CHAPTER VII. 1670–1673
Like Ashmole's correspondence of many other years, that of the year 1670 contains a profusion of detail, especially of antiquarian detail, such as can here at most be mentioned in passing.
pg 169The Dean of Windsor, Dr. Bruno Ryves, who as Register of the Order of the Garter was responsible for the official records of the Order, resorted to Ashmole with fretful, though friendly, requests whenever he was in doubt about dates and facts.1 So did the learned Canon Dr. George Evans, who was specially interested in the history of St. George's Chapel. He entreated Ashmole in particular to send a copy of his catalogue of the Garter Knights. Unlike the Dean, Dr. Evans was able to provide in return the answers to many inquiries relating to the history of the College and of the Order, which Ashmole continued to address to him.2 The Dean also wrote to Ashmole for supplies of a special ink which Ashmole had provided for the writing, by an amanuensis, of the fair copy of the Liber Carolinus.3 This work was completed by the end of June.4 Sir Henry de Vic, for whom the Dean cared very little, had been most reluctant to disburse £5 for the amanuensis from the Garter funds administered by him; he was even more unwilling to pay for a portrait of Charles II5 in his Garter robes with which the Dean intended to face the first page of the book. Ashmole was asked 'to see it exactly done' by a painter.6 The book was dispatched to him for the purpose,7 but at the beginning of September 'no positiue answere' had yet been obtained from Sir Henry de Vic concerning the King's picture. The Dean desired Ashmole, therefore, to send the Liber Carolinus to Sir Edward Walker, Garter King of Arms. 'Lett it goe as it is', the Dean wrote to Ashmole, 'and when opportunity serues, I shall Lett the King know wher the fault lyes, that ther is lesse respect done to him, then to any of his Predecessors Soueraignes of the Order';8 yet, unfortunately, the portrait remained unpainted. With the Dean's permission,9 Ashmole had a transcript of the book made for his own use.10 He noted, partly in the margin, any errors, inaccuracies, and omissions he had noticed. He was concerned about the minutes of the Chapter of 20 February 1662 at which Sir Henry de Vic had made pg 170his insulting speech.1 The Dean had pointed out to Ashmole that, as Register of the Order, he would be acting against his oath by omitting any mention in the minutes of the fact that Ashmole's claim to the office of Historiographer and Remembrancer had been foiled by the opposition of Sir Henry de Vic. He had also repeatedly assured Ashmole that the text of the entry would not contain any 'ill reflections' on him, but would give him 'a very fayre Character with posteryty'.2 For the time being, he left 'a Vacuum' where the passage was to be entered and promised to send Ashmole a draft of the missing text.3 The Dean never entered his text, and the empty space still remains on p. 35 of the Liber Carolinus. An 'injurious' entry relating to the affair, which Sir Henry de Vic made in some other official record of the Order, was in 1674 obliterated at the King's command, as has already been mentioned.4
Ashmole's book on the Order of the Garter must have been virtually completed by 5 March 1670 when the Dean of Windsor, as Register of the Order, Sir Edward Bysshe, Clarenceux, and William Dugdale, Norroy, gave their imprimatur.5 The final printing licence was granted by a royal warrant of 31 March 1670, which also prohibited for a period of fifteen years the unauthorized reprinting of the whole or parts of the book, the reproduction of the engraved illustrations therein contained, and the sale or distribution of any copies that might be reprinted abroad.6
An engraving by Robert White, in Francis Sandford's printed account of the funeral of George Monck, first Duke of Albemarle, shows Ashmole who, as Windsor Herald, took part in the funeral procession on 30 April 16707 wearing a gown under his tabard and a mourning hood on his head, carrying on a pole the target, i.e. a light round shield with the arms of the Duke. The engraver does not appear to have achieved an accurate likeness.8 Correspondence, exchanged in September and October 1670 between the Earl of Denbigh, Sir Edward Walker, William Dugdale, and Ashmole,9 pg IN25
pg IN26pg 171illustrates in great detail the questions of ceremonial which plans for the marshalling of the impending funeral at Monks Kirby, Warwickshire, of the late Countess of Denbigh had raised. After consultation with the Heralds, who had done their utmost to satisfy Lord Denbigh's wishes, his Lordship ordered a private funeral because he found that in the country a public one could not be held with such 'extent of honor' as was due to the 'birth, and quality' of his late wife.1 Chapter meetings of the College of Arms, the marshalling of other funerals, and problems of heraldry and genealogy occupied Ashmole at various other times of the same year.2 Joseph Williamson, Keeper of the Paper Office and secretary to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, consulted him on several such questions of precedence as whether a Secretary of State who was a knight should be ranked above or below the elder sons of barons.3 A copy of the opinion which Ashmole prepared4 was sent by him to Sir Edward Walker, Garter King of Arms.5
The offices of Treasurer and Registrar of the College of Arms, which Ashmole had held since the end of 1668,6 entailed more petty business than he cared for. In a Chapter held on 7 July 1670 he asked to be relieved of these posts, 'in regard his severall Imployments relating to his Majesties service, will not permit him (oft-times) to observe Chapter daies'.7 It was only in 1671, and after repeated insistence on Ashmole's part, that the other Officers of Arms, who were reluctant to lose their able Treasurer and Registrar, agreed to elect a successor.8
On two occasions in 1670 Ashmole was entertained by the Swedish Resident in London, John Barkman, Baron Leyonbergh.9 The precedence at Garter ceremonies of the King of Sweden over the King of Denmark, both of whom were Knights of the Garter, was contested by the Danish envoy, Christopher Lindenov. After a dinner on 10 May, to which the Master of Ceremonies, Sir Charles Cotterell, had invited Ashmole and the Danish envoy, they went to pg 172Ashmole's chambers at the Middle Temple, where Ashmole so convincingly proved to the envoy the groundlessness of his royal master's claim 'that he thereupon waved the further prosecution of that Affaire'.1
Anthony Wood, who in February 1670 had communicated to Ashmole the copy of an inscription formerly on the tomb of a Garter Knight at Painswick, dined at Ashmole's house in Shire Lane on 1 May. After dinner he was taken to the Middle Temple, where Ashmole 'shewed him all his rarities, viz. antient coines, medalls, pictures, old MSS. &c. which took them up neare two hours time'.2
The first Earl of Anglesey visited Ashmole in his chambers at the Middle Temple a few days later.3 Joseph Williamson and Sir Gilbert Talbot, Master of the Jewel House, dined there in July.4 At the end of September Ashmole became acquainted with the Duke of Savoy's envoy, Count Morozzo.5 Two German noblemen from Livonia, who were 'artis Chymicae amatores' and admirers of Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, called on him in October 1670.6
Letters which Ashmole received in 1670 from William Lilly provide much evidence of their mutual affection. Lilly now called Mrs. Ashmole his 'Gallant',7 and Ashmole was soon to give the same affectionate title to Mrs. Lilly.8 Visits and presents were frequently exchanged.9 The letters, which are written in an amusingly facetious tone, abound in expressions of gratitude, such as '… long liue Dr. Elias, that takes such care of his very old friends: Ago rursus et rursus gratias.'10 In a letter of 21 July 1670 Lilly alludes to the fact, not otherwise known, that Mrs. Ashmole was expecting a child: '… my wife is more then ordinary desirous to hear of yr Lady, and how it is with her, shee must bee near her tyme, God send her a safe delivery, els I shall want a Gallant, for nobody but shee will bee troubled with such a Youth as my selfe.'11 (William Lilly was then in his pg 173sixty-ninth year.) The child was probably, like all Ashmole's children, still-born. Lilly's letters to Ashmole rarely contain factual information of immediate biographical interest, but they convey unusually vivid and sometimes humorous impressions of everyday life.
Since 1665, when Lilly had moved from London to his country house at Hersham, he had studied medicine and had begun to combine his astrological practice with a medical one; '… having arived at a competent degree of knowledge, assisted by diligent observation & practise' (as Ashmole noted in his continuation of Lilly's autobiography1), he wished to regularize the position and desired Ashmole to obtain for him from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Gilbert Sheldon, 'a Lycence for the practise of Phisick'. On 8 October 1670 Ashmole submitted to Dr. Sheldon a certificate, signed by two members of the London College of Physicians, which testified to Lilly's ability. The licence was then 'most readily' granted; it gave Lilly the right to practise throughout the province of Canterbury, except for an area including the City of London and 7 miles around it.
Hereupon [Ashmole continues] he began to practise more openly, & with good success, & every Saterday rode to Kingston[-upon-Thames], where the poorer sort flockt to him from severall parts & received much benefit by his advice & prescriptions, which he gaue them freely & without money; from those that were more able he now & then received a Shilling, & sometimes an halfe Crowne, if they offered it to him, otherwise he demanded nothing; and in truth his Charity toward poore people was very great, no less then the care & paines he tooke in considering & weighing their particular Cases, & applying propper remedies to their Infirmities, which gained him extraordinary credit & estimation.2
Ashmole's horoscope of the time of the King's speech in Parliament on 14 February 1670 and cipher notes of subsequent developments, which he regarded as confirming the conclusions to be drawn from the horoscope,3 prove his continued faith in astrological methods as well as his interest in the political scene.4 The astrologer George Wharton, then living at Greenwich, received a visit from Ashmole and his pg 174wife in August 1670,1 and Henry Coley, a younger mathematician and astrologer who was Lilly's favourite disciple, called on Ashmole in December.2 In 1671 the astrologer Joseph Blagrave, of Reading, dedicated to Ashmole his book Astrological Practice of Physick; the dedicatory epistle calls Ashmole 'a great Master' in astrology and philosophy, having 'few or no equals living'.3
Many more letters from William Lilly to Ashmole, written in 1671 and later years, are preserved, but only two of Ashmole's replies.4 A series of Ashmole's letters to Lilly would have been of interest if only because, in writing to his most intimate friend, he may often have adapted his style to Lilly's waggish and informal vein. These letters might have revealed the humorous side of his character, which certainly existed, but which the gravity and terseness or the courtly elegance of his known writings may too often conceal. Lilly himself had dubbed Ashmole 'Magister Drollerie apud London'.5 A few quotations from Lilly's letters of 1671 may serve to illustrate the dominant key of their communications. One of many repeated invitations to Hersham, which Ashmole accepted in June,6 reads:
I hope after so long an expectation, so many promises, so numerous ingagements made, but not performed as yet, you will not now defraud mee and my wife of my Gallants company (These Courtiers never performe their words probatum per te: meum Mecenatem: fuge Diabole) thes are meer miserable evasions, frauds, connycatchings—I am confident, nothing would so soon recover my poor Gallant, as Hersham aire, and the sight of her Gallant, my wife is the best nurse of this world—Avant, Satan, this is your own deceit, nulla fides in Ashmodelibus—oh: monstrum horrendum.7
Besides presents of tobacco, wine, soap, ink, paper, and a 'safeguard', i.e. an outer skirt or petticoat, for his wife, Lilly received as a special gift from Mrs. Ashmole ('my Saint and Gallant Elizabeth')8 a cloak 'of excellent stuff, very complete, well composed both for Summer and winter',9 which pg 175he was to wear on his Saturday rides to Kingston where he attended the sick.1 On 31 July 1671 he wrote to Ashmole:
tenn thousand thanks to my Gallant for my cloak, I putt it first on 23. July, St. Maudlins day. and also the last saterday, [cum successu.] an aged woaman 85. sent mee 4d. to preserve her to 105—I am perswaded I shall cozen her, but I took her groat, fearing I should gett no more that day, but 2s. came afterward, you see how I thriue. its a blessed cloak I doubt under that Guardianship, I shall commit many knaverys, but its the religion of Phisitians.2
When he had again been successful on a subsequent Saturday, he wrote: '… oh blessed Saint Elizabeth: her cloack; wear I a Papist, I would reserue reliques out of it'.3 For their part, the Lillys provided Ashmole's household with such country products as butter, rye, wheat, and puddings. Lilly's letters also contain much amusing country gossip, medical recipes, and politico-astrological observations. In a letter to Mrs. Ashmole of 9 October 1671 he mentions that Sir Edward Walker, who had consulted him, 'had strong inclinations' to resign the office of Garter King of Arms,4 and ten days later to Ashmole: 'I beleeue he is fearfull of the tymes. etc. dic quid vis—si venerit—'5 It is interesting to note that Lilly was prepared to adapt his professional advice to Ashmole's wishes.
Rarely were all the Officers of Arms at peace with one another. Sir Edward Walker was greatly worried by an acrimonious controversy with Thomas Lee, Chester Herald, who, in league with Francis Sandford, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant, and Henry St. George, Richmond Herald, missed no opportunity, at least in Sir Edward's opinion, of crossing and insulting him. This 'triumvirate', as Sir Edward called them, apparently had its own plans for the rebuilding of the College of Arms. Rouge Dragon had prepared a 'model' of the new building, which was to cost at least £5,000. An estimate for the first stage of building, following this design, was presented by Chester to a Chapter held on 22 April 1671 at which Ashmole was present; the estimate amounted to above £600. At the same Chapter, Chester proposed that various fees, amounting to c. £350, which were owing to the pg 176Officers of Arms, be used to finance the first stage, which was to include the foundations of the new building and a provisional structure that could house the records, then probably stored in the College's temporary office in the Palace of Westminster. Sir Edward Walker objected 'how unreasonable it was to lay out aboue 600l, haveing but 350l', but at an unofficial meeting, held the same day, he was prevailed upon to agree. Chester and Rouge Dragon were asked to 'treat and agree' speedily with Mr. Emot, 'his Majesties Bricklayer', who, on 26 April, began the foundation work on the site of Derby House. (Even so, the tiresome quarrel between Garter and the 'triumvirate' continued.)1 The College's own resources being wholly inadequate, the sums required for the completion of the new building could only be raised by voluntary contributions of the nobility and gentry. On 6 December 1671, following a petition by the Officers of Arms, a commission under the Great Seal was directed to all archbishops, dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, bishops, barons, baronets, knights, esquires, and gentlemen of England and Wales, authorizing the Officers of Arms and any assignees appointed by the Earl Marshal, or by the commissioners for his office, to collect subscriptions. The donations thus received were to be entered, with the benefactors' arms and pedigrees, in special 'Bookes of vellome'.2 Two such volumes are preserved at the College of Arms, of which one records the subscriptions procured by Ashmole (£206. 6s. 8d.). Expressing his regret, in 1676, at Ashmole's resignation from the College of Arms, the Earl Marshal observed that Ashmole 'had deserved greatly in getting Money for rebuilding ye Office'.3
On 20 July 1671 Ashmole and his wife left for a holiday at Blyth Hall. They travelled presumably in the company of Mrs. Ashmole's father, William Dugdale, who set out from London for Blyth Hall on the same day.4 On 31 July Ashmole was at Lichfield.5 (Earlier in the year he had granted a lease for seven years of his house there to a surgeon.)6 William Lilly, to whom Ashmole appears to have pg 177written how well he had been received in his native city, replied to him on 10 August: 'I was well pleased to hear … of your Reception at Lichfeild. Vertue will find acceptance every where, and Charity wee know is acceptable both to God and Man: your name is famous, and I do beleeue your hart is cordiall to man, I wish it may bee so to God, beeing now preaching, Sr. Esq: I admonish you to leaue Swearing, the worst vice you haue.'1 (It is not likely that Lilly meant this admonition very seriously, but there is other evidence suggesting that Ashmole was given to swearing.)2 On 10 August Ashmole went to Lichfield, in the company of his wife, to attend 'a Dinner & a great Banquet', which the Bailiffs of the city had arranged to honour their benefactor.3 On 15 August Ashmole and his wife paid a visit to the Earl of Denbigh at Newnham Paddox, Warwickshire.4 Thence he appears to have returned to London, presumably to attend to some urgent business, while his wife stayed on with her parents.5 Ashmole rejoined her at Blyth Hall on 21 September.6 He was again at Lichfield on 5 and 6 October,7 and returned with his wife to London on 16 October.8
At Lichfield Ashmole had seen Peter Manwaring, of Newton, Cheshire, his brother-in-law by his first marriage,9 and appears to have offered him a post in the Excise Office. Peter Manwaring arrived in London a few days after Ashmole's return,10 and on 7 December he took the oath as one of Ashmole's deputies, presumably as Deputy Accomptant for the Country Excise, together with the astronomer and astrologer Thomas Streete.11
It is not known when the manuscript of Ashmole's book on the Order of the Garter, which appeared in 1672, was sent to the printer. Transcripts of documents relating to the history of the Order were obtained in 1671 from the collection of the Earl of Anglesey.12 Relations of the investitures of Charles XI, King of Sweden, in 1668, and of John George II, Duke of Saxony, in 1669, were added to the text pg 178of Ashmole's work as late as December 1671.1 Greek, Latin, Persian, and English versions of the legend of St. George, which Ashmole had obtained in February 1671 from leremias, a priest of the Anatolian Church,2 from Dr. William Lloyd,3 and from Bodley's Librarian, Dr. Thomas Hyde,4 were not used in the book, though this might have been expected.
During the celebration at Windsor of St. George's Feast, in May 1671, the King of Sweden and the Duke of Saxony were installed as Garter Knights by proxy, and the second Duke of Albemarle in person. Ashmole, who attended the Feast as Windsor Herald, wrote, as on previous occasions, a most detailed report of the ceremonies.5 The grand procession of the Sovereign and Knights Companions on 29 May 1671 is the subject of one of Wenceslaus Hollar's many engravings in Ashmole's book on the Order. In this engraving Ashmole is clearly recognizable among a group of thirteen other Officers of Arms walking in front of the Knights.6
The Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, Sir Henry de Vic, died on 22 November 1671. The following morning, Ashmole, Dr. Seth Ward (since 1667 Bishop of Salisbury), Dr. Bruno Ryves, Dean of Windsor and Register of the Order, and Sir Edward Walker, Garter King of Arms, met at Garter's lodgings in Whitehall to consider arrangements for Dr. Ward's succession to the chancellorship. As Ashmole had no official connexion with the Order, except as one of many Officers of Arms who attended the Sovereign at Garter ceremonies, his presence at this meeting is only explained by the assumption that his advice was deemed indispensable. The office of Chancellor had been in lay hands since 1553, but, since the sixth year of James I's reign, it had been claimed, though unsuccessfully, by two of Dr. Ward's predecessors, as perpetually annexed to the see of Salisbury by letters patent, granted by Edward IV in 1475 to Richard Beauchamp, then Bishop of Salisbury; these letters patent had been confirmed in subsequent reigns. In 1669, encouraged by Charles II's favour, Dr. Seth Ward had revived thepg IN27
pg IN28pg 179claim which, by virtue of certain provisos of the original grant, was open to argument. At a Chapter of the Order held on 19 November of that year, he had been allowed to present a petition. After a full debate, during which Sir Henry de Vic raised many objections, the Bishop had obtained from the Sovereign, with the unanimous consent of the Knights present, a decree ensuring the reversion of the office of Chancellor to the see of Salisbury at the next vacancy occurring. There is good reason to suppose that Ashmole had contributed much of his historical and legal knowledge to substantiate the arguments advanced by Dr. Ward, whom he had known for many years.1 After his admission to the chancellorship at a Chapter held on 25 November 1671, the Bishop of Salisbury resorted to Ashmole on various occasions when advice on Garter affairs was needed;2 he always remained Ashmole's staunch friend.
The publication, in the spring of 1672, of Ashmole's work on The Institution, Laws & Ceremonies Of the most Noble Order of the Garter—a sumptuous folio volume of 720 numbered pages—was the crowning achievement of his career as a scholar. On 8 May 1672 he presented a 'richly bound' and apparently the first presentation copy of his work to Charles II, to whom, as to the Sovereign of the Order, the book is dedicated; it was 'very graciously' received.3
The title-page describes the book too modestly as 'A Work furnished with variety of matter, relating to Honor and Noblesse'. The mature fruit of seventeen years of intense reading and collecting pursued regardless of cost,4 it abounds in information going far beyond the scope of the title. The first three chapters, which occupy 126 pages, give abundant information on the history of knighthood in general and on the history of religious and military orders of knighthood other than the Garter. The fourth chapter, of 51 pages, is devoted to the history and antiquities of the Castle, Chapel, and College of Windsor, a subject on which Ashmole still intended to publish a larger account (including the history and antiquities of the town of Windsor).5 Chapters V to pg 180XXV deal in great detail with the history of the Order of the Garter from its foundation to Ashmole's time, its Statutes and rules, the garments and insignia of the Knights and of the officers of the Order, the duties, privileges and perquisites of the officers, the manner of holding Chapters, the ceremonies of the election, investiture and installation of Knights subjects and of foreign Knights, embassies sent to foreign kings and princes for their investiture, the duties and fees payable at installations, the celebration of St. George's Feast, the degradation of Knights, and the honours to be rendered to Knights deceased. A last chapter (XXVI) contains accounts of the wars of the founder, Edward III, and of the lives and valorous actions of the first twenty-five Knights Companions of the Order,1 as well as a catalogue of their 449 successors until 1672. Throughout the text the printed and manuscript sources which Ashmole had used are meticulously quoted in the margin. In an appendix of 102 unnumbered pages the texts of 197 original documents are printed, including several versions of the original and revised Statutes. There are numerous engraved illustrations, some of which are signed by Wenceslaus Hollar; an engraved portrait of Charles II in his Garter robes, by William Sherwin, follows the title-page.2
To appreciate Ashmole's achievement, one has to bear in mind that, when he began to collect material for the work in 1655, the survival of the Order of the Garter depended entirely on the precarious chances of the monarchy then in exile. In the Preface to his book, Ashmole relates that he 'was accordingly much concerned, in the late unhappy times, to see the honor of it [i.e. of the Order] trampled on, and it self sunk into a very low esteem among us'. His decision was prompted by the wish
not only of doing something, that might inform the world of the Nobleness of its Institution, and the Glory which in process of time it acquired, both at home and abroad; but also of drawing up, in the nature of a Formulary, both the Legal and Ceremonial part thereof, for the better conduct of such as might be therein afterwards concerned, in case the Eclipse, it then waded under in our Horizon, pg 181should prove of so long continuance, as that many occurrences, worthy of knowledge, might come to be in a manner forgotten.1
The restoration of the monarchy did not, in Ashmole's opinion, lessen the need for such a work. Irregularities had intruded on which, Ashmole continues, he made 'the less animadversion', as it was his purpose
by proceeding upon what is purely derived from the Root, to shew wherein the right Rule, either Legal or Ceremonial, hath been observed (that it may still be pursued, till thought fit to be altered) and as little as may be, where broken: to the end also, that a careful distinction may be made between matter of Law, and matter of Fact; lest otherwise, an Error may hereafter come to be vouched for a Precedent.2
Clearer evidence of Ashmole's conservative attitude and of his rigorous ceremonialism could hardly be imagined.
The learned John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, observed in 1724 that, while the ceremonial and legal parts of Ashmole's work, 'those two Points to which he chiefly confined himself', 'can never be sufficiently praised', there are certain defects and mistakes in the catalogue of the Knights of the Garter given at the end of Ashmole's book; Anstis admitted at the same time that this list was 'the best Nomenclator of them hitherto extant'.3 G. F. Beltz, Lancaster Herald, whose catalogue of the Knights of 1841 was the first to supersede Ashmole's, wrote, with reference to Anstis's criticisms:
When the difficulty of access to the public records, from the want of arrangement and proper indexes, the dispersion or concealment of private muniments during the civil troubles, and other obstacles, are considered, it will be no disparagement of the industry and skill of Ashmole to remark, that he has mistaken the persons of two of the Founders (Grey and Audsley); and that his list, though far less imperfect than its precursors, still abounds with errors.4
In all other respects Ashmole's work on the Garter is still the unrivalled locus classicus for information on the subject.5 pg 182Copies of his book were presented by Ashmole in 1672 to all Knights of the Garter then in London,1 also to the library of the Middle Temple,2 to the Bodleian Library,3 to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, and to the College of Arms.4 The book was presented to the Royal Society by Dr. John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester.5 Among Ashmole's friends Dr. Bruno Ryves,6 the Earl of Denbigh,7 Anthony Wood,8 Dr. Thomas Barlow,9 Henry Newcome,10 the antiquary Thomas Blount,11 and one Thomas Weedon are known to have received presentation copies in 1672. All except Henry Newcome (to whom the book proved of little concern when he had received it) were delighted and did not spare their praise. Thomas Weedon went so far as to write to Ashmole in December 1672: 'I doe Sir in truth find (that when I began your booke) I had one of the greatest pleasures of my life to come: for itt was my mistress all the late Sommer & by a second perusall, I intend to marry itt & make itt my Wife this Winter.'12 In June the Earl of Peterborough, Groom of the Stole to the Duke of York, had called at Ashmole's chambers in the Middle Temple, at the Duke's command, to fetch a copy for his master, who was then at sea. When Ashmole was presented to the Duke of York in October 1672, the Duke, who had read 'a greate parte' of the book, told Ashmole that he 'had done a great deal of Honor to the Order of the Garter', that he 'had taken a great deal of paines therein', and that he deserved encouragement.13 Another Knight of the Garter, the Earl of Bristol, told Ashmole in November that, in his opinion, the Knights of the Order were obliged to recompense him for his book 'with some considerable Guift'. The Earl promised that he 'himselfe would move it'.14 Also in November 1672, Ashmole wrote to his friend Thomas Henshaw, then at Copenhagen as secretary to a special embassy, to inquire how a copy of the book, which was to be presented to the King of Denmark, could be safely dispatched (in the middle of the third Dutch war).15 Henshaw's advice to inscribe this copy with a dedica-pg 183tion to the King of Denmark in Latin1 may have given Ashmole the idea of having special sheets printed with individual dedications in Latin, addressed to six foreign princes who were Knights of the Garter;2 these sheets were inserted after the dedication to Charles II,3 so that each recipient may well have believed that, next to the Sovereign of the Order of the Garter, the book was dedicated to himself alone. This subtle device may have prompted the generous presents which Ashmole received in later years from princes to whom the book was sent.
The completion of his magnum opus no doubt left Ashmole much more time for other private pursuits than he had hitherto enjoyed. There are traces in 1671 and 1672 of a revived interest in the study of alchemy.4 The practice of entering in a special book the horoscopes of horary questions proposed by Dr. Thomas Wharton5 was resumed in December 1671.6 John Aubrey mentions in a letter to Anthony Wood of January 1672 that he hoped to persuade Ashmole to write an account of the life of John Dee.7 In the same month Ashmole tried in vain to trace the whereabouts of certain manuscripts of John Dee which had formerly been in the hands of the late Sir William Boswell.8 He also helped Anthony Wood in 1672 in his never-ending search for biographical details.9 Several ancient documents were copied,10 and impressions were taken of a collection of 'Stones & Rings' belonging to a Mr. Talbot.11 There is also evidence in 1672 of Ashmole's intense interest in prophecies.12
Ashmole's frequent attendance at chapter meetings of the College of Arms13 and the detailed reports he wrote of three installations in 1672 of newly elected Knights of the Garter,14 as well as correspondence with Dr. Bruno Ryves15 and Sir Edward Walker,16 indicate that the duties of Windsor Herald occupied much of his time. The appointment on 19 October pg 1841672 of Henry Howard, Baron Howard of Castle Rising and Earl of Norwich, as Earl Marshal of England, an event of great importance to the future of the College of Arms, was also an event of interest to Ashmole.1 Yet apparently he was not or no longer interested in his own promotion within the College. When, at an unknown date in 1672, Sir Edward Bysshe offered him the place of Clarenceux King of Arms 'upon very easy tearmes', Ashmole declined.2
The Treasury papers for 1672 show that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury availed themselves of Ashmole's help in their endeavours to enforce the payment of arrears owed by the Excise farmers3 and in winding up the business of the commission for the recovery of Charles I's belongings.4
The appointment on 28 November 1672 of Lord Clifford, a clandestine partisan of Roman Catholicism and a leading member of the famous Cabal, to the post of Lord High Treasurer5 might have led to a turning-point in Ashmole's career had not the Test Act of 1673 compelled Lord Clifford to resign after only a short tenure of office. Ashmole's notes and horoscopes of the political events early in 1673, which resulted in the downfall of the Cabal, convey the impression that he sympathized with developments towards a greater measure of religious toleration as advocated by the Cabal, but it is not known whether he went so far as to share the opinion of the King and of Lord Clifford that full toleration should be granted to Roman Catholics. Lord Clifford, at any rate, had a great liking for Ashmole. 'Being at the Treasury Chamber' on 17 December 1672, he 'very courteously' invited Ashmole 'to his Lodgings then in the Court'.6 Three days later Ashmole 'waited on him & was received with great kindnes'.7
In the summer of 1672 Ashmole and his wife spent six weeks at William Lilly's house at Hersham.8 During this time Ashmole's interest in the life and work of John Dee was gratified by singular good fortune. On 20 August his faithful servant Samuel Storye brought him a parcel containing the manuscripts of five lost mystical works in John Dee's own hand. All these had been delivered to Samuel Storye in pg 185London a few days earlier by Thomas Wale, a warder in the Tower of London, who thought that Ashmole might be interested. Ashmole found that the first of these manuscripts contained a report on John Dee's and Edward Kelley's 'Conference with Angells' between 22 December 1581 and the end of May 1583, i.e. a period immediately preceding the date of the first spiritistic seances reported in Meric Casaubon's printed book A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Teers Between Dr: John Dee … and Some Spirits … (London, 1659). Ashmole noted in his copy of this work that, in the five books of which the first newly found manuscript consists, the angels taught Dee and Kelley 'how to make ye holy Table, the Sigillum dei (which in all Actions lay under the Shew-stone) how to Governe themselues, to obteyne Conference, & many other things. Insomuch that divers particulars in ye printed Book are not to be understood without them. Besides, how & where the red powder [of the philosophers' stone] was found, which afterwards they projected with'. The other four manuscripts were: 48 Claves Angelicae, Liber Scientiae Terrestris Auxilii et Victoriae ('These two being those very individuall Bookes which the Angells comanded to be burnt [on 10 April 1586] & were after restored by them [on 30 April 1586] as appears by the printed Relation'), De Heptarchia Mystica Collectaneorum Liber Primus, and lastly a book of 'Invocations & Calls wherein the Holy Names are raised out of those Tables in pag. 15 [at the end of Meric Casaubon's book] of the Actio tertia anno 1587. and those Tables reformed, which are imperfect in this Printed Booke'.1 A few days after Ashmole's return to London, Thomas Wale called at the Excise Office in Broad Street and told Ashmole 'he was content to exchange all the foresaid Bookes' for a copy of Ashmole's book on the Garter. Ashmole, who was delighted, sent him one 'fairely bound, & gilt on the Back'. ('As a further Testimony of the Sence of Mr: Wales kindnes', Ashmole added at a later date, 'shortly after his death, I sent for his Son, & bestowed on him, one of my Deputies places in the Excise, with an allowance pg 186of 80l: per Annum.'1) On 10 September 1672, Thomas Wale called again at the Excise Office, this time accompanied by his wife. Ashmole then received from them the following curious account of the history of his newly acquired treasures : About 1642 Mrs. Wales's former husband, a confectioner called Jones who had died about 1664, had taken her to Addle Street, London, to buy some household goods at a joiner's shop. There 'they saw a Chest of Cedar wood, about a yard & a halfe long, whose Lock & Hinges, being of extraordinary neate worke, invited them to buy it'. The chest had formerly belonged to the surgeon John Woodall, who might have bought it when John Dee's belongings were sold after his death which occurred in 1608. About 1662 Mr. and Mrs. Jones, 'removing this Chest out of its usuall place, thought they heard some loose thing ratle in it, toward the right hand end, under the Box or Till thereof, & by shaking it, were fully satisfied it was so'. Mr. Jones then inserted a piece of iron into a small crevice at the bottom of the chest, '& thereupon appeared a private drawer, which being drawne out, therein were found divers Bookes in Manuscript, & Papers, together with a litle Box, & therein a Chaplet of Olive Beades, & a Cross of the same wood, hanging at the end of them'. 'They made no great matter of these Bookes &c: because they understood them not; which occasioned their Servant Maide to wast about one halfe of them under Pyes & other like uses, which when discovered, they kept the rest more safe.' The chest perished in the Great Fire of London because it could not easily be moved, but the manuscripts had been taken out and were brought to Moorfields with the rest of Mrs. Jones's goods. After her marriage to Thomas Wale, she had told him of these papers and, with her consent, he had sent them to Ashmole.2
The significance of many details, especially of the diagrams, in the manuscripts is not easily understood, and it may be said here that a future biographer of John Dee will have a difficult task in eliciting from these papers an account of the precise nature and methods of the magical system to which they refer.3 Moreover, the manuscripts are written in pg 187a difficult hand; they were mutilated in places even in Ashmole's time and had perhaps not always been bound in the correct order. It was probably to obviate oversights and to make himself thoroughly familiar with every detail of their contents that Ashmole prepared careful transcripts of all of them.1 He succeeded soon in extracting from various diagrams, mostly squares filled with letters, the names therein concealed of God and those of many angels, groups of whom were supposed to govern such subjects as medicine, metals, 'transformation', elemental spirits, mixtures of natural bodies, movements from one place to another, mechanical arts, and the knowledge of secrets.2 In December 1672 the Earl of Anglesey lent Ashmole a copy, containing annotations in the editor's hand, of Meric Casaubon's printed edition of the continuation of John Dee's 'Actions with Spirits' of which Ashmole had acquired the first part, until then lost.3 He borrowed, as a further aid to his investigations, a manuscript in Edward Kelley's hand ('The Book of Enoch revealed to Dr. John Dee by the Angels') from the Cottonian Library.4 A letter which Ashmole addressed to Anthony Wood on 30 December 1672 suggests that his plan to write an account of the life of John Dee5 was receding before the absorbing interest of the study, for his own instruction, of the magical methods of John Dee :
I am glad you intend to say something of Dr Dee in your Booke now under your hand:6 for I am fully satisfied he was not only a very Learned & truly pious man, but deserves much better esteeme of our Nation than yet he hath obtain'd. I speake not without booke, for it hath been my happines to meete with seuerall things in MS: of his, some of which haue never seene light since his death till very lately, together with a world of materialls that give an account of a great part of his lyfe: Insomuch that I haue had it in my thoughts to write his lyfe, but now you are about it, shall rather contribute what I haue for your use; only thus much I thinke to say, & advise you rather to make it a particular worke (for I know there are materialls enow to make it a good quarto Volume) then to abbreviate things for your present pg 188purpose. When you come to Towne you shall see what I haue (his Originall for Reforming the vulgar Calendar1 being among them.)2
Anthony Wood, however, was only interested in material for a short biographical account of John Dee: '… since you will say so little of Dr: Dee, you will not neede the assistance I could affoard you', Ashmole wrote to him on 11 January 1673; Ashmole mentions in the same letter that he was 'in quest of whatsoever Dr: Dee left behind him'.3 At Ashmole's desire, early in January 1673, John Aubrey had gone to Mortlake, Surrey, where John Dee had lived for a long time and where he had died, to search for his grave and to collect any details of his life which might be remembered by the inhabitants. An interesting account of the result of Aubrey's investigations, containing mainly the reminiscences of a woman over eighty, called 'Goodwife Faldo', was delivered to Ashmole on 27 January.4 On 11 February Henry Newcome sent him material he had collected at Manchester, where John Dee had been Warden of the Collegiate Church since 1595.5 Not content with John Aubrey's report, Ashmole went to Mortlake himself in August 1673 and; obtained much additional information from Mrs. Faldo.6 A few days later he recorded a further success in his endeavours to determine 'the Composition of the Names of the Angells' from John Dee's mysterious tables of letters.7 It is not known that Ashmole ever began to write a life of John Dee, though even as late in his life as 1685 he still had the intention of doing so.8 A note for 22 September 1687 suggests that he was even then preparing material for the purpose.9 It is conceivable that the study of John Dee's magical methods (and possibly also the pursuit of experiments which Ashmole may have made to put them to the test) led him farther and farther away from the project of writing a biographical account.
On three occasions in 1673 Ashmole's astrological advice was sought on political questions. The Lord High Treasurer, Lord Clifford, apparently had taken him into his confidence. pg 189Ashmole noted for 11 January that, in the evening, he 'sat with the Lord Treasurer 2 houres'.1 Four days later Lord Clifford asked him to apply the method of horary questions to the most crucial problem of the day: 'Whether his Majesty's Declaration of Indulgence [to dissenters] of the 15 of March 167½} will not occasion such a contest in the House of Commons at their next meeting / as to hinder the King's supplies of moneys, unless it be set aside.'2 Ashmole prepared an elaborate opinion which testifies to his intelligence in assessing the chances of an intricate political situation.3 He calculated also the horoscopes of Lord Clifford's birth and those of his 'annual revolutions' for 1672/3 and 1673/4.4 The future development of the tension prevailing between King and Commons was also the subject of an horary question on which Lord Clifford's intimate friend Sir Robert Howard, formerly Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury and now Auditor of the Receipt,5 consulted Ashmole on 13 October 1673. Ashmole's reply was modelled on advice received from William Lilly; it leaves no doubt that Ashmole's sympathies (unlike Lilly's) were entirely with the court party.6 At the end of October 1673 Charles II himself requested Ashmole's astrological advice on his future relations with Parliament. Ashmole based his judgement on a horoscope of the time of the King's speech in Parliament on 27 October which he correlated with data of the King's nativity. He predicted that there would be 'a notable harmony & unity betw: the King & Parliament within a few daies', that the King would be 'able to dispose of and controle the House of Commons in all things, shall please him', that the Commons would not be able to do anything against the King's pleasure, that he would have a considerable supply of money, that 'Religion Priviledges Prophets wilbe setled as he likes', and that the King would be in 'better esteeme with parliament then he lately was'.7 William Lilly, to whom Ashmole had communicated his reply to the King, wrote to him on 30 October: 'Charissime Patrone, et Ptolemee, I haue seriously waighed pg 190and considered your profound judgment, upon the figure sent mee,1 and I am very glad of the honor his Majesty did you, but more satisfied at your prudent and well grounded answer about the success—which certainly will correspond with your graue judgment….'2 Lilly was less optimistic, though, concerning the supply of money, 'but', he wrote, 'it is Actum agere to add to what you haue sayd'.3
On 3 February 1673 Ashmole delivered to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, a petition4 with the object of recovering at least part of a total sum of c. £1,000 which he had expended on the production of his work on the Garter. The petition asked for exemption from customs for a quantity of imported paper and referred to Ashmole's intention to print a second edition of the book.5 Lord Arlington told Ashmole that his petition was 'but a reasonable request'; he 'would confer with the Lord Treasurer about it, before he moved the King'.6 When Ashmole saw Lord Clifford on 13 February he was assured of favourable treatment. Lord Clifford also promised to expedite the payment of the arrears of Ashmole's annual fee as Windsor Herald which he had not received for four years.7 The King granted the petition for exemption from paper customs on 12 May, leaving it to the Lord High Treasurer's discretion to determine the amount of this royal bounty. Lord Clifford proved that he was Ashmole's friend. On 18 June, the very day before he had to resign from the Treasury, he informed the Commissioners of Customs that the customs allowance granted by the King amounted to £400; the same day he instructed the Auditor of the Receipt to pay Ashmole the arrears due to him as Windsor Herald8 (£106. 13s. 4d.).9 It must have been a sad occasion when, on 21 June, Ashmole took his 'Leave of the late Lord Treasurer' who had been so kind to him.10 There is no evidence that Ashmole himself ever imported paper free of customs. He was authorized to transfer the allowance of £400 to an assignee, so that any paper merchant or printer could have paid him the amount of £400 after deduction, possibly, of a small commission.11 Lord Clifford's successor pg 191in the Treasury, Lord Latimer of Danby, confirmed Lord Clifford's warrant for the paper grant on 17 October 1673.1 Ashmole received several appreciative letters in 1673 from friends who had seen his book on the Garter or had received presentation copies. Among them were Mrs. Anne Leveson, a daughter of Ashmole's late friend and distant cousin Peter Venables (alias the Baron of Kinderton),2 the antiquary Fabian Phillips,3 Count Morozzo, formerly the Duke of Savoy's envoy in London,4 and Sir Walter Wrottesley, Bt.,5 who at the same time sent Ashmole a present of £5. The Earl of Bedford, K.G., strongly commended Ashmole's work and presented him with £10 when Ashmole gave him his copy.6 A copy containing a printed dedication to Christian V, King of Denmark and Norway, K.G.,7 was dispatched in March 1673 together with one 'in a lesser volume' which Ashmole asked Thomas Henshaw 'to dispose of to any freind' (a further copy would be kept for himself until his return from Denmark).8 Thomas Henshaw reported in September that, at the suggestion of the Chancellor of Denmark, Count Greiffenfeld, he had left the first copy with the Chancellor for presentation to the King; the second one had been lent to the Danish antiquary Hertzholm and should perhaps later be presented to Count Greiffenfeld, who had hinted that the presentation to the King 'should not bee disadvantageous to ye Authour'. After a delay of a few months, Count Greiffenfeld had presented the dedication copy to the King, who had resolved to give Ashmole 'a ring or a Medall' in return, but Count Greiffenfeld was 'so opprest with businesse' that he had forgotten to carry out the King's wish, 'but you are sure enough of it if I liue', wrote Thomas Henshaw, 'for the next time he thinkes of it or I put him in mind of it, it will be sent, which I shall not omit if it bee too long neglected, but I would faine haue it done freely and gentilely and not by dunning if I can help it'.9 In April 1673 a copy for presentation to Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was entrusted to Sir John Finch, a former British Resident in Florence, who was setting out pg 192as ambassador to the Ottoman court.1 Sir Joseph Williamson, while attending a diplomatic mission at Cologne, had made arrangements for the delivery of presentation copies to Charles Lewis, Prince Elector of the Palatinate, a Knight of the Garter, and to Count Marchin, a French Garter Knight who, unknown to Ashmole and Williamson, had died in March.2 The Prince Elector, who received one of the copies containing specially printed second dedications,3 conveyed his thanks to Ashmole in October 1673 through his English councillor, Robert Rockwood, then Governor of Oppenheim; His Electoral Highness was at present much occupied with 'troubles caused by the French Armey's disorderly march through the Palatinate', but would mark his gratitude and his approbation of Ashmole's work 'by a toaken of his princely fauour, as soon as any opportunity shall present it selfe'.4
Sir Joseph Williamson wrote to Ashmole from Cologne in December 1673: '… let me aske an impertinent question of you.—What you doe? that is What you are now upon, for after your last great worke, which takes so exceeding well everywhere, you are become more acceptable to ye world for your time, then every inferior writer.'5 Ashmole had no urgent project in mind. There is no particular evidence in 1673 of his activities in the Excise Office. Certainly his duties as a Herald occupied much of his time. He attended many chapter meetings of the College of Arms during the first part of the year.6 He wrote a detailed report of the ceremonies performed at Windsor on 1 April 1673 at the installation as a Knight of the Garter of one of the King's illegitimate sons, the Earl of Southampton.7 In June he helped Sir Edward Walker in the settlement of an embittered dispute with the Earl Marshal, who had claimed that Garter King of Arms was subject to his authority and jurisdiction not only as a member of the College of Arms but also as an officer of the Order of the Garter. (Sir Edward complained that the Earl Marshal had been 'prevayled upon to Gratify the Covetousness of Andrew Hay Esqr. his Secretary, and the pg 193implacable and revengfull humor of Thomas Lee Esqr. Chester Herauld and others, to deprive Garter of severall Rights never Questioned before, and to Impose on him such Severityes as were never by any Earle Marshall put upon any of Garters Predecessors'.)1
Ashmole and his wife spent 'a good part of the sumer' of 1673 at Hersham as the guests of William Lilly; they returned from Hersham to London on 4 October.2 An horary question for 12 October, which Ashmole referred to Lilly for advice, throws some light on the satisfactory condition of Ashmole's finances; the theme of the question was: 'I haue a considerable summe of money lyes at Interest in the Excise Office: whether I had best let it lye so still, or tourne it into Gold, & keepe it by me.' Lilly's opinion was that the money was safe: 'if it wear in your own hands', he wrote, 'you would either Squander it away—or Convert it to less purpose— then now it is.'3 Lilly's letters to Asmole during the rest of the year refer repeatedly to Ashmole's social activities. 'I perceiue you wear the Son of God Bacchus and Venus, by your so frequent invitations, banquetts etc.', he wrote to Ashmole on 22 October.4 In a letter of the following day he mentions that Ashmole had been 'merry at the 5 Bells' with a company of their common friends, probably astrologers, and that Ashmole had invited Lilly's disciple Henry Coley to the occasion;5 'take heed I pray you', Lilly wrote in a subsequent letter, 'that your Corpusculum gett not a surfett by your jollitys, and frolliqs';6 this remark alludes possibly to a dinner at Ashmole's house on 28 October at which William Dugdale and John Aubrey had been present.7 In a letter of 27 December 1673 Lilly mentions Ashmole's 'bravery at Court thes days of pleasures' and teases him for his connexions with notorious papists: 'I am sory to hear such things as I do of my Patron—viz. that hee frequents St: James [i.e., probably, the Queen's Roman Catholic chapel at St. James's] so oft—its feared hee may turn ffrier or Jesuite at the end of the Chapter—my Author is a venerable person for yeares. and one that speakes or writes much of you. Ridle mee, riddle pg 194mee; who my Informer is—…'1 There is, in fact, other evidence proving that Ashmole had no aversion to the company of Roman Catholics.2
The many horoscopes of horary questions which Ashmole calculated in 1673 for Dr. Thomas Wharton3 show that they met frequently and that their friendship, which had been interrupted for many years,4 had regained some of its former cordiality. On 8 November Dr. Wharton 'was found almost dead in his bed, of an Apoplex, & Palsey on his left side'.5 Four days later he sent for Ashmole at midnight because, as Ashmole noted, 'some differences had formerly fallen out between us'; 'he desired to be reconciled to me, which he was'.6 Ashmole sought William Lilly's advice on the best treatment for his friend, but it was too late. Dr. Wharton died on 15 November.7 Lilly, who had been 'much concerned for the good Dr.',8 then wrote to Ashmole, 'Patrono suo maestissimo pro Doctore Wharton': 'I am sensible of yours and my Gallants loss, for Dr Wharton / to Comfort her, I haue sent her 2 bottles of Metheglin / and my wife takes care of you, having sent you our Porke-puddings will come hearafter.'9 In Dr. Wharton's will, Ashmole was named as one of the overseers whose duty it was to supervise the executor.10
10 MS. Ashm. 1130.
8 See Pl. XV.
1 E. Ashmole, loc. cit.
5 The sources of Ashmole's printed catalogue of the Knights of the Garter (with a continuation of the catalogue until 1685) are found in MS. Ashm. 1139, ff. 1–38. In spite of the several imperfections of Ashmole's catalogue, the sources given in this manuscript remain a most valuable aid to those interested in the subject.
3 The best account is found in I. R. F. Calder's Ph.D. thesis John Dee Studied as an English Neoplatonist, University of London, Dec. 1952, pp. 736–833. See also Charlotte Fell Smith, John Dee, London, 1909.
1 See MSS. Sloane 3677, 3678; also pp. 1277, 1392.
6 Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxoniensis, Oxford, 1674.
1 MSS. Ashm. 179, vii; 1789, i and iii. It is not known when and where Ashmole acquired these Dee manuscripts, all of which concern the calendar reform.
5 He is better remembered as a dramatist and as John Dryden's brother-in-law. See C. H. Hartmann, Clifford of the Cabal, London, 1937, p. 290.
1 i.e. the horoscope of the King's speech.