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At exactly 11am on Monday 15 September 2003, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in the heart of London in honour of one of England’s unsung luminaries – the 17th-century astrologer William Lilly (1602–1681).

To be eligible for what are known as ‘Westminster plaques’, individuals must be highly regarded by their profession, have made a positive contribution to human welfare or happiness and be either recognizable to the well-informed passer-by or deserving of national recognition. The first person to be celebrated in this way was Sir Winston Churchill; others include Oscar Wilde and computer pioneer Charles Babbage. Lilly was the 53rd recipient of a plaque, and the first astrologer.

What is it about Lilly? Coming from a humble farming family, he rose by his read more…