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MSS. Ashmole & MSS. Ash. Rolls


Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was born and educated in Lichfield. He began his career as a solicitor, but in 1644 entered the service of the Crown as a comissioner of excise. He entered the Office of Arms as Windsor herald after the Restoration, and retired in 1672. His collection comprises important medical, astrological, and alchemical manuscripts, and is also strong in heraldry, local history, and, to a lesser extent, in Middle English and 17th-century poetry. The foundation of his Museum at Oxford was made possible by his acquisition by bequest from his friend John Tradescant of a large collection of 'curiosities'. They arrived when the building was ready in 1683, and it was here that his bequest of manuscripts was housed until their transference to the Bodleian in 1860.

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Last modified: 14 October 2004