Sir George Wharton, 1st Baronet

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Sir George Wharton, 1st Baronet (4 April 1617 – 12 August 1681) was an English Royalist soldier and astrologer, also known as a poet.

Life[edit]

He was the son of a blacksmith in Westmorland. He went to Oxford to study, though not admitted to the University. He then returned to Westmorland, and in 1642 sold his family property, and raised his own troop of horse for the Royalist cause. He shared defeat at Stow-on-the-Wold, in 1643.[1] He is said to have served under Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading.[2]

He then went to Charles I at Oxford, and was given a paymaster position in the Ordnance, under Sir John Heydon.[3] At this period he became a friend of Elias Ashmole, helping him to a military commission.[4]

Wharton attended, with Ashmole, the first meeting in 1647 of the Society of Astrologers at Gresham College. It included both William Lilly and John Booker, Parliamentarians who had been on the other side of the astrological pamphlet exchanges in the Civil War that had ended in 1646.[5]

He was imprisoned in 1649, and might have been executed but his former opponent William Lilly spoke up for him with Bulstrode Whitelocke.[6] He was released by the intervention of Ashmole, who made him steward on his Berkshire estates.[7]

At the English Restoration of 1660, he was reinstated as a paymaster. He became Treasurer of the Ordnance in 1670, an office he held until his death. He was made a baronet in 1677.

Works[edit]

He took the pen name George Naworth, for his first almanac in 1641. He then issued an almost unbroken annual sequence, using his own name from 1645, not publishing in 1646, but expanding the work with history and continuing from 1647 to 1666.[8]

As a royalist pamphleteer and newsbook editor, he wrote Mercurius Elencticus from 1647. Mocking Parliament, it carried biographical material on its leaders. When Wharton was imprisoned, it continued with help from Samuel Sheppard.[9]

He attacked John Hall, who wrote Mercurius Britanicus, employed by William Lilly whom Mercurius Elencticus lampooned.[10][11] He also attacked John Booker, another astrologer in the Parliamentarian camp.[12]

His collected works were issued by John Gadbury, in 1683.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen C. Manganiello, The Concise Encyclopedia of the Revolutions and Wars of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1639-1660 (2004), p. 576.
  2. ^ http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/WES/Kendal/history.htm
  3. ^ Theophilus Cibber, The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) Volume II
  4. ^ http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Elias_Ashmole
  5. ^ Benjamin Woolley, The Herbalist (2004), p. 250.
  6. ^ http://www.skyscript.co.uk/lilly.html
  7. ^  "Ashmole, Elias". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  8. ^  "Wharton, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  9. ^ http://www.bartleby.com/217/1505.html
  10. ^ Jason Peacey, Politicians and Pamphleteers: Propaganda During the English Civil Wars and Interregnum(2004), p. 191.
  11. ^ Joseph George Muddiman (1908), A history of English journalism to the foundation of the Gazette, online text, for details of Hall and the Wharton-Lilly feud.
  12. ^ Joad Raymond, The Invention of the Newspaper: English Newsbooks, 1641-1649 (2005), p. 194.
Military offices
Preceded by
George Clark
Clerk of the Deliveries of the Ordnance
1670
Succeeded by
Samuel Fortrey
New office Treasurer of the Ordnance
1670–1681
Succeeded by
Charles Bertie
Baronetage of England
New creation Baronet
(of Kirby Kendall, Westmorland)
1677–1681
Succeeded by
Polycarpus Wharton