These books contained predictions that made him famous and very wealthy. Lilly had begun to study astrology in 1632
when he was aged thirty, stating that his interest in the subject was
"whether there was any verity in the art or not."
Leicestershire born, Lilly attended Ashby de la Zouch grammar school taking easily to English and Latin which later
enabled him to study classical astrology. His ambitions to attend university followed by a life in the church was put on
hold when his father had money troubles, but within a year he had left his home county for London.
Lilly began charting significant events that took place between Charles I and Parliament, convinced that the movements
of the stars influenced the decisions made, and in 1644 he published Merlinus Anglicus Junior. By 1659, Lilly's work
was popular reading and his annual almanac sold around 30,000 copies a year.
His predictions of specific events eventually got him into trouble. It was in the aforementioned Monarchy or No Monarchy
that he predicted the Great Plague and the Fire of London, which later he was accused of starting it to prove his point!
In defense of this he said
"I conclude that it was the finger of God only; but what instruments he used thereunto I am ignorant."
Later in his career he was ridiculed by the likes of Samuel Pepys, he was forced to retire to his home in Surrey where
he used his skills in the practice of medicine.
William Lilly died in 1681.