Gadbury, John

, one of the astrological impostors of the seventeenth century, was born at Wheatly near Oxford, Dec. 31, 1627. His father, William, was a farmer of that place, and his mother was a daughter of sir John Curzon of Waterperry, knt. Our conjuror was first put apprentice to Thomas Nicols, a taylor, in Oxford, but leaving his master in 1644, he went up to London, and became a pupil of the noted William Lilly, under whom be profited so far as to be soon enabled “to set up the trade of almanack-making and fortune-telling for himself.” His pen was employed for many years on nativities, almanacks, and prodigies. There is, we believe, a complete collection of his printed works in the new catalogue of the British Museum, and vre hope we shall be excused for not transcribing the list. Dodd, who has given an account of him, as a Roman catholic, says that some of his almanacks, reflecting upon the management of state affairs during the time of Oates’s plot, brought him into trouble. While other astrologers were content to exercise their art for the benefit of their own country only, Gadbury extended his to a remote part of the globe, as, in 1674, he published his “West India, or Jamaica Almanack” for that year. He collected and published the works of his friend sir George Wharton in 1683, 8vo. His -old master Lilly, who quarrelled with him, and against whom he wrote a book called “Anti-Merlinus Anglicus,” says he was a “monster of ingratitude,” and “a graceless fellow;” which is true, if, according to his account, he had two wives living at one time, and one of them two husbands. Lilly adds, that be went to sea with intention for Barbadoes, but died by the way in his voyage. When this happened we are not told. Lilly died in 16S1, and according to Wood, Gadbury was living in 1690. “The Black Life of John Gadbury” was written and published by Partridge in 1693, which might be about the time of his death, but his name, as was usual, appeared long after this in an almanack, similar to that published in his life-time. There was another astrologer, a Job Gadbury, who was taught his art by John, and probably succeeded him in the almanack, and who died in 1715. 1


Dodd’s Ch. Hist. vol. III. ranger. Taller, 8vo edit. 1806, with notes, vol. II. p. Si, Ui. 531, IV, 251. Lilly’s Life and Times, edit. 1774, p. 52, 55.