Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chamber, John (1546-1604)

CHAMBER, JOHN (1546–1604), canon of Windsor and writer on astronomy, born at Swillington, Yorkshire, in May 1546, was educated at Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1569 (Oxf. Univ, Reg. Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 272). He was elected a fellow in the same year, being 'chosen purely for his merits.' He was well versed in Greek, and after taking the M.A. degree turned his attention to medicine, astronomy, and astrology. He lectured in the university on the Ptolemaic system, and applied to the authorities to be permitted to lecture on Hippocrates. Chamber was in holy orders from 1582, became fellow of Eton College, and in 1601 canon of Windsor. He died at Windsor on 1 Aug. 1604, and was buried at the entrance to the choir of St. George's Chapel. He left Merton College 1,000l. to buy lands in Yorkshire for the maintenance of two postmasterships for Eton scholars, to be called by his name.

Chamber's works are: 1. 'Scholia ad Barlaami Monachi Logisticam Astronomiam,' 1600, 4to. 2. 'Treatise against Judicial Astrology' (Lond. 1601, 4to), to which Sir Christopher Heydon replied in his 'Defence of Judicial Astrology' (Camb. 1603). 3. To Heydon's reply Chamber wrote an answer entitled ' A Confutation of Astrological Dæmonology in the Devil's School,' which was never printed, and is extant among the Savile MSS. at the Bodleian Library. The dedication to James I is dated 2 Feb. 1603-4. 4. 'Astronomical Encomium,' Chamber's Oxford lectures on Ptolemy in Latin and English, Lond. 1601. Chamber was a friend of George Carleton, bishop of Chichester [q. v.], who defended him from Heydon's attack in his 'Madnesse of Astrologes,' 1624.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon., ed. Bliss, i. 744; Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 181, 193; Brodrick's Memories of Merton College, p. 269; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.