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His father Simon Ashmole was an artisan and a saddler but he spent more time as a soldier in Ireland and on the continent Elias implies that he plunged the family into poverty although he did inherit a house from him He was educated at Lichfield grammar school with legal training in London 1633-8 Ashmole studied in Oxford in 1645 and was a member of Brasenose College He took no degree but he must have developed a considerable affection for the university as his later benefaction testifies Oxford conferred an MD on him in 1669 Raised Anglican with a strong interest in astrology and alchemy as well as botany In alchemy he published Fasciculus chemicus 1650 Theatrum chemicum britannicum 1652 and The Way to Bliss 1658 Ashmole became a simpler in Oxford and developed a fair knowledge of plants About 1660 he became primarily an antiquarian He published quite a few books in that field and gathered a collection that he gave to Oxford along with Tradescants collection which had been given to him Ashmole established a law practice in 1638 and for a few years law was his principal means of support His marrige of 1638 may have provided him with independent means although this is unclear Josten thinks that there was no dowry However it is worth of note that she was a spinster fourteen years older than Ashmole and from a family of prosperous gentry In any case this first wife died in 1641 A royalist in the Civil War he was appointed by Charles I to collect the excise in Staffordshire in 1644 Appointed commissioner receiver and registrar of Excise of Worcester 1645 and Controller and assistant Master of Ordnance in Worcester 1646 In 1649 he married a well-to-do widow Lady Manwaring who was twenty years his senior it was her fourth marriage Her estate established Ashmoles fortunes even though
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