William Backhouse (1593 – 1662) was a renowned English Rosicrucian philosopher, alchemist, and astrologer. He was born on 17 January 1593 at Swallowfield Park, some 5 miles south of Reading in the county of Berkshire, a younger son of Samuel Backhouse. He entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1610, but left the university without taking a degree. He learned some mathematics from John Blagrave.
Backhouse married Anne the daughter of Brian Richards of Hartley Wespall in Hampshire, by whom he had two sons (who predeceased him) and a daughter, Flower. Backhouse also adopted Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum, as his son, encouraging him in his studies. Backhouse died at Swallowfield on 30 May 1662.
- "Berkshire History: Biographies: William Backhouse (1593-1662)". Nash Ford Publishing. 2002. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
- "Backhouse, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- John David North; John James Roche (1985). The Light of nature: essays in the history and philosophy of science presented to A. C. Crombie. Springer Science & Business. p. 268. ISBN 978-90-247-3165-7. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
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