with the lack of any annotation by Ash-
mole in Dees alchemical manuscripts. Ashmole may have collected
Dees alchemical manuscripts and booksas indeed the rest of his
alchemical worksfor posterity, to keep as records of English
alchemical practice and poetry. On the other hand, Ashmoles weath-
er notes, including his short one on Dees observations, indicate that
he actually worked on them.
The natural history of England was certainly one of Ashmoles
main intellectual preoccupations. In the Statutes and Rules which
he wrote for the Ashmolean Museum, he declared:
Because the knowledge of Nature is very necessarie to Humaine
life, health, & the conveniences thereof, & because that knowl-
edge cannot be soe well & usefully attaind, except the history
of Nature be knowne & considered; and to this, is requisite
the inspection of Particulars, especially those as are extraordi-
nary in their Fabrick, or usefull in Medicine, or applied to Man-
ufacture or Trade: I Elias Ashmole, out of my affection to this
sort of Learning, wherein my selfe haue taken, & still doe take
the greatest delight. . . . (MS Rawl. D.864, fols. 187v188r)
We can detect echoes of Francis Bacons Advancement once more.
7. Conclusion
I have argued that Ashmoles collections and views about Dee
should be viewed against the broader background of Ashmoles
collecting activities, and in the context of the uses to which he
MS Ashmole 1788, fols. 136a and 137a contain two horoscopes set on Dees nativity, partly by Ashmole and partly by his friend, the astrologer and book collector William
Lilly. MS Ashmole 1790, Part III, item 19. MS Ashmole 1788, fol. 140a is Kellys nativity, whereas MS Ashmole 1790, fol. 59b is also Kellys nativity, reproduced in Ashmole (1652,
p. 479).
Clark (1898). Aubrey acknowledged Ashmoles help in Vol. I of his Brief lives, pp. 26, 33, 44, 146, 162, 210, 285, 318; vol. II, pp. 33, 91, 201, and 203. Anthony Grafton has drawn
attention to the antiquarian uses of astrological material: Grafton (1999), esp. pp. 5670.
On early modern weather collections, see Golinski (2007).
MS Ashmole 1788, fol. 10b. Ashmole had obtained another copy of Dees diary, Stoffers ephemerides, from a Dr Francis Bernard.
536 V. Feola / Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) 530538
wished to put his collections. Material about Dee interested
Ashmole because it provided information, rst, for an exemplary
life of an eminent Englishman. Second, it constituted evidence for
English alchemical and angelological practices. It is indeed possible
that Ashmole collected alchemical and angelical manuscripts,
including Dees, in order to document the history of those disci-
plines in England. It is also possible that he used Dees angelic pa-
pers for his own experiments with magical sigils and angelic
invocations. He certainly worked philologically on the angelic pa-
pers, whereas Dees alchemical ones remained untouched. Finally,
Ashmole was pleased to have Dees weather records within his col-
lections for a natural history of the English weather.
Ashmoles understanding of Bacons empiricism shaped his
ideas about experiments, as well as about the importance of the
antiquarys role as a gatherer and preserver of useful evidence
about natural and political history. However, while Bacon had tried
to exclude alchemy, astrology and magic from respectable natural
philosophical practices, Ashmole argued for their inclusion. Hunter
and Hoppen have suggested that there were several different kinds
of Baconianism at work among the early fellows of the Royal Soci-
Ashmoles collections and views about Dee reected one such
kind, however unlikely this might appear at rst sight.
We might imagine Ashmole at his desk, with all the relevant pa-
pers from his Dee collections well arranged in chronological order
before him, as he diligently picks out those that he will use to illus-
trate the importance of Dee as an English worthy, or to amend
Casaubons work, or to compare his weather records with those
in the printed almanacs for the same years. Collecting, comparing,
translating, working philologically on texts, compiling indexes, and
amending erroneous words, dates and calculations: that was the
work of Ashmole, the Baconian-bent antiquary. We can also imag-
ine another side to Ashmole. In his study, perhaps with his friend
Lilly, with whom he had tried to conjure fairies in a crystal ball,
he may have attempted to reproduce Dees angelic invocations,
which he had transcribed as Notes for Practise. Here, we embark
on speculation. The only safe conclusion regarding Ashmoles col-
lections and views about John Dee is that they reected Ashmoles
personal reading of Bacon, as well as the inuences of Backhouse
and Oughtreds circles in which natural philosophy very broadly
dened mingled with antiquarian practices.
I am grateful to Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, to the
Lightfoot Fund of the History Faculty of Cambridge University, to
the British Federation of Women Graduates, and to the Fondation
Wiener-Anspach, for funding this research, which I mostly carried
out during my doctoral studies at Cambridge University. I thank
Scott Mandelbrote and John Morrill for their inspiring comments.
I thank the staff of Duke Humfreys for letting me consult Ash-
moles material over and over again since 2000. I thank my anon-
ymous reviewers and Jennifer Rampling for making many helpful
Oxford, Bodleian Library MSS Ashmole 174, 204, 242, 488, 356, 369, 422424, 430
432, 440, 487580, 972, 1131, 1142, 1423, 1426, 1440, 1442, 1446, 1451, 1457,
1459, 1471, 1486, 1488, 1492, 17881790, 1506, 1819 (on Dee); MSS Ashmole
36, 178, 180, 184, 185, 240, 243, 321, 339, 368, 421, 423, 770, 784, 826, 972,
1131, 1139, 1400, 1447, 1457, 1458, 1463, 1489, 1506, 1731, 1788 (on Society
of Astrologers); MSS Ashmole 339, 391, 394, 421 (on Fiske); MSS Ashmole 121,
186, 240, 241, 243, 290, 1501 (on Lilly); MSS Ashmole 176, 240, 242, 350, 423,
1443, 1489 (on Saunders); MSS Ashmole 137, 186, 242, 339, 423, 1420, 1445
(on Wharton); MSS Ashmole 242, 297, 342, 371, 394, 423, 438, 826, 537, 971
972, 10971135; MS Rawlinson D.864; MS Wood. F.39 (other).
London, British Library MSS Sloane 78, 3188, 3189, 3191, 2599, 3678, 3822, 3824;
Additional MS 36674; MS.Harley.2407.
Northampton, Northampton Record Ofce, Isham Family Letters 15631669, I. C.
fol. 272r.
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