Gadbury, John

Gadbury, John

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

John Gadbury, an English astrologer, was born in Wheatley, Oxon, England, on January 1, 1627. He was the son of a farmer, William Gadbury, and was initially apprenticed to a tailor. He left the tailor in 1644, however, when his mother’s father, Sir John Curson, offered to provide the funds for an Oxford education. After graduation, Gadbury worked with a London merchant, and married in about 1648. After he returned to Oxfordshire, he studied astrology with Nicholas Fiske and in 1652 published his first book on the science of the stars. His Doctrine of Nativities, a general treatise on natal astrology, was published in 1658.

Gadbury became an associate of the eminent astrologer William Lilly, although they differed in their politics. Lilly even wrote an introduction to one of Gadbury’s books. However, when in 1659 the Swedish king Charles X sent Lilly a gift of a gold chain and medal, Gadbury became jealous. The gift came after a favorable forecast Lilly had given Charles in his almanac of 1658. Gadbury published an opposed forecast, and, as it turned out, King Charles died unexpectedly in 1660.

This naturally led to a rift between Gadbury and Lilly, which culminated in the so-called Scorpio quarrel of 1675. Displeased with Lilly’s negative characterization of Scorpio, Gadbury, who had a Scorpio ascendant, attacked Lilly in his Obsequium Rationabile. Gadbury was answered by some tracts and broadsides printed by Lilly’s associates. The quarrel climaxed with the 1693 publication of John Partridge’s Black Life of John Gadbury.

Gadbury is remembered primarily for his Collectio Geniturarum, a compilation of 150 horoscopes. This collection was often referred to by later astrologers. Gadbury also authored almanacs and tables of planetary positions, but his success was mild compared with other London astrologers, particularly Lilly. Gadbury died in London on March 28, 1704.

Sources:

Gadbury, John. Collectio Geniturarum. London: James Cottrel, 1662.
Gadbury, John. Genethlialogia, or the Doctrine of Nativities. 2d ed. London: 1661.
Gadbury, John. Obsequium Rationabile London, 1675.
Holden, James H., and Robert A. Hughes. Astrological Pioneers of America. Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers, 1988.