Skip to main content

Charnock, Thomas (1526-1581)

Charnock, Thomas (1526-1581)

English alchemist born in the Isle of Thanet, Kent. As a young man Charnock traveled all over England in search of alchemistic knowledge, but eventually he fixed his residence at Oxford, and there he made the acquaintance of a noted scientist. The scientist was impressed with the youth's cleverness and appointed him his confidant and assistant. After working in this capacity for a number of years, Charnock found himself the sole legatee of his patron's paraphernalia and likewise of the various secrets written in his notebooks.

Armed with this knowledge, he proceeded to devote himself more eagerly than ever to the quest of gold production, but in 1555, just as he imagined himself on the verge of triumph, there was a sudden explosion in his laboratory.

In 1557, when he again thought that success was imminent, the press-gang arrived at his house to recruit him by force into the English army to fight the French. The alchemist was bitterly chagrined on being kidnaped in this way; he set about to destroy all his equipments so no one would lay claim to his secrets.

He subsequently proceeded to France as a soldier and took part in the disastrous campaign that culminated in the English being defeated at Calais by the Duc de Guise.

How Charnock fared during the expedition is not known, but he returned to England safely, and in 1562 he married Agnes Norton. Thereafter, he settled at Stockland, in the county of Somerset, and continued to pursue scientific researches. Neither the military nor the church disturbed his pursuits from that point forward.

The antiquarian and historian Anthony Wood, in his Athen Oxoniensis, credited Charnock with a considerable amount of writing, and it is possible that several items enumerated are in reality from some other pen than the alchemist's. However, there are certain books he undoubtedly wrote, notably Aenigma ad Alchimiam (1572) and Breviary of Natural Philosophy (1557). Breviary was subsequently reprinted in the Theatrum Chemicum of Elias Ashmole.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Charnock, Thomas (1526-1581)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Charnock, Thomas (1526-1581)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/charnock-thomas-1526-1581

"Charnock, Thomas (1526-1581)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved September 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/charnock-thomas-1526-1581

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.