London, Avalonia Books, 2011. Paperback, 333 pages. New.
The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet (Sloane MS 3851) is a 17th century Cunning-man’s book of charms, conjurations and prayers. It includes material from the Heptameron, the Artabel, Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft, the writings of Cornelius Agrippa and William Bacon. The Cunning-man of the title, Arthur Gauntlet, was based in Gray’s Inn, London, and this, his personal working book, is a unique mix of herbal remedies, prayers, magical and biblical charms, angelic conjurations and practical sorcery. Editor David Rankine gives an excellent overview of the period in which Gauntlet and other Cunning-men practiced, and provides fresh insights into the world of the London Cunning-men, and their web of connections between astrologers, playwrights, magicians, authors and the church. He also draws attention to the much-neglected role of women in Early Modern magic, both as practitioners and skryers, Cunning-women and customers. The Grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet gives a fascinating glimpse into the practices and beliefs of these practitioners of magic, and the contents of the grimoire itself show the diverse magical currents which came together in their practice. This is an excellent work which will be of great value to scholars and occult practitioners alike.