Alchemists , Chemists and Mathematicians

 ‘Liber librum apperit’ (‘The book opens the book’).

Saint Dunstan , Roger Bacon , Norton 1 , Norton 2 , Dr John Dee , Thomas Harrot , Robert Boyle , Elias Ashmole , Alan Turing

Saint Dunstan

Saint Dunstan c910 -988

Dunstan was born in Baltonsborough, Somerset.c. 910
 the son of Heorstan, a noble of 

As a young boy, Dunstan studied under the Irish monks who then occupied the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Accounts tell of his youthful optimism and of his vision of the abbey being restored.

very eventful life including being thrown in a cesspit and being saved from a collapsing floor by clinging to a rafter
 becomes a power broker in the complicated power struggles of Saxon royalty

 - various run-ins with the Devil from which he emerges victorious - Patron saint of metalworkers

wikipedia HERE

Friar Roger Bacon

Roger Bacon was born in 
Ilchester in Somerset, England, possibly in 1213 or 1214 at the Ilchester Friary
wikipedia HERE

Norton , Thomas

Thomas Norton (alchemist)

From Wikipedia,

Thomas Norton (c.1433-c.1513) was an English poet

comments on his poetry
 and alchemist. He is known as the author of the Ordinal of Alchemy (1477), an alchemical poem of around 3000 lines.

 According to Jonathan Hughes, Norton was born in Colne, Wiltshire. No modern town in Wiltshire is named Colne; perhaps, as Reidy reckons, Norton was born in Colerne, Wiltshire, because this fits the description in the poem of the youngest alchemist (most likely Norton) being born under a cross at the end of three shires

Edward 1Vtd> Elizabeth Woodville
the start of the Wars of the RosesHERE

 He became an alchemist in the 1450s, and was given the secret of the stone in 1461.

 Later that year he became an esquire of the body to Edward IV of England, receiving fifty marks a year, and in 1465 he was warden of Gloucester castle. He began the Ordinal in 1477.

Churchyard Mysteries  of Colerne, Wiltshire

Two mysterious stones were visible the wall opposite the church entrance as late as the 1970s. These were just part of the wall and without closer inspection no different from their neighbours. One, at ground level, had a faint inscription "A Black Man Died Here". A nearby stone had a visible hand print in it as clear as if someone has pressed their hand in clay - though this was limestone. Local children connected the two into a story of a man falling from the church tower centuries earlier. Sadly neither the inscription or the hand are visble now, presumably due to weathering.

Shire Stones

Colerne Shire Stones

Between Colerne and Bath, on the Fosse Way, lie the Shire Stones which were erected in 1859 to mark the place where Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire met. These stones were erected on top of older stones and have notches carved enable the visitor to climb to the top and rest awhile on the capstone. Nearby, in a dry stone wall, a few carved words tell the story of someone murdered on the old Fosse Way.

Colerne Water Tower[edit]

Norton , Samuel

Samuel Norton (alchemist)

From Wikipedia,

Samuel Norton (1548–1621) was an English country gentleman and alchemist.

A128. Engraving from Samuel Norton,Alchymiæ complementum..., 1630.

from Alchemylab HERE


The son of Sir George Norton of Abbots Leigh in Somerset, he was great-grandson of Thomas Norton, author of the Ordinal of Alchemy. He studied for some time at St John's College, Cambridge, but records show no degree.

 On the death of his father, in 1584, he succeeded to the estates. Early in 1585 he was in the commission of the peace for the county, but apparently suffered removal; he was reappointed in October 1589, on the recommendation of Thomas Godwin, bishop of Bath and Wells . He was sheriff of Somerset in 1589, and was appointed muster master of Somerset and Wiltshire on 30 June 1604.[3]


Norton was the author of alchemical tracts; they were edited and published in Latin by Edmund Deane, at Frankfurt in 1630. The titles were:[3]

  • Mercurius Redivivus.
  • Catholicon Physicorum, seu modus conficiendi Tincturam Physicam et Alchymicam.
  • Venus Vitriolata, in Elixer conversa.
  • Elixer, seu Medicina Vitæ seu modus conficiendi verum Aurum et Argentum Potabile.
  • Metamorphosis Lapidum ignobilium in Gemmas quasdam pretiosas.
  • Saturnus Saturatus Dissolutus et Cœlo restitutus, seu modus componendi Lapidem Philosophicum tam album quam rubeum e plumbo.
  • Alchymiæ Complementum et Perfectio.
  • Tractatulus de Antiquorum Scriptorum Considerationibus in Alchymia.

A German translation of the treatises was published in Nuremberg in 1667, in Dreyfaches hermetisches Kleeblat.

Norton's works circulated earlier; from John Robson, to Richard Napier, to Elias Ashmole.

Portions of the work in manuscript, brought together before Deane edited his volume under the title of Ramorum Arboris Philosophicalis Libri tres, are in the British Library (Sloane MS. 3667, ff. 17–21, 24–28, and 31–90), and the Bodleian Library (Ashmolean MS. 1478, vi. ff. 42–104). Norton was occupied on the work in 1598 and 1599.

 Among the Ashmolean MSS. is a work by Norton entitled The Key of Alchimie, written in 1578, when he was at St John's College, and it is dedicated to Elizabeth I; an abridgement is in the Ashmolean MS. In 1574 Norton translated George Ripley's Bosome Booke into English.[3]



  extract from 

John Dee and the alchemists: Practising and promoting English alchemy in the Holy Roman Empire

On 20 July 1577, Norton, son of the Somerset gentleman Sir George Norton, dedicated his alchemical treatise, the Key of alchemie, to Elizabeth I. Here he described his discovery of an old Latin commonplace book, containing Ripley’s personal notes and jottings—his daily ‘Bosome book’:

Although it fortuned mee in manner vnloked for, to hitt vpon the secret bosome booke of Riple, wherby the true grounds are discovered, Of which havinge by profe found so many to be true, and little doubtinge of the accomplishment of the rest; I thought it but a point of dutie to reveall and vppen the Secrets heereof vnto your Highnes. (Getty Research Institute MS 18, Vol. 10, Pt 2, p. 7)

Norton says nothing of the provenance of this manuscript, which is apparently no longer extant. The Latin text of the original survives in only a single, later copy, now British Library MS Harley 2411. With the intention of presenting its contents to the Queen, however, Norton set about translating the collection of treatises, poems and practical recipes into English.50 This plan was subsequently amended, as Norton decided instead to incorporate practical information from the Bosome book into his own treatise, the Key.

Several copies of Norton’s English translation, dated February 1573 (i.e. 1574),51 survive, together with various ‘hybrid’ recipes excerpted and adapted from this translation. Dee was certainly familiar with some of these English redactions: Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 1486 (Part V) contains his own transcriptions of two of them, the Whole work of the stone philosophical (pp. 1–18, here titled ‘George Ryppleys bosome booke or Vade mecum’) and thePractise by experience of the stone (pp. 19–25).52 Dee’s annotations suggest that he was attempting to make practical sense of the recipes (on p. 1 he interprets ‘sericon’ as antimony), which he had grouped beneath the well known aphorism,

 ‘Liber librum apperit’ (‘The book opens the book’).





 Dr John Dee


A General Map of the Arctic Regions showing parts of North America . . ., 
Dr. John Dee, 1582

Elias Ashmole