Ashmole, Elias

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Ashmole, Elias Gender: M
born on 23 May 1617 Jul.Cal. (2 June 1617 greg.) at 03:28 (= 03:28 AM )
Place Lichfield, England, 52n42, 1w48
Timezone LMT m1w48 (is local mean time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 11°31' s_mo.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 23°26 Asc.s_gemcol.18.gif 05°17'

Elias Ashmole


British historian of the Order of the Garter, alchemist, royalist officer, herald and genealogist, numismatist, epigraphist, connoisseur and collector of antiquities, advocate of the new emphasis on experiment yet a firm believer in magic, astrology and alchemy. Ashmole is famous for his great work, "History of the Order and Institution of the Garter." His learning was immense and he was a founder-member of the Royal Society; Oxford made him a Doctor of Medicine.

He was a born collector and also a social climber who made use of his friends, marrying well three times. He left his books to Oxford University at his death on 5/18/1692, London, and the Ashmolean Museum was the first public museum in Britain, and long remained the center of scientific studies at Oxford.

Ashmole became a freemason in October 1646 and a month later was introduced to William Lilly, who became a lifelong dear friend. Ashmole worked along with Lilly on many horary examples left to history, and many of the questions of the former dealt with such mundane matters as property, rents and money. With his second marriage at 32, to 20-year-older Lady Manwaring in November 1649, he gained a foundation of riches that enabled him "to purchase books, rarities and other things."

It is known that Ashmole was initiated into alchemy by William Backhouse, a then living master whom he called "Father Backhouse." Amongst many other achievements, Ashmole compiled a book of alchemical manuscripts, published in 1652, which is still well respected and in print almost 350 years later. Ashmole wrote in his diary on 5/13/1653 that his adopted alchemical father, William Backhouse, "lying sick in Fleetestreete over against St. Duncan's Church, and not knowing whether he should live or die, about eleven o'clock, told me in Syllables the true matter of the Philosophers stone which he bequeathed to me as a legacy."

"Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum," a collection of alchemical manuscripts first published in 1652, is valued primarily because it is accepted that its compiler, Elias Ashmole, was initiated into the living tradition and with the help of his master, William Backhouse, collected together some of the more likely genuine manuscripts available at that time to create this volume. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that today, despite the many 'experts', both academic and enthusiastic amateur, there is nobody alive with any genuine knowledge able to make this determination and sift out the dross. It contains a selection of ancient texts, in poetical format, from the pens of English alchemists specially selected and adjudged as genuine by Ashmole and his mentor, William Backhouse. However, the archaic language is now virtually impenetrable to all but the most ardent scholar.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • friend relationship with Boevey, James (born 7 May 1622 Jul.Cal. (17 May 1622 greg.))
  • friend relationship with Lilly, William (born 1 May 1602 Jul.Cal. (11 May 1602 greg.))
  • (has as) mentor relationship with Backhouse, William (born 18 January 1592 Jul.Cal. (28 Jan 1592 greg.))


Source Notes

Astrology Quarterly Sept 1960 from his diary (5/26/1617 OS) (3:26 LAT/ 3:28 LMT)

Update 6-Feb-2012: looks like transcription error, all other sources have 23 May.

Sy Scholfield cites an autobiographical account in "The lives of those eminent antiquaries Elias Ashmole, esquire, and Mr. William Lilly, written by themselves" (T. Davies, 1774), pp. 287-88: "I Elias Ashmole, was the son and only child of Simon Ashmole of Litchfield . . I was born the 23d. of May 1617, (and as my dear and good mother hath often told me) near half an hour after 3 o'clock in the morning. When I rectified my nativity, An, 1647. I found it to be 3 hours 25 minutes 49 seconds A.M. the quarter [opposition] of [Gemini] ascending. But upon Mr. Lilly's recitification thereof, Anno 1667, he makes the quarter 36 ascedning. I was baptized . . . at St. Mary's church in Litchfield."


  • Traits : Personality : Opportunist (Social climber)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Money Through Marriage (Three useful marriages)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Collector
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Friends (Important friends)
  • Vocation : Occult Fields : Astrologer (Pro)
  • Vocation : Writers : Astrology (Texts)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Order of the Garter)
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure
  • Notable : Book Collection : Occult/ Misc. Collection