Page 108. " the destruction of England’s monastic libraries "
The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
Public DomainThe ruins of Glastonbury Abbey - Credit: Littleblackpistol/wikimedia commons

After Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church, he began a process of disbanding England's Catholic monasteries, priories and convents. The Dissolution of the Monasteries took place between 1536 and 1541. The monasteries’ property was seized, their income confiscated and the buildings destroyed. Many of the monasteries had grown very rich on donations and the income from their land. They accumulated large libraries, important relics and other riches, leading to accusations that they had become corrupt. Such possessions were either appropriated or destroyed during the Dissolution.

Page 108. " Here you can find the De Occulta Philosophia of Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim, the Liber Experimentorum of the mystic Ramon Lull "
Cornelius Agrippa
Public DomainCornelius Agrippa - Credit: wikimedia commons

The De Occulta Philosophia (Three Books of Occult Philosophy) is a study of the power of magic and how it relates to religion. It was written by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a German magician, theologian, alchemist and astrologer. John Dee often mentions Agrippa’s book in his own writing. Agrippa appears as a character on a chocolate frog card in the Harry Potter series.


 Read De Occulta Philosophia here

 Harry Potter on Book Drum


Ramon Lull was a 13th century Majorcan writer and philosopher. He attempted to show that Christian doctrines could be reached through logic from a fixed set of ideas. He also wrote on astrology and was interested in mysticism, for which he was condemned by the Pope.

Page 108. " a quadrant five feet tall "
A Quadrant
Public DomainA Quadrant - Credit: Kallgan/wikimedia commons

A quadrant is an instrument for measuring angles. It can be used to measure the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. Mural quadrants are used by astronomers to measure altitude, and larger frame-based ones for measuring angular distances.

Page 110. " They hung and quartered him anyway, to make an example "
A traitor's execution
Public DomainA traitor's execution - Credit: wikimedia commons

 Hanging, drawing and quartering was the official punishment for high treason. The convicted criminal was dragged by horse to the place of execution and hung until almost dead. They were then disembowelled (drawn), beheaded and chopped into four pieces (quartered). This was the fate of many Catholic priests executed in the Elizabethan period at Tyburn (see bookmark for page 55).

 The punishment was not fully abolished in England until 1870. High treason was any act seen as a direct threat to the monarch or his or her right to rule.