“…The medical landscape of early-modern England was populated by numerous practitioners, ranging from cunning folk to learned physicians. Simon Forman and Richard Napier were astrologer-physicians. Forman (1552-1611) was arguably the most popular astrologer in Elizabethan London, and Napier (1559-1634), a Buckinghamshire clergyman, was his protégé. Like their medical peers, they deployed a range of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Unlike these other practitioners, they were consulted by thousands of patients and they kept written records of these encounters. Their casebooks document approximately 50,000 astrological consultations from 1596 to 1634. They record unparalleled amounts of information about the dynamics of healing and related concerns in early-modern England: ninety per cent of their clients’ questions were about health, with the remainder including topics such as marriage and career prospects, missing persons, stolen property, travel plans and hidden treasure. These pages record the diseases, fears and hopes of at least 30,000 people, some famous, most lost to the historical record. Sixty-four volumes of these manuscripts were collected by Elias Ashmole in the seventeenth century, and are now held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The Bodleian is a partner in this project….”
He was a Capricorn, a bit sleazy according to some accounts but hey, he kept excellent records. What’s weird is that there is no talk anywhere of any historian consulting an astrologer to help go through his notes. Astrology seems to be seen as an unfortunate eccentricity of the guy.
The manuscripts are all gradually going on online here.
I wonder if he knew Dr John Dee, the original OO7.