John Gadbury, Catholic and Astrologer?

John Gadbury

John Gadbury

I just acquired a most interesting book that has information about the history of astrology in it. A man named John Gadbury (1628-1704) is listed as a Catholic and an astrologer. He was a student of William Lilly (1602-1681), who wrote books entitled “Christian Astrology.”

Well, my internet searches so far indicate that Gadbury was suspected of being a Catholic ("a Catholic sympathizer') but I can't confirm that he actually was a Catholic. It was a time of religious upheaval in England, so I suspect these things were kept close to the chest at the time for good reason. I did find the most beautiful quote from Gadbury though!

“For Astrology is the language of the Heavens; and the Royal Psalmist says, The HEAVENS declare the GLORY of GOD.” 

Yes, yes, yes!!

I discovered this quote via an article by David Plant, "John Gadbury: Politics and the Decline of Astrology." He also shares this story:

"When details of an alleged Catholic plot to assassinate Charles II were revealed in 1679, Gadbury was accused of giving the conspirators astrological advice regarding the best time to carry out their plan. He spent two months in prison then stood trial before the king himself. King Charles - the 'merry monarch' - is said to have asked the famous astrologer if he could predict which prison he would end up in. Gadbury was eventually acquitted, however, and received £200 compensation for 'wrongous imprisonment' - but not before an angry Protestant mob had burned him, along with the Pope, in effigy."

The writing I have found by Gadbury is some difficult reading due to the old English. I am sure it contains some gems though.