Thomas Charnock 1525-1581

Thomas Charnock c.1525-1581

Thomas Charnock (c1525-1581) was an alchemist who settled at Stockland Bristol on his marriage to Agnes Norden in 1562. He was born in Faversham, Kent, around 1525, and received little formal education. His uncle Thomas Charnock, a Black Friar, confessor to Henry VII and alchemist, left him his library. In his twenties he began searching for alchemical secrets, and was initiated by a priest of Salisbury and a one-time abbot of Bath. When Charnock moved to Stockland he practised as an unlicensed doctor. and spent much time in the 1570s in alchemical experiments. Charnock died at Combwich and was buried at Otterhampton 21 April 1581. A century later a visitor to his house saw his laboratory, still almost intact, with apparatus and painted with alchemical emblems, as well as an alchemical manuscript which had been found there.

Charnock left two alchemical manuscripts which survive ‘Breviary of Natural Philosophy’ (1577). and ‘Booke dedicated vnto the queenes maiestiee’ (1565)

Source Robert M Schuler ODNB article Thomas Charnock, 2004

A P Woolrich 26 January 2011